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Wasn't quite sure where to put this since it applies across the board.

The question is does any one write their recommendations differently when they know that either the home owner or the buyer/client will be performing the repairs? for example you know that they intend not to use qualified contractors.

I generally write my reports assuming qualifed contractors will perform the repairs. Even then there are some circumstances based on my experience with our local crowd that I will start citing ... and in accordance with this code or this standard or this manufacturers installation instructions etc. I know that the general practice is not to design the repair but I don't feel that one is doing that if they are just citing code, standards or MII's in general. I know some will say what the diff the client won't read it or understand it anyway, hell even some of the contractors I know can't seem to read. I just feel the need to CMA and be able to tell them I told them to do it right so I don't have to come back and tell them its wrong and they complain why did I not at least tell they were suppose to do it per...

Chris, Oregon.

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This opens into a lot of threads.

First, I don't specify repairs any differently; I pretty much tell folks to repair it. I was a specifications writer for HUD long ago, and am capable of writing the airtight spec to thwart gov't. hog trough bid rigging, but I don't go there on a home inspection report. Fix it. That's about all my clients hear.

Second, I don't do any of the "have a competent licensed contractor familiar w/the intracies of the particular situation related to this defect repair this to currently accepted building industry & municipal code compliant standards". I recommend a licensed contractor; if the State has authorized that person to do something, I do not see myself on any sort of hook because I didn't go further into exactly who should fix something.

I write several different forms of reports; what I might say on a historic property inspection would be entirely different than a commercial inspection, and entirely different from what I would say on the basic HI report.

Basic HI work gets basic recommendations.

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I am sure to use the words "qualified" and "reputable" professional. The word 'licensed', at least in our state, doesn't really mean a whole lot in most cases.

No, I don't spec repairs - just fix it.

Yes, I still get into verbal jousts many times with whomever, agents, clients, "contractors" that have been called to do the work and they want me to tell 'em how to fix it so "that I'm happy. I hate it when that happens, because frankly, there isn't always a clear-cut answer.

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Originally posted by randynavarro

No, I don't spec repairs - just fix it.

Yes, I still get into verbal jousts many times with whomever, agents, clients, "contractors" that have been called to do the work and they want me to tell 'em how to fix it so "that I'm happy. I hate it when that happens, because frankly, there isn't always a clear-cut answer.

I get the same call occasionally. I have a stock answer. If you hired a Contractor that has to ask someone else how to fix it you have hired the wrong Contractor.

Paul B.

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If you hired a Contractor that has to ask someone else how to fix it you have hired the wrong Contractor.

While that may ring true sometimes, with inspection related repairs I have found that Contractors and/or homeowners want to insure that the proposed repair(s) will satisfy all parties. The last thing most sellers want is to "fix" something twice, even if the problem is very clearly described in the report.

Dom.

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Chris,

We never know who will perform the repairs, we only think we do. As a home inspector, I try hard to stick to what I know or have concrete, articuable reasons to believe in my reports.

If you tell a client to fix something, no judge is going to hit you with negligence for not telling your client who should fix it. for how much, and just how they should go about fixing it. We've done our job properly when we tell folks that something is wrong, why it's wrong, and that it should be made right.

Jimmy

Princeton, MA

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Fact is if we as inspectors tell a home owner or buyer how to repair something we are departing from our job description as "inspector" and creating possible liability for ourselves. Documenting a problem and telling them to hire a licensed qualified contractor for repairs as needed is adequate and is all our job description requires us to do. Been doing it for years and it works for me.

Paul B.

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  • 4 weeks later...

After viewing all of the videos and reading just about everything on the best of building science website I am back to the same concern. The experts complaint over and over is that the tradesmen are not doing it right.

I have shortened up my recommendations and have adopted Jim Katens imperative style with great success so far as many of the realtors I work with have recognized the change and commented how they like its clarity and brevity.

Instead of saying do it to code etc. I do use the words correct and proper alot in thier place when I have a concern. It makes me feel better but I don't believe the idea of doing something properly or correctly is going to be picked up or comunicated to the seller or to his contractor. But if you listen to what those gentlemen said in the videos they were always using the words like "properly" and "correctly".

Now I know its been said many times already Chris you sound like your too concerned about the seller! I claim I am not and just want my client to get a decent repair and was just trying to be proactive in the matter. Listening to the experts like Joe Lstiburek and Bruce Harley etc. got me all concerned again and even more about the energy & comfort issues which I have been weak in.

Chris, Oregon

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I plug this somewhere in the introduction to the report:

"As I don't know the qualifications of the seller or the buyer to conduct repairs, I always recommend that you use a qualified licensed professional in the appropriate trade for all repairs. You need to decide for yourself if you or the seller's qualifications, experience and knowledge would allow the repair to be made without using a qualified licensed trade professional. Note that if the "qualified licensed trade professional" has to ask how to fix it, they shouldn't be the one fixing it."

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  • 2 months later...

I had a realtor, who I have worked for a long time, call to complain about how he can't sell one of his listings because the last 3 inspectors have killed the deal.

So I asked him to explain and I think his gripe was that for every little maintenance finding the inspectors were recommending a licensed contractor to fix it and it followed that the buyers repair addendum echoed the same.

In other words he feels the inspectors, in order to avoid liability, are making rediculous recommendations for expensive licensed contractors when the work could normally be done by the owner under the guise of deferred maintenance.

I have seen the same trend. When I started most reports I read simply said "repair or replace" with no language like "Have a qualified licensed blah blah blah contractor touch up the separated caulking at the windows."

Now most reports that I see now say something like "have a licensed contractor change the light bulb!"

Well, Im exggaerating, but you know what I mean.

The problem is what? That homes have become so complicated that anyone who works on them have to be certified? Or is it irresponsibility on behalf of the owners of today (lack of pride in ownership), or the sue happy mentality that now exists.

If the repair is in the realm of a DIY home owner and its not required by law to be done by a licensed contractor as somethings might from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, should we still recommend that the repair be done by a qualifed contractor?

I like a word that a saw Jim K. use. He said "ensure"

Ensure that the windows are sealed at the exterior.

Simple

Whats your opinion on inspectors using "get it repaired by a licensed contractor" language for maintenance items?

Chris, Oregon

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Hi,

I generally state in plain language, something like:

"This is something that any reasonably competent handyperson can do."

"This is something that I recommend you get fixed only by a licensed electrician."

"This is something that I recommend you get fixed only by a licensed plumber."

"This is something that any reputable competent contractor can handle."

"This is something that any competent foundation contractor, working under the guidance of an engineer, can handle."

"This is not something that a do-it-yourselfer should do, so have it fixed by a professional."

etc..

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Chris Bernhardt. . . Whats your opinion on inspectors using "get it repaired by a licensed contractor" language for maintenance items?

Chris, Oregon

I don't give a rip who does the repairs. Or as Charlie Wood used to say, "I don't care how you skin the cat, just show me a skinned cat."

Frankly, these days I'll tell anyone who'll listen that it's a stupid idea to put a seller in charge of repairs for a buyer.

I ask the buyer, "If you were to have work done on your house today, would you hire this seller, whom you know almost nothing about, to be your general contractor? Because, if you negotiate to have him fix stuff on the house, that's exactly what you're doing. Negotiate for the cash and have the repairs done yourself."

The only time I advise customers to have repairs made sooner is if they're discovery items. For instance, creating access to concealed spaces or opening a wall, floor or ceiling to determine how far damage extends.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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