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Family at inspection

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Getting a bit frustrated lately with all the family and fathers and aunts and cousins' who are contractors that tag along at the inspection. Last one there was almost 10 people coming and going that I had to explain things to over and over. Just a bit distracting!!

Thinking about adding something in the email I send with my contract.

Does anybody do this? What to say?

"In an attempt to give you the best inspection possible, please refrain from bringing additional family members" ??

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Let it happen. Do the job. If you have an established protocol, which everyone should, just do it.

If it gets weird, explain that this is your job, it's serious, and lots of people asking out of sequence questions screws everything up and makes the job take forever, and maybe even screws up the job.

If you've ever worked for Greeks, it gets really crazy. I had a job where there were 17 family members ala "My Big Fat Greek Home Inspection".

Someone gets weird, I go to the customer and explain this is serious, I'm doing a job, folks are welcome, but not to get in the way.

I've never had anything go bad while acting and being professional.

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I don't limit who can come - I don't think it would be appropriate.

When people start asking questions trying to drag me to another section of the house. I explain that I have a certain sequence I follow and if I start jumping around I’m likely to miss something. So I ask that they hold their questions until we get to that part of the house. People understand – and if another family member arrives and starts asking questions the buyer often tells them to not distract me because I have a sequence that I follow and for them to wait till I get there.

Also when there are a lot of them they tend to chat more among themselves and I’ll slip off to another part of the house without saying anything and they forget about me for awhile.

I know some don’t like buyers at the home when doing an inspection. I do because I can develop a connection with the customer. They see how thorough I am and if a question / issue arises down the road it makes for a much easier to deal with.

In fact I picked up a job last week, from the father of a client, who attended an inspection 3-4 months ago. The father (who considers himself a handyman) was impressed with my work / report and called for me to do some consulting work for him.

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Let it happen. Do the job. If you have an established protocol, which everyone should, just do it.

If it gets weird, explain that this is your job, it's serious, and lots of people asking out of sequence questions screws everything up and makes the job take forever, and maybe even screws up the job.

If you've ever worked for Greeks, it gets really crazy. I had a job where there were 17 family members ala "My Big Fat Greek Home Inspection".

Someone gets weird, I go to the customer and explain this is serious, I'm doing a job, folks are welcome, but not to get in the way.

I've never had anything go bad while acting and being professional.

I agree. There may also be potential clients in that group who get an up close and personal look at what you do. Just stay focused.

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I see it this way: Dad's tend to be "the other" inspector, and I'm always ecstatic he's there. And, if he points something out, that's fine with me! I thank him and say, "Hey, the more eyes the merrier, I prefer it gets found today, rather than later." (They like hearing that, and find that attitude disarming.) I've given them permission to inspect away - be my assistant. No problem.

If you think about it, IT'S A GOOD THING, he's a part of the inspection now, rather than on a mission to discover something you didn't address later. Typically, by the end of the inspection "Dad" (or mom) thinks you were great! Not to mention, he's on your side - looking out for his kid - your client.

As far as kids, having raised seven altogether, I'm blessed with a filter that can completely tune them out. Yes...

Now, on a side note, I always keep this statement in my hip pocket in case someone's REALLY BUGGING ME: "The single biggest cause of ommisions, is distraction." If I want someone to go away, that works. They hear basically, "If I miss something, it might be your fault." [:-graduat

Frankly, in my experience, that's a true statement. Most of the time I ever got a complaint, it would be something that I remember seeing, but it didn't make it into the report... distraction.... Somewhere between seeing it and writing it, someone asked me to go with them to see something. So, now, when asked to see something, I always say, "In a minute, when I get to a good place to stop."

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You have to win them all over. The earlier, the better. You have to be diplomatic, respecting the fact that they have the juice in the family, even if they couldn't find their ass with both hands. It's an art, but when you do it right, they rain referrals on you. Levity goes a long way here.

Don't discourage their participation because they're going to come and 'help' anyway. You can still maintain control of the inspection while treating these 'helpers' as contributors. You just have to learn how to manage them.

Here's a freebie for you: After some uncle or godfather offers a few unsolicited opinions, just pause and ask him in front of the rest of the crowd: "Are you in the trades? Because you know a lot more than the average homeowner." That will reduce further interruptions by at least half.

Those folks are just a part of the job; like 'Betty Big Hair' realtors. You can curse them if you want, but life is much simpler and sweeter if you just learn how to do your thing your way, whether they're there or not.

Jimmy

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I'm of the mindset that more folks there = more potential clients. We don't have a large Greek contingent around here, but Chinese and Korean families are the same. Come to think of it, Indians are too. Fact is that I picked up 3 additional clients from a single Chinese couple's inspection. As I recall, they had 7 people total at the inspection. I joke about charging for a group tour just to break the ice, but I've never had to explain things multiple times. I politely but firmly tell them that I have to conduct the discussion in my normal order, and if they interrupt or ask questions out of sequence it can cause the buyer to miss out on something. I smile and tell them that's bad for both of us. No one has ever objected.

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I'm of the mindset that more folks there = more potential clients. We don't have a large Greek contingent around here, but Chinese and Korean families are the same. Come to think of it, Indians are too. Fact is that I picked up 3 additional clients from a single Chinese couple's inspection. As I recall, they had 7 people total at the inspection. I joke about charging for a group tour just to break the ice, but I've never had to explain things multiple times. I politely but firmly tell them that I have to conduct the discussion in my normal order, and if they interrupt or ask questions out of sequence it can cause the buyer to miss out on something. I smile and tell them that's bad for both of us. No one has ever objected.

Just look for the smallest, oldest lady. She's the boss.

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One of the things I worry about is that I consider myself a guest in someone elses home at the time of an inspection and when excited friends and family members parade through a house they don't own, they don't seem to be aware of that.

Another thing I worry about is my liability if someone falls, breaks grandma's vase, or if junior sees something shiny that he likes.

Most realtors around here, never bother to show up for inspections.

Last summer a client left a family reunion for the inspection which happened to be around the corner from the house she was buying.

When the cars pulled up, I reminded her we were in someone elses house. She got the message and brought them in two at a time.

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I like people at inspection. I do the same as Kurt, maybe less cordial. If they like you and you were nice to them and their family (tiny oldest woman) they will call with a problem and likely not sue you. I am sure the reason for my not being sued is that my clients seem to like me!

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The benefit of lots of people seeing you do a great job cannot be overemphasized. I didn't think about it when I wrote my previous bit, but since everyone's commented, it reminds me that I get a lot of jobs from family members that saw me and were impressed.

Maintaining a serious and rigorous approach on the job is what makes it work.

For you guys that never have a realtor on site during the job, I have to say I'm amazed. As much as I dislike the realtor schtick, I would never, ever do a job without a representative of the realtors board, and the customer, on site.

Here's a story........

I was doing a job in the city, big expensive house, buffed, no real problems. The customer, their Dad, the realtor, and myself are finishing up standing in the DR. Without anybody doing anything, the DR chandelier has a single bulb explode in a napalm like shower of white hot sparks that land all over the DR table. Now, this is a table that conservatively cost $25,000, easy. Within a few seconds, it's burning. Sparks are going onto the upholstered side chairs. They start burning.

All this takes place in about 4 seconds. I sprint to the car, grab the fire extinguisher, by the time I get back the house is full of smoke, the place looks like it's going to fully engage. I spray the place with the extinguisher, and get the fire out. The place looks like a bomb hit it. Trashed.

This is one time when I am thankful that the realtor turned on all the lights, so I could honestly claim that I did not do anything to put in motion the sequence of events.

I heard the repair tab came out to somewhere around $90,000.

Can you imagine doing a job all alone, and having to call the seller and say

"I didn't do anything; it just blew".......?

No xxxxing way I'm ever doing a job without other people in the house.

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The benefit of lots of people seeing you do a great job cannot be overemphasized. I didn't think about it when I wrote my previous bit, but since everyone's commented, it reminds me that I get a lot of jobs from family members that saw me and were impressed.

Maintaining a serious and rigorous approach on the job is what makes it work.

For you guys that never have a realtor on site during the job, I have to say I'm amazed. As much as I dislike the realtor schtick, I would never, ever do a job without a representative of the realtors board, and the customer, on site.

Here's a story........

I was doing a job in the city, big expensive house, buffed, no real problems. The customer, their Dad, the realtor, and myself are finishing up standing in the DR. Without anybody doing anything, the DR chandelier has a single bulb explode in a napalm like shower of white hot sparks that land all over the DR table. Now, this is a table that conservatively cost $25,000, easy. Within a few seconds, it's burning. Sparks are going onto the upholstered side chairs. They start burning.

All this takes place in about 4 seconds. I sprint to the car, grab the fire extinguisher, by the time I get back the house is full of smoke, the place looks like it's going to fully engage. I spray the place with the extinguisher, and get the fire out. The place looks like a bomb hit it. Trashed.

This is one time when I am thankful that the realtor turned on all the lights, so I could honestly claim that I did not do anything to put in motion the sequence of events.

I heard the repair tab came out to somewhere around $90,000.

Can you imagine doing a job all alone, and having to call the seller and say

"I didn't do anything; it just blew".......?

No xxxxing way I'm ever doing a job without other people in the house.

Similarly, I was sitting at the dining room table of a home finishing up my report. The buyer's agent was sitting across the table from me - nicest lady on the planet. (She was a super attractive and wholesome Miss America type person.) Suddenly, completely out of the blue, a lovely cherry corner mounted shelf full of china crashes to the floor. We looked at each other in total shock and horror. (What is this, Poltergeist? Who the heck is going to believe THIS?) We both gave that nervous laugh, and called the listing agent. Actually, they did believe it - probably because it was this particular agent - one of those people that no one could dislike or not trust. Fate was with us. [:-thumbu]

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Thanks for all the responses, much appreciated.

I have gotten several loyal agents who have watched me work and give me business, even though they know i'm a thorough and picky sob.

The clients arent bad, its just the parents, and friends that eventually throw me off track. I take pictures as all my notes and occasionally i'll sit down to write the report and cant believe that I didnt snap one of something, likely from distraction.

I'll take the advice and run with it, thank you all

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Over time I have learned to appreciate the family members, to a degree. Yes, they can get you off track so you just have to learn or know when it is time to set a few ground rules. A couple of times a year I have to get everyone's attention and announce that I can't keep answering individual questions about things on opposite sides of the home! I let them know (nice but firmly) that they might make me miss somthing important if they keep distracting me. Outside of that I really do not mind folks at the inspection. If it gets really bad I just go in the attic or crawlspace and count the nails! [:D]

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Similar here. The most I've had during an inspection was 10.

Buyers

Both sets of parents

One set of grand parents

and an aunt and uncle stopped by.

I'm still eating off referrals from them a few years later.

Professional, friendly, direct. I'm doing this my way and you're welcome to help me find stuff as long as your following my order of inspection or waiting until we get to that area before asking questions about it.

Setting expectations ahead of time is easy. This is how it's going to be. Let's get started.

-

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Getting a bit frustrated lately with all the family and fathers and aunts and cousins' who are contractors that tag along at the inspection. Last one there was almost 10 people coming and going that I had to explain things to over and over. Just a bit distracting!!

Thinking about adding something in the email I send with my contract.

Does anybody do this? What to say?

"In an attempt to give you the best inspection possible, please refrain from bringing additional family members" ??

Here is a snippet from my pre-inspection email that goes out with my contract.

"During the inspection it is a time for intense scrutiny of the house and its systems and distractions can be detrimental to the process, so please limit the number of persons at the inspection to the buyer(s). If family, friends and children want to see the property it would be

best to contact your agent to arrange that at a separate time. "

Not everyone reads the page or else they would also make sure the utilities are on! It does seem to help though. I want the buyer there, just not the whole tribe ;)

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One time one of 'em "helped" me remove a big heavy panel cover. Our impromptu dance "worked", but it threw one breaker that I did not hear trip, and, since my policy is not to throw nuthin', one of 42 or so went tripped and unnoticed.

Later I got a call....what did you do to our refrigerator?

Uh oh. Check panel.

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