I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT THIS YEAR HAS BEEN INTERESTING – AND FRUSTRATING.
This is a year that has included my usual residential work with some great people. I’ve also worked with some folks that were less than neat and forced me to change procedures, including one instance where the water heater quit working the day after the inspection and it was “most definitely” the inspectors fault. We explained that we only use normal operating controls, which does not include anything on the water heater, and that our client witness nothing was touched on the water heater, it was still our fault.
I also had a client go through the dresser of the property owner. I was mortified.
Throw in a couple of other incidents, and I had to make a policy change. While in the past, I always wanted the client to attend the whole inspection, now I encourage clients to visit with me at the end of the inspection, or check in at a couple points throughout. This actually means the inspection process takes longer, but I simply will not have a client get injured on one of my projects, and I’m not going to violate a homeowner’s privacy. To compensate, I now put a lot of video into my reports. We were forced to implement body camera’s due to the water heater issue for the time when there are no witnesses.
I’ve had multiple clients compliment our service, many of them have had home inspections in the past and are beside themselves at the quality of inspection we provide vs. the past inspections they have received. We were the “Deal Killer” on a couple instances, however we just point out the defects and its up the our clients to determine if they can accept them in the process. In one case, after our client stopped our inspection process half way through due to “that being enough”, we were asked to go home shopping, and enjoyed every moment of it. Ultimately the client found the home of their dreams, with a list of items to improve upon. We have been black listed by some realtors because we don’t compromise being a third party opinion. From a real estate agent perspective, this was just dumb as it opens them up to a suit. As an inspector, it is frustrating – especially in the case of a home where I had previously called out structural concerns. As the”deal-killer” inspector, I’ve gotten used to being blacklisted but nothing says I have to like it.
BUT WAIT . . . . THERE’S MORE! LET’S TALK COMMERCIAL INSPECTIONS
The most frustrating part of the year happened on the commercial real estate side.
We were chosen to inspect commercial properties from 45.000 sq ft hotels to 4,000 sq ft oilfield shops. The inspects are facinating and reveal in a quick manner if maintenance is a priority or not. Safety issues in heating and cooling systems, fungal growth, foundations deficiencies, and building envelope issues galore in the commercial space.
Good stuff, great catches, and I saved my clients a lot of money. This is not the way to endear oneself to the local agents. At the heart of the ASTM E2108-15 Property Condition Assessment (the recognized commercial inspection standard) is the Opinion of Probable Costs. When identifying deficiencies, I get asked often to generate an estimate of the repair costs. As you might imagine, this estimating requires considerable time and expertise. Contacts in the construction world help a lot, too.
This year, I missed on multiple projects. The reason?
I was too expensive. In almost every case where this happens, I am discussing fees and proposals with the agents and not the principals. Not an ideal arrangement.
I’ll never stop saying it – you need the best inspector you can afford. The guys that work on the cheap will likely deliver a product that reflects their attitude toward their profession.