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Pensacola Realtor Says Inspectors Pass The Buck


hausdok
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It's a classic case of stereotyping. This RE veteran is ignorant (perhaps deliberately) of the fact that home inspectors don't just roll off an assembly line where they're all made exactly the same.

His pen may be prolific but his brain's in remission.

Marc

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Hi Mark,

I think that the problem with our profession is rooted in the mindset being taught in schools but I don't think it's that the schools teach inspectors to pass the buck, I think it's that the schools are discouraging inspectors from taking ownership of their process and constantly warning their students about lawsuits and teaching them how to avoid liability. I think a lot of students leave these schools with the knowledge they need to do a competent job and be able to make a competent diagnosis; but inspectors are too afraid to make definitive statements re. cause and effect of issues for fear of liability.

We need inspectors to learn to accept the fact that liability is always with them when they do this job and that consciously trying to avoid it hurts the profession. The best inspectors I know are those who are so confident in their skills that they don't give much thought to the potential for lawsuits when they render an opinion. Concentrate on doing the job right and on providing the client valuable information and liability fades into the background.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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This illustrates again the downside of learning from internet blogs. Anyone can express an opinion and broadcast it to the world as fact.

I recommend that this rant be further evaluated by a qualified and reputably opinionated professional. [:)]

He does have a valid point, in that the clients need definite answers from the inspector.

I try to give them those answers by being as knowledgeable as possible in all of the fields. I will call for a repair by a professional, but the client at least knows the nature of that repair, and can use that to arrive at a cost. If they can make a decision on the house when I'm done, I feel they've gotten the service they paid for.

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I think that the problem with our profession is rooted in the mindset being taught in schools

I think agents are a big part of the problem. A large percentage don't want a good inspector, so they hire refer "their" inspector.

Plenty of good inspectors get blacklisted, while the crappy inspectors and newbie inspectors get plenty of work from them. Then, agents go around and bitch about inspectors passing the buck.

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I think that the problem with our profession is rooted in the mindset being taught in schools

I think agents are a big part of the problem. A large percentage don't want a good inspector, so they hire refer "their" inspector.

Plenty of good inspectors get blacklisted, while the crappy inspectors and newbie inspectors get plenty of work from them. Then, agents go around and bitch about inspectors passing the buck.

That would be an excellent comment to post to that article.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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I commonly use the general practitioner model when talking with clients or anyone else. I tell them that if they went to their GP with intermittent chest pains he wouldn't start cutting them up to figure it out or tell them what the cause was without further tests, which calls for referalls to specialists. Why would a buyer call a half dozen or more contractors out to look at systems that may not have issues.

I have had a couple of inspections where buyers have had specific trades there to look at certain systems because they are either anal, heard something about the property or are redundent. These trades will always find something and always sight current code compliance. It's tough to explain to a buyer that in most cases to be compliant with current code the house would need to be either gutted or torn down.

Honestly, if a realtor had all the trades doing independent inspections (elec, plumb, energy audit, hvac, framing, roofing, masonry, structure, WDI, painter, plasterer, etc.) they would freak. The inspection would take days and the buyers would pass out from head spinning due to pages of estimates and contracts.

Telling someone to get an opinion from a specific trade is not passing the buck, it's getting closer to a solution. In an earlier thread there was talk about whether buyers ever completed recommended repairs and apparently they usually come up short, which may lead one to believe that they are not doing as told anyway and commonly discounting the sale price based on someone's arbitrary numbers.

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I'd grant the clown this much......

He does have it right about the "refer to a licensed, qualified hairdresser" part. It's those blokes that degrade the profession. And, it does get taught in the HI "schools".

But, his drift is not hard to figure out. Typical 'zoid antics.

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He does have a point about passing the buck - it is a problem with our industry - especially with the newer inspectors - and I'd guess it is taught in the schools as well. I don't agree with the article but he does have a point.

I can offer a perfect example that happened in my area: A Realtor I've worked with for years called me asking if I would follow behind another inspector to put out a firestorm he had started by referring a buyer to an engineer.

I told her, I don't like doing that. Any time anyone has called me to make another inspector look bad or fan a fire, I've always declined. Worse yet, this inspector was a fellow Member of my own local ASHI Chapter. But when she explained the situation, I felt it best to come.

The floor system was TJIs and over the steel I-beam down through the center of the basement, TJI's were cut and used as blocking between the joists. During construction, a plumber had knocked one of the pieces of blocking askew to accomodate his plumbing pipe, rather than cut the blocking.

The inspector referred THAT to an engineer!!?? Huh? The seller was furious and the buyer was insisting that the seller provide the engineer. It was crazy and flat out stupid.

I was shocked. In that case, I called the inspector and told him apologetically that I was going to write a letter to all parties concerned stating that when the blocking was in place, it was approved by the local building inspections department. Cut the blocking to accomodate the pipe and put it back in place.

Everyone involved thought about the logic of the statement and was relieved. The fire was out. End of story.

I agree with Mike O and Mark. A lot of agents rightly expect us to refer even the slightest little problem to a specialist. Mike said it right - no guts.

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I think allseason is right on with this, it's not passing the buck in my opinion at all. Alot of Inspectors on this forum are very well versed in a lot of the trades, and informing your client of all you know is great. However are we expected to be engineers, electricians, framers ....etc. I don't think so and if Im expected to be, my price will be going up exponentially. Yea home inspections schools are teaching people to be worried about liability, and why not? If students are reminded of whats at stake the good ones will make sure they know what there doing and the bad ones will fail in this business, and boo hoo for the buyer that didn't do there homework on there inspector. You have to remember that what most on this site expect a home inspector to know isn't whats required by any state that I know. And the states are the ones that set the bar, doesnt mean you have to like it but thats the way it is. If tests were harder and inspectors were required to know everything under the sun, I think about 90 percent of HI's would have never pursued the occupationin the first place.

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If you can't make the call on the condition of structures and systems you're inspecting, or can't quickly find credible sources to answer issues you may question, you shouldn't be charging people for your "service". That's our firm opinion. Maybe that's why our fees are typically 40-65% higher than our "competitors".

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I think allseason is right on with this, it's not passing the buck in my opinion at all. Alot of Inspectors on this forum are very well versed in a lot of the trades, and informing your client of all you know is great. However are we expected to be engineers, electricians, framers ....etc. I don't think so and if Im expected to be, my price will be going up exponentially. Yea home inspections schools are teaching people to be worried about liability, and why not? If students are reminded of whats at stake the good ones will make sure they know what there doing and the bad ones will fail in this business, and boo hoo for the buyer that didn't do there homework on there inspector. You have to remember that what most on this site expect a home inspector to know isn't whats required by any state that I know. And the states are the ones that set the bar, doesnt mean you have to like it but thats the way it is. If tests were harder and inspectors were required to know everything under the sun, I think about 90 percent of HI's would have never pursued the occupationin the first place.

Except that in 90% of the reports that I see, the inspector isn't passing the buck because he isn't an "engineer, electrician, framer, etc," or because he's seen something that's outside of his knowledge. He does it because he doesn't want to be the bad guy. With these inspectors, there isn't any evaluation happening at all. It's just an automatic kick upstairs to the other guy.

If you see a problem and you really don't understand it and don't know what to do about it, then fine. You should tell the customer to go find a specialist who does know what to do about it. If you find yourself needing to do that daily, it's a sign that you need to improve your education.

But most of the time, this is stuff that we see day in and day out. After a very few years in the business any inspector who hasn't been sleeping through his inspections knows exactly what needs to be done with the vast majority of problems that he finds. And when you know what needs to be done, you should tell your client. Not hide behind weasel recommendations.

Jim Katen, Oregon

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I think allseason is right on with this, it's not passing the buck in my opinion at all. Alot of Inspectors on this forum are very well versed in a lot of the trades, and informing your client of all you know is great. However are we expected to be engineers, electricians, framers ....etc. ...You have to remember that what most on this site expect a home inspector to know isn't whats required by any state that I know. And the states are the ones that set the bar, doesnt mean you have to like it but thats the way it is. If tests were harder and inspectors were required to know everything under the sun, I think about 90 percent of HI's would have never pursued the occupationin the first place.

I think honestly, there is no "right" and "wrong" and the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes being tossed around here.

The problem arises not when an inspector knows and stays within his limitations, but when, like my example above, an inspector refuses to even use his head.

I ask myself this question all the time, regarding the severity of a problem: "What if nothing is ever done about this condition?" I even ask the question out loud to myself and the buyer during my Summation, and often the honest answer is, "Nothing. It's been like this forever, and will be like this when we're both dead and gone."

The example above is like that.

You're right that we must stay within the limitations of our knowledge base. But, we can also think things through, muster a little courage and render an opinion.

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...or can't quickly find credible sources to answer issues you may question, you shouldn't be charging people for your "service".

Exactly. I've been telling people for a couple of decades, when they ask me a question I don't know the answer to: "I honetly don't know, but I'll have the answer for you in pretty short order."

If you have an internet connection and a telephone, the answer to any question you can think of isn't very far away. You just have to know when it's time to call for help.

I've got fellow inspectors in my area that call me now and then from the field to ask me masonry questions or get my opinion and direction. I don't mind at all. I rather like it and am glad they feel comfortable doing so. And, I just called a local guy and posed a question here about CSST gas line.

The way I see it, like Ben Franklin said, "We'll either hang together or hang seperately."

The largest single obsacle to learning is getting past "I don't Know" and on to "can you help me."

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