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John Kogel

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John Kogel last won the day on December 21 2020

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    Retired happy HI

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  1. Having removed all references to realtors on your website, you can email the realtors you choose a link to your website that is totally focused on the client. One day I asked the realtor, "Will my client be ..." and she replied "You mean My client", she's been working these people for months, showing them shacks they don't like, etc. The realtors you want referrals from sell a house a week. They are productive and have their favorite inspectors. They might toss you a referral and use your services in a pinch, and that's how you build your biz, do the best job you can, be efficient with clear pictures of good as well as whatever not good items easy to read with no spelling or grammar mistakes. One day my elderly Asian clients were looking at a spiffy house with a view, no issues, and there was a cheap microwave oven sitting on the counter. The old woman was skeptical, told her hubby it probably doesn't work. That's when I pulled a plastic mayo jar out of my bag, filled it and hit 20 seconds on the micro, water was warm, walk thru was done, they bought it, got repeat referrals from that realtor. It will go sideways as well, something you say comes across scary and the client balks, realtor black balls you for that, so it goes.
  2. Ok, Jim is a little blunt, but never wrong. The fact is, you do need realtors on your side in many cases, unless you're a really popular guy already well known in the biz. You could be more subtle. A realtor can click a link to a normal referral sheet, no? No need for a special page for them. A good inspector isn't loved by all realtors. The lazy scumbags don't like him, but he doesn't need their flea-blown one or two jobs a year. Your website is one way for people including realtors to find you, but don't expect it to do all your legwork, won't happen. Yes, display a sample of an inspection report. Let them judge it without bragging about how good it is. Realtors will look at the report. Everyone wants you to find the issue if there is one and provide a simple solution, that's where your experience comes in. "This tap is dripping. A plumber or handy person can replace the packing nut with a new one taken from a new tap". "Wind has torn this shingle. Have a roofer repair this small area and check the rest of the roof. I didn't see any other problems and I walked both sides". My advice to any inspector these days is to bite the bullet and buy an infra-red camera and brag about having one. You're new and you use the new tech. Include an IR pic of a heated floor in your report, attic picture taken with a flash camera, same shot with the IR, this is impressive. In the plumbing section, an IR camera shot of a hot water pipe in the wall. Offer a free sweep of the house, takes 10 minutes but they don't need to know how long it takes, 5 more minutes to load a few shots into the report, heat coming out of a register. a hot stove burner, something to impress the people and that includes their realtor, who often sees the report. Be subtle, not too hungry. You can do this IR thing at the end before the walk and talk with the client. Focus on the client and answer all questions with a positive answer, even if it is, "I will check with the authorities and let you know tomorrow AM". The IR sweep is a free service, but a full-blown IR inspection is so many dollars. You make it clear that the quicky sweep isn't super thorough, just a quick check of typical problem areas. You of course know what those typical problem areas are in case they ask. Best motto is: Don't be lazy. Don't cut corners, crawl all the way to the back where nobody goes. That's where the leak is that nobody saw, but you did.
  3. The general rule for Al wiring is one gauge size larger than the equivalent for Copper. A typical 20 amp heating circuit would need to have #10 gauge wire in Aluminum, #12 which is smaller, for Cu. The length is directly proportional to the wattage, long baseboard heater, big watts. I would pull new copper 12 ga wire from the panel to the heater locations for safety and peace of mind. Also fire insurance costs less if you can say the wiring is copper. The wiring to the thermostat carries the same current as the baseboard heater, also should be replaced. Or get the new models that have built-in programmable thermostats, just one cable from the panel or junction box. An electrician should do the final work and sign off on it somehow, save the receipt. Jim is correct about the old vs new, but new heaters like new switches and outlets, help to complete a reno. Al wiring should be inspected and have connections redone every 10 years.
  4. Maybe this house is on well water? I've seen a few old electric water heaters and they were always out of town on private water, no additives. Not counting the old copper tanks that lasted longer than the house sometimes. Some old tanks were glass lined, which I think is fiberglass coating inside. Jim, there is always a way, such as down thru the floor or up into the attic?
  5. Make a tea, Slippery Elm or Cascara bark if you have that. 😀
  6. I inspected a home where the owner had added a beam in the middle of the long span under the dining room table. The beam was held up by two screw jacks resting on the concrete floor of the crawlspace. I mentioned it with a picture in my report, because if the foot of a jack punched thru the concrete maybe 2" thick, it would be coming back to bite me. Not a concern, so just making my client aware. The owner offered to remove the beam and the jacks. He said his wife walked around the table every day and didn't want the floor to bounce, made her feel heavy. My client said no, leave it there. 😃
  7. Low volume agents are typically a bit snippy when the deal goes south. There goes the bonus check and a trip to the spa for this month, crap. This happened to me, faucet was broken after I inspected the house, and I stood accused. I had a pic of water flowing from a good faucet, was in the clear. From time to time, you may have to pay out for a repair, but normally not when your client walks. If so, you bite the bullet and call your fixit buddy. That's the cost of maintaining a cash flow. Shows you can make issues go away. It all depends on how busy you are. It's a goofy racket where one disgruntled agent smears your company and you are black balled for ever, or until they bring in some fresh members.
  8. Confucius says the question starting with "why" sometimes needs a creative answer. 😃
  9. My guess is that the motor has a cap mounted on it, a replacement maybe, need pics.
  10. Sometimes damage occurs during an open house, perpetrator is long gone, the seller may not be aware it happened, and the agent only hears one side. The faucet can probably be repaired by a competent plumber. Sounds like a generic estimate for a full replacement with tile work.
  11. At first I thought Jim, you're waxing poetic, Then saw it's a copy, but not 'til I'd read it, Beginning to end, Did he do that on purpose? No matter, it did bring some cheer to this carcass, Here's wishing y'all a Merry Olde Christmas! 😃
  12. When in doubt, imagine that trough full of snow, ice and then some rain. The so-called builder has skewed the valley sideways to get some slope on it, maybe? The roof on the left shows a reverse slope, and the needles usually collect at a low spot or a drain. I don't believe that work was ever approved by an authority.
  13. I like rainy weather, because then the leaks show up better in my attic and gutter pics.😃
  14. It is perfectly acceptable on older wood frame homes on the West Coast. The wood is likely Douglas fir and hard as rocks. Tar paper, chicken wire, stucco, maybe paint. The key there is the roof overhang and the gap between stucco and the dirt layer. We don't want to see the flower bed up over the lower edge of the stucco, that needs to be concrete. Stucco comes down over the wood sill plate and stops there. Call it out for rot if some goof has pushed soil up against stuccoed wood skirting.
  15. I have the old version of HIP and used Palmtech when I did some subcontract inspecting. The HI Pro version I have allows me to create a pdf file on my own computer. If you go this route, backups onto an external drive or somewhere other than the laptop, easy to do, or use the Cloud storage they offer. Support is excellent. You can easily create templates for the various types of inspections you do and can access templates written by other inspectors, but I prefer my own capitalization and grammar. PalmTech required me to log into their website in the cloud, all very well until you find you can't log in from that particular location. I didn't have to log in every time, so could write reports for a couple of weeks, sending reports to cloud storage when done. A link to the report is quick to send by email to the client. Then one day you write the report, with lots of nice pics inserted and hit send and a window pops up, "You need to log in". Log in to Palmtech all right, but ... can't go back from there to the report you just wrote. It is gone. 😖 Various times I contacted Palmtech for help with their software, it was always after one of their updates but somehow the blame was always on my equipment or something I was doing wrong. This was 5 years ago so don't know if they've improved. Tablets or cellphone cameras are supposed to make things faster, until you set the tablet down and it slides off the hood of your truck and shatters, that wasn't me thankfully. Cell battery goes dead from all the pics and you need to call the client at such and such time. I stuck with stand alone camera with a good flash, Nikon Sport or similar, and load pics quickly into a laptop with a real keyboard. Big monitor for showing clients some of the nasty pictures. Can't see much on a cellphone screen. Reports become very fast, and more time can be spent inspecting with a flashlight, ladder and screwdriver, old school. Good luck.
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