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Anyone have any verbiage regarding items not covered in their standards of practice (irrigation systems, low voltage lighting and such).

"An irrigation system is installed at the residence. The condition of this system is beyond the scope of a residential home inspection as defined by the State of New Jersey Home Inspection Advisory Committee. We recommend consulting with the current homeowners for any special knowledge regarding this system and its operation."

My pre-agreement mentions these items in detail and I do include a copy of the state standards in my report,

However, from experience, I can say people skim-over them at best. I'd like to add a line or two in my Exterior section as I feel most clients actually read that section.

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If I mention an irrigation system to a buyer, they usually don't know what I'm referring to. I keep it simple and call it a lawn sprinkler system. I do tell them in the report that the system needs to be winterized. Most people have no idea.

If you mention the exclusions twice in the report already, I don't see a need for a third time and a mention of the HIAC scope in every section. I think if you have a disclaimer in different typeface at the beginning of each section, the first one might get read, and then the rest are ignored. I have one Limitations page at the beginning, and that's it.

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I don't usually mention it in the report. I do tell them verbally that I don't inspect the sprinkler system, but they need to have it winterized and to ask the sellers who they used. It is also on my inspection agreement that they are not inspected.

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When I know one of these systems is present, I look that the back-flow valve is present.

"The lawn-sprinkler system looks to have the proper back-flow preventer installed. This device is designed to prevent a 'cross connection' between the lawn sprinkler & potable water in the house.

The sprinkler system is controlled by a timing device. Timing devices and lawn sprinkler systems are beyond the scope of this inspection. No operational test or inspection was performed on the sprinkler system. Verification and proper operation of this system's performance by you with the sellers is recommended prior to closing."

I guess that last sentence needs to be cleaned-up.

Also, I use the word 'looks' instead of 'appears'; any other ideas on that one?

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I have a section in the front of the report of stuff I didn't inspect. The list is in bold type face. Most of it is in simple pull down menu boilerplate.

"I did not inspect the lawn sprinkler system. Have the seller show you how it works."

Simple is better. Forget all the stuff about "as defined by the blah blah blah...." It sounds like the robot you get when you call customer service.

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My report and agreement have exactly what Jim and Kurt said. " I did not inspect the irrigation system, have the owner show you how it works."

Even though I do not inspect irrigation systems, I still look for the backflow preventer or other items that might impact the home or its systems. A good example of something I would comment on would be an irrigation head that is shooting water on the house or the condenser unit.

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I don't even go there.

Our state law requires that our contracts specify those areas of the home that will be inspected. In addition to that, the beginning of each section of my report has a fine print header that says what I'm required to inspect in that category. The end of each section has a fine print footer that says what I'm not required to inspect for that category.

I'm not certain that folks really read disclaimer language very closely; so I make it a policy to sit down with the client before each inspection and summarize my take on every paragraph before the inspection. Then I ask them to read the document. The contract says what I'll inspect, what I won't inspect, tells them what to do in the event that they think I've screwed up and it tells them what their recovery options are.

It takes time and I can tell that taking the time to do this irritates the crap out of the realtors; but apparently it's working 'cuz I don't get calls about "Why didn't you inspect this," and the referral base just keeps growing.

There are a lot of ways to skin this cat; you've got to figure out what's the best fit for you.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks guys, this is the solution I came up with. Since I don't like my reports to read like one big disclaimer, I decided to link out to the SOP included in the report.

An example is below. If you click below the Exterior section title (NJ HIAC…) you'll be taken to that section of the SOP. It's things like this that make me love Inspect Express working out of MS Word...

Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif SOP Disclaim.pdf

32.94 KB

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The non covered items are excluded in my inspection agreement. I don't mention them in the report at all.

The only disclaimers I put in the report are specific stuff that pops up at random.

Stuff like:

Half of the crawlspace was inaccessable due to duct work that was blocking my ability to navigate or see the area. I was not able to see this area so it was not inspected.

I was not able to do an evaluation of the roof coverings condition because the roof was covered with snow. Have a qualified contractor inspect the roof when conditions will allow.

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I've given this one a lot of thought, and ended up keeping specific disclaimers of things like lawn sprinkler systems in the body of the report - IMO the more explicit the disclaimer and the "readily visible" it is, the better both your practical and legal position if the client "overlooks" it.

Explaining to clients why these disclaimers are there and why it's important to pay attention to the recommendation attached to each is part of a 5 min verbal " "How to get the most value from your inspection" presentation I give to clients present at the inspection, and also of a printed hand-out of the same name I provide when I send the inspection contract for pre-inspection review.

Also, a disclaimer is a good reason to follow up in e-mail a few days after the inspection to inquire if the follow-ups were performed and what was found. I use "receipted" e-mail system, and can provide a verified copy of the e-mail and proof of receipt even if the recipient does not reply, which additionally covers me if for example an inaccessible roof is never inspected and later found to be defective.

All part of both "client relations" and liability control, as I see it.

YMMV.

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Along the lines of disclaimers, here's an example of a 'boiler-plate' I use when I find a humidifier:

[0001e]Humidifiers are outside the scope of a general home inspection. As a courtesy to my clients, I do inspect these types of units. The humidifier was ^Op/Inop^ at the time of inspection. Most humidifiers need normal maintenance & cleaning, and they should be turned off during the summer months. The filter/pad should be removed during summertime, replaced at the start of the heating season and cleaned several times during the season. I recommend you check operation during your final walk through.

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The non covered items are excluded in my inspection agreement. I don't mention them in the report at all.

The only disclaimers I put in the report are specific stuff that pops up at random.

Stuff like:

Half of the crawlspace was inaccessable due to duct work that was blocking my ability to navigate or see the area. I was not able to see this area so it was not inspected.

I was not able to do an evaluation of the roof coverings condition because the roof was covered with snow. Have a qualified contractor inspect the roof when conditions will allow. Call me when the snow melts, roof inspections are $X.

That's better.

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Neal,

Ever take a cover off the humidifier in the summer and get 'splattered' with the dried calcium deposits?

Even when the damper is closed, you still get air flow and the calcium gets passed through the system.

I tell my clients to remove the filter, clean the filter slot of the deposits then when winter comes, just dd a new filter.

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