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"Enough" knowledge


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I read different HI forums everyday. I read more and more about getting sued by some low-down greedy lawyer and money-hungry homeowner. I'll admit it, at the present, I don't know a lot about home inspections. How can I possibly gain enough knowledge from taking 90 hours of in-class instruction and 30 hours in the field to confidently perform a home inspection and not miss something? Is it possible? Am I making this too difficult and technical? I just want to CYA and it seems that even seasoned HI's are getting into trouble. I constantly wonder if this is a field I should be getting into.

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The best piece of advice I've ever heard is "friends don't sue friends" Do a thorough job, keep learning, and treat people fairly.

Also, accept that once in a while you are going to screw up. I have paid for the contents of refrigerators (twice) and a few other small things. When these thing come up, handle them with professionalism and a big smile.

Lastly, treat the biggest PIA's the best. If you don't, they'll bury you. If you do, they'll be a great source of referrals.

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Hi,

I agree with Chris. I inspect every home as if the client is my kin and I ignore all efforts by real estate folk to persuade me to be less thorough, take less time, or write easier reports. It's worked. In this business for nearly 10 years and, knock on wood, have never had to sit down to an arbitration table or spend one day in court.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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You will screw up and miss something, but as Chris said if you treat people fairly and take care of your mistakes you will be fine. Over the past twelve years I have bought a garage door, 2 water heaters, some rotting trim, an attic power vent, a freezer of deer meat(that's another story) and a Honda Gold Wing(well my GL paid for it). I don't think this is too bad considering I did inspection number 4107 today!

Now the good news! I have not had a screwup that I have had to pay for in the past 5 years! So Yes, inspectors do improve with experience and education.

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Always do the best YOU can do and be polite and friendly. Don't be a whimp, just remember what you know and what you don't know. Respond to all telephone call immediately! You are gonna' make mistakes. I have enjoyed my new Gold Wing mtrcycle and ride it right up and thru deer season. Being in Michigan, I have to park it in the garage, behind my new door.

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Les, if you're really that afraid of being sued, this may not be the biz for you. Every inspection you do is a potential lawsuit. Chances are, you'll never see it comming either.

I just paid a plumbing bill this week because I was trying to go the extra mile and be helpful. If the world was black and white, I wouldn't have paid because technically I was right.

I found a stain on the Master Bathroom ceiling and stated in my report that it likely came from the loose commode above. However, I pay enough attention to it or I would have realized that it wasn't under the commode, but under the tub. Plumber found a leaking supply line connection behind the tub surround. The commode seal wasn't leaking. Client had paid for a new wax ring seal based on my report.

Lesson learned. I won't make the mistake of diagnosing stains any longer.(even though I'm right most of the time)

I know another inspector who fights every complaint he gets from the first second. He shows up, looks at the problem and sends them back to read the report and contract. Needless to say, he's just threw away any referrals from those clients.

You're going to make mistakes. The question is, can you live with being under the gun all the time?

Good Luck,

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Don, we will have to start calling Reality "Big Les" and me "little les". Even though there is a law office as part of this organization, you give good advice for everyone! Been doing this for decades and still get a little woozey at times. Most of the time I'm too dumb to be stressed.

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Big Les and Little Les? Nah. I'm gonna call Les "Les" and our new friend "Cajun Les" (even though he's probably not Cajun). [^]

So Cajun Les, once you have your training I suggest doing several practice inspections on top of the 30 hours. Try to get a few ride-alongs with someone experienced, out of town maybe.

Making them love you is the best defense, hands down. In case of love breakdown you'll want to have good documentation. Get a digital camera with massive storage and take pictures of anything that'll be a negative report item, as well as CYA stuff showing things like lack of access, cluttered garages and attics, panels with the cover off (oh yes I did look), etc. Those are also a great help if you're doing reports back at an office, to refresh the overtaxed memory or get 2 and 2 to register as 4 on your brain. Are you planning to produce a report onsite?

Until your dance card gets crowded schedule things so you can take your time. The more the better if practical.

I tell clients up front that I can't possibly catch every single thing in one good pass, and if they buy the house and move in they're likely to find some little thing or two I missed, but it won't be because I didn't care or try hard enough. So far that hasn't shaken anyone. When it's all said and done they know I went the full distance for them, and that counts for a lot with clients.

Hey we all came in with those same worries, and we all still live with them at one level or another.

Brian G.

Maximum Job = Minimum Liability [:-magnify

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Cajun Les,

If you carefully read the postings on this board, you will find a central theme - always do the best you can do, get education and start the job liking your client. Be a professional and sincere.

When I bring a new person into this circus the first thing I "teach" them is to always give the client 100% and never overstate what you are doing.

Most of the responders to your post are very enthuastic, sincere and friendly people that make their living doing this. Most have been doing it for years and still start each day with a sense of wonderment and curiosity. All of us seem to eat regular and have other things in our life that we bring to each inspection. Most of the above posters will freely and quickly admit they do not have all the answers - but can get an answer soon.

Pay attention to the more seasoned people and use part of their routine to develope your own! Good luck.

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