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Jerry Simon

Inspection Agreements

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After 20+ years, I decided to revise my inspection agreements.  I consulted an attorney (the one who markets to ASHI and the like, claiming to provide bullet-proof agreements), and my current two-page agreement would be changed to a three-page agreement if I take all of the attorney's advice.

I've attached copies of my current agreement and the proposed revised agreement.  Any thoughts?  I'm asking because, while certainly filled with more protection for me (*legalize*), the revised one seems like it's over-the-top and over-whelming.  Again, any thoughts would be appreciated.

Current Agreement.pdf

Revised Agreement.pdf

Edited by Jerry Simon

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  • Replace 'visual inspection' with 'visual-only' inspection.
  • Add 'non-destructive' alongside 'non-invasive'.
  • Why specify compliance with an SOP then try to duplicate parts of it in the contract?  That could invalidate both contract and SOP.
  • You don't inspect exterior wall finishes?  It's not included in the contract.
  • The circuits of a transfer switch remain in use while the switch in in 'utility' mode and generator disconnected.  You don't inspect that?  Attorneys could blow that contract into shreds with that one argument.

I think I've blown enough holes already.  I rely mostly on thoroughly satisfied clients to stay out of trouble.  Contrary to what most believe, you cannot very well regulate HIs or build a robust HI contract based on an SOP (list of guidelines that supposedly will result in a quality inspection).  Look at code inspectors: If it's not in the code book, it's not covered.  We don't have such a book.  An educational standard might work but AFAIK, no one has that either.  Make your client happy.

This smells of Joe Ferry.

 

Edited by Marc

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I like the person and the company that/who is a part of the first contract.

I don't much care for the Company in the second contract. I'd be less inclined to do business with the Company than with Jerry Simon.

It's entirely possible to write a friendly, effective contract. Google does it all the time.   

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FWIW - my tongue in cheek comment about such agreements is that they are often of not much value beyond the cost of the ink on the paper.

Any good (and sometimes not so good) attorney can rip pretty much any agreement to shreds.

I got that basic fundamental from the attorney I used 15+ years ago when I was only in the business about 3 years. He is still a close friend and has handled many "negotiations" over the years between inspectors and clients.

I agree with Chad and Marc.

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6 hours ago, Nolan Kienitz said:

Any good (and sometimes not so good) attorney can rip pretty much any agreement to shreds.

I strongly disagree with that statement.   A contract structured on case-law has, in effect, already been upheld, and cannot easily be ripped to shreds (if at all). 

That said, I'm sorry if I gave the impression I was looking for legal advice.  I was looking for responses similar to Chad's.  Chad suggested my revised agreement wasn't *friendly*, and that's what scared me about the revision.  While the revised agreement may not be easily ripped to shreds (and I highly doubt it could be; it's a son-of-a-bitchin' agreement, legal-wise), it certainly isn't friendly.  Heck, I think it's downright intimidating, and that's what I was trying to check - to see if others thought the same.  Last thing I want to do is build rapport with a client, book a job, then email them this piece of work and perhaps alienate them.

I'm still on the fence about changing; good points on either side in my opinion.

Edited by Jerry Simon

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I had an attorney prepare my agreement and have never had anyone even question it.  I send it out prior to inspections, but I doubt that anyone even reads it.

That said, I've also seen Chad's agreement a while back and like it much better.  It covered pretty much everything in my agreement, wasn't written in legalese and I'd bet that it's got just as much "teeth" as mine does.  It definitely cost less. 

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On 8/31/2017 at 6:10 AM, Jerry Simon said:

After 20+ years, I decided to revise my inspection agreements.  I consulted an attorney (the one who markets to ASHI and the like, claiming to provide bullet-proof agreements), and my current two-page agreement would be changed to a three-page agreement if I take all of the attorney's advice.

I've attached copies of my current agreement and the proposed revised agreement.  Any thoughts?  I'm asking because, while certainly filled with more protection for me (*legalize*), the revised one seems like it's over-the-top and over-whelming.  Again, any thoughts would be appreciated.

Current Agreement.pdf

Revised Agreement.pdf

My opinion is that an attorney's advice is utterly worthless unless it's the attorney who'll be representing you in the event of a suit. If that's the case, then use the agreement that he's written because he's written it to go along with his defense plan. If this attorney won't be representing you, then chuck his advice. 

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Jim K make a good point.  A point that has served me and my company very nicely over the past 30yrs.

I remain in the camp of those that believe any contract can and will be tested and can be broken.  That is just the way it all works.  None is bullet-proof.

 

I do not like unfriendly contracts.  Clients that like you never sue you.

 

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Jerry, went back and actually read the entire proposed contract.  I would be considered a pretty good reader, especially since I am also an Inspector.  I knew what the writer was writing, but never completely understood it.

Go to the local bar association and find an atty that knows real estate in Illinois and retain him to read your contract and defend it on your behalf.

 

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4 hours ago, Les said:

Jerry, went back and actually read the entire proposed contract.  I would be considered a pretty good reader, especially since I am also an Inspector.  I knew what the writer was writing, but never completely understood it.

Go to the local bar association and find an atty that knows real estate in Illinois and retain him to read your contract and defend it on your behalf.

 

Good advice.  I was supposed to call the attorney back today for another review, but instead am gonna trash the new agreement and stick with the old.

Knock on wood, I've never been sued in 24+ years, and don't know why I'm sweating such now; perhaps a sign of old age?

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