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The inspector being inspected

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Just got a call from a Realtor today. I am doing an inspection for a young lady, about 24 years old that currently lives with her grand mother. She wants to move out, but grandma doesn't want her to. Not sure of the hows and whys between the two, but I was just informed, grandma has hired her friend the handyman to inspect me while I inspect the house to catch all of my mistakes and things I miss.

The inspection is in a couple hours, how would you handle this? Be nice to him and show him what your doing, which would most likely add a lot of time to the inspection and distraction, or just ignore him?

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Polite but firmly inform the fellow out of earshot of grandma that he can follow you around, but please stay out of the way, and no, he can't follow you into the attic or onto the roof. It's your ladder, he can't use it.

I'd also play it by ear a little. If Mr. Handyman was sort of confused himself as to why he was there, I'd be a little friendlier, but still firm. If he was taking some sort of attitude about standing up for Grandma, I'd stiff arm him

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I just don't engage.

Sometimes, something they say might just be helpful. An extra set of eyes, trained or un-trained never hurts.

When I get a know-it-all contractor, handyman, or the like that wants to tell me everything, I just smile and nod. I don't respond at all. It cuts off any further disagreement or conversation.

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I guess it would depend a lot on the guys attitude. If he is friendly and not pushy I would do as Kurt stated, But if he came off as an Inspectors-inspector-know-it-all, I’d tell him that I would be providing my written report to my client and he could provide his written report to his client, so lets stay out of each others way.

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It's imperative that you make everyone understand immediately that it's you that is in control of the site during your inspection.

I've adopted one of Walter's lines; it goes something like, "Listen, I understand your concern for your ____, but you need to understand that this is my inspection of this home and there are only two people on the team today, me and my client; everyone else is benched. So, if you want to follow along and watch, that's fine, but you're not in the game and I don't have time to engage in conversations with anyone but my client; so please don't interrupt me to ask me questions, or engage my client in conversation during the presentation. After the inspection, if necessary, you can take a few minutes to address any issues you want to with my client and my client in turn can address those questions to me and I'll be happy to answer them. Thanks in advance for your cooperation."

That's not an exact quote - it's just words to that effect.

I've only had two conflicts that got nasty; one was a homeowner that kept following me around and interfering despite the little speech and refused to allow me to open the electrical panel because I wasn't an electrician. I asked her to please go sit down and let me do my job. She refused, so I walked off the job and sat in my truck. When the realtor came running out in a panic, I told her to either get the owner off-site and out of my hair or I was going home and they could get another inspector. Ten minutes later, the owner left in a huff, burning rubber as she peeled away from the driveway and I went back in and finished the inspection.

The second one was really a hoot. It was the realtor who kept interfering. After about the third interruption where she tried to argue with me about something that "her" inspector never calls, I gave her the little speech and pointed out that I obviously wasn't "her" inspector and asked her to go sit down and read a book or something so that my client and I could get back on the inspection.

She is a Russian émigré and apparently proud of her success as a high-end realtor and she felt that I didn't know my place, 'cuz that's when she said that I was obviously a rookie at the business to speak to a realtor like that and that, if I knew what was good for me, I'd apologize. That's when the client, a microsoft employee who'd gotten my name from lots of recommendations on the Microsoft intranet message board, jumped on her with both feet and told that the only person being unprofessional was her and told her to go and sit in her car and let me do my job.

That put the Russian over the edge, 'cuz then she ordered us both out of the house and said that the inspection was over. I told her it was over when I said it was over; the homeowner had signed a contract with my client and had agreed to allow my client to have the home inspected and that's what I intended to do. She said something like, "Well, you can't be in this house without a realtor present and I'm leaving, so you both have to leave." I just ignored her and went back to my inspection.

The next thing I know, the zoid and the client were outside in the driveway yelling at each other and I could hear them inside. Yung heard the racket from upstairs, came down and asked me what was going on and I told her. She told me to do something to break them up; so, I went out and asked the client to come back inside. The zoid told me again to get off the property and the client said she wasn't leaving, she had permission from the homeowner for herself and me to be there to do the inspection and that was that. They started yelling at each other again. So, I got the video camera that I keep in the truck, handed it to Yung, and told her to film the whole thing. That's when the zoid tried to grab the camera from Yung and I blocked her path and told her not to put her hands on Yung. Since I'd had my Maglite in my hand, the zoid starts yelling that I'd threatened her with the Maglite and she got on the phone to the local P.D. I ignored her, went back inside and continued the inspection while Yung continued to film her antics.

After about 15 minutes the yelling quieted down and the zoid came in and wanted to know what I intended to do with the video. "Why, send it to your broker, of course, what else would I do with it," I said. She went white as a sheet and suddenly got all conciliatory and wanted to engage me in more talk. I just walked away, told her she'd already wasted too much of mine and the client's time, and I had work to do. A few minutes later, a Redmond cop showed up in response to the "assault" complaint she'd called in. I waved at the guy from the garage where I was checking the overhead door, but didn't even walk outside 'cuz the client was telling him the whole deal. By this time the zoid wasn't saying much 'cuz she was worried about what her broker was going to say. The cop left, the client caught up to me, the agent sat in her car and stewed, and I finished the inspection and got paid.

On the way home, the agent called me on my cell and begged me to send her the "tape," promising all kinds of future referrals. I told her that I was keeping the recording and that I'd prefer not to ever get any referrals from her...ever. However, I told her I'd hold onto the video and wouldn't send it to her broker as long as I she promised never to hassle another home inspector...ever. I told her that if I ever heard that she'd trashed my name around, or ever heard that she'd hassled or tried to manipulate another home inspector's findings, I'd post the video to UTube for everyone to see.

I guess she and the client eventually patched things up because the client bought the house. So far, as far as I know, she's kept her promise. She'd better or that cat fight is going on the tube.



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Well, it went better than I hoped, or rather feared. The gentleman was nice, and as stated above I set the guidelines at the start. What was nice, both the buyers Realtor and sellers Realtor instantly backed me up. The sellers Realtor also stated how he was not authorized to inspect things and would be held liable for anything he did. The buyers agent even told Grandma how if this contractor touched things, it would void the warranties that I provide. He did try and get on my ladder once to get in the attic with me, but I asked him nicely not to and he quickly descended and waited there for me.

All in all, he said the house was GREAT, the deck was gorgeous (check out my post about the deck) and the only problem he found was a crack in the tub that had been sealed with caulking.

Thanks guys. Once again, good advice given, used and things worked out just fine. Although someone here did scare me a little bit, lol!

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WOW! You guys make it sound tough. Yeah, I have had a few issues with agents. To the agents when they say "that is not what my inspector does" , I say I'm sorry they don't. I'm not responsible for their inspections. I then re-hand them a card and say " you seem to be a really sharp agent, you need to protect your reputation. I would be happy to give all of your clients a higher level inspection." That shuts up most of them. After a similar statement a couple more time it stops almost all of them (Yes, I never hear from most of them).

As for the general contractor, handyman, or friend of the family who knows construction; I greet them warmly and explain the way I inspect and the basic rules. I say how great it is to have someone who knows construction along. I talk about my background and how hard it was to switch from contractor to inspector. I ask them to make comments to me about the area I'm inspecting, while I am looking at it. When they say something stupid, I try to say " It's interesting that you saw that, you obviously have some experience. Normally I to would be concerned about that also, but this time I am not because of ___. Your knowledge of construction is remarkable". Generally I can convince them quickly that I know what I am doing and that the best way for them to look like an expert, is to agree with me.

I win over 95% of the "Experts" getting rave reviews after I leave. When I use to fight these guys, I always thought "I so won that fight", only to find that after I left he trashed me ( It is hard to win an argument when you're not in the room). My client has to choose between me and the family expert. The family connection is what makes it tough. I love and respect my family elders and don't like putting my clients into that situation. It gets even worst when Grandma is helping with the down payment. Most of these guys just want to protect our client and keep their status as Expert. Since changing my attitude, I can't remember the last time I had a problem.

Last week on a reinspect, I had the son-in-law of the Seller's who has been an inspector for over 10 years insist on being there. He was extremely defensive and quite upset at the start. He had inspected the house before it went on the market. He had fixed some of the issues and could not find the others. I made him feel as good as he possibly could. In the end he was quite nice and even agreed to do a couple of extra things to make the house perfect. My Client and the Agent made a point of thanking me for handling the situation. The Agent initially wanted her inspector, but my clients had a strong referral and wouldn't budge. At the initial inspection she made her feelings obvious. The only words she said was " my inspector this or that". The last thing she said to me was " my inspector wouldn't have handled that anywhere near as good as that".

Always try to be the nice guy first, you can always be the tough guy later. The opposite order never works. Back in the day, I always started with both barrels blazing. Now, I reserve them for special occasions.

Stay strong and confident


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