Devil’s Side

May 27, 2005

Bob Kille Acuspect Home Inspection I recieved a call today from a seller of a property I inspected recently. She was having trouble understanding my home inspection report. She had several complaints for me. First, for her, the front of the house has three sides. The left, right and middle sides? So when I remarked in my report that the foundation sill plate was below grade at the front side it left her asking at what side of the front?. That’s when the conversation went south for me as I didn’t realize at the time that the front of a home has three sides. I just assumed that if you looked at the front of the building you could ascertain for yourself where the grade was high. That assumption alone cost me twenty minutes on the phone. Alas, she may have a point. The report could well have said “at the front right side”

Next up was the comment that the seller’s discloure statement wasn’t present at the time of inspection. This is a standard comment inserted into the report to confirm that no one presented me with any additional information as to the past or current condition of the property. Heaven forbid, this comment was incorrect as she had the disclosure in her files and someone should have asked her for it. She apparently wanted me to retrack the statement because the wording of it made it look like she was hiding something. There goes another ten minutes trying to explain that the purpose of the statement was for my protection against possible false claims of someone saying that I had read them and had full knowledge of all contained seller disclosed conditions.

To explain why window bars at the bedroom windows are a reportable safety concern even though the previous home inspector didn’t point it out when they bought the home took more than one attempt, four to be exact. She says to me, just because you have to have a step stool to get to the top cotter pins doesn’t mean the iron bars won’t release quickly after all four pins have been pulled. What could I say to that, this was after my forth attempt.

Well she-devil went on to some other non issues and trying to keep my voice down was hard. I could feel myself ratch it up a bit at times. Even knowing I was raising my voice it was hard to stop. I hate to give up so I hung in there until she quit. I did ask her to call back if she needed more clarification, which is kinda like turning the other cheek so to speak.

Oh, my point. I think I’ll take a closer look at the wording of my comments to see if a little more explination might help. For instance the security window bars. A better explination of what a quick release is and why it would be necessary with a smoke filled room. “Devil’s in the details”

Copyright © 2005 by Bob Kille. To read other home inspection related articles or to view home inspection software and book publications by Mr. Kille, click on this link.

Masked Man

May 24, 2005

Bob Kille Acuspect Home Inspection The other day I attended an InspectVue users group meeting. The author of the program Lorne Steiner was there explaining the in’s and outs of his program and awnsering questions. As with most meetings of this sort “Lorne” went into a standard speech that lasted about 20 – 30 minutes on just why the software was so great.

One of the most interesting aspects of the speech was that home inspectors should be paid more, and that an illusion or perception of being overpaid, was held by most realtors and clients. Lorne then went on with a solution to this problem by explaining that if you were to finish your reports back at the office, no one would know how long you worked for your money. Interesting thought.

In my opinion, and do about 600 inspections personally a year, this is not a good idea unless you just don’t enjoy maximising your earning potential and free time at home with the wife and kids. For me, it takes an extra 20 minutes on site to get the report printed and handed over to the client. Off I go with check in hand. How many things can go wrong if you don’t finsih up then and there, plenty. One of my greatest benefits to my realtors who use me regularly is that were all done when we leave. No loose ends.

It may be better to educate the general realtor population as to the true costs of scheduling, expenses, liabilities and total hours worked per day rather than altering what you do to fit there present perceptions. For instance, go to and download the Profit Calculator. Using the Profit Calculator showed me that there is a cost of $140.00 in expenses for each inspection booked. The parameters used were; I wanted to do about 350 inspections a year and make $50,000.

I think what was really going on was that Lorne has had unfavorable remarks made as to how long it actually takes to input an inspection on site with his software. An average on site inspection time of two hours or less is expected and generally sought out by busy realtors. If your taking more time than this at an average inspection you may well want to finish at home to keep your realtors happy. Taking your work home to finish, sort of masks the input time drawback. Nice spin don’t you think?

Copyright © 2005 by Bob Kille. To read other home inspection related articles or to view home inspection software and book publications by Mr. Kille, click on this link.

Eye Remember

May 22, 2005

Bob Kille Acuspect Home Inspection Some things seem like small details, like the type of tape used for the testing of electronic eyes for the exterior lamppost or garage lights. Generally the use of black electricians tape is used to cover the eye and it sometimes takes a few minutes for the light to come on. Most often I continue my home inspection routine and glance back to see if the light activated. Occasionally, I’ll forget to go back and take the tape off before leaving the inspection site. Nothing like a call back to take a piece of tape off.

Use friction tape. It falls off after a day or two all by itself. Friction tape is made of cloth and has less adhesive. I wrap the lower part of my screwdriver with a good bit of it so it’s handy and with me at all times. Haven’t had to go back for this oversight since I switched to the friction type. Just one less detail to remember.

Copyright © 2005 by Bob Kille. To read other home inspection related articles or to view home inspection software and book publications by Mr. Kille, click on this link.

Lazy Man’s Bet

May 20, 2005

Bob Kille Acuspect Home Inspection I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just don’t feel like dealing with the phone. Yesterday I had to take the day off to drive my wife to the peridontics for some minor oral surgery. She generally answers my home inspection phone calls and just before we left she reminded me twice to forward the phone to my cell. My mind start to rationalize that people can wait till we get home and there probably won’t be any calls anyway, blah, blah, blah.

What’s a missed opportunity worth? Not only did I not book the four waiting inquiries for inspections, I lost the future referrals that most inspections generate. The realtors who called ended up using another firm, and guess what, its entirely likely they could actually like the new inspector better than me. So if you care to add it all up, I lost the four inspections, the additional future referrals that the inspections generate, and quite possibly a realtor or two. Realtors are generally worth 10 -20 inspections a year, the inspections plus the referrals generally generated would be in the range of 8 – 20.

So figure, 18 present and future inspections lost if I’m lucky. At $300.00 per inspection I most likely lost a minimum, (minimum is a key word here) of $5,400 dollars because I was lazy and didn’t feel like answering my phone.

Keep in mind that everything you do is cumulative. The phone doesn’t ring today because of today’s efforts, it rings because of your total past efforts. All your marketing to make the phone ring is useless unless you answer the phone when it does ring. A very good case can be made for the call centers specializing in booking inspections. This is a referral business, either past customers or realtors generate the most and least costly sales year after year. Indeed, they can be counted on if your any good at what you do and your marketing follow up is in place. The follow up and referral generation (past efforts) is the reason that so many inspectors with 5 to 7 years of experience are booked out at least a week in advance.

$5,400.00 lost to the lazy man’s bet. Bet they can wait till tonight, I’ll bet there won’t be any solid inspection inquires. I’ll bet this figure is way high and the realtors will stay loyal because, blah blah bla. Poor bets for a guy who doesn’t answer his phone in a profession where time is of the essence.

Copyright © 2005 by Bob Kille. To read other home inspection related articles or to view home inspection software and book publications by Mr. Kille, click on this link.

Smack Down

May 3, 2005

Bob Kille Acuspect Home Inspection You can never tell just how well you’ve handled a customer complaint until you get the better business bureau smack down. For instance, I received one in the mail today dealing with a home inspection customer compliant I had four weeks ago. Actually, when the call came in it was more of a “just wanted to let you know you missed a coupla things” kinda gripe. I took in all three of her comments and then preceded to let her know why these weren’t really mistakes at all, and a valid reason for the one item I did admit to missing. Now that’s a mistake. She felt as if I was making excuses rather than taking responsibility for the three issues raised. (A water heater that wasn’t left on, a dishwasher not checked due to the water supply not being on, and a missed warped header over a closet door) I made the remark to her that I was sorry she felt that way, which seemed to anger her more. It was a strange call, which became stranger as in her letter to the bureau she claims 20 plus items missed in the inspection report.

Usually when a client wants their money back they say so in the phone conversation. Or so I thought, now comes the better business bureau to champion her cause. The client wants an apology and her money back even though the report detailed numerous items to be resolved by the builder. The following is a snippet of my reply to her:

I understand that you feel as though you received a poor inspection of your property, and that my explanation of the three items you shared with me sounded more like excuses than proper procedure. To this, I do apologize.

I hope that the nine items of concern that were discovered through the inspection process and disclosed to you in our summary report were resolved by the builder to your satisfaction including the missed warped header. If you had other issues with my inspection that were not covered in the report please take a moment and read through the Arizona Standards of Professional Practice that is contained on the inside cover of your report. It would help me a great deal to know what issues, if any, you have that did not meet the standards of practice.

Better communication skills might have saved me from this, remember to listen and ask questions rather than defend your position. You could profit from my mistakes.

Copyright © 2005 by Bob Kille. To read other home inspection related articles or to view home inspection software and book publications by Mr. Kille, click on this link.