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One more nail.

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This is part of a course description for an up coming CE class on report writing.

Recognize that "words have power. Know the words and comments that will offer the best protection for you and your company as well as provide accurate information to your client and not be considered a "deal killer." Aside from the formal report with your written comments, what could you "report" during the inspection that would be considered positive and get the right kind of feedback to the real estate agent about your inspection and report.

This is my fourth licenced year of this gig. I've done ok. My bills are paid, I love my job, and I even had a few bucks left to go to the Indy 500 this year.

I also now have an interest in another completely unrelated business that brings in enough money for me to question why I'm screwing around in a profession controlled by people who stand to lose the most as a result of a home inspection. I question the effort I put into further educating myself for the purpose of this business that's supposed to be my business. I question the kind of nonsense written in that description, and I question the integrity of any inspector who accepts this as being just the way it works.

I can't remember a time in my never married and no kids life, that I ever kissed anyone's ass for a buck. Maybe that's the difference. Dogs and girlfriends are easier to deal with than hungry children. I've walked off more jobs and left more white hat wearing, idiot, ass kissers standing with their jaws hung open, than I can remember. I always had someone happy to put me right back to work. Including a couple of the idiots at a later date.

No matter what I did for a living, I slept well and have always been able to look myself in the mirror knowing I was an honest human being.

Now, I'm getting to the point where I'm not sure I'll renew my license next year. It's not about the money. It's more about being ashamed of what I've learned about what people think we are. In the back pocket of the agents. Not everyone, but I hear it enough, and I understand why.

Who could blame them for thinking that way? Nobody seems to care enough to step up and show them different. This course description proves that. It should be titled, "how to write a report to insure your next referral."

Some of you have seen the recent rant I made about this subject on FB. Some jumped in with support. Thanks. There was a lot of positive feedback. I'm not going to stop there.

I think it's about time the other side were the one's who feared us. We're the one's who work to be the best at our profession. We're the one's with the most liability. We're the one's who get thrown under the bus if there's a problem. We're the one's the finger gets pointed at when an agent doesn't have enough talent to to sell their way out of a paper bag, and can't overcome objections. We're the one's who are supposed to be working for the folks that hired and trust us.

We're the one's who need to teach people the difference between a used car salesman and a used house salesman. There isn't any.

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Gary,

I find that statement quite amusing to say the least. The inspectors that play puppet to their masters are killing the profession, but, unless folks like you continue to beat the drum of true professionalism, they will continue to win out. The people that we truly need to be concerned about are our clients. Those are the ones that are going to refer us to their friends and family members. I always make sure that I tell my clients that while I appreciate the referrals from the agent, I am there to represent them.

Is that class in person or online?

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but, unless folks like you continue to beat the drum of true professionalism, they will continue to win out.

Thanks Robert, but if it's only me, I might as well be battling a wind mill.

It's about all of us beating the drum. It's about all of us stepping up as a group, using places like FB to open peoples eyes, putting a stop to it, and doing the right thing.

People are not stupid. When you educate them about this, the light bulb goes on. You can see it in their faces. Knowledge is power.

The class is in person. There's an AC class before it. I'm trying to decide if I should get the credits and then take the instructor and the rest of the inspectors on a little reality check.

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Eloquently said, Gary. And tragically true. Just yesterday, the listing agent of a house I had scheduled--the second place for a woman who walked away from the first house I looked at for her--convinced the buyer's agent to have the buyer fire me. The exact text of the e-mail from the buyer's agent was:

John, I am so sorry, but the seller of this property XXXXXX Place has heard that you are a “deal killerâ€

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If the class is in person, a little "debate" wouldn't be a bad thing. I don't think you'll get anywhere with the "instructor" but it may plant a few seeds with the other inspectors, especially the new ones.

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Eloquently said, Gary. And tragically true. Just yesterday, the listing agent of a house I had scheduled--the second place for a woman who walked away from the first house I looked at for her--convinced the buyer's agent to have the buyer fire me. The exact text of the e-mail from the buyer's agent was:

John, I am so sorry, but the seller of this property XXXXXX Place has heard that you are a “deal killerâ€

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Eloquently said, Gary. And tragically true. Just yesterday, the listing agent of a house I had scheduled--the second place for a woman who walked away from the first house I looked at for her--convinced the buyer's agent to have the buyer fire me. The exact text of the e-mail from the buyer's agent was:

John, I am so sorry, but the seller of this property XXXXXX Place has heard that you are a “deal killerâ€

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Bain - If I ever recieved an e-mail like that I'd have a conniption fit and I would not be able to sit quietly. I would not inspect the house, but man I would make a stink. I can't belive the realtor actually put that in writing. And what kind of dumb ass lawyer would actually make such a request?

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I handle it like this: I have almost zero interaction with agents. Once, maybe twice a year an agent will contact me at the specific request of their client. Even if one's dealings with agents is 100% ethical, and I don't think that's possible, you still look like a low life ass kisser.

Here's the truth: in nine years of this gig, I've met exactly two agents that I would have lunch with. Real estate agents make used car salesmen look like Gandhi and the local mechanic look like Jesus Christ.

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There will be consequences for their actions, but I haven't figured out what I want to do. The LAST thing I want is for them to have the satisfaction of knowing they got me fired from the job, and ALSO pissed me off and got to hear me moan.

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Gary, it's good to hear that you've held onto your ethical grounds, not so good that it may cost you your career in HI. I adopted a 'zero tolerance' stance on unethical practices in my second year in business though I would've gone out of business shortly thereafter if it were not for my spouse's generous income.

I've two CE presentations, Effective Reporting and Ethics for HI's, in the works right now. My first time as presenter to HI's. Believe it when I say I'm gonna rock the boat. I'll not be shy.

Marc

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Originally posted by Bain

Kevin, I'm certain the seller had no idea who I am. Realtors attend enough legal beagle classes to realize they have to be careful about costing someone like me money. I'm certain this was all concocted between the two agents.

I AM curious about the buyer, and why she wouldn't stand up for herself. Like I said, I wanted to call her today, but something about doing so seemed impolite. And . . . who knows whether she would be straight with me?

John--

Not trying to be argumentative, but I sense a logical disconnect here. How is it that the seller "had no idea" who you are yet still knew you were a "deal killer?"

I DO agree that the whole issue was orchestrated by the broker, and the buyer's agent working under her. Emphasis on "under." The buyer's agent chose to align herself with her broker -- after all, that's a more permanent situation than a single buyer offers. I'm not saying that's right, of course, but it's real life all too often.

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I never take directions from an agent. I always call my client to confirm with them that this is what they want. Usually the stories don't jive.

Sometimes the client asks for the name of another inspector. I never give a name. I suggest that they discuss the situation with their attorney and that they insist that the listing agent provide the name of an acceptable inspector. This suggestion should be in writing so that a paper trail is developed.

Most, but not all of the buyers will stand up to the agent. Oh well, at least you planted the seed.

Tom Corrigan

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Back to Gary's OP ...

I'm also at 9 years of doing residential inspections and I've been presented with several extremely less than ethical dealings with some agents and other HIs who are selling their souls for a quick buck and more a$$ kissing to the zoids.

I may renew for another 2-years on my license, but not sure I really want to pursue much after that ... even if I renew on the next cycle.

I can well agree with what you have noted and it certainly has been giving me pause for concern over the past year as well.

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Thanks Robert, but if it's only me, I might as well be battling a wind mill.

It's about all of us beating the drum. It's about all of us stepping up as a group, using places like FB to open peoples eyes, putting a stop to it, and doing the right thing.

People are not stupid. When you educate them about this, the light bulb goes on. You can see it in their faces. Knowledge is power.

The class is in person. There's an AC class before it. I'm trying to decide if I should get the credits and then take the instructor and the rest of the inspectors on a little reality check.

Gary,

Several here have said many times that it's embarrassing to be included in the group known as home inspectors. That's because of what you are describing is rampant as well as incompetence discovered by many consumers.

Some in our profession industry have tried to make efforts to influence others in this bidness. Some are right here, some join local HI organizations and become involved in educating (and even admonishing/embarrassing) their local peers in an attempt to better the quality and integrity of home inspections. Some have worked hard at influencing legislation to eliminate this conflict. Some try to get the word out to the public about this shit going on between agents and inspectors.

Some have been successful in influencing a few. Some bang their heads on the wall, particularly when many, including "veteran" home inspectors just won't get it. I've spent a quarter century seeing some small signs of improvement, but I also realize it won't ever go away completely. For whatever reason, this industry seems to attract a few bright individuals and many who just don't care how they're viewed by their piers, as long as they make a buck.

Retaining those bright individuals that do care and do get it, also helps improve the complexion of the home inspection field.

Please, please post the education provider that approved this course.

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Many years ago I joined the Independent Home Inspectors of North America (ihina.org) because of seeing the very things mentioned here. There's been a few articles cited referencing them and what we stand for, including one locally here a few years back by another local member (only two of us in the KC area belong).

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Many years ago I joined the Independent Home Inspectors of North America (ihina.org) because of seeing the very things mentioned here. There's been a few articles cited referencing them and what we stand for, including one locally here a few years back by another local member (only two of us in the KC area belong).

Hi Gary,

In the past 15 years there have been a lot of days that I felt like I wanted to simply drive over to some other inspector's house and jackslap the shit out of him. There have been times that I've, literally, told a real estate agent that if he ever comes near me again I'd beat his ass, and there have been many times when I've put smartass smarmy agents and more than a few sellers in their places.

It's all about chipping away at an edifice. The first few chips don't seem to be much but after you continue to do it for a while you start to see that you're making progress.

You have a state that is licensed and they are approving classes for CE that are borderline unethical. You don't have to attend the course to learn that, all you have to do is read the forward for the course. I think I'd be writing a pretty indignant letter to the department responsible for your licensing and CE approvals and I'd be demanding that they interview some past attendees and find out whether or not that instructor is teaching people how to suck up to realtors instead of being superior inspectors. I'd demand that if an investigation reveals that the course is a suckup tutorial that it be dropped from the list of approved courses. Better yet, why don't you talk to your local legislator. A licensing department might not listen too closely to you, but their ears are sure to prick up and they'll start to pay attention if a state legislator starts demanding some kind of explanation.

I'd contact the local ASHI, NAHI, NACHI and AII chapters, find someone in those organizations that also takes issue with this and I'd get them to find others and get a letter writing campaign going.

Once you get one course bounced and word gets out, you aren't likely to see too many others like that submitted for approval. I know. Last year I attended one that turned out to be several hours worth of product plugging and I called DOL to voice my displeasure at my money being wasted on some guy's marketing opportunity. That guy's course approval was dropped immediately.

Every fall I teach an Introduction to Home Inspection class in the real estate curriculum at a local community college. I get about 25 to 30 students every year. It's not a class on how to inspect a home; it's a class on understanding what a home inspection is supposed to be, the level to which a home is supposed to be inspected, giving them an understanding of the state laws pertaining to the business and helping them to understand what to avoid when they first start looking at homes so that when they finally do call an inspector the house they've chosen won't go down in flames within the first two minutes of a competent inspector walking on site. That saves them both time and money.

During those eight Saturdays, I reveal to that captive audience all of the dirty little secrets of the old home inspection paradigm and the way realtors have tried for decades to keep the home inspection business under their thumb. I try to turn them into recruits for my cause and encourage them to educate their friends and family about these issues so that they too can avoid inspectors and realtors that pull those little tricks.

The idea is that if I can educate enough folks about the dirty tricks and the incompetent methods of some folks that eventually enough folks will learn how to avoid those guys and eventually the loss of business for those types of realtors and inspectors will run those folks out of business, leaving the folks who are competent and have integrity behind. I do not use it as a marketing tool; in fact I tell them that I'd prefer that they not call me if they need an inspection because I don't want it too appear that I'm using my teaching opp to gain business.

Believe it or not, among the property management students, appraisal students, investors and just plain homeowners and a few folks exploring the possibility of getting into this gig every year that take my class, I always get about half a dozen realtors. In 7 years, I've had a total of about half a dozen realtors get pissed and quit the class, but on the other hand I've managed to make the rest understand that most inspectors are honest and that we resent the dirty tricks. I'm made them understand that we appreciate working with pros who don't tell us how to do our job - because we don't tell them how do do theirs - and I've made them understand that we look upon manipulative 'zoids as little more than pond scum.

More than a few of the realtor agents have told me that they had no idea that inspectors disliked some of the tactics they use or that we don't like it when they try to control our inspecting process by trying to get us to inspect a home within time limits that they've - not us - created, and that we really don't like it when they try to get us to re-word reports. Many of the instances I cite to them come right from this board. You guys are a never-ending source of really good stories to use to make folks understand how insidious the 'zoids are and why it's important that they learn to recognize them.

More than a few of my students who are agents have sat there and backed me up, told the rest of the class that I wasn't exaggerating and have described some of their own experiences with less than honest agents and inspectors.

For those agents that said they didn't realize how those techniques rub us the wrong way, I think it's always an eye opener for them when the non-realtor students voice their opinions of some of those tactics.

When I read this back, it sounds like the entire course is centered around making folks aware of the zoids and that a large amount of time is spent on it. That's not the case. Most of the time is spent on giving them an understanding of what we do, why we do it, why we have contracts, why we can only inspect what we can see, why we are unable to inspect some things and teaching them about the various types of reports so that they can decide what type of inspector and report they prefer rather than those recommended to them by a realtor.

In 7 years I've taught only about 210 students but when one realizes that those 210 folks have moved into various aspects of the real estate business and are busy educating others, that edifice seems to be getting weaker all the time.

If a zoid suckup course pisses you off, you need to become the poster boy for anti-suckupism, enlist the aid of those who can exert as much or more influence as yourself and you need to fight back every way you can.

I guess what I've been trying to say with this blather is that Bill is right, you are the type of inspector this business needs. A lot of really good and hones inspectors become fed up and walk away from this business every year, while the suckup artists remain and perpetuate the bullshit. We need to stick to our guns and we need to go after these guys every way we can; in courts, in newspapers, in meetings, in classes and anyplace else where we can get folks to listen to what inspectors with integrity have to say.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

P.S.

Had to redo my number of student estimate. There goes my inability to do second grade math screwing me up again.

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Excellent post Mike O. ...

Then there was late yesterday and last night ...

I got a call from the listing agent I met at yesterday's HI thanking me for taking the time to explain so many things to her in a way she could understand. She has been selling home for about 7 years and said I was one of a very few inspectors who clearly explained things, was honest and held strong to my opinions. She went on to comment about many other (HIs) who just blow by the questions and just say that is the way it is and don't question me.

Add to that a couple calls I also got from other HI friends of mine around the state asking for aid/assistance in a couple of issues and then the e-mail from yesterday's client who was very thankful for the inspection I provided for him and his wife and how pleased they were with the detailed explanation of the property.

Those nuggets make it all worthwhile and as others have noted ... it is like chipping away and sometimes more progress is made that really provides satisfaction.

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John, The first thing YOU need to do is talk to YOUR client. I've had it happen twice. Once the client didn't have a spine and once the client walked from the deal, the buyer's agent, the works. Found a new agent who was looking out for her and a better house.

If YOU don't stand up for YOU, who will?

-

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Thank you, all. As usual, I get more out of coming here than anywhere else I could imagine.

I can post a link to the school, but the desription isn't on the website. It came in an Email that was fowarded to me by another inspector I met and had a riot with at a couple of CE classes two years ago. Another deal killer.

I just signed up for the day. It's tomorrow. Let me finish the day, I'll Get back to you on my adventure, and I'll post the link and the email

I'm not going to go in with both barrels blazing and get thrown out, but I can promise you before the day is over, somebody's going to have to answer some tough questions.

If these agents spent more time honing their sales skills than they spend talking people out of inspections, and referred the best inspectors to folks other than their own relatives, they might figure out how good we make them look in the eyes of their clients. I've met a grand total of two that get it.

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He was nothing less than a gentleman. He also stood there and not only agreed with everything I said, but he also said he wished there was some way to legislate against any referral from an agent at all. He went on to say that at the time licensing was being considered in NY, He tried to get a group of inspectors together to lobby for that purpose in Albany. He felt that would have been the best time to make a case in favor of forbidding agent referrals for the protection of the interest of the client. I agreed with that.

Kind of hard to right a wrong when you threw away the best opportunity to get it right the first time. Anyway, nobody wanted to be bothered and what we have now is the result of that.

When the class ended I asked him why he wrote his course description the way he did and what kind of message he thought it sent to new people coming into the business. His answer was something like, things right now are the way they are. If someone's going into this, they need to know how to write in a manner that won't scare everyone and end up costing them in the end. It's not so much about that as it is about survival while building a business. (As I interpreted it.)

I told him I didn't agree with that and I think it's the wrong approach to write a report with any consideration for anyone other than the person who hired you, and a bunch of other stuff you guys have already heard from me before.

We shook hands and parted company.

The man never blinked an eye, he never tried to bullshit his way out of it, or side step the questions. I think he's a good guy and I think he has good intentions.

The guy that did The AC section, did a nice job.

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