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Added note as a CYA on wood exterior homes...


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I've been call on the carpet from some anal retentive clients asking why I didn't note ALL the small damaged pieces of wood, whether it be on the soffit, fasica, bottom of entrance and garage door frames, etc.

I try to explain to them that I only inspect what I see and will not put myself in harms way to inspect boards out-of-reach, hidden by objects or nicely painted over. ...but I note that. ...still I'm asked!

Since, I've been trying to develop a statement that be my CYA. Yes, they ALL sign the standard agreement, but not all read it. I was wanting to get your feedback and/or comments. ...please feel free to rewrite it!!!!!!!!!

I state: "NOTE: The importance of maintenance to the exterior wood. The wood can be highly susceptible to moisture, thus will require efforts to maintain. This inspection was not intrusive, so not all boards were individually inspected; only visually from an adequate amount of safe view angles. Recommend the appropriate efforts to maintenance and plan periodic inspections to avoid further damage or decay."

Thanks in advance,

Haubeil

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Sucks is a strong word. How about this...

Wood siding is susceptible to moisture damage when it is not properly maintained. This is a limited visual examination of the home. The siding was checked for deterioration at a representative sampling of readily accessible locations on each wall.

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Originally posted by Jerry Simon

Haubeil,

That CYA statement sucks.

Why not just say "Keep your wood well-painted/stained and well-caulked or it will rot."

LOL!!!! ...I'm trying to be a little more professional than that.

Yeah, stating the obvious should make since, but if it were as easy as preaching to the chior, them we wouldn't be in business.

- Haubeil

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Originally posted by Haubeil

Originally posted by Jerry Simon

Haubeil,

That CYA statement sucks.

Why not just say "Keep your wood well-painted/stained and well-caulked or it will rot."

LOL!!!! ...I'm trying to be a little more professional than that.

Yeah, stating the obvious should make since, but if it were as easy as preaching to the chior, them we wouldn't be in business.

- Haubeil

Haubeil, Jerry's suggestion *is* more professional than your awkwardly worded statement. I also like Fritz's "Minor defects are not reported." (Though it'd be better if it were active voice: I don't report minor defects.)

Don't try to sound professional; it doesn't work. Just speak and write plainly without trying to sound official or important. People will understand you better. When they understand you, their expectations will quickly fall in line.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Jim,

I agree, verbal discussions are the best and I perfer that approach, but I still need to right a report and many clients choose not to be present during the inspection, else unable (a relocate).

Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but stating that minor defects are not reported sounds too simple. The clients definition of 'minor defects' is likely different than mine. ...and it implies that you choose not to disclose items that the client may deam important. It's needs to read that, if they were not noted, it's because they were not seen. ...see where I'm going?

Maybe it does suck, but that's why I'm asking for input. Saying it sucks doesn't help. Nonetheless, thanks for the input Jerry.

- Haubeil

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"There's rot @ X, Y, Z, and the NW corner of the whoozit. The wood was damaged by leaks from the XXXXXXX, and YYYYYYY."

"When I can find this much rotten wood in my limited time on site, it's always a certainty that you're going to find a lot more, usually when you go to paint it and a painter is working over every square inch of the house."

"Plan on a number of additional repairs to the rotten wood; have a painter & carpenter tell you what it's going to cost to repair."

Or, something like that. It's always gotten me through looking a lot smarter than I am; everyone wonders "How did he know that?", instead of thinking me the putz.

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Hi,

I don't see where you're going. Well, maybe I do and I just hope that you aren't.

I read it all. Frankly, it doesn't just suck, it's double-talk. Trying to hide behind a lot of 25-cent words written to try and impress the client with your command of the language has produced an Unintelligible statement and makes you sound like a weasel.

We get paid to be candid and forthright, not flowery and weaselly. Customers don't expect you to sound like a law professor that's lost his thesaurus - they expect you to explain things to them in terms they can understand.

The time to make people understand what you'll do for them, what you won't do for them, and what to do if they think you haven't performed is before the inspection - not when you create the report. The fact that a client is nickel-and-diming you on stuff like that shows clearly that you failed to manage the client's expectations.

Here's a suggestion. Dump all of the CYA text from your reports and simply hand the client a copy of whatever SOP you use and tell him/her to read it before calling you with any complaints.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by hausdok

The fact that a client is nickel-and-diming you on stuff like that shows clearly that you failed to manage the client's expectations.

That and probably the fact the client had some yahoo (not the search engine) painter or handyman doing some work and made some exaggerated comment like, "Holy crap, what kind of home inspection did you have?!. He didn't tell you about all this stuff!? I wouldn't have paid him a dime!"

When the reality is there's probaly the typical signs of wear and tear and deterioration.

Now the client's freaked out.

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Originally posted by Haubeil

I've been call on the carpet from some anal retentive clients asking why I didn't note ALL the small damaged pieces of wood, whether it be on the soffit, fasica, bottom of entrance and garage door frames, etc.

I try to explain to them that I only inspect what I see and will not put myself in harms way to inspect boards out-of-reach, hidden by objects or nicely painted over. ...but I note that. ...still I'm asked!

Since, I've been trying to develop a statement that be my CYA. Yes, they ALL sign the standard agreement, but not all read it. I was wanting to get your feedback and/or comments. ...please feel free to rewrite it!!!!!!!!!

I state: "NOTE: The importance of maintenance to the exterior wood. The wood can be highly susceptible to moisture, thus will require efforts to maintain. This inspection was not intrusive, so not all boards were individually inspected; only visually from an adequate amount of safe view angles. Recommend the appropriate efforts to maintenance and plan periodic inspections to avoid further damage or decay."

Thanks in advance,

Haubeil

I don't mean to be harsh, but that boilerplate is wretched. You need to simplify; and, you need to be careful with your spelling and grammar. If you want your comments to be "professional," be clear, concise and correct. Misspelled words and bungled grammar destroy customer confidence. Nothing personal; it's just a fact. People want educated home inspectors.

There's nothing at all wrong or unprofessional with a comment something like this: I won't see or touch every square inch of the house. It's not only possible, but likely, that I won't notice some defects. If you want an exhaustive inspection, I'll be glad to arrange one, with a team of experts.

For years, I offered an exhaustive inspection. Starting price was about $7K. Customers had to check a YES/NO box to show that they did or didn't want the exhaustive inspection. No customers ever took the exhaustive option.

WJ

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Originally posted by Haubeil

Jim,

I agree, verbal discussions are the best and I perfer that approach, but I still need to right a report and many clients choose not to be present during the inspection, else unable (a relocate).

But I was talking about a written report. There's no reason why your written report has to sound fancy. Just write plainly, as you'd speak.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but stating that minor defects are not reported sounds too simple.

Well, it's a simple concept. Why shouldn't it be a simple statement?

The clients definition of 'minor defects' is likely different than mine.

If that's the case, then you haven't created reasonable expectations. You're more likely to communicate reasonable expectations with simple language.

..and it implies that you choose not to disclose items that the client may deam important.

No it doesn't. It simply says that you won't report minor defects. That's it. No implications.

It's needs to read that, if they were not noted, it's because they were not seen. ...see where I'm going?

No, not really. If you want to say that you'll only inspect what you can see, say, "I'll only inspect what I can see."

Maybe it does suck, but that's why I'm asking for input. Saying it sucks doesn't help. Nonetheless, thanks for the input Jerry.

- Haubeil

Well, he didn't just insult you, he insulted you then gave you some useful feedback. That's gotta be worth something.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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"Minor defects are not reported",

"I don't report on minor defects."

Not sure what difference that makes. Don't they know I am the one doing the inspection? "I don't report on minor defects." is real similar to "Minor defects are not reported by me" which somehow sounds redundant.

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Thread drift (my specialty)

Create reasonable, indelible client expectations by insisting they are at the inspection with you and that they follow you around.

After a 3 to 5 hour side by side, they will know exactly what to expect.

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Originally posted by homnspector

"Minor defects are not reported",

"I don't report on minor defects."

Not sure what difference that makes. Don't they know I am the one doing the inspection? "I don't report on minor defects." is real similar to "Minor defects are not reported by me" which somehow sounds redundant.

It's basic stuff. This is active: Jack hit the ball.

This is passive: The ball was hit by Jack.

Which conveys the action better? Active voice.

Active voice works well in conversational writing. IMHO, HIs communicate best when they write in a conversational style.

Passive voice is the language of bureaucrats and other ne'er-do-wells who write like they've got something to hide.

My experience says people just don't trust folks who write like bureaucrats.

One more time: Puffed-up writing doesn't ring "professional." Puffed-up writing is the language of those who are running away clear communication. It's a puzzlement to me why HIs bust their humps to write fancy when plain serves better.

Give me one good reason why HIs should be trying to write like a tired old English Ph.D who's trying to explain John Milton.

WJ

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I'm with Walter. I try to write information packed and readable, maybe even entertaining reports.

I loathe the sentence fragment bytes so often offered by the profession as communication. "recommend furnace be serviced" ...what the hell does that mean? Is that a directive to client that he should recommend the furnace be serviced?

At some point we have to actually offer a service for the fee charged. I don't think a nice, readable, information packed (useful, pertinent information , not some filler crap from a report vendor) report is too much to ask for.

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