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the right side of wrong


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I thought that topic header would grab your attention. Anyway, here goes:

Consider this idea relative to inspecting homes and reporting on their problems.

For those who have made mistakes in the past, and those who will make them in the future, one could be on either side of exactly correct.

For instance, an overstatement of a problem in is making it sound like more a problem than it really is. An understatement is not being critical enough of a problem.

Since either case can be considered a mistake, what side would you rather be on? Are there pros and cons of each?

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Overstatement = realtor & seller being pissed, you don't look as smart as you might have, and customer having to do a little extra legwork to figure out what's wrong.

Understatement = realtor & seller being happy, you end up looking like a buckethead, and customer holding bag w/no one to look to except you.

Personally, I have no interest in the 2nd option.

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I think it's best to make sure one is correct, then unveil the information.

I can't think of a situation in which I couldn't pull the correct info out of my head, or a book, off the Internet, from a mfr's website, or from one of the genius HIs I know.

Sure, folks will screw up an explanation/description from time to time. But it should happen very rarely. The information's out there. There's no good reason to shoot from the hip.

WJ

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From what I have seen many home inspectors tend to "Understate" and then use weasel words and inspectorspeak to make it so complicated to understand what they are attempting to describe. This group tend to be the ones that write the soft or Realtor friendly reports.

Then we do have a group of inspectors who are either scared of being involved in a lawsuit or they just don't have a clue as to what they are doing. This is the group that tend to "Overstate" the problems at hand.

As Walter said, the information is out there. With the Internet, a home inspector that can not find the answer to a question about a system or issue at a home is not trying very hard or much of a home inspector.

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I never intentionally understate everything. I call it the way I see it and that's based on my education and experience. If I overstate it, so be it; I'm not going to worry about it. I'd rather err on the side of caution and have someone pissed at me because I wasn't friendly to the house, than be pissed at me because they thought that I'd intentionally understated something. There is no gray area for me.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by AHI

. . . Since either case can be considered a mistake, what side would you rather be on? Are there pros and cons of each?

Your question makes no sense to me. When people make mistakes, they're not concious of them in advance. If they don't know that they're in the process of making a mistake, how can they consider which way to err?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by AHI

I figured that if they had to choose, most inspectors would rather have made a mistake by overstating. At least that's the consensus so far.

If most top-notch HIs we're polled, I think the consensus would be that mistakes aren't an option.

If I found termite damage in a basement, and suspected that the bugs got up into the walls, I'd tell them to have the walls opened up. If there was no damage within the walls, I don't think my advice was a mistake.

If I couldn't see much of the inside of an old masonry chimney, but saw half the diameter of the flue connector blocked by debris, I'd tell them the interior of the chimney is deteriorating and probably needs a new liner. If the guy that installs liners gets in there and says the old terra cotta liner still has some life, I don't think my call was a mistake.

If an HI comes across something they don't understand, I don't think it's right to call for repairs to cover their butt. I think that HI should quickly find out what he/she needs to know about that issue.

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Jim, sorry the question was not more clear. I meant it as a reflection thought after the fact of making a mistake. Neither is good but which is worse? I certainly wouldnt suggest that someone had planned a mistake.

I guess I will admit it could be viewed as a trick question. A few of you did'nt fall for it.

Good job.[;)]

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Originally posted by AHI

Jim, sorry the question was not more clear. I meant it as a reflection thought after the fact of making a mistake. Neither is good but which is worse?

But it still doesn't make sense. When a person makes a mistake and discovers it later, he will come to the conclusion that he should have taken a path that would not have resulted in the mistake. Hindsight's like that.

I guess I will admit it could be viewed as a trick question. A few of you did'nt fall for it.

Good job.[;)]

I don't know if it's a trick or not, I just don't understand it. Perhaps if you used a specific example?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Jim,

I personally don't think the concept of the question is difficult to understand. There were a few others who did follow the lead of the question and give their opinion accordingly.

Perhaps your particular philosophical standpoint is not willing to accept the question. If that's the case then I'm totally comfortable with your position.

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Originally posted by kurt

Yeah. I like the idea of simply being right. It's not hard; the info is available for anyone that knows what google is.

I like this answer. There is no need to be "wrong" or "overly cautious" and it is not necessary to intentionally err on the side of being over cautious. There is enough information available literally at your fingertips to give the correct information to your client.

There is also the qualification component. If you are not qualified you may need to lie your way out.

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Originally posted by Phillip

Jim,

Take a roof that has 3 to 4 years of life left in it.

Overstate. The roof is worn out and needs to be replaced.

Understate. The roof has 8 to 10 of life left in it.

In either case, I'd look back on the mistake and wish that I'd made the correct assessment, not the other wrong assessment.

I still don't understand the original question.

-Jim Katen, Oregon

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I suppose I understand the question when considering the questioner. Me, I give every statement of opinion 100% of my experience and education. Usually good enough for government work.

I have never understated or overstated anything. I have been wrong a zillion times and don't mind telling anyone, who will listen, that I may be wrong - but ---------------------.

I actually believe I learn by my mistakes and don't mind being wrong.

And finally, I understand Katen's question!

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One source of confusion is such discussion is that how "hard" to write gets confused with "what to write"; for example people who tell you "I'd rather overstate" are also often the same people who say "I'm only here to hunt big game".

Not necessarily a paradox, but you do have to make the distinction.

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Originally posted by kurt

Yeah. I like the idea of simply being right. It's not hard; the info is available for anyone that knows what google is.

I agree with what Kurt said. It's usually not too difficult to get the correct answers if you spend the time. A good example was the roof I inspected today, white cedar shingle. I've never inspected one before so I got some good advice on this board and did some research. After the inspection I needed more answers so I did a lot of google searching, found a fellow in this general area with a lot experience with this type of roof and he was nice enough to spend quite a bit of time on the phone with me giving advice and answers to my questions. I then felt comfortable to give my client the right answers to his concerns.

John C

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