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  1. Today
  2. Hi Les, You know me well enough to know that short and concise isn't my thing. Besides, I could put a little out, respond over and over again, and, by the time the thread dies I would have said just as much as I said in one post. ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!! Mike
  3. Ive had GL only from Selective for 12 years now https://www.selective.com/
  4. Yesterday
  5. Might just be part of the shipping straps where they were strapped to the truck.
  6. Hey Mike, nice to see a short concise response from you! In fact it was pretty easy to read. Early next year Chad is having a symposium that would be a great venue for continuing this discussion.
  7. I like the previous one - 'Slow and slower. Which one do you want?'
  8. Good philosophy. I have a single response I use a lot - either when the client wants to know how long I'm going to be there or the agent starts getting antsy. "I'll be done when I feel there are no more unanswered questions in my mind about this house. I only have two speeds - slow and careful."
  9. Last week
  10. The straps do run through the truss web, and there is a mirror-image 2x4 & blue strap on the opposite side of the truss.
  11. No, sorry. Each and every one looked exactly like the picture, though. Appreciate your efforts, though.
  12. Insurance is a racket. Never buy more than you have to.
  13. Jerry, do you have any more photos of those? They say they can't provide a response based on just that one photo.
  14. Jerry, I shot off an inquiry, along with a copy of your photo, to the APA-Engineered Wood Association help desk in Tacoma to see if they'd ever seen anything like that. I'm awaiting an answer. ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!! Mike
  15. Hi Steven, If you want to enjoy what you do, and want to be at it for a long time, don't feed at the realtor trough. Most agents have only their own interest at heart; and, if your inspection doesn't fit what they want, they'll fight you every step of the way and try to remake you into what they want. With a different agent on every home, with different likes and dislikes, that can cause you a whole lot of stress that you don't need. Or, they can simply toss your card, nod and smile at your and accept whatever swag you want to try and bribe them with and still forget you. (Below, I'll tell you how to get started with agents - no, it won't be hypocritical - anything but. You'll see.). Figure out how you're going to do your inspections; and then, from day one, do them that way no matter what. As Jim remarked above, some agents will like you and some won't, so if you are consistent and thorough and concentrate on good customer service skills with your real customers - the buyers (Most of the time). Agents that are truly concerned about their clients and who want a good inspection will remember you - the rest can go sit on a salt block for all I care. The biggest reason folks feed at the realtor trough is that they believe that there is no other cost-effective way to market directly to the consumer. It's BS. I know because I started in '96 and quit marketing to agents 9 months into this business. If one can't succeed in this gig without marketing to agents, how did I manage to keep at it for 23 years when 80% of all new inspectors leave the business after only two years? Flyers? Newspaper ads? Radio? Television? Yellow Pages? Constantly visiting agent offices and dropping off gifts? Spending 16 to 20 hours a week going to brokers opens? Nah, none of that - I literally spent about $20 bucks a year on marketing - what it cost to have a thousand business cards printed up by Vistaprint, and I haven't crossed the threshold of a real estate office (except to talk to my agent about my own home buying) since about 1998. You have to think outside of the box that most home inspection trainers, real estate agents and established inspectors will try to keep you in. Before you start officially, do some inspections on the homes of your friends - as many as you can. Find out where you are comfortable and where you need to do some more studying. Establish a comfortable rhythm and then stick to it. Decide on a report format and use each of those practice inspections to get comfortable with whatever method you are using to write your reports. When you are ready to start, go by realtor offices in your area and strike up a friendly relationship with the receptionists. Your object will be to find one that will be willing to provide you a copy of the schedule of the brokers' open houses. It took me about ten offices, where I casually left little gifts with the receptionists along with my card before I found one who was willing to provide me a bootleg copy of the weekly schedule of brokers opens. For the next few months, I dropped in on her every Monday morning, chatted with her for about five minutes and left her a little box of candy. Like clockwork, when the schedule for the brokers opens came out, she'd fax the thing over to me. (After I got up and running, I didn't need her lists anymore, so I stopped visiting and didn't have to drop off any more poggey bait for her). On brokers open days, go by and visit as many as you can. Don't hang out and try to suckup like so many do - that is only going to give them the opportunity to interrogate you to find out what you are all about. For most, that means determining whether you are malleable and not a deal killer. Don't give them that chance. Just stop in, say hi, introduce yourself, tell 'em that you know they have their own preferred group of inspectors they like to work with, but that you are betting that, once they've worked with you just one time, they're either going to add you to that list or bump someone else. Then look at your watch, tell 'em you have to go because you've got an inspection to get to, and get the hell out of there. Most of them will act like you've got a hole in your head. Don't try to convince them, just be matter of fact and, as you're going out the door, say something like, "Seriously, it'll only take one time and I know you're going to want to have me on that list. Don't think so? I dare you to refer to one of your clients one time. You'll see." It's like tossing chum into the water for sharks - they get curious and want to investigate. Figure that most are going to wait until you are out of sight and then they'll toss your card - but a few will keep it. How fast one or more of them actually take you up on the dare depends on how many you manage to bait. For me, I got my first bite using that technique later in the same week. She was what I call a realtorzoid - a manipulative b***h that didn't care anymore about her clients than she did about a bug on a windshield. I arrived on-site, did my thing with the client and contract and got started. All during the inspection, she kept trying to catch my eye and kept sending me body English clues that she wanted me to pick up on - I ignored all of them. As the length of the inspection went past the length she expected me to be there, she started getting fidgety and kept looking at her watch. She even tried pointing at her wristwatch while standing behind the client where I could see her while I was talking to the client. I ignored her. At the end of the inspection, I could tell by the look in her eyes that I'd never hear from her again, but I didn't care - I had gotten a job and got paid and I knew that I'd hear from the client again and the client's friends and relatives. So, what did I do there? I did a bait and switch on her. When I stopped into her open house and dared her to refer me, I left her with the impression that I'd be her guy, and, to verify it, she took the dare and referred me the one time that I needed her to. It put a fee in my pocket, food on my table and I was able to identify a 'zoid and knew what to expect on the off chance that she'd call me again one day (See did, years later - to inspect a home for a client who was a powerful local litigation attorney. In that case she wanted thorough and careful.). You continue doing this for as long as you need to in order to stay afloat long enough to get on the list of agents that don't expect you to feed at their trough. You are mining - mining for honest non-manipulative agents that have their client's interests at heart and will most-probably refer you in the future. Are you making enemies? Sure - but you don't need them as friends. Afraid they'll run back to their offices and drop a dime on you and nobody from that office will ever want to refer anyone to you ever? So what? If they are that kind of office you don't need their BS anyway - best you learn it early. Besides, I found that even in those offices with the most manipulative agents there were always one or two who, hearing the other agent bellyache, had jotted down my name and called me later on. A few even told me about how upset the other agent had been with me and told me it was because of that they'd referred me to their clients. That's the kind of referral you want - not one that you got because you were sucking up, feeding at their trough and putting up with their b**ls**t. Now, while you are doing the bait and switch, build the foundation for your business. Everyone today is on social media. Get yourself a FB page and learn to use it to your best advantage. If you aren't familiar with it, take a night course at your local community college on FB marketing and web placement. There are other similar platforms. I haven't bothered to use them 'cuz I don't need to. You can explore them too. Go to Google and search "The largest employers in (list your area) and take down that list. Then, starting with the one that employs the most people, find out if they have some kind of intranet forum (similar to this one) where they talk to each other. It used to be that only really large employers like Microsoft, Google, G.E., G.M., Ford, etc. had those, but these days just about every moderately-sized employer has them. It can even be a private, company-only group on FB as well as a dedicated back room on their company website. Figure out where you are going to price your work. Don't make the mistake of low-balling. If you start off as a bottom feeder, you'll always be a bottom feeder, and, most of the time you'll end up doing the kinds of inspections home inspectors hate. Find out who the ten top HI companies are in your area, find out what they charge, calculate the average price for an inspection and then add $50. Then, as people begin calling you to talk about scheduling an appointment get to know a little bit about them so that you'll know what kind of a customer you'll have and will be prepared on the day of the inspection to either deal with someone who hasn't the faintest idea how a home is built or how they work or you'll be dealing with someone who is good with his or her hands and once worked construction. While you are finding that out, find out where they work. If the person works for one of those large employers that has an internal forum of some sort when it comes time to discuss pricing, give them the quote but then ask if they want to save $50. They'll never say no. Explain that, after you've completed your inspection, if they like the thoroughness of the inspection, and if, after receiving the written report, they like the completeness of the report, they'd be willing to tell their fellow employees at such-and-such-company about your little company, you'd be willing to take $50 off the price of the inspection. I've never had one say they were not willing to do that. I've had a few ask, "Well, what if I don't like the inspection or the report - will I have to pay the extra $50?" I just smiled and told them I was sure that wasn't going to be the case, but, if they did not like my work they did not have to post anything and the price reduction still went. It starts off slow but then it speeds up. Before you know it, if you are consistent and you are diligent about having those folks tell their fellow workers about you by putting the name of your company on that internal message board where they can always come back and find it again, you'll be getting calls from folks who called you because they know they'll not only get an awesome inspection, but because they'll know that all they'll have to do is share some info about you on social media and they'll get $50 off the price of the inspection. In 2008 - 2009, when over 15,000 agents a month were losing their shirts and getting out of real estate, a whole lot of inspectors who feed at the trough went along with them. Without those agents, they had no idea what to do and they lost their shirts. I know one guy who had several investment properties - he had to sell one at a loss in order to keep his head above water. At the same time, because I'd concentrated on the largest employers in my area, when other homeowners began losing their homes many of those employees were in a position to purchase those bank-owned properties at fire sale prices and they called me up - sometimes to inspect two or three jobs in a row as they searched for investment properties. Instead of worrying about where the next job was coming because of the recession, I was referring jobs to other inspectors because I was booked and couldn't handle the additional work. It's a business where you have to play the long game and you have to do it like a pro. If you start off begging for work and selling your time at lowball prices, that's where you'll always be - going hat in hand to the agents and doing POS homes. Concentrate on the solid employers with well-paid employees who have staying power and accept referrals from honest agents instead of from 'zoids and you'll still be around years from now. ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!! Mike
  16. Hey Mike, the latest is the floor heat mat folks want to blame the electrician and the electrician wants to blame the tile setter. Fact is it is 99% tile setter, possible wrong mortar and less than good tile back coverage. the tile is porcelain and great conductor.
  17. Hi Les, Remember a while back when they were producing paint mixed with ceramic beads? The big selling thing was that the ceramic was supposed to slow passage of heat down through a roof in summer and slow heat loss in winter. If that's even a real thing. Could it be dependent on the type of ceramic? Could your tile be glazed with a type of ceramic that resists thermal transfer? I have no f*****g idea. It's just a wild guess based on some foggy s**t saved in an old file on my organic hard drive. ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!! Mike
  18. If you're only looking for basic GL, the same insurance carriers you may go through for your other insurance needs--like Liberty Mutual--can work. The reasons you might consider going with an insurance provider that specializes in home inspectors include: Better (and often cheaper) claims handling Risk management services, like pre-claims assistance and education Better E&O products for home inspectors (if you're thinking of getting both in the future) Ultimately, it depends on your risk tolerance, or how much you're willing to leave up to chance.
  19. Lots of them built on those here too, except the ground under them isn't nearly as level as that.
  20. Hi Jerry, I haven't had E & O in 18 years. Have had GL through Liberty Mutual.
  21. It seems like if they were using them to hold them down on a truck during the delivery they'd have done it on every one of them. No?
  22. Hi @Jerry Simon! (And everyone else who has posted on this topic.) Despite this being an older post, I thought I'd weigh in since a lot has changed in the home inspection insurance space since late 2017. It's true that most insurance providers, including InspectorPro, will advise clients to purchase both errors and omissions (E&O) and general liability (GL) coverage together. That's because the vast majority of insurance claims in the home inspection space are E&O claims. (And by vast majority, I mean that, for many carriers, over 90% of all property inspection claims are E&O-related.) (You can read more about how the two coverage types here: http://ipro.blog/TIJ-eo-gl.) However, because some states (like Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia, and West Virginia) only require GL, more insurance providers that specialize in home inspectors are offering GL-only policies. Off the top of my head, some home inspection insurance providers that advertise GL-only insurance policies include: us (InspectorPro Insurance), CH Insurance, Elite MGA, Lockton Affinity, and RiskPro Insurance Agency, LLC. I can't attest to how all of the above insurance companies write their general liability policies. However, I can say that InspectorPro does not write policies with standard annual rate increases like what you're describing over at State Farm. Most home inspection insurance providers should rate both GL-only policies and E&O/GL policies based on claims history, experience, exposure, coverage, and geographic region. Last thought: Say you're buying a GL-only policy with the intent of upgrading to an E&O and GL policy in the future. We'd recommend pairing up with whichever insurance provider you'd like to work with in the future for an easier transition. So, even when you're shopping for just GL, we recommend looking into benefits like pre-claims assistance, deductible discounts, lack of sublimits, etc. so you're in a good place when you switch. Hope that information is helpful for anyone shopping GL policies in 2019!
  23. Hi TIJ Readers! When most insurance policies are pretty much tomes, it's tough to catch all the details. And those details can make a huge difference. In our latest article, we talk about one of the deductible discounts you can find in some home inspection insurance policies and how it works so you don't miss out on potential savings. Enjoy! Stephanie From our decade of claims data, we know that the majority of home inspectors receive at least one claim in their career. And, when they do, it never feels great?particularly when that claim is meritless as about 80 percent of home inspection claims are. In his recent article, home inspector Randy Sipe described the feeling of a first claim as "the most emotional roller coaster ride of your professional life," primarily due to the financial worries associated with claims. As Sipe pointed out, the first step toward peace of mind is carrying errors and omissions (E&O) and general liability (GL) insurance. But your protection doesn't have to stop there. Some insurance providers provide deductible discounts to home inspectors based on how infrequently they receive claims and on how quickly they report allegations. In Part 1 of our series, we go over how you can make half of your insurance deductible disappear. A diminishing deductible endorsement?also referred to as a reducing, depreciating, or disappearing deductible?rewards you for your consecutive years with your current insurance provider and without claims. Below, we address some key characteristics: Some diminishing deductible endorsements only affect your E&O coverage. In home inspection insurance, most policies come with separate E&O and general liability deductibles. Often, home inspectors have the opportunity to choose the E&O deductible that's right for them. (InspectorPro offers E&O deductibles of $1,500, $2,500, and $5,000.) On the other hand, insurance carriers typically determine the general liability deductible amount. (Typically, InspectorPro's GL deductibles are $1,000.) Since many carriers standardize most GL deductibles for home inspectors based on their own risk calculations, some diminishing deductibles only affect your E&O coverage, including ours. In order to confirm which deductible(s) your endorsement affects, read the endorsement form in your insurance policy. Most diminishing deductible endorsements have a standard and a maximum reduction. Is it possible to reduce your deductible to $0? Or to reduce your deductible by a larger percentage one year than the next? Not with a diminishing deductible endorsement. Most (if not, all) diminishing deductible endorsements have a standard and a maximum reduction amount. With InspectorPro, for each consecutive policy period that you do not have a claim, your E&O deductible will be reduced by 10 percent subject to a maximum reduction of 50 percent. So, each of your first five consecutive years are subject to a 10 percent reduction. And, even if you go 10 years consecutive years without a claim, the most your deductible will reduce is 50 percent. The following graph illustrates your potential diminishing deductibles based on number of consecutive years without claims and E&O deductible: Keep in mind that different insurance companies can offer different decreases. So, be sure to review your insurance policy or consult your insurance broker to determine a) if your current coverage offers a diminishing deductible and b) how much the deductible can reduce each year. [READ MORE]
  24. Looking back, I think the one thing I did wrong was try to inspect them as "typical". they are not typical. While many may be close to typical very few are. Little things like no shower head, disposer gone, copper removed, crud poured down drain lines, trash and left over food, etc.
  25. Yeah, I'm fine. Worse part of storm didn't come this far south. The house in the OP was likely exposed to tornado-force winds. 'Uprooted' is the wrong term. Reporters like to dramatize a story. Those are fluted piers. The home was likely over 75 years old and in those days, that was considered a foundation.
  26. I wonder if that's what they call a foundation in Louisiana?
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