Make Cents

February 25, 2006

Bob Kille Acuspect Home InspectionThose of you who read my posts generally know my business philosophy of paying out for any compliant, whether valid or not, up to a point of course. When you do a lot of inspections the addresses and clients are mostly vague memories so when you get the question, “do you remember the job you did at such and such, for Mr. & Mrs. blankety blank about 3 or 4 months ago?”

Well, I got that question as I was getting out of my car from the realtor, who happens to be by the way, one of my better sources of referrals. One of the reasons he uses/recommends me is that he knows I’ll take care of his clients without question. What I mean is, without “PROBING” questions.

Here’s why probing questions are out, and it’s a funny thing. When you start to question, you’re mind, unknown to you, is really just trying to justify why you shouldn’t be held responsible for the yuckety yuck problem. And in asking the probing questions your voice betrays you by sounding a bit indignant.

Questions with this tone, and its not one you can easily refrain from, also puts the realtor who brought up the questionable oversight on the defensive. What you really want is them to feel relaxed with the impression that they’re helping you with your relationships. i.e. (your customer base, and don’t forget the realtor is part of your customer base).

To combat this unconscious indignant tone and to put the realtor at ease I say, in an upbeat or apolegetic way, “So what did I miss?”. Thereby taking the position that whatever the problem is that comes out of his mouth is my fault, and the questions that I ask are ones geared to fix the condition while assuring him that the bill can be sent to me.

Whatever you do, make sure to thank the realtor for bringing this to your attention. I try not to offer any assitance in resolving the matter outside of an offer to pay, as quite often I’m never contacted for payment and I’ve still made good on my word to take care of any compliants.

So to get to the meat of this post, in being so ready to take responsibility with just a vague memory of the property, I had just agreed to fix the sellers problem. Turns out the realtor was the listing agent and the seller was renting back the property. When they were fixing to disconnect the washer at move out but the valve was stuck open. They complained to their listing realtor (the realtor in question) that the home inspector should have caught the condition so they shouldn’t be responsible because after all, it wasn’t their house anymore. Now, doesn’t that make sense?

I know, I know, there’s lots of good reasons why this shouldn’t be my problem and that just goes to show you why you shouldn’t go down that bumpy road with your voice betraying your real feelings all the while souring your relationship with the realtor.

You’ve got to know what the lifetime value of a good realtor is, so that this all makes cents. Yes I mean “cents”. Last year I performed over 30 inspections for this realtor at approx $300 each or $9,000 dollars worth of gross income. To make him feel any other way than that of helping me when he presents his sellers dilemma would be foolhardy at best.

My only problem now is to figure out how to get a wavier & release form signed by my client to make the payout. Company policy is never to payout without a signed wavier & release. Had I know from the start before I agreed to pay, whom I was paying, I could have at least requested that my client make the request. Now that it’s akward, by that, I mean to go back to the realtor to explian all of this, I’ll probably let it go and just pay the seller.

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.


February 12, 2006

Bob Kille Acuspect Home Inspection

Of all the things I could be writing about from my experiences at the NAHI & NACHI national conferences I pick this one experience cause it just sticks in my craw. I can’t decide if I’m just getting old and boring or if there’s a bigger cultural reason for rudeness.

All right, I’ll set the scene and you decide. I was with a new group of friends that I’d met at the vendor booths. We were all standing in the lobby waiting for a table at the local Olive Garden. Among us was a nice young girl who says she can’t order alcohol because she’s only nineteen.

Lets just call her Packy for now. Packy wants to know if I would be so kind as to order her a drink from the bar to which I respond, what will you have. Sex on the Beach or a Blow Job she replies with a straight face.

Not being much of a barfly in the last decade I wasn’t sure if she was putting me on or not. I’d be embarrassed to drink it yet alone order it, but here I go up to the bartender to ask for a Blow Job.

Yeh, it was embarrassing, the bartender didn’t know how to make one and I sure as heck wasn’t going to say I knew so the bartender points his finger at me and starts telling the patrons that the drink I ordered is called a Blow Job, did anyone know what’s in it. Turns out, someone did.

When I returned to the group with Packy’s drink and a slightly flush face I notice that Packy was busy with her phone, look like text messaging. So I’m standing there with her drink in my now cold hand chatting up and laughing with the others for a few minutes.

Curious to how someone could text message for so long on a phone I asked her who she was talking to, without looking up she states that she’s playing pac man on her phone and is nearly finished.

Now I don’t know about you, but as far as I can remember whenever I stood around with a group of friends talking and joking, none of them were playing pac man on their phone like the rest of us didn’t exist.

So I gota ask myself, were we that boring or is there a generation x/y thing going on here.

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.