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  1. Rick, I have been doing pre-pour inspections in your same area for years. Scott was right on. These are short inspections from a time standpoint, but very, very detailed. There are numerous issues involved with post-tension cables that need particular attention, in addition to those items listed above. I have yet to find an exhaustive piece or literature on the subject. Find someone to ride with. You will need 25 or more under your belt to be competent. Good Luck, Glenn
  2. Kurt, I just did my annual statistical revue of the competition. Yeah, I know, but I'm anal, what can I say?[:-magnify Anyhow, with state licensing you can get lots of good data off of the TREC site. The average inspector active in Greater Houston today has possessed a license for less than 4 years. Realistically, that means that they have done between 400 and 800 inspections. I shudder to think of my performance in those days. [:-weepn] I do not think most of them are morons. I have always thought that a third were morons (and maybe ill trained), a third are ill trained and a third are competent. Our toughest job is teaching the public how to differentiate between groups one, two and three. Just because you are licensed does not place you in group three (inspectors, plumbers etc.). Just because you are not licensed does not place you in group one or two (handymen). Glenn #3772 of 9206 or 235 of 1264, take your pick.
  3. It is hard to believe that there are inspectors in our business that do this. It is sad and I resent the guilt by association. I have always marketed agents, but have made my standards clear. I was pitched these programs several times. They were always one way relationships that benefited the agencies. I always left the room mystified that they thought I was dumb enough to do it and amazed that other people will. Now, I don’t even bother to return those calls. I have been in this game long enough that the honest ones know me and the others know better than to call. I "lost" a "top agent" last month because we refused to alter a report to smooth a sellers ego. Oh, well. There is a place for truly professional agents and inspectors to maintain arms-length business relationships, but this type of stupidity makes it hard
  4. I understand you point of view. I guess I need to be sued once or something, but I just do not consider that concern to outweigh my capitalist tendencies. I just have not had a bad experiance with handymen. Texas has a very strong license act. While lawyers do occasionally come after the odd inspector, we seem to have fewer problems with litigation than other states. I have not surveyed anyone to come to this conclusion, but I talk with inspectors in a dozen other states. The TX legislature does not involve itself in as much as some other states. As an example, builders are still not licensed in TX. They just started a registration process and a construction commission, but the jury is still out. [:-taped] I follow the economic theory of Dr. Thomas Sowell. Anything the government regulates goes downhill. Anything they mandate, becomes overly expensive and low in quality. Free markets keep us on out toes. So what does that say about the licensing of home inspectors in TX? Hmmmmm....... [:-dunce] Glenn
  5. I guess I'll have to be the odd man out (Will not be the last time). I have never had a problem with good handymen doing the work. The key is "good". I know three or four. If the work is done in an appropriate "workman like" manner than who cares if a handyman or licensed electrician does it? Some things are technical enough that I recommend that only a licensed person do it. That said, do you really need an electrician to install a couple of GFCIs and a plumber reseat a toilet when a good handyman can do it and save the buyer or seller 30%? To me, this is a property rights issue. What right does government have to specify whom I contract minor work with? I honestly believe cities only issue permits to make money, basically legalized theft. I have met enough city inspectors and tradesmen to know that they are no better or worse than handymen. I always recommend receipts with clearly printed names and work descriptions. Most of the good ones give some level of warranty, depending on the task. Capitalism works. Some trades have become too proud of their time. Handymen move in underneath to cut them off. If the trades can not justify their service and skills to earn the higher wages, tough. It is the same rule we home inspectors live by. Inspections are not mandatory, we have to "sell" people on the benefit of what we do. Glenn
  6. Right. We are , as a group literareily (What, I'm not allowed to make up a word?)challenged. I am regularly shown 45 to 65 page reports that can not be deciphered for all of the boilerplate BS. A small amount of boilerplate (adjusted slightly for each case) saves time, but geeze, when does it end? Whether we want to admit it or not, we are also in the communication business. You can be the best inspector that ever crossed the street, however, if you can not effectively communicate your findings without copious amounts of CYA or circular prose, what good are you? It is, what it is. Write it clearly, tell them what it means to them and move on. Glenn (PS: Yes, I know there were typos in this. When I chat with friends, I do not bother with spellcheck. I always assume that when among friends, I can relax a bit. Sorry.)
  7. Gents, Forget the Ford/Chevy argument and please answer a question. What impact do these have on an inspectors liability? I am very interested in this equipment. Like others, I am convinced technology will both make our lives easier and make us more accurate in our reporting. If I may play the devils advocate (aka a lawyer) for a minute, I think that I could sue your butt of if you did an IR scan on a house and failed to find a leak that occured 6 months later. If I use this thing, I have to scan EVERTHING (walls, floors & ceilings), ever time or I am toast. Like Kurt, my only answer to my own concerns is to package it as a seperate "above and beyond" service, seperate contract, sperate fee. I would only scan what the buyer specifies or areas that I have a concern about based on the visual inspection. If they want the whole house done add 150% to my fee. If they specified a portion of the house and I found no special concern areas during my regular inspection and a leak shows up 6 months later in another area that I could not predict, I aught to be covered. Am I off base? I would appreciate the opinion of those that have used the gear. Glenn
  8. Les, I understand your thoughts about returning the buyer's money. That being said, do not go into this taking comfort that you have an out. Keep a confident attitude and EARN that fee. You may not be the best inspector in the business yet, but you are a fee paid home inspector and have every right to collect a fee. That buyer will get the benefit of your skills and knowledge. Even if that benefit is not worth the same amount as a more experienced inspector, it is worth something. Keep a positive attitude. Be careful, methodical, polite and strait forward. That which does not kill you will make you stronger. [:-wiltel] Glenn
  9. Les, First of all relax (just a bit). We all had our first inspection. Few of them, in retrospect, were everything that we would wish they were. Personally, I forgot to turn the oven off and got reamed out on the phone by the seller 2 hours after I left. Remember that the client does not know that you are scared. Rehearse on a friend’s home, pin on a happy face and persevere. I will assume that you chose this racket because you have a talent for the technical or experience. Lean on that. I will assume that you are reasonably well trained technically and have been through a few homes practicing your process. If that is not true, let us know. The first few inspections go easier if you do not have a buyer present, but that carries with it a greater liability risk. If you do not have an inspection services agreement, get one. In the future, try to email it or fax it to the client before the job. 1. Plan a process or flow for your inspection. No school that I am aware of trains this point, but all top inspectors have a distinct order in which they do all homes. I set up in the kitchen and recon the layout of the home. Then I inspect in order: exterior, roof, pool, sprinkler, garage, kitchen, baths, interior spaces and attic. Plan this in advance. This process helps insure that you cover all required areas. This is not just a good idea. This is critical to your survival. 2. Prepare your tools. Take what you need, leave the extras in your vehicle. Include extra batteries for everything in your vehicle. Do not forget a jump suit and mask/ respirator for crawl spaces. 3. Dress for golf. Do not wear blue jeans and a sweat shirt. If you want to be thought of as a professional, look the part. Balance that with the fact that you will be crawling though a 120° attic and a crawl space. 4. Arrive at least 10 minutes early. Scope out the environmental conditions, lay of the land and general condition of the home. 5. Look everyone in the eye, introduce yourself, hand out cards and take control (politely). You are the inspector, they are there for an inspection. It is your show. 6. Introductory speech. Lay the groundwork, so that the client knows what you can and can not do for him. Mine goes roughly this way:: “ I am here to inspect the home in order to help you understand as much as possible, it’s condition. It is important for you to know that home inspection is as much an art as a science. Not all problems with a home a visually apparent, but sometimes the hidden issues leave clues. If you walk with me as we do this inspection you will gain a better understanding of the home, how to maintain it and I can answer your questions. I will narrate as I go and please interrupt to ask any question that you may have.â€
  10. Good Question. Given that he lists Dublin CA as city and state, I wrote off Uganda as a referance to his heritage or a joke. Heck, I list my state as "Center of the Universe", because Texas is.[] Just ask NASA. Glenn
  11. Try PDF 995. Here is the link: http://www.pdf995.com/ It installs as a printer. You simply select PDF995 as the printer and designate the file that the process should print to. As price for free use, you will get one pop up add each time you use it. Given all the stupid system pop ups one already gets from XP, I have tuned the 995 pop ups out. Good luck, Glenn
  12. Apparently, I was not clear in my meaning on the above quotes. My bad. I am very sensitive to sellers asking me if they "have to" do anything. The Texas license act is VERY clear on the matter. In short, sellers have the right to be treated with respect also. Sorry if I offended anyone, no offence was meant. My intent was to drive home a simple point. Sellers and buyers can not be made to do anything by an inspector. What prudence/disclosure/marketing demands that they do is a seperate subject. The good news is that most sellers do as much as they know to do to be honest. Nuf sed. Glenn
  13. The short version is check with you local municipality and find out if you are required to maintain an access space. If so, you need to take that up with the installer. The impact on the inspection, depends on the inspector. Any good inspector wants to access all areas for which access is humanly possible. That being said, no inspector has the right to demand that you mar the floor to access the crawl space. Home inspectors have no authority to demand anything or enforce anything. All homes have some inaccessible areas. The best example is the insulated areas of attic eaves. In my part of the country, many pier & beam foundations built before 1960 have sunk enough that complete acess is impossible. It ain't the end of the world. If on the other hand your inspector is a cynical, CYA, wind bag, he will make this mole hill into a mountain. Talk to your agent (most of them are actually pretty good) and the local municipality. Glenn
  14. Chris is dead on. The most common cause (90% chance) is a blown collant load. There is little to no coolant remaining in the system. Recommend to the buyer that he has the system checked immediatly. Better yet, if the seller or seller's agent is around, recommend thay have the system checked today . Running the system under these conditions can damage it. They are also really running up their electrical bill. Assumiong closing is a month or so out, it will benifit the seller to handle it ASAP. That saves your buyer $s also. The seller can show the buyer a paid invoice from a licensed technician and all is well. Glenn
  15. George, You are F*%&ing brilliant! My last Occurance renwal was $4,400. As soon as we stop playing bush league games with each other, we can do some great things as a group. I do my part, but I am not holding my breath. Glenn Glenn
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