A Re-Inspection of a Different Sort

A client called me for a re-inspection but she wants to e-mail the pictures of the work that was completed and have me for lack of a better word sign off on it. I don’t know what was done yet and I have not responded to her either. It would be an hour and a half drive each way and she said she would like to save me the time which I believe, she is a good client of mine and we have a good repor. Is this a mine field?

What were the issues? How many issues? I might consider it, but not on something extensive. I’d still charge her.

I would explain to my client that if inspections were that simple, I could have conducted the original from the photos that the realtor posted with the listing.

I would follow that up with the fact that inspections involve use of a variety of the senses…sight being only one of them. The smell of leaking gas cannot be detected from a photo of a new elbow on a gas line. Nor can a wet fitting be detected on a copper service line without feeling it. Can I detect a wobble in the photo of the new handrail? Is the solitary photo of the new insulation in the attic representative of the thickness throughout the whole attic? Can I still smell mold from the photo of the clean basement wall where the mold used to be? And so on…and on…and on…

I would end by apologizing that I am not able to be very helpful in reporting upon the condition of anything based strictly on a photo and then offer to perform a proper re-inspection on my terms.

Exactly. Plus remember we are general inspectors not licensed tradesmen ex electricians, plumbers, and so on. If she wants to have a second opinion I would hire the trade in question.

Ok, you skeptics. Let’s say the issue the woman wants reinspected is: 1) Raising the water heater 18 inches and 2) Putting a light bulb in the attic.

She offers to pay you $100 to check out 2 photos. You’d rather drive 3 hours for $150? Not everything is black and white. We don’t know the whole story yet.

If NASA can inspect the moon from 221,463 miles away, why couldn’t a very basic, cut & dried, re-inspection be done using photos?

Well…for one thing, I think it is much easier and less expensive for her to simply use a tape measure and see that the water heater has been raised…than to take a photo of it and mail it to me to tell her if it has been raised.

Secondly…will she be sending you two photos of the light bulb in the attic? One on…one off?:wink:

You make a very good point, Joe.

If anyone signs off on work performed, it should be the contractor who performed the work, not the home inspector who simply looked at photos.

I always charge for a re-inspection of initial issues and being there on-site is the only proper way of doing it.

If she is that good a customer then I would drive out to the house, inspect the work done and still charge the $100.00 You will be covering your azz and the customer should be exremely pleased which should equal more referrals.

just write it up as such. it looks fine from the pictures and state it is limited without actually seeing it for yourself

And that is the way I am leaning. If it is something so basic then yes. I also don’t want to charge her because she has given me a lot of work and I would like yo keep her as a client.

I am with David on this, if I can’t see it in person with my own eyes then why risk it, and why can’t or won’t the contractor sign off on it?

Here is the latest. The four items in question are: Rotted soffit boards, wood in the crawlspace, a disconnected dryer duct in the crawl and a loose gutter. These would need an on site re-inspection which I explained to her and she has no problem with paying a fee for the time involved.
Thank you for all of your advice. :smiley:

None of these are technical in nature. If she can access them to photo them, she can see them and make the determination herself. I would offer to talk her through where to look and what to look for on the phone while she checks the items herself. Save me the trip and her the expense. I don’t charge for phone support, even for non-clients. I consider it good will and builds referrals.

I have been doing these for years, just another of my many choices.

This would be My “Emailed Photo’s Inspection” for $99.99 for up to three Photo’s…

They aren’t technical but she has no desire to get into the crawlspace and these are lender requirement so the repairs need to have a set of eye balls on them. Fortunately my partner lives much closer and will be able to do the re-inspect. She has given me a lot of work so I don’t mind giving her a little something in return.

Ive done many re-inspections after repairs have been made easy money. Just make sure the client knows that you don’t have the authority to pass or fail any repairs made. I comment only on the items that are asked to be reviewed & state in my reports that items appear to or appear to have not been altered since last evaluation was performed.