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Demand From Listing Agent - What Would You Do?


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I received a request from a listing agent to meet an electrician at property I had inspected for a buyer a week or so ago. I explained to her that meeting the electrician at the home should not be necessary, as my report clearly documented my recommendations. I contacted my client and told him that me meeting an electrician at the home would not be useful, due to it not being clear what the seller had agreed to fix.

The only documentation I saw stated that "the seller would hire an electrician to repair any electrical issues that are not within code", which in my mind is very vague and subject to interpretation.

Well, I just received a call from the listing agent again asking me if I will be at the home today to meet the electrician. I told her what I explained to my client and she is very upset and demanding that I meet the electrician at the home.

(and that she has never known an engineer that would not be willing to do this without expecting to be compensated for it)

Any opinions on what I should do? I asked my client to copy her on my Emails regarding this to explain why I didn't think meeting the electrician would be useful, but obviously this was not done.

Dave Tontarski

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Yeah, pretty much. Pay me, or GFY.

I'd put together a short letter to my customer explaining how their electrician may have completely different opinions or interpretations than my own, and if they are serious, the electrician can put their opinions in a signed letter documenting the what and why of their disagreement.

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oh the joy of being an inspector!

We work with over a hundred real estate agents and my response would vary according to who they are. You are in a tough spot. Many on this forum would advocate being an ass, and while I am very good at that, I would very carefully tell her that I can't serve two masters. Get the desired clarification from the other agent via addendum and please leave me out of it.

Then tell her to "kiss my hinny!" Don't use ass because it is too clear what you mean.

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Being a passive non-aggressive - I only repeatedly interrupted her every time she interrupted me when I tried to explain to her that this was an issue between my client and myself and that by law....I should not even be communication with her. Thanks for the advice.

End of conversation.

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Assuming the electrician has the inspection report I would ask that he/she call me and I will be happy to go over on the phone anything I wrote that is not clear to him/her.

If they have a copy of the report I have no problem explaining over the phone what I wrote. This happens occasionally. I then call my client and tell them what went down.

Going back to the house because an agent wants me to is just plain goofy.

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Well...the listing agent did inform me that the electrician had the full report (not just the summary report as is usually the case), so yes I was a little perplexed about why my presence was summoned.

Since the initial call from the listing agent, the edited down excerpt from my report - what the electrician actually received - was forwarded to me by the buyer. The excerpt version of my report edited out a considerable amount of information justifying the corrections and safety updates I was recommending.

I would have been glad to discuss this with the electrician, but my client never got back to me on how he wanted me to handle this, only that he wanted me to meet the electrician at the home...which I agree is goofy....especially without upfront compensation for likely at least 2-hours of my time, plus my direct expenses.

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I would have been glad to discuss this with the electrician, but my client never got back to me on how he wanted me to handle this, only that he wanted me to meet the electrician at the home...which I agree is goofy....especially without upfront compensation for likely at least 2-hours of my time, plus my direct expenses.

Dave, I likely would charge for the meeting. I would not charge any direct expense and usually don't charge an hourly rate. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.

I a lucky that I don't have a bunch of kids to feed and no payment on the Impala, so I pretty much charge what ever I feel like - sometimes nothing. I have made friends from these silly situations.

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I'm siding with Les.. If I had nothing going on and my client asked me to meet the electrician, I would do it and most likely not charge for it. If I had agents asking me to meet an electrician, I would simply tell them to have the electrician to call me if they had a question. It's not going to hurt anything or break any confidentially laws by talking to the electrician to clarify your findings.

Situations like this can easily be turned into a marketing opportunity with a little show of good will and a smile.

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She sounds like a greener, never heard of an engineer getting paid for a housecall?? Huh??

Talking directly to you rather than through the buyer's agent?? It's all too goofy, but as others have said, your client rules.

I don't know for sure how I would handle that one. Maybe ask the buyer's agent to set her straight on how things are done.

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When I write up electrical issues in a report I expect my comments to be scrutinized. So, I make sure I'm clear and correct.

In a case like this, I might offer to speak to the electrician on the phone about the items in the report. But I would refuse to visit the site again. It's a waste of time. I was already there and I know whats wrong.

Perhaps this so called electrician is not really that. Perhaps he/she needs guidance. I'm just wondering.

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I appreciate everyone's comments. This did stress me out a bit because like most of you, meeting the needs of my clients is my priority.

And I would have been willing to talk to the electrician on the phone, providing that he had seen my full report (the electrical section being 11 pages long and very detailed).

However, my client never responded to my communications on what he wished me to do.

For those of you that think me showing up to impress the listing agent would have been a good idea, that's not how it works in my market.

This agent, and the agency she works for, awards the majority of their home inspection referrals out to an engineering group that produces home inspection reports that average about 10-pages, most of which is boilerplate. You know....the up to 5-inspections per day/per engineer type operation...that has office help integrate a few comments and photos into a template.

My reports average over 60-pages, and I complete one per day.

The fact that she expects her engineers to return at her demand is likely due do the relationship her and her agency have with this engineering group.

And hey, if a report only has a couple sentences about electrical conditions that would benefit from either repairs, or safety updates, then required meetings between the engineers and electricians are likely required often.

(the CYA comment..."I recommend that this condition be further evaluated by a professional electrician"...may be at play here)

There would not be a chance in hell that I would ever get a referral from an agent that expects a 10-page home inspection report of this type.

The demanded meeting with the electrician has come and gone now...and I do regret that I was not able to better assist my client, but my client never got back to me about this, and as I stated in my original post, me returning to the home to oversee that the electrician "repair any issues that are not within code" would have been an impossible task.

Thanks again....I feel somewhat better about this....but not great.

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The length of an inspection report is not alway an indication of its quality. This week I'm reviewing a 63 page report for an attorney and when I did an inspection of the same property my report was 27 pages in length and included eleven additional fairly major items that were missed or excluded from the original inspection.

It's all about the information in the report and if it is written in an intelligible and understandable manner.

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been here done this

made a bet w/agent & homeowner my full inspection fee if i'm right or i'll pay electrician if i'm wrong

requested ahj (electric code official) meet all onsite as well

this really upset the homeowner & agent though repairs were required & yes i collected

i don't write things up just for pleasure

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I appreciate everyone's comments. This did stress me out a bit because like most of you, meeting the needs of my clients is my priority.

And I would have been willing to talk to the electrician on the phone, providing that he had seen my full report (the electrical section being 11 pages long and very detailed).

However, my client never responded to my communications on what he wished me to do.

Section 197-4.3 Non-Disclosure

Home inspectors shall not disclose to a third party the contents of a home inspection report or any observations, deductions, opinions that pertain to a home inspection report without the prior consent of the client or the client?s representative.

For those of you that think me showing up to impress the listing agent would have been a good idea, that's not how it works in my market.

Stands, and applauds!

No longer has puke in mouth after reading about opportunities to kiss ass of another misinformed hack for the sake of making a dollar, while disrespecting the profession.

On the positive side, I travelled 2 1/2 hrs one way, for an inspection, on Thursday, for the son of a recent client. The agent was a breath of fresh air. The woman got it. A true professional, and a rarity in sea of serpents.

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When I get a call from the seller or their agent I quickly let them know that I am working for the buyer and it is not appropriate for me to discuss the inspection with them.

I hang up the phone and send an email to my client to let them know what happened. I ask them if they are OK with me discussing anything with seller. I make sure I have this documented in an email.

Only after I get approval will I offer the information. If it is more than a phone call I let them know I expect to be paid for an additional site visit.

You are entitled to compensation for your time. You have no obligation to be a free consultant for the selling real estate agent. Ask the real estate agent if they would list your house for free and help you sell it. I bet that will get their attention.

The only exception is if I find something that I feel is a life safety issue that the seller should immediately know about. If my client is with me (I rarely do an inspection without a client attending) I tell me client and let them know why it is important. My client has never told me not to tell the seller about a life safety issue.

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She may just want you to write off on it to get closure. I've been involved with listing agents and sellers too many times that take care of it with "their guy" who want bailed out. A professional electrician will be able to assess and repair all by themselves independent of a home inspection report and accept full liability. I used to go, but will not go now even if payed. I think that leaves you in a better position if any repair issue lands in court. [:-wiltel] But full disclosure: "I ain't no lawyer"

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