Home Inspectors Don’t Have To Be Right

June 29, 2005

Bob Kille Acuspect Home InspectionCustomer compliant calls are probably everyone’s least favorite call to take. They usually start off with “you should have seen this or you missed this”. Be careful, humans have a tendency to parrot/copy the conversational tone or style of the person there talking to. Just listening to someone who is pissed off and making acqusations raises your response level and/or anxiety level.

So my day starts with one such call. Bob you should have seen that the entire wall stucco was deteriorated and falling off, I had a guy here who tells me the whole wall may need to be replaced. He says that the wood frame is most probably all rotted. Ok, ok, I did your home inspection when? Oh, about 3 and a half months ago, and just where is the location of the wall. Oh, you mean the wall that was totally covered by vines and azaleas. Yeah, that’s the one, I just had it all removed like you suggested. You do realize that my home inspection was a limited visual inspection right? We don’t want to hear any excuses, this is going to cost big bucks and your responsible, we never would have bought this house, yadda, better business bureau, yadda, state complaint, yadda, yadda. Ok, I’ll be out tomorrow at 8:00am to have a look and see what we can do for you.

Well I can say the rest of the day was shot, just thinking about the call kept my blood up. Long story short, I arrive the next morning with my best face on only to be greeted by the client with a scowl and the words, “I’ve spoken with my attorney” yadda, yadda. Well let’s just have a look shall we. The entire wall turned out to be two very small patches at two locations where irrigation emitters were placed. The paint had blistered and some of the stucco had turned to powder. Probably about a hundred to two hundred dollar repair if you paint the whole wall in the process. I suspect that the drip irrigation heads had popped off and the wall was wetted at these locations every time the system came on.

I make a practice out of making sure all parties are happy if reasonably possible. This was a no brainier; I informed my client that while there were limitations to the visual inspection, it is “possible” that it could have been discovered during the inspection. There’s no percentage in being right, I did however point out my limit of liability to the inspection fee paid, however, I went on to explain that in all cases that require less than $500 to repair that our company would take care of the invoice. This client actually thanked me for being in his opinion “the only reputable person in the transaction”.

You don’t always have to be right; the right thing to do more often than not is to “let” someone else be right. I’ll be using this example/story to show other realtors why they should use me instead of the other guy even if my prices are higher. This is the best advertising you could possibly do in a small community of realtors.

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. www.inspectorsuccess.com

An Inspectors Sour Feeling

June 26, 2005

Bob Kille Acuspect Home InspectionAfter my home inspection of a brand new, never been lived in house, I thought about calling the client and letting him know how things went. I don’t generally think about calling a client, but this report was gonna sour the deal to be sure. The realtor had already suggested to my client that he should use their guy to do the inspection. I guess I’ve got a reputation around here. My client thankfully liked the job I did for him last time and stuck with me.

Nine times out of ten, when you get a feeling about something you should act on it. A phone call today from my client underscores how people can interpret and blow out of proportion the comments in a report. To make things worse he acted on his fears and canceled the deal without speaking with me to sort out any concerns he had about the property.

I did this client a dis-service by not calling. I knew in the back of my head that a phone call was in order for this deal to stay in place. Frankly, this house and its conditions could have been fixed. Reports have a way of making things sound worse than they are. After our conversation, he said he had changed his mind and was willing to stay in the deal provided that the builder corrected all the conditions listed in the report, to which there were many.

Sour feelings require a pro-active stance, such as calling to explain conditions more thoroughly. Reports are short in there descriptions and much is left to an uneducated persons mind as to just how bad a condition may be. Make sure you always follow up in person on a report that gives you a sour feeling.

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. www.inspectorsuccess.com

Switch Me Twice

June 18, 2005

Bob Kille Acuspect Home InspectionGenerally, when checking lights during a home inspection, I’ll switch all the switches on the wall in the opposite direction to see what comes on and then I’ll put them all back to there initial state. Exceptions to this?

I thought so, but once again paid for my mistake. Here’s what took place. I went into an attic and switched on the light, it didn’t come on. No problem, probably a bad bulb. Just then I noted that I had thrown the switch down to check the light which is off on a single pole switch. This left me thinking that the light indeed had been left on and had burnt out. So for safety’s sake I left the switch in the off position.

Ring, Ring. What did you do in the attic, my TV doesn’t work anymore. Apparently, the electrician wired her antenna to the attic light fixture and not a constant source because that would have meant another 10 feet of wire. The bulb wasn’t burned out just unscrewed so the switch could stay on.

Leaving power off to a fixture not in use logically makes sense, but it makes more sense to leave any room the way you found it. Call backs like this can really screw with your day. She lived 1 1/2 hours away from me and demanded that I return immediately for her evening programming.

Another long day that just got longer. Stop thinking so hard and just hit the switch twice.

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. www.inspectorsuccess.com

Only In America

June 17, 2005

Bob Kille Acuspect Home InspectionI read this the other day in a home inspection trade rag and thought I’d share it with you.

A Charlotte, NC lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, and then insured them against fire, among other things. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the lawyer filed claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost in a series of small fires. The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. The lawyer sued…and WON!

In delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer “held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be anacceptable fire” and was obligated to pay the claim. Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the rare cigars lost in the “fires.”

NOW FOR THE BEST PART… After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was
sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.

This is a true story and was the First Place winner in the recent Criminal Lawyers Award Contest.


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. www.inspectorsuccess.com

Four Bucks

June 11, 2005

Bob Kille Acuspect Home InspectionSurety bonds for the non-insured home inspection company are a necessary part of doing business in the State of Arizona and I’m sure there are other states that require them or soon will. I applied for one this year from the Ralph Rigo Agency in NY. After filling out the paper work, getting a cashier’s check for the five grand and checking off the expideted return request I waited for the bond.

Ten days after they recieved my money and still no bond I gave them a call. Seems they sent everything out priority mail 8 or 9 days ago and told me that I should wait another 3 days to see if it didn’t show up. That’s when things started to smell bad. I requested to talk the the owner Ralph but keep getting a different person who said they could take care of me. This is how they proposed to do it. Give us your master card number and we will re-issue another bond for you at the rate of $24.95 and oh yeah, by the way we will send it out right away by snail mail. Unless of course you’d like to have us FED EX it for an additional fee.

After explaining to the second lady for a second time that I already paid for the bond issue in my application but did not recieve it and I had already paid for an expidited mailing, she relented on the bond re-issue of $24.95 but she couldn’t priority mail it unless I paid for another expedited fee of $4.00. It was lost on her that I already paid for the priority mail service. Her reply, we can’t help what happens to the mail and that I should be happy that there gonna re-issue the bond without charging me again.

I couldn’t believe my ears, were talking about 4 bucks! I ask again for Ralph, a ten minute wait on hold and Ralpf comes on to explain that “we don’t control the mail and that if you want your bond priority mailed out the next day, to please give my credit card info to the receptionist”. I explain again that it’s already been paid for so would he please send it out ASAP to which he replied, it will go out regular mail. I’m getting the feeling they never sent it out at all. When I asked if they had the tracking number Ralpf steadfastly refused to believe there was any such service offered with priority mail and even if there was they wouldn’t bother with it. Hmm, legal paperwork representing $5,000 deposited in a trust account and no tracking number.

So Ralpf, I say, are you telling me that you’d rather lose a yearly recurring customer than place my bond in a $4.00 priority mail package? I kid you not, his reply, “I’ll place your bond in the mail”. Things must be done a whole lot different in NY. Is it possible that this is standard operating procedure, hold back the bond and see if the customer will pay for a re-issue? In effect paying for it twice. Sounds like NY. Hope I haven’t been scammed for the $5,000 to boot.

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. www.inspectorsuccess.com

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