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The local low baller has found a new low


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In a brilliant marketing ploy, the lowest priced inspector in my area is offering to do 'walk and talk' inspections for free. If you need a written report to renegotiate your deal you pay his regular fee of $199.

But that's not all! The report is yours to do with what you wish, even resell it to another prospective buyer should you walk from the deal. Can't find your report? No problem, he'll provide you another copy for free.

He spewed this drivel at a home buying seminar sponsored by one of the local RE offices. As you can imagine, the agents love him.

Fortunately I got this info second hand, had I been there I'm pretty sure I'd have been asked to leave.

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He's clearly not playing from a position of strength. He sounds more like the drowning man fighting for his final breath of air before going down for good. It's sad, even offensive in a way, and I feel for him, but it wouldn't affect my long-term strategy. He is not your competition.

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In a brilliant marketing ploy, the lowest priced inspector in my area is offering to do 'walk and talk' inspections for free. If you need a written report to renegotiate your deal you pay his regular fee of $199.

But that's not all! The report is yours to do with what you wish, even resell it to another prospective buyer should you walk from the deal. Can't find your report? No problem, he'll provide you another copy for free. . .

It's a sound business strategy. Lose money on each inspection, but make it up on volume.

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Not only low, but unlawful activity.

NYS CODE OF ETHICS AND REGULATIONS FOR HOME INSPECTORS

Section 197-4.6 Written Reports

(a) Home inspectors shall provide a written report containing the results of a home inspection.

Just out of curiosity, if there is no fee does it still violate the NYS Code of Ethics?

I don't know how it works in NY but in NJ, based on the definition in the state regulations, I think someone could have a valid argument that they were not actually doing a "Home Inspection" if they did not charge a fee or other consideration for their work.

On the other hand, the home buyer is getting exactly what they are paying for if they opt for a free inspection and no written report. The cheap inspector and cheap home buyer deserve each other.

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Law of subrogation.

If someone relies on his expertise to purchase the home and it turns out he was negligent or erred, even if they didn't pay him they may have the right to sue him.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Why don't you find out who he is, call and ask about his service and mention you heard about his offer. If you find out it's true, make a complaint to the home inspection council, or the division of licensing.

Hey,Ya never know. They might get to it in less time than it took to approve the code of ethics.

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Law of subrogation.

If someone relies on his expertise to purchase the home and it turns out he was negligent or erred, even if they didn't pay him they may have the right to sue him.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

I agree. There is definitely a liability issue if someone uses the info in purchasing the house. I was just wondering if not charging a fee is a workaround for the written report requirement.

Why someone would assume the liability for free seems idiotic.

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Sounds like an out-of-work realtor.

If his verbal inspection generates no report and he does not get paid, then he can say no inspection was done.

This happened to my sister many years ago, when her busy sked allowed no time for her to be there. The realtor "took care" of it for her, brought an inspector, who issued no report because there was nothing to say. I'm sure, however, that his palm was greased.

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I just paid my license renewal. I came real close to saying to hell with it.

Bottom feeders like this guy, the never-ending lies and dirty tricks pulled by the agents, are wearing me down.

Sometimes I feel like I'm part of the smartest group of stupid people in the world.

Can you imagine a group of doctors allowing an undertaker to sit on their council and have a say in on what and how they will operate?

Can you imagine a funeral director having control over which doctor a patient is referred to?

Every once in a while I run into someone who happens to smell a rat and runs from the person who suggested they waive the inpection to keep the seller from backing away from the great deal they're getting, but not often enough.

Most of the time, people are so excited about the idea of owning a home, they blindly follow their emotions and the agent who walked them through the unknown, and right over the cliff.

In the past four years I've heard home inspectors are in the back pocket of the real estate agents, and that an inspection is a waste of money, more times than I can count.

That's what people think about us. Because, we let it happen. Because, we do nothing.

Look at what those big meanies did to us again.

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Jimmy is spot on. It is sad, and I was offended. I've vented and feel much better now.

Gary, I won't gain anything reporting him to DOS. I'll leave that up to his clients.

This poor schmuck is circling the drain, but the really sad part is that he'll be the low baller in his next venture too. He clearly hasn't learned anything.

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I don't think it's illegal. The law clearly defines what a home inspection is, and it regulates only what it defines. There is nothing that expressly prohibits 'walk and talks'. I wouldn't hesitate to do a walk and talk inspection for an appropriate fee, but my agreement would clearly state what the client was getting and that it came with a 'tail light warranty'.

I'm over the shock and I've vented my frustrations. Now I can leave this poor sap to be pecked to death by the cackling hens at the brokerage. He asked for it.

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Jimmy is spot on. It is sad, and I was offended. I've vented and feel much better now.

Gary, I won't gain anything reporting him to DOS. I'll leave that up to his clients.

This poor schmuck is circling the drain, but the really sad part is that he'll be the low baller in his next venture too. He clearly hasn't learned anything.

Maybe not. Maybe Katen is the one who nailed it. If you don't want to be bothered with it, that's fine. Email me the guy's name / company.

I'm thinking about moving out your way and I can't afford your paint chip pickin, deal killing, ass.

I'd like to have a little chat with him about his service. I'll find out what the deal is. If he's doing what they say, I'll take a minute of my time to give him some friendly advice.

If it turns out you and Jimmy are right and this guy might be a decent inspector who is going down because his efforts are less than appreciated, then I guess that just proves my point further.

Everything we do is about righting wrongs, being honest, and keeping others honest. That is, until it comes to this subject. Then it's completely different. That poor guy. Too bad he's at the point of desperation. Oh well. As long as I'm doing ok and they're not picking on me.

Last night I saw a friend who last I knew, lost the deal on the house he was selling because of some severe water damage I discovered under the siding while inspecting it for my client. By a chance happening, he was driving somewhere the other day and stopped to look at a motorcycle he saw for sale. As it turned out, the guy selling the bike was the client who walked the week before. They talked about the report and the repairs that had been made to the house. He then invited the client back to the house. They negotiated a new deal, and he sold the house.

Meanwhile, for a week I was blamed by the realtor for the loss of the sale even after the seller had been given the report, read it, agreed with everything on it, and had told her he felt it was very fair. She ran my ass into the ground instead of working to save the deal herself.

This was not the first time she knifed me.

Point is. We can all continue to turn our backs to guys like that inspector and people like her, or grow a pair and put at end to it.

The way I see it, those people cost us money. That means they take from your family as well. If I go down, It'll be in flames. Not in a swirl like a POS.

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I suppose it's the same, no matter where one is. Around here, there are realtors who tell others they can choose anyone but me and one other person. The other person I love like a brother. He has a master HVAC license, a master electrical license, and is damn good at his job. Me? I just work my ass off.

Yet the realtors try to blacklist us. And what can be done? I could complain to the real estate board, but that would be a waste of time. I could threaten to sue . . . but I won't 'cause my damages would amount to one fee, which is less than a thousand bucks.

I've dated a few--okay, more than a few--realtor chicks, and they've told me what gets discussed about HIs at weekly meetings. "Get someone young!" "Give your customer three names. She'll choose so and so because he'll be the least expensive. And so and so LOVES realtors." And on and on.

Our jobs. They sort of suck . . .

Gary, man, I feel your pain.

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I will be the first to admit that I am anything but a marketing genius. However, I would see the "free inspection" guy as an opportunity to expand my business if he were in my market. Why not turn this into a marketing plus? In other words, let the public know that your services are not worthless, though his apparently are. Hell, would you go see a doctor who is advertising his services for free? Or an attorney? Of course not, unless you have absolutely no money and it's public service freebie day at the local church or community shelter. And let's face it, we don't need those people as clients, do we?

While we may not all work in those rare markets where we can charge 2 to 3 times what the goofball inspectors are charging, an intelligent and properly educated client would still be willing to pay a reasonable amount for a home inspection. I view it as our job to educate the clients as to what is at stake with a home inspection. We have to let them know why they shouldn't choose an inspector based solely on price.

How we would individually go about this would obviously vary. But I can guarantee you that if I had somebody in my market doing inspections for free I would jump all over it letting home buyers know that the inspector was pricing his services at exactly what they were worth.

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I had an obstinate client (ended up firing him last Saturday) when he kept hammering for "free follow-up" inspections. House was a new home final and gas meter was not set for date of inspection and client wanted me to come back "as necessary" to re-inspect.

I told him there would be a fee for the follow-up.

Goes without saying he didn't like that at all. He had also argued about my original fee for the inspection.

Finally I told him I just could not do his inspection(s) for free and maybe he could find a newbie who would be willing to do so.

He 'texted' back and said any professional would not charge for the follow-ups and that I was "just an inspector" and not a professional.

I just bit my tongue, reined in my fingers and did not text him back.

Some of the best inspections one has are the ones that are not booked.

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Regarding discounts or free reinspections, I have to say that it's funny/sad/irritating what we experience. I assume that most of us have had clients who ask for a discount when we do a second or even a third inspection for them. Off the record, I try to help out a little when I can IF I think the client deserves it or truly needs it. But I find it extremely irritating when I have a doctor -- and they are generally a member of an ethnic group where bargaining is part of their culture -- ask for a discount. So I usually respond by asking them if they give a discount to patients who have to come back for a second visit or more. Of course, the answer is no. Then I ask them if the guy who mows their yard gives them a discount after the first yard mowing job. (Mine doesn't, and I'm sure their lawn guy doesn't either.) At that point they usually grin and look a little sheepish. Most of them quickly agree to pay the full fee.

But despite that there are a few who persist in asking for a discount. I politely suggest that they look for someone else.

We won't be considered to be professionals if we don't insist on it. And back to the original topic, if you give away your services for free that's not gonna happen.

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