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There has been discussions on this forum about the "kind" of inspector that one is. You got the ones that tend to challenge the tempers of the industry. (in a good way from the inspectors standpoint)

It was said by a member here that staying with principles will eventually land an ethical and hard worker a good solid business. The advice was to be careful because "they'll" try all kinds of tricks to shut you down.

For those of you who have heard of or experienced any attempts to shut down a good HI, what were they?

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I've heard ridiculous and amazing stories told about me by realtors I've never heard of. They all claim to have had some fearsome and diabolical inspection by me that was "unfair" to the property. They insisted that I didn't know what I was talking about, and tried to dissuade my customers from even talking to me.

I've been barred from a couple properties by listing agents. They wouldn't let me in "their" property. Everyone is on to that crap now, though. Buyers are in the seat now, not realtors.

I've had multiple customers tell me their realtor pressed them hard to not use me, to use anyone else but me. Most of these realtors are the platinum types bragging about the eleventeen-million dollars they sold in the last century.

What's sweet is I did a job last weekend that was a dual listing by a couple of the larger weasels in this town who used to freeze me out; now they're acting all friendly and cozy, and trying to be my friend all of a sudden. Seems no one likes them anymore. My customer literally asked them to leave us alone. It was beautiful.

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Not so sure about trying to put me out of business, but I certainly did face a VERY difficult time trying to just get some advice. I asked dozens of inspections within a 200mile radius. In the end, 2 helped, all the rest ignored Emails or just said too busy when I called. Don;t know if it's a slam on the locals or a shout out for here, but this is the place I learned most of those little things in running a HI business.

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1) I've had a former client book an inspection and then later the realtor called back and canceled, saying that there was a problem with the financing. Something didn't sound right so the day of the inspection I rolled by the site at the appointed time. Sure enough, there on the front porch was my client going through a pre-inspection agreement with one of the realtor toadies.

I stopped, walked up to the porch and said hi to everyone, introduced myself to the realtor and the inspector and remarked that I'd just happened to be driving by when I'd noticed them. The clients looked shocked. "I thought you had a conflict and had to cancel," said the husband. "Nope, no conflict, your agent called to cancel (smiling at the agent - you know that cracked the skin on my usual dour face) and said there'd been a problem with the financing. Oh well, glad you got to work it out. It's too bad though. I would have loved to have done the job for you. Good luck with your new home and have a great day." I turned and walked to my truck and left. When I got home, I called her broker and went up one side of him and down the other. I told him that if another of his agents ever pulled that shit again I was going to demand that the state revoke his license.

Though he bought the house, I never did hear from the client. I think he might have been too embarrassed to call me after that. I'm hoping that when he eventually sells that he'll call me for the next one.

Haven't seen that agent since and it's been about four years.

2) A client booked an inspection with me and then told the agent that she'd have to be there for at least four hours. The agent complained that no inspector she'd ever known would ever take that long to do an inspection and said that she couldn't make enough time available in her busy schedule to be there for four hours and suggested the client use one of "her" inspectors.

The client called me back all stressed out; she'd read about me on her company's internal message board and didn't want to use a different inspector. I told her that if her agent didn't have four hours to spend with her that maybe she should talk to the agent about a reduction in the commission. I told her to ask her agent to get the owner's permission for her agent to leave me and the client there and I would lock the place up when we're done. She called back later and said that when she'd suggested that to the agent the agent wasn't happy about it but said that she'd make time.

On the day of the inspection, the agent tried to rush me through the pre-inspection phase and told me that I'd have to do the interior first and the outside last, because she had an appointment in two hours and would be locking up in one hour and forty five minutes. She said that I could do the last two hours on my own with the client. I told the agent that I would stick to my normal routine, which is to do the exterior, foundation and roof first and then the electro-mechanicals and then the inside, attic, and crawlspaces. "This is my inspection," I said, "For the next 4+ hours. My client (nodding toward my client) and I are on the ball court, you are on the bench. I suggest you go out in your car and work on listings or read a book or something. We'll call you if we need you."

She looked like she was going to have a coronary. I stuck to my normal process and heard her on her cell phone a while later trying to reschedule a showing that she'd planned despite having been warned a week earlier that she'd be there for at least four hours. We began our work and she followed us around during the process and continually interrupted my discussions with the client trying to get me to rush things along. I told her several times to please not interrupt me when I was explaining something to my client and finally said, "Look, because of your constant interruptions, I'm behind schedule. If you keep this up, we're going to be here for six hours. Would you please go sit down and leave us alone?" She got all flustered and walked off. A while later, another realtor showed up to take her place and she left without even saying goodbye to the client.

Oh well.

3) I got a call from an old Army buddy who lives in Virginia; his son was purchasing a house about 40 miles away and his son's agent was pushing a certain agent on the son. That sent up red flags for him; would I do the inspection? Sure, I told him and he arranged for his son to cancel with the other guy and reschedule with me.

When the son called to reschedule, I learned that the other inspector was a member of the same franchise network I'd belonged to at that time; he was the guy who was always done in about 1-1/2 hours who came from a marketing background (he'd worked for Dairy Queen for a couple of decades) and did 5-6 inspections a day. "You made the right decision," I told the son.

On the day of the inspection, my wife stayed home because it was so far away. The other agent pulled up, saw the franchise van and immediately assumed that I'd be doing an inspection like Mr. Quickie (that's what we'll call him) does.

About an hour into the inspection, when it became apparent to her that she wasn't going to be out of there in the two hours that she'd alloted the client, she interrupted me sort of crossly to ask how long I thought it was going to take me to finish the inspection. "That depends," I told her. "On what?" she asked. "On what other issues I encounter from here on in, how long it takes for me to explain them to my client (nodding to the kid) so that he understands them and has a clear understanding of how they'll affect the house."

"Well, do you have an estimate?" she asked. "Yep, probably another 2 to 3 hours, " I answered. "That's ridiculous!" she exclaimed, "Your boss never takes that much time to do an inspection and I don't have that much time to waste sitting here." "Well, I suggest you go sit down and read a book, 'cuz I'm self employed and don't have a boss. The guy you're referring to is another franchisee. I'm not getting the job done standing here answering your questions. I'll be done when I'm done."

She got on the phone and got someone to cover for her when she had to leave. The next day, she emailed a long letter to the franchise headquarters; apparently my client had recommended that she stop doing business with the other guy. She was pretty indignant. She'd copied the other guy on the email and he emailed HQ demanding an apology. They tried to call me into the principal's office over it but I refused to drive downtown to HQ to be put through that indignity again. I put my franchise up for sale and sold it within three months.



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My experience has mostly been like Kurt's. Once in a while I'd hear some story about how I said or did some outrageous thing on an inspection, and messed everything up for all involved. The general idea has been to paint me up as a loose cannon and an idiot, in an effort to steer potential clients away from me.

I don't get that so much anymore. I'm the longest running HI in the area these days, without a single lawsuit or unhappy client to count against me (going on 8 years). I'm sure they still try to keep clients away from me, but I think they've given up hope of choking me off. The Johnny-come-lately bucketheads still get the majority of the work, and probably always will until clients learn NOT to ask their realtor for a recommendation, but they have trouble lasting more than a few years.

Brian G.

Hard 2 Kill [:-dog]

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Originally posted by kurt

What's sweet is I did a job last weekend that was a dual listing by a couple of the larger weasels in this town who used to freeze me out; now they're acting all friendly and cozy, and trying to be my friend all of a sudden. Seems no one likes them anymore. My customer literally asked them to leave us alone. It was beautiful.

Kurt -

Don't tease me. Give me some dirt!

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Originally posted by John Dirks Jr

There has been discussions on this forum about the "kind" of inspector that one is. You got the ones that tend to challenge the tempers of the industry. (in a good way from the inspectors standpoint)

It was said by a member here that staying with principles will eventually land an ethical and hard worker a good solid business. The advice was to be careful because "they'll" try all kinds of tricks to shut you down.

For those of you who have heard of or experienced any attempts to shut down a good HI, what were they?

My problem is I don’t know how, “to be careful.â€

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... I’ll give you my 2 cents.

Some realtors are more concerned with their commission then they are with doing what is best for their customer, the home buyer. These realtors don’t want any obstacles to impeded the closing of the house and receiving their pay check. These realtors see home inspectors as an obstacle, so they search out those inspectors that will soften or over look issues that would otherwise create problems with the sale. In return the realtor provides future referrals to that inspector. Some call this being a realtor’s lap dog.

Now the folks that hangout on this board put communicating the accurate condition of the house first. We have no vested interest in if the house sells or not. We are not going to soften down issues or suck up to realtors in the hopes we get another referral from that realtor. Those inspectors that try to build a business based solely on realtor’s referrals – are not around very long, but there is always a new guy to replace them.

My loyalty is to the house and to be as truthful and accurate as possible in communicating to my customers the condition of the house.

These realtors need a home inspection to limit their liability, but want an inspector to increase his/her liability by not accurately communicating the home’s condition. If a problem occurs 6 months after the sell and the buyer calls the realtor, the first words out of their mouth are “call the inspector – he has insurance.â€

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I've said before that I don't go out of my way to irritate agents. I am as polite as I can be, but I certainly don't pucker up to anyone's posterior. Honestly, while I am sure one exists, I don't have any idea how deep the grapevine runs among agents in a given office. I certainly don't know how much of that spreads to agents in different offices. I do know that agents are individual human beings. As such, they don't all blindly follow the herd; some make their own decisions.

IMHO, if we as inspectors are doing our job correctly, some agents will inevitably dislike us. It's a natural consequence of sometimes making their lives harder. Putting it more succinctly, we delay the commission check.

That's exactly as it should be.

I don't give a rat's ass how many homes the agent in a deal sells in a year, nor how often that agent has recommended me -- if ever. My client is the buyer and it is only the buyer that I am working for. Plain and simple. If the agent is one of the truly ethical ones, we'll get along fine with the unspoken understanding that some times my report will be a pothole on their road to bazillion dollar seller status. Those agents looking out for their client's best interests, and ultimately their own, will grin and bear it when a home purchase fizzles and they have to start over.

I did an inspection a year or so ago for a client who was an Iranian doctor. He was given my name by another Iranian doctor whom I had previously worked for. (Side note: If you get in with ethnic groups, they tend to be very good referral sources.)

His agent, the wife of yet another doctor, was Chinese. That was an experience. She was almost impossible to understand; my client was better. He was also a nice guy. The home had more than the normal share of issues and the sale fell through. Although she didn't question me, I could see her getting agitated as I explained the problems. For whatever reasons, the buyer found another agent and, eventually, another home. I did that inspection also.

The agent? She called me up about 2 weeks ago. Here's how the call went: (Sorry if it's not politically correct)

"Kevin? This is XXX. You do inspection for my buyer, Dr. XXX before now. That deal not work. Everyone in office say you too tough. But I give you new chance. I have house I want to buy. You do inspection Tuesday."

Her home was 5000 s.f. Unfortunately, it was a foreclosure that appeared to have been contracted by the owner. Lots of issues.

Anyway, I almost laughed aloud at the "I give you new chance" line. I know I'm not popular among a lot of agents, and I can sleep just fine with that knowledge. I also know that I do a lot of work for agents that NEVER recommend me to routine clients but call me when they want their own potential homes inspected -- or those for close friends, relatives, etc.

I'm cool with that.

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I have a realtor friend who relays all the awful things some of his peers have to say about me on occasion during their weekly meetings.

His response to me, was, "You know, John. You should turn that shit around and use it to your benefit. You should have the Grim Reaper painted on your truck, along with something like, 'I kill more deals than anyone else in town. Call the Grim Reaper to inspect your new house.'"

I laughed. But you know, it may not be a bad idea . . .

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I had a feeling that posting this topic would stir up interest but I didn't expect the descent that has been shown by energy star.

This is more interesting than I thought it would be.

I had an agent explain to me how some inspectors get labeled as deal killers. I told them I didn't see it that way. I told them those types of inspectors give the agents a chance to show their client how hard they're willing to work for them. The client didn't hear that comment. The reason is, the agent was too chicken to raise the topic in their presence.

I havn't been inspecting very long. I ran across a few agents that didn't impress me very much. I forgot them. There were a couple of agents that were very professional in my presence. I'll remember them.

Keep up the good work you all.

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Having gone over these issues for >20 years, I'd say this business is one of the goofiest in terms of business practice.

As a start (and actually, as a finish), the best practitioners (HI's) are penalized by the referring marketplace (realtors). On the plus side, who the heck gets their HI from a realtor nowadays?

Plainly and simply, approximately half of my phone calls start with the sentence (paraphrased for simplicity) "You did a job for an acquaintance/work associate/family member of mine and they told me what the realtor said about you. Last time, I used the guy the realtor referred and I got so totally screwed. If the realtor thinks you're a creep, you're the guy I want."

Again, paraphrased, but accurate in tone and intent.

I get jobs because of what folks hear the realtors say about me. Heck, when I run into the ones that I know are actively slamming, I give them a big smile and tell them to keep talking bad about me because it's really good for business.

A poll authorized by ASHI recently found that in the list of people folks listen to regarding their purchase, HI's came in 3rd, right after the buyers' spouse. Realtors, attorneys, and everyone else came in dozens of percentage points behind HI's.

Everyone is hip to the realtor sucker punch. Realtors aren't going away, but they're influence on the decision making process is almost non-existent nowadays.

The pendulum is always swinging and I don't care if it's a buyers or sellers market. Folks want unvarnished facts, and that's not going to change.

I give folks facts. I'm just a professional list maker.

There's lots of folks that can "out-code" me, or can list the minutae of a house in more detail than me, but there isn't anyone in my market that understands how it all fits together and what it is going to cost to operate a particular building. And where this all boils down to, eventually, is cost.

I think that's what really pisses the realtors off about me. I understand their "job" better than they do, and my customers know it.

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