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About two weeks ago I did an inspection on a house. THe people used my inspection to back out of the deal. Then yesterday I was contacted by a new client to inspect the same house. So im curious what to charge and what to say about already doing an inspection for that address.

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I was in Bozeman in September....cool place. Extremely cool.

I tell folks, meaning everyone, I've already inspected the house, and I charge full price. Full disclosure, full price.

When the inevitable blather comes back, I tell them no inspection ever finds everything; this is a good opportunity to do an even better inspection than previous. If price gougers insist, I tell them full price as long as they keep asking.

Polite, respectful, but unwavering.

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Yep,

Full disclosure and then charge full price. It is not an ethical issue to inspect the same home again some someone else; just let them know that you'd been there previously.

I have a little bit of an advantage here. It's against state law for me to resell a report unless I get permission from the former client. Given the liability associated with these reports why in the heck would I want to do that? Do a complete new inspection, write a new complete report - don't copy the old -'cuz you might find something new, and get paid full price for your time and labor.

Recently have an agent call me up, "Hey Mike, I heard you inspected such-and-such house; is that true." "Yep, It's true, I answered." "My clients are interested in buying that house and have made an offer. Would you be interested in selling them a copy of the report? They could pay you, say, 75% of the fee and you wouldn't even have to go out there." I said something like, "There's a little bit of a problem with that scenario. 1.) If they want a report from me on that house there has to be an agreed-to contract signed between them and me. 2.) There is no way I'd discount the price of one of my inspections just because I'd inspected the house before. Do you get a reduced commission if you resell one of your old listings for prior clients you sold the house to? 3.) State law says I can't reveal the information in a report to anyone without the permission of the client that I did the report for. I'm not about to call a former client and ask that client for permission to sell his report to someone else after I'm sure he and his wife already feel badly enough about backing out of that house over some stuff I did find. If your clients wants my written opinion of that house, they can hire me, make an appointment, enter into a contract with me and then I'll do a complete new inspection for which they'll pay me my standard fee. Otherwise, no soap. So, what's the inspection contingency deadline? I have time available on..........."

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

P.S.

Guess who the nasty old bastard was on the state licensing board that insisted on putting that clause in our SOP?

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I have had the same thing happen. Again, full price and full disclosure. You don't want them finding out you had been there already by anyone but you. Luckily for me there was about 5 months between inspections. I told the people who wanted to buy the home the second time around that I wanted to see if they had attempted to fix any of the previous issues since the last time I had been there.

The agent started yelling at me when she recognized me, telling me how it was that the other people who couldn't get approval from the bank, and not my "inaccurate report" that had prevented them from buying the home. She was a real piece of work. I do my inspections right on my laptop (I have a toughbook) so I asked her what was the inaccurate part of my report? She told me I had said the exterior GFCI wasn't working and that the outlet does indeed work.

I pulled out the report and showed her. The GFCI was faulty and wouldn't trip. I showed her how it wouldn't work. The previous person that wanted to buy the home was an agent herself that I was doing the inspection for. She had backed out because of the amount of $ she would have needed to put in and the iron ochre she didn't like.

Her:"Iron Ochre?... We don't have that!"

Me: "You have installed clean-outs for the french drains to be maintained"

Her: "The owner just did that because everyone else on the street did it."

Meanwhile everything in the basement was up on blocks and they were cutting a 18" strip off the gyproc all the way around the basement.

Her: "Never had any problem like that here..."

I finally lost it and reached into a floor drain and scooped up a handful of it and showed my client and the agent...

Me: "This is what iron ochre looks like..."

I think I'm off on a tangent... lol

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tn_2012121093524_Iron%20Ochre.jpg

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I had two separate buyers on the same house a week apart several years ago and made the mistake of reducing the fee for the second one. I caught hell from both the second buyer and the agent when the second buyer backed out within seconds of opening the report and wanted back the check he had just handed me because I 'had done nothing'. Never, ever, will I do that again.

When you inspect a house for the second time, all of your obligations are renewed. No discount, period.

Marc

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Ian, the listing agent was disrupting your client's inspection? You should have dismissed her as soon as she opened her mouth. Mike O will tell you.

I remember an inspection on short notice where I had Google Mapped the location, but didn't recognize the place until I drove up to it. In the course of discussion, I mentioned that I had inspected the house before, for the sellers. No big deal that time.

Another time, the client's agent dropped a few hints that maybe I could cut her client some slack because this was the second time I had inspected the house, but I played dumb and barreled on thru to the invoice, already made out.

[:)]

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No John, my client hadn't arrived yet.

I always try to inspect the roof before they get there. The listing agent was combative the entire time. It was a few years ago, when I was just starting out, and I was trying to make everyone happy. I haven't made many agent's short list... as a matter of fact I was told by the agent who I used to sell my own home many years ago to stop being so picky and that I was "blacklisted" in the 3 major real estate offices in the city where I live. I was wondering if that inspection was the root of it all. Once one agent bad mouths you, the word is spread and no one will give you ANY work...

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Once one agent bad mouths you, the word is spread and no one will give you ANY work...

Well,

They only "give" you work if you buy into that old I have to get referrals from real estate agents or I'll never work paradigm. Stop thinking of them as benefactors and start thinking of them as facilitators - the folks who only have to unlock the door so you can get in and get to work, and then who need to go and sit down and leave you alone with your client.

When agents start their caterwauling, tell 'em to go sit in their cat box and leave you alone with your client.

Got rules in your COE or SOP about divulging anything about the inspection to anyone except your client? If so, use it to your advantage by telling the agent to go sit down. When they create a stink, point out that you'd prefer that they leave you alone to do your thing with your client and that your SOP and/or COE prohibits you from discussing the inspection in front of anyone except your client without the client's permission. Then look directly at the client and leave it up to the client to make the decision as to whether or not the agent can tag along. More times than not, the client will take your side and tell the agent to take a powder. If the client allows the agent to tag along, say, "That's fine, but don't interrupt me during my interaction with my client. I've got a lot to look at here today and he (she) and I need to concentrate on the task at hand."

Always emphasize that you are there for the client and not the agent and make sure the agent gets it loud and clear. Buyers aren't stupid. They can see and sense when an inspector is inwardly fretting about where the next job will come from if he/she doesn't placate an agent. They might never say anything to you about it, and might not ever say anything to anyone else, but if they sense that you're holding back even a little bit because you're worried you won't get future referrals from that agent they'll probably look for a different guy next time. When they eventually find the guy who they sense only cares about them, and couldn't give two fairy farts about what an agent thinks, they'll always go with that guy.

Work for the client, ignore the agent. Thank the clients profusely for sending their business to you - even if the clients were referred by the agent - and make sure that when you send the report to them you thank them again for allowing you the privilege of helping them to investigate the condition of their prospective new home. Make sure you voice the hope that they were happy with the inspection and will be more so when they've had a chance to read the report. Ask them to tell their relatives, friends and co-workers about their positive experience with your company, if they are happy with the end product, and let them know that just because they've paid you doesn't mean you are gone - you are always available to them via phone or email if they have any questions.

Getting repeat referrals from clients to outnumber referrals from agents is like building a house out of legos; it doesn't go quick - it's one tiny piece at a time.

Keep this in mind also; when an agent blabs around his/her office about the lousy experience they had with so-and-so inspector there will always be some agents in that office within earshot that aren't 'zoids who will know in their heart that the other agent is a tool. They will be agents who prefer an honest inspector. They'll remember your name.

Meanwhile, your happy customers will tell everyone they know about the inspector who really worked his/her ass off for them and clearly wasn't worried about getting referrals from the agent. After a while when customers call up to book an appointment some will tell you, "I actually have heard about you from several different friends who've bought homes over the years and were very happy with the job you did for them." You'll have done it all without ever entering a realtor's office, without giving them any candy, pens or coffee cups or other suck-up trinkets to get them to refer you to their clients; and, most of all, without putting up with their bullshit.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Mike O speaks the truth.

Been doing this for lots of years and have to admit that I get tired of the bitching from particular agents. My "feelings" do get hurt when they tell my wife or friends what kind of jerk I am or are critical of my company. I'd like to tell all you young guys that it does not sting.

I have actually attended functions where I've listened to folks complain about Les Van Alstine the Deal Killer and arrogant bastard that has ruined their life. I sat next to a real estate agent at an annual Awards banquet for the local association of Realtors and listened to him tell story after story to the table of fifteen about how I had nearly ruined his entire year with my crappy inspections. When they announced the Affiliate of the Year Award he was taken aback when they gave it to me! The guy never had seen me in his entire life.

I have inspected several houses five or six times over several years and always charge the regular price. I always disclose even when it was inspected by someone in our company, not me personally. Nothing tricky and if the client does not like it, then I really do leave. When I have inspected several houses for a past client, there is a discount and after all these years I often do them for $1-2.00. Never free!

This job is about confidence, thinking, education and most important reading. Ask one of the old guys.

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Once one agent bad mouths you, the word is spread and no one will give you ANY work...

Well,

They only "give" you work if you buy into that old I have to get referrals from real estate agents or I'll never work paradigm. Stop thinking of them as benefactors and start thinking of them as facilitators - the folks who only have to unlock the door so you can get in and get to work, and then who need to go and sit down and leave you alone with your client.

It hasn't happened all that much since then. I get hardly any work from agents at all anymore. What I really get I a lot of is the: "How much longer is this going to take? I have to be somewhere in an hour....." line. They are all so surprised to have an inspection take the better part of 3 hours, like it's never happened before.

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Hi Ian,

They won't ask that if you simply prepare the client for that and tell the client to prep the agent. I rarely get done with any inspection in less than four hours. The house could be the size of my truck and I'd still take that long, so I make sure they know it when they book the job.

I tell 'em to prepare to be there for at least four hours. When they say OK, I then add, "Now, make sure your agent knows that, because most agents that don't know me think that they're going to be in and out in about two to two-and-a-half hours. That ain't gonna happen. When I say at least four hours I mean just that. If the agent starts bugging me at three-and-a-half hours and wants to know why I'm not done yet he (she) is probably not going to like what I say to 'em. You need to make sure your agent is prepared for that; and, if you want to have an agent there for the entire inspection and the agent can't be there for the entire time, make sure your agent arranges to have another agent there for you."

It's your show; not their's. When they bug you simply come back with, "I'm going to be here as long as it takes to do this job right. You do want me to do a proper and thorough inspection don't you?" The stubborn one's will come back with something like, "Well, my regular inspector never takes so long," to which you simply respond, "Well, I'm not your inspector, I'm his (hers)," and point to the client. The hemming and hawing and the tap dance they do at that point can be pretty comical.

You have to understand that to 'zoids we are simply an unfortunate impediment to their transaction. If current convention didn't dictate that they do, 'zoids would never even bother to tell buyers that they should get an inspection. 'zoids don't see us as professionals with stature equal to their own. To them we are tradespeople on a level with the guy that rides that trash truck in the early morning, grabs the bag out of your bin and tosses it up into the truck.

There's a huge difference between a 'zoid and a true real estate agent. True real estate agents can see beyond the date they're going to deposit the commission check in their bank accounts - the 'zoid can't see any farther than his next flashy new car or watch or next vacation in cabo; and when you disturb his (her) chi by insisting on doing a thorough job you are, to them, being extremely rude. A true real estate professional doesn't care how long you are there as long as you do the job right and take good care of the client. I know many such agents and unlike the 'zoids they stick with you through thick and thin; regardless of whether you "kill" a deal or not, because they want what's best for their clients and know what's good for the client is ultimately best for them.

It's your profession; your reputation; and your home and livelihood if you screw it up. Don't allow some schmuck with his (her) head tucked firmly up the anus put you off your game.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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'zoids don't see us as professionals with stature equal to their own.

That's funny because the way I see it, they have no right to put themselves anywhere near a stature equal to us. The knowledge base alone, puts us on a level way above these highly paid order takers.

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'zoids don't see us as professionals with stature equal to their own.

That's funny because the way I see it, they have no right to put themselves anywhere near a stature equal to us. The knowledge base alone, puts us on a level way above these highly paid order takers.

All too true in many cases. I find it a little humorous that the mindset prevalent among "problem" agents like that is that they are superior simply because they stay clean and wear nice clothes. After all, no respectable person gets even a little (gasp) dirty at work. Right?

But as Mike O made clear, if you do your job well -- never forgetting who your client truly is and the responsibility that goes along with the trust they have placed in you -- they will return the favor and your phone will continue ringing.

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Had an inspection like that last week- I had inspected the home back in August for another client. I told them I had done that inspection, but full price, full inspection this time also. I found a few things had been repaired, but also there were a few new items to be repaired.

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Hi,

To get back to the topic of doing an inspection on the same property for a 2nd client...

A lot can happen between the two. Owner can have fixxed something that you reported and disturbed something new, a plumbing leak could have flooded the basement or racoon family moved in.

Just ask the agent if they would copy all of their paper work if they were to list the property a 2nd time.

Lee

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My cost per inspection is XXXX.XX....always. The newspaper I buy 7 days a week from Mr Kim is a buck. One dollar, daily, weekly and weekend...always....I inspect one home and you expect to get a reduced inspection rate. Did you ask the realtor to drop the commission? When the judge says the HI is responsible for 50% of costs, can I get that reduced commensurate to the reduced rate...nope.

My inspection rate is thus. Period...you want Fast Eddy and that guy from the printing palace at half my rate...

Hire who you trust....money shouldn't be a part of the equation...

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