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Do you think that it really makes any difference to expound further for each item of inspection in a report all the things that you can't determine by a visual inspection?

I mean shouldn't it be enough that you clearly state in your contracts and in your report that the inspection was performed according to this or that SOP and make sure they got a copy?

As long as your adhering to your SOP why keep duplicating gist of the inspection that its a visual non-invasive inspection yada yada yada and do a version of that for each section of the report?

I don't see how the client is really benefiting from all the extra words. My experience with legal claims is that the lawyers will go by the SOP and whether or not you they think you followed it. Putting in all those extra words trying to explain the limitations of the inspection seems pointless.

Every inspection report I see has a bunch of bloiler plate going over the limitations of the foundation inspection and the plumbing inspection and the electrical portion etc.

I wonder if Walter J. or Jim K. has all that disclaiming language in their reports?

Just curious.

Chris, Oregon

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Originally posted by Chris Bernhardt

Do you think that it really makes any difference to expound further for each item of inspection in a report all the things that you can't determine by a visual inspection?

I mean shouldn't it be enough that you clearly state in your contracts and in your report that the inspection was performed according to this or that SOP and make sure they got a copy?

Bryan Weight, who used to be an ASHI member in Oregon, used to point out that a court could throw out a contract and it can discard a SOP (if the court finds the SOP to be deficient) but they can never throw out your report. He'd repeat every important limitation in the body of the report. I don't necessarily agree with his opinion, but it's a point of view to consider.

As long as your adhering to your SOP why keep duplicating gist of the inspection that its a visual non-invasive inspection yada yada yada and do a version of that for each section of the report?

I don't see how the client is really benefiting from all the extra words. My experience with legal claims is that the lawyers will go by the SOP and whether or not you they think you followed it. Putting in all those extra words trying to explain the limitations of the inspection seems pointless.

When I'm in doubt about what to write, I ask myself if the explanation will benefit me or my customer. If it's there to benefit me, I leave it out.

Every inspection report I see has a bunch of bloiler plate going over the limitations of the foundation inspection and the plumbing inspection and the electrical portion etc.

I think those kind of reports just piss people off.

I wonder if Walter J. or Jim K. has all that disclaiming language in their reports?

Mine don't. The few of Walter's reports that I've seen don't have it either.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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My reports are on a constant diet. The more I learn from the brotheren the more concise they get but what I have noticed is that some clients who have gotten those big 3 ring binder type reports then think my report is too light and maybe even lacking. I really believe I have been passed over on occasion when people have been shopping based on the thickness of the report thinking that indicates the inspector is more thorough.

Chris, Oregon

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Hi,

I think it's a question of how you use them. Are they intrusive and up in your face or are they benignly protecting you without frustrating the client.

Some of the disclaimers I've seen have been ponderous and take up more room than the actual descriptions or issues reported. That's pretty obnoxious.

My reports have an explanatory fine print footnote at the beginning of each section that says what I'm required to inspect. At the end of each section, there's another fine print footnote that says what I'm not required to inspect. The font is size 8, it's bolded and italicized but most people don't even seem to see it.

Every once in a while I'll get a phone call from someone asking me about something that they thought I should have looked at that wasn't required to be inspected by the standards of practice that I use. The last call was about an awning, which is a seasonal accessory. Apparently, the mechanism that cranks it into place had stripped gears. I didn't know that and couldn't have known. Number one, I don't test those because they are seasonal accessories and aren't germane to the house, and number two the crank handle wasn't nearby for the client to test it, which is what I normally suggest they do when I see those items.

All I did was ask the customer to re-read, carefully, the pre-inspection agreement that he and I had gone over before the inspection and then to look at the fine print note at the end of the exterior section, where it says:

Our inspectors are NOT required to inspect or report on the presence or condition of recreational facilities, outbuildings, seawalls, break-walls and docks, window and door screening, shutters, awnings or similar seasonal accessories.

He took a moment to look at the pre-inspection agreement, and then looked at the fine print note, and then acknowledged that he'd not bothered to read the disclaimer when reading the report. He agreed that per the agreement and the standards I wasn't required to look at that thing. At that point, I told him that I understood, that anyone can make a mistake, expressed sympathy for the fact that the thing didn't work and suggested he call a local awning installation company. I actually cracked my yellow book and gave him the number of one to call.

Works for me.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Chris in Oregon wondered:

I wonder if Walter J. or Jim K. has all that disclaiming language in their reports?

Just curious.

I say:

Well, since you asked: I just try to explain, in conversational language, what I can and can't do. I don't use a lot of disclaimers. It's bush league, amateurish, self-defeating and it makes the writer look kinda dumb, which now that I think about it is also self-defeating.

In my humble experience, half-baked boilerplate draws laughs, derision and scorn from every savvy and educated buyer, seller, real estate agent and home inspector I've ever met. Lawyers laugh out loud.

Simply put, it's a plague on the HI business.

WJ

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I try to be sure I've mentioned what I did not or could not inspect, but even those are brief and to the point.

I was once given a copy of a report from one of the most expensive franchises out there, covering a house I had just inspected (two weeks after the first report). Every page was the same. One or two lines about the subject of that section, usually vague, followed by a large paragraph of disclaimer babble. I have to believe any halfway intelligent client reading that garbage would be disappointed and at least slightly pissed that they paid such a big fee for such a worthless report. Disgusting.

Brian G.

The Writer of the Above Post Disclaims Any & All Responsibility for the Content He Himself Wrote [:-dev3][:D][:-dev3]

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