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What is a Home Inspection?


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I'll take a shot:

My client expects me to have an uncommonly thorough knowledge of structures and best building practices. They further expect me to use this knowledge to explain in plain language what is wrong with the house and why it will affect them.

I make sure I'm compliant with my state's laws but I also make sure that I exceed all of my client's expectations of me.

No flashy folder, no mamby pamby language, and I don't hand the realtors a business card. My client hired me for the inspection: I don't market on their time.

For an average 1500 sq ft ranch it takes me 2.5 to 3.5 hours on site and another 3 to write a report. Is my report more valuable to a client than even a nicely done check list ? Yes. A lot more valuable.

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Reading a long string of HI-composed posts rehashing the usual boilerplate definition of a home inspection would be pure misery.

Pardon my saying so, but the thread would be much more interesting and instructive, I think, if the question were: What is your home inspection? Simply put, what are you going to do complete the act of inspecting a given house?

Me, I'd compile a list of things we will do, and things we won't do. I'd do it in plain, active-voice conversational English. Get that right, explain it in a way that nobody can misunderstand, and you've got expectations handled.

WJ

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Randy,

The question is a little vague. I can see some folks doing that in one sentence and others writing a treatise. How about giving us your definition so that we can see how you want your responses formatted?

OT - OF!!!

M.

Mike, you always ask the most interesting questions.

I intended my question to be vague. I really would like to see some honest answers from others and hopefully, the answers will run the gamut to show that, regardless of SOP's or pre-conceived notions of what it is we do, we're all over the map.

And that might be ok.

Me? My definition? I have to think about it before I regurgitate the senseless boilerplate of which Walter refers.

I'm also selfish. This thread will hopefully help me re-focus and get better. I think I'm kind of stuck, hanging on to a lot of the crap I did at the beginning that I'm having a hard time letting go.

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Well,

With my tendency to blab on and on, the question scares the bejezzus out of me. If I write a definition, it's just going to seem inadequate to me; If I describe the process, It'll be so damned long that folks will stop reading after an hour or two. Best I keep it to myself - I bloviate enough on this board.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Originally posted by Chad Fabry

I'll take a shot:

For an average 1500 sq ft ranch it takes me 2.5 to 3.5 hours on site and another 3 to write a report. Is my report more valuable to a client than even a nicely done check list ? Yes. A lot more valuable.

My time frame is close to Chads. Two a day is normal if I have the work.

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Originally posted by ozofprev

Originally posted by hausdok

Well,

...I bloviate enough on this board.

And we hope you never stop!

Can't. It's an inherited trait that all of those of us from Celtic roots, with an O' at the beginning of our last name, suffer from.

O' means blowhard from the ____ clan, dontchya know?

OT - OF!!!

M.

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This thread dovetails with the one in which Sal explains his approach to our business, and I agree with some of what he has to say.

I think art for art's sake is a wonderful concept, but at the same time, we all have to generate enough income to satisfy our needs--whatever those needs may be. I prepare and print my reports on site because that's what seems to work best. The report itself--which contains no checkboxes--is about twenty pages, with no photos(those I burn onto a CD). The report, I suppose, could be described as narrative, but the sentences are short, declarative, and to the point. Rather than spending gobs of time writing and rewriting a report, it's much easier for me to verbally explain the whys, hows, and other minutiae during my post-inspection conference with my client.

Unlike some others, I like to check out the house alone. Trying to talk and explain while I'm poking around is too distracting. As I've said before, I make it a point to make three passes of basements, exteriors, etc., to lessen the chances that I'll miss something. I simply can't focus if someone is following me around and interrupting while I'm dictating into a recorder. Once I'm finished, however, I typically spend an hour or so with the client. I take lots of 2-meg photos, and I pull up the photos on my computer while explaining what they depict. This saves time, as I can speak much more quickly than I can write, proofread, and revise. I don't know how many words one utters during an hour of explanations, but it would take a whole lot longer to coherently communicate the same information via the written word.

I realize that if a customer ever gets raw about some real or perceived problem that arises once she moves into a house, the written report is what will determine whether my goose gets cooked, but I include all the pertinent information that, hopefully, will protect me.

Something else, and Walter's said it a time or two before. Lots of times, the one thing that prevents a client from wanting to come after you when a problem surfaces is the simple question of whether or not she liked you. During my post-inspection conferences with my clients, we look at photos of the roof, the attic, the crawlspace, and all else. And those clients realize that I'm genuine, knowledgable, and that I"ve worked my ass off for them.

Again, this is just my way of doing things. For now. But it's working. The majority of my business is derived from client referrals and, even this time of year, I lose gigs because I can't get to them quickly enough.

I s'pose now I, too, can enter the realm of bloviators. Bottom line is that by communicating the details verbally as well as through the written word, I save time but also give my clients a better understanding of the house they may or may not wind up buying.

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Originally posted by Bain

Something else, and Walter's said it a time or two before. Lots of times, the one thing that prevents a client from wanting to come after you when a problem surfaces is the simple question of whether or not she liked you. During my post-inspection conferences with my clients, we look at photos of the roof, the attic, the crawlspace, and all else. And those clients realize that I'm genuine, knowledgable, and that I"ve worked my ass off for them.

Allow me to expand on that a little. I have been richly blessed with good luck, a great co-inspector, and a job of writing a housey humor/general interest column in a successful local newsweekly.

I'm not the most lovable guy in the world, but after 12 years of writing about life at my house, my customer base comprised folks who felt like they knew me and my family. Customers would call and ask about my daughter's ball team, my dog's antics, and my wife's quirks. My wife couldn't write a check without the clerk saying, "Are you wife Brenda?"

So, I never had to win over, or impress, a customer. The customers called because they liked what they'd read, and believed what I wrote.

My company had a complaint/claim rate of zero not because I was the smartest HI in the world, but because the customers trusted me before they ever called my office. I couldn't have disappointed them if I'd set out to do it.

This method won't work for most people. How many HIs get hired to write a column about whatever's on their mind? And get editors who never interfere? I'm guessing the answer is one. Me. I take no credit. It was a freak accident; crazy good luck. I can't explain it.

So, like I've said in the past: don't go by me. My path in the HI biz was very unusual.

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