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Challanged Inspection

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I just did an inspection on a house that had some of the combined worst drainage problems I have ever come across.

To make a long story short, every elevation was seriously pitched towards the house. There were attempts at waterproofing, a dry well, a dispersion pit to get rid of water from the flooding street above, the surrounding properties drained into the lot.

When I started my inspection, the sellers agent informed me she expected an oral report from me at the end of the inspection (yeah right!).

Of course my report reflected exaclty what I saw, I did not exaggerate, I simply documented what I saw.

A few days later, my client informed me that the seller disputed my report and was hiring her own engineer. My client was going to be there, so I offered to attend. My offer was accepted.

When I got there, I was attacked by the seller and her agent. "How dare I say such things about the house".

I stood by my report.

They hired an inspector from a company that is the granddaddy of HI's in the area.

When the inspector first got there, it seemed like he was addressing the issues very vaguely. I read it as "sugarcoating". He started making suggestions that almost made me burst out laughing. Instead I asked him if he saw the whole property yet, because what he was suggesting, would not work.

We went around together, I pointed out some anomalys that he didn't seem to notice.

He then went into the crawlspace. I waited outside.

Within a few moments, he called me in and started whispering to me that he agreed with everything I reported and that the house was a disaster. I told him to tell it to his client.

They hired some "Big Gun" to shoot me down and ended up shooting themselves in the foot. How can this information not be included in any disclosure statment?


When writing my report, I eliminated the use of the expression "appears to be" and replaced it with "is" or "will".

I learned that here.

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If you know what you are talking about, you say "is" or "will". If you say "appears to be", it sure sounds that you are not sure.

But you had better know what you are talking about. If that other inspector would have been able to diminish my findings, I would have felt like and appeared to be a fool.

Hey, I can't tell you how many times the thought of... What would Mike say, or how would Jim explain it, etc., and of course I added my flavor too.

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Originally posted by StevenT

I can't tell you how many times the thought of... What would Mike say, or how would Jim explain it, etc., and of course I added my flavor too.

Whoa, easy there, Big Fella, I don't even belong in the same category with Katen, Mitenbuler or VanAlstine; so don't worry about what I'd say.

OT - OF!!!


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It was the greatest confidence builder that one could imagine. But to tell you the truth the most wonderful feeling was the confidence I felt during the whole process. (that's when I felt like JIM)

Another important feeling for me is knowing that I can provide my client with a viable report that they can rely upon.

And Mike, you do belong right there. Besides technical knowledge, I cannot begin to express just how much TIJ effects my entire personna as an inspector. I have a great deal of experience with a lot of different things, but I am a better inspector and have the confidence of being a better inspector because of what we do here.

We mentioned a few names, but this place is filled with alot of exceptional people.

They say "Birds of a feather flock together", what a marvelous flock to be a bird of.

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How many times can two professionals disagree? It happens all the time. So just because someone disagrees with you does not mean you are wrong. In this case the other inspector did not disagree anyway.

Way to stick to your guns Steven. This is a classic example of my earlier point. Its what the HI thinks that matters the most. I stick by that statement.

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It's not just that you were correct in your assessment, you even offered to go back out to stand up to the Big Gun. And what did you learn? You definitely don't want to conduct business like this veteran, sugarcoating problems and being two faced. Maybe that's how he's managed to stay in busines so long.

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Yes, professionals can and do disagree. If you look hard enough, or pay enough, you can find an expert that will support any opinion you desire. Just follow any court case that envolves forensics and you can see that.

The dangerous part is when the expert with the more impressive credentials makes you look silly. My concern wasn't that I was going to be told I was wrong as much as it was that I was going to be told that I was making a mountaian out of a molehill. This was the mission of the day. That would have been just as damaging.

I did not allow that to happen. Anytime a vauge statement was put out, I insisted upon specifics. Like,"a little dirt"?, a "swale"?," draining to where"... "really"? "You are recommending regrading the property to drain into the neighbor's lot into their drywell"?

That was just regarding one of numerous anomalys.

What did I learn? The only thing I learned was about myself. I see that I don't want to be caught in a situation where I in debt to an agent that gives me 20 jobs a year and expects me to lie.

OK, I also reinforced that you had better know what you are talking about. Had my report been diminished, I would have looked and felt like a real jerk.

I forwarded WJ's article to my client. That article was written about this house.

Right now, I am trying to build up my business, I usually go around to open houses and introduce myself to agents, hoping to get their referrals. I don't think I will continue to do this.

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Steven, thanks for sharing.

Like my current issue with a potential roof claim over on the "Roofing" forum, I think its great when we can share some of our professional dilemmas that don't necessarily have a black and white resolution.

Sounds like you were able to make it as black and white as you could. Its not easy to hold the line. Congrats.

And I 110% concur--we'd better know what we're talking about before we start spewing words in a report!!

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