Jump to content

Setting the ground rules

Recommended Posts

One thing that's rarely (if ever) discussed around here is client behavioral management. I was wondering how others address it, if they address it at all.

I do a walk and talk. For me, it's not the ideal way to inspect because of the added distraction of explaining and answering questions as I go along. The alternative of waiting til the end of the inspection to go over my findings isn't an option for me, because frankly, I couldn't do it from memory. My notes are on a voice recorder and in the pictures. I know I'd forget a lot trying to recall everything from memory.

Usually, the walk and talk works out well, with the ongoing dialogue not being much of a distraction. When it's a problem is when the buyer doesn't 'get it' and without even realizing it increases the likelihood that I'm going to miss something. This is done by bringing friends and extended family along to see the house, contractors to give estimates and last but not least, their undisciplined children.

Several times I've had people bring their dogs to the inspection. I can't count the number of times that there have been kids literally running through the house alone, with the parents seemingly oblivious. Once I came out of a master bathroom to find the young daughter of the buyer going through a jewelry box in the bedroom. I called the listing agent and told him about that. By the way, SOP around here generally has the seller and agents absent. Most of the time, it's just me and the buyers (and whoever they invite along).

After thinking about it for a long time, I decided to lay out some ground rules in an email and send it to the buyers right after the inspection is booked. I really hated to do it, because it wasn't aimed at the majority of buyers, but at the small minority who just didn't 'get it'. Unfortunately, I had no way of knowing who that was going to be before it became evident at the inspection, and by then it was really too late.

It turned out that my email has worked splendidly. I hesitated to do it out of fear of offending people, but that didn't happen. For the first month or so that I used the email, I informally surveyed buyers and they all reacted positively to it. I was actually pretty surprised about that.

Here's the text of my email:

Thank you for choosing D'uey, Cheatum and Howe to perform your home inspection. In an effort to help you get the most from your inspection, I would like to offer some helpful suggestions.

A large part of the value of our service is our interaction as we go through the house. I've found that this is best accomplished when the inspection is attended by just the buyers and myself. This reduces distractions that often occur when children or other family members, friends, and contractors are at the property during the inspection. While buyer’s agents are welcome to attend, their office policy may not encourage them to. When we schedule the inspection with the listing agency, they assume that just the inspector and buyers will be in the home. If you’d like to show the house to your family and friends, it’s best to set up another appointment with your agent.

Past clients have said that they learned a lot about their house and we consider this education to be a great benefit of our service. As we go through the inspection together, feel free to ask questions. If you have any questions before the inspection, please don’t hesitate to call me on my cell phone at ***-***-****.


Joe Hancaviz

D'uey, Cheatum and Howe Inspections

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here in Nashville, the RE agents have the task of opening and closing the house, and keeping kids, dogs, contractors and assorted lookyloos out of the way.

Most of the time, I wrote the report right at the kitchen table, handed the customers their copies, and talked them through the report. After delivering that speech, if I knew there were things the customers needed to see, I took them to see those things.

A few times, when I felt particularly annoyed by errant children, I just took the laptop and printer out to the van, plugged 'em into the A/C Anywhere, and typed and printed the reports there.

It's a regional thing: Not much offense given or taken around here. You just tell people the truth, they get it, and everybody's happy. Well, almost everybody...


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I retreat into Zen sartori, where all planes of existence are one......

Sometimes I like it better when the kids are going nuts; it allows me to focus 'cuz everyone else is distracted.

Those are the times I get sneaky if I have to get sneaky, and stick my knife somewhere the stakeholders would have me not stick my knife into sort of thing.....nothing evil.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


If you face that often, I think a letter like yours makes perfect sense. I'm fortunate that I'm not faced with that too often; most often the agent is here to deal with the rugrats or nosy father-in-law types.

What I hate is when the agents (usually male) stay and make themselves at home by watching the TV in the home. Inevitably they channel surf all over the place, and I'm always afraid they will leave the TV on some testosterone-infused channel instead of the Female Misery Channel -- AKA the Lifetime channel -- where the female seller ALWAYS has it.

And then, not knowing the circumstances, the seller will come home to find the TV on some godforsaken channel. The assumption, of course, would be that I had been watching the TV.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...