"Cover Letter" w/report?

Does anyone do any kind of custom-tailored narrative with the report delivery? As you regulars know I’m recently inspecting in Maui after years on the mainland and a dynamic I’m noticing is that 90%+ of my clients don’t attend the inspection. Most are on the mainland buying vacation rentals and aren’t around. I talk to some on the phone or email back and forth a bit but it’s a much different “vibe” than I’m used to.

I talk to my buyers a lot at the inspection and I didn’t realize what a big part it was for me until it’s not there. Sure, I’ve had plenty of inspections w/o buyers but the numbers are almost reversed here - 90% don’t attend v. 90% do on the mainland. Anyway, I was thinking of working some kind of narrative to deliver with the report… but outside the report… but once it’s in writing it might as well be in the report, etc., etc. I could just send an email to each client but that seems to be begging for responses and opening a dialogue. My reports go out through ISN with a pre-written cover-email. I don’t really want to change that for every inspection.

I’m just curious if/what you do if/when you don’t meet your clients face to face. A big part of this is just because I’m used to interacting with my buyers. But I’ll also admit part of it is to protect my butt developing a bit of a relationship with my clients. People are MUCH less likely to conclude you were negligent if they like you and trust you. Basically, it’s MUCH easier for them if they’ve never met you.

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I think your in a unique situation. But I think short and sweet is fine. They hired you to inspect, do that. You can add in a few kind words such as thank you for choosing me and it was a pleasure to perform this service.

Maybe add an executive summary.

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Here is a simple Cover Letter.
Dear … …
Thank you very much for entrusting Robert Young’s Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc. with your home or building inspection needs.
Click the link below to download your inspection report. It is in PDF format. For best results, save the report document ‘to your desktop’, then open the report. The report requires Adobe Reader to open.

Thanks again for using Robert Young’s Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc for your home or building inspection needs. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email us anytime.

Best regards.
Robert Young
Robert Young’s Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.

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I agree with Brian.

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I tend to take more photos to include in the report when they buy “site unseen”, but that’s really the only difference for me.

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Matt… I am in a similar situation as yourself.
For 20+ years, it seems that 95% of my clients attended 100% of the inspection. Since COVID, I rarely have a client attend, and those that do usually only for a walk-through at the end. Granted, it is a nice change of pace to be able to completely focus on the home without distractions, but it is just weird and I feel something is missing, so I wind up touring the home a second time to make sure I got every room.

IMO, cover letters are a must!

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I like the “Inspector Jeff”. I might take that

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You should at least use “Inspector Mike”! :wink:

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I just do a “Brief Summary” email that addresses my main concerns. I also always put a
disclaimer in the email that it’s “only a summary” and the report should be read in full and other issues may be included in the report that is not included in this email.

No problems and very few call backs so far.

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This is along the lines of what I was thinking. I have a boilerplate cover letter but I like the idea of something tailored specifically to the house… kind of like a summary or even just to tell them the view was nice, etc.

Nope nope nope. You are not their realtor nor their buddy. Just saying. We are not really that important to them on the “feel good” level. Let your very accurate useful reporting take center stage with a few courtesy statements to support your professionalism.

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I agree with Brian. We are not there to up-sell the home. Leave that to the agent.

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I mean this just as chit chat I’d normally have with them if they were there. I see nothing wrong with stating things about the property that have nothing to do with the technical aspects of the house that I am there to inspect. What I’d stay away from are comments (that I’ve seen in many reports) about, “well built property that has been well maintained…”. I regularly talks to buyers (or used to when they were around… LOL) about things in the neighborhood if I was aware. This just makes you a human and not a robot. We don’t have to run so scared that we can’t even talk to people. If I get sued for telling someone they have a nice view I’ll accept it.

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To each their own, Matt. If it works for you…go for it.

I’m with Matt. I make it a point to try and establish a personal connection with clients. It increases the chance of getting a good review and helps remove some stress from the process they are going through. Of course you have to “read the room.” Some clients do not want to chit chat and want to get right down to business.

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There was a study done on why some doctors got sued more than others. What they found was that it had less to do with how good the doctor was, but more to do with, did the patient like the doctor. Likable doctors got sued less.

If you want people to like you, chit chat with them about things that interest them. But don’t get involved with talking about: home value, is it a good deal, etc, because that could get you into trouble.

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Interesting, @mfellman might be onto something in an attempt to make it less transactional and more personal.

Generally, there are few documents that offer any sort of legal protection to an inspector… a ‘cover letter’ isn’t one of them. There should be NO report type information given in a cover letter, only instructions related to retrieving and interpreting the report.
JMHO.

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This is exactly what I was referring to. I’ve heard the same study compared to our industry many times.

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Too many HI’s are worried about “liability” in every thing they do to the extent it makes many of us look like wafflers.

To each their own on how you want to interact with clients, but I represent them and look out for their best interest in my inspection. I will interact with them because they are paying me for an inspection/opinion, not a robot.

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