buyers Hiring Contractors to do Home Inspections

I wasn’t sure how to title this, but am having problems with people hiring individual contractors such as plumber, electricians, etc to do their home inspection. This doesn’t happen real ofter but it happened to me again the other day.

A young woman called me the other day and wanted to know what I charge to do a structural inspection. I said I normally do complete home inspections. she said she did need strutural only she was already hiring an electrician and a plumber. I said what about your roof, she said oh it is new it doesn’t need to be inspected. I said how new, did you know we had hail damage all over town recently, she said no. I said well you had better get the roof checked! I also tried to tell her that hiring separate contractors that many things can fall through the cracks. But I said if you want structural only I can do it for $100 she said she would talk to her husband. OK later she called and told me to do the inspection Monday morning, I said OK. Well a few hours later I was taking my car to the mechanic to get the a/c checked out and her lawyer called me and started interrogating me on my qualifications and wanted to know if I was licensed and bonded, etc. I said I am licensed by the state of Oklahoma and have insurance but not bonded. I told him I normally do complete home inspections. He told me he has bought several homes and only hired electricians, plumbers, etc and never had any problems. I explained that was not normal and that things could fall through the cracks. he bluntly told me he would tell her the message…whatever I thought. When I got home I called NACHI and they told me that was a red flag for her lawyer to call me. I called her back and was nice to her but told her my concerns, she said do you think you have something to worry about? long story short we talked a little she said bye. OK later on she called and said there was a change of plans and they would no longer need my services. I told her I was expecting that! we said bye and that was it.

This kind of got to me, the ignorance of some people and their attitude really sucks. I was trying to help her and give her advice but it turned against me, and her lawyer calling me really bothered me. Anyone else out there have any similar experiences?

I havent been in here for a while but wondering why is it showing me as a non-member? I am a member of NACHI

I think it would be good if NACHI would address this issue of various contractors doing homow inspections for some buyers instead of home inspectors doing the job. How can we educated the clients? For some reason these people think that by going to specialists they will get beter inspections.

If they’re hiring specialists (electricians, plumbers, roofers, etc.) to inspect specific systems, they will get a “better” inspection. They will also get a much larger bill.

That is the point of a “generalist” inspection (as compared to a specialists inspection).

We give a “general,” overall opinion, based on visual observations made during our short visit. A specialists inspection, one would assume, would be “technically-exhaustive” and would require more time to complete in most cases.

The 1st thing inspectors have to do is quit using boiler plate report systems that are only designed to cover your butt opposed to giving the customer your professional opinion, even if there is no defect identified these reporting systems gives the customer a boiler plate disclaimer stating, if you** really** want to know the condition of any given component you may want to have a qualified contractor check it out again, just to cover your butt…
Why would or should the customer waste additional dollars and time on an uneducated inspector using this type of reporting system??:roll: :roll:


If I am reading what you said correctly it sounds like you are on the side of the contractors is that correct? I thought this was a home inspector forum. OK where did the boiler plate come from? Are you saying I use boiler plate? That is not true, as a matter of fact I create custom reports with a lot of digital photos, a narrative and a summary which is a lot of work but looks great when I am done. My clients sometime go WOW! when they see my report. But if I were a betting man I bet I would find things the contrators will miss, because they have tunnel vision and only know one profession well. She was only hiring a plumber and an electrician do you see the gaps? I have inspected brand new homes that contractors screwed up and they and the realtor got mad at me when I found the defects ha ha h ha. A lot of contractors are crooked and in the realtors pocket and so are many home inspection what a shame.

Another thing if you think about it contractors will have an interest in doing the repairs so they may be tempted to do extra work needed or not just to make money. We home inspectors are not supposed to be biased we just report the facts only and have not insterest and are not allowed to make repairs on the home we inspect. One more thing it is my understandikng that contractors are not trained to do inspections and will not give a detailed report.

NO, on me saying what type of report that YOU provide.
I’m just stating facts on one reporting system that I’ve seen many times.

No I am not siding with the contractor, inspectors that disclaim everthing by referring everthing after they inspected the componet are the ones creating the customer to ask , and on more than one occasion decide not to do anything listed on the report, due to being over whelmed ] why should I hire an inspector when all the inspector does is refer everything to a contractor anyways??

I just thought of something else. I remember a few years ago a Realtor said to me “why do we need you, the buyer can just hire an electrician, plumber, etc” (Realtors do not like me because I am labled deal killer) I tried to explain that for one thing it would cost more. The Realtor really was not interested in a better inspection from contractors she was giving me a hard time. Plus I imagine many of the local contractors in this small town are in the Realtors pocket.

First, expand your market. All of these are within an hour or so of you.
And I’ll bet that people in Ponca are working in those areas.

There is a service and cost difference between home inspection and technically exhaustive inspections.

Set yourself up to do both. Offer your customer choices.

Home inspection with just you.

Technically exhaustive with subs and you compile and report. (Home Team Style)

You need to get a marketing line together for both of these and sell them on the one you want to provide.

You need to be able to identify the gaps that this customer is leaving open and explain to her (and her lawyer) why she should hire you to fill those gaps.

You can be the best inspector in the world but if you can’t make the phone ring and sell yourself when it does, you’re going hungry.

Learn to sell yourself. (NO, not for that, for home inspection services!)

NACHI is a great resource for that. USE IT!

Good advice, Erby. RR’s TECH inspections are an excellent example of how this is done. Liability is reduced by using trade pros (who have their own insurance), income is increased by subbing out the work and increasing rates accordingly (price often is not an issue for those interested in this kind of expert evaluation), and buyers (like the one in this example) can get all the assurance they need and come to you to handle it all.

"because I am labled deal killer"

In my area we have a long serving inspector (an engineer) who is labelled a deal killer (and really is). I have been called quite a few times to offer my advice and help save a deal. The guy apparently gets excited over some pretty small items, calls every little crack and spooks the buyers. At this point, the buyers want out and thank him for saving their *** and “we’ll call you again when we find another prospective house!!”

By killing the deal, he usually gets another inspection. May be the way he wants to operate. My philosophy is “I’m part of a team- lawyer, lender, realtor and maybe surveyor that are all trying to make the deal work.” The house or some other item will break it; no one in the team is trying to break the sale.

Realtors (except the one who sold me my house 15 years ago) don’t recommend me because I take between 2.5 and 4.5 hrs on most average houses from 1000-3,000 sq ft while others take about half that. That is inspection time, not including report writing and delivery which takes me another 2-3 hours. The realtors don’t like to spend that time on site. I find a lot of things that have been missed by others (couple of $10,000 items last year). The deals went through so I’m not labelled a deal killer. The realtors had to go back to the negotiating table though (They don’t like that). Its how you present the situations.

I think that if you’re labelled a deal killer but are truly a thorough and accurate inspector (how I like to describe myself), have a look at how you operate.

<Sorry I am trying to get used to this forum, I tried to cut and paste what I have just written and it will not let me. I think it would help if we could copy, cut, and paste>

To cut and paste High lite it like you normally do then go to the top right of your screen and click edit then copy you now can paste it like this …

( Sorry I am trying to get used to this forum, I tried to cut and paste what I have just written and it will not let me. I think it would help if we could copy, cut, and paste )

<I guess I don’t understand what you are saying. Is RR’s Tech inspections a company? Does can company sub out plumbers, electricians and so on to do complete home inspections? I thought the issue was that yes maybe electricians will know their job well but are not traded to look at a house from an inspection point of view and their reports are not well written. You could have a house full of contractors and many things would get missed. Whats the old saying cannot see the forest for the trees? A good inspector will look at the house as a whole and see the big picture, were contrators will only focus on their area of expertise. An electrician will not see the trip hazard, the lost seal in the windows, dry rot on the eaves, poor drainage around the house, safety hazards especially for children, etc. Also how many electricians will check for voltage drops with a SureTest Circuit Analyzer? It has been my experience when I show an electrician my SureTest they don’t know what it is. So bottom line are we doing a good job for our clients or should we go back to the old school and just let the contractors:roll:tors do the inspections?

<Thank You for the excellent positive post. I have been trying to expand for years and has been difficult. Most of my inspections either come from people finding me on the web or by word of mouth. Believe it or not I do more inspections out of town then right here in my home town. It was because of the Realtors. Clients have told me Realtors really cuss me and have told all kinds of lies about me. If I had enough evidence I think I would sue them. My inspections are a little slow but manage to keep my head above water. One time I traveled from where I live North Central Oklahoma to SE Oklahoma close to the Texas border. I jump in my Honda and will go where ever the money takes me. The big problem is Realtors, and the pubic needs an education, that Realtors are in the business of selling homes we are in the business of finding probmes with the home so the two do not mix very well. We are there to help our clients so they will not be walking into a money pit, or safety hazards. We give them the ammunition for negotiations or to walk if need be. Sometimes I feel bad when business is slow but my reward is not just the money but knowing I have helped my clients. When they praise me for my work it is Worth it all.>

RR is Russel Ray. He is the first one I am familiar with who began offering different levels of inspections.

The TECH inspection works like this: subcontract with a group of local trade pros. They each do their own specific trade inspection, including a report (which I have not found to be poorly written, but I do find I have to reformat them - with permission - into my own template to make them consistent). I then perfrom the overall inspection. This provides the client with a specific, thorough, professional-level evaluation of all of their systems which far exceeds generalist knowledge (as this client appeared to want) and also gives them the benefit of the generalist inspection.

You, as the generalist, coordinate the inspection and all the subs. The client gets an exhaustive inspection that is better in each specific trade than nearly any HI can offer. And you are providing a useful service that people like the attorney may refer to for clients like this.

You will also find clients who are fairly saavy and can identify trip hazards or broken thermal seals on their own, but are a bit apprehensive about electric.

If you think you provide a better electrical inspection than a qualified electrician, then I might suggest that you know some poor electricians (most of the ones I work with have taught me a thing or two about electric).

In then end, it sounds like you are trying to sell a single style of inspection to a client who wants something else. I’m not trying to change the way you do STANDARD inspections, but by getting alittle creative, you can offer different levels of inspections, and serve more clients’ needs while making yourself a more valuable resource for a wider range of prosective clients.


"Liability is reduced by using trade pros"

Be carefull of the “trade pros” you use!!! In the past 3-4 weeks I have inspected the “for sale” homes of 2 certified electricians (mentioned on another post elswhere on this site). The first sale was broken by the house electrical; the second is still pending and has a good chance of not going through because I found so many electrical items. This makes 9-10 times that I have gone up against electricians in the last 2-2.5 years and each time I have come out on top.

Last year, in one home (engineer owned) previously inspected by others only 4-5 years before, the installing electrician used the wrong wire size for an electric water heater. It was checked by a second electrician (called in by the engineer) and said to be “OK”. The local code inspector (called in by the engineer because I fought the opinion of the second sparkie) said “you should listen to your home inspector”. This house also had 60% knob & tube wiring- not mentioned by his HI 4-5 years ago, “OK’ed” by the present code inspector, and refused by the buyer’s insurance company (all as I had mentioned / warned at my inspection). In the end, the deal still went through but at $10,000 reduction to the buyer.

Once more: If you’re going to use a tradesman in your business, make sure they’re passionate about their knowledge and leadership in their industry. If not, learn much more about the particular specialty and do it yourself. At least you’ll have some control then.

I would stop short of scolding an electrician from having soem electrical concerns in his home, since mine is not perfect, either. (I *can *tell you exactly what is wrong, however!:wink: )

But your point is well taken, in that all trade pros are not created equal. Here, I have found many through my affiliation with local groups and chambers of commerce, as well as via Angie’s List or client referrals (people who they used to address problems idenitified in my reports, that they found to be worth tellin gothers about.)

It is also important to verify that they carry insurance, and establish their responsilibity for their portion of the inspection.

I have never heard of TECH Inspections before, I suppose it might be a good idea sometimes but I think it would rarely be used in my small town. It seems like it would be complicated to corrdinate all the Contractors and then make up the reprot and hopfully nothing gets missed. I wonder if it is even legal to do that here in Oklahoma. A guy would have to charge a lot of money to pay for all of the contractors, and doubt many people in this part of the country are willing to pay. Anyway I thought that home inspections were created to supply a need. Do a search on the net and you will find almost infinite web site of home inspectors and training for home inspectors etc. Then do a search on contractors doing inspections and you will be hard pressed to find anything. So to me contrators doing home inspections is not the norm and a little weird. I still say that many many things can fall through the cracks if people hire contractors. That is why we are here to fill that gap. If you needed a check up would you go to a brain surgeon or a heart specialist? No! You would first go to a regular MD for physical because he or she will look at the whole picture of the condition of your body, then if problems show up you would be sent to the specialist in the particular area that was needed…doesn’t that make sense? I still think it is error for people to hire contrators and not have much respect for the professional home inspector. The public needs to be educated, and inspectors need to become better inspectors.