Customers talking to you during inspection.. distraction?

New inspector here I will be taking my state exam soon but I had a question…

How do you feel about your customer being with you during an inspection? My wife said when she lived in Florida the inspector forbid anyone including the homeowner from being present during the inspection.

Being new it would probably be a distraction especially if a customer is demanding immediate answers that might take some time to analyze not to mention it’s adding extra pressure on the inspector

How do you deal with this issue?

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I can only speak for me. They are a distraction, however I don’t mind them being there. I take control. I tell them, I’m going to do the exterior alone. Then, I’ll take them around the house and point out things of importance. Then I go inside, rinse and repeat.

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I agree with Brain. If the buyers want to be there I let them. I tell them ahead of time there will be times when I am in a bubble concentrating on what I doing. I at least try to organize my pictures in the right category in my report so I can write my narratives later. When I am alone I voice type my narratives as I go. The worst is when you are inspecting a multi unit and the owner is there letting you into each unit talking to you the entire time.

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IMO if you tell your customer they can’t be there you’ll lose a lot of clients. When they insist on being there I always try to convince them to come toward the end because they will get bored during a three-hour inspection, and they usually agree.

You just have to learn how to converse with them and don’t let them distract you from your job.

When I first started I did not like the seller to be present. But in my experience I have learned a lot from them that I would not have known about the house. So now I’m more than welcome for them to be there, that is most of the time.

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I use to do the Dog & Pony Show. Now I give a small assessment at the end and go home.
“Yes, its a dam distraction on site!”
Think about it! Ever try to be really romantic when you have your wife talking to you about doing the laundry but your girlfriend distracting you between the sheets???

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I give them a clipboard of paper and a tape measeuure and tell them that I have a routine that I follow so I don’t miss things.

If they have a question to write it down and I will answer it when I get there or to wait until I am done typing to answer their question, if they are near me.

Otherwise, I will be glad to answer any questions and explain stuff at the end when we go over the report highlights.

I worked well for me.

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^^^^ THIS ^^^^ couldn’t have said it better!!

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Why not just have them come at the end then?

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It is a distraction, especially when there are multiple people. I tell them that most people get bored after the first half hour and that the best option is to come near the end. If they insist on being present for the entire inspection, it is helpful to arrive a half hour or so early, if possible, and get your process going before they arrive.

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I agree with Brian, I will let the client know that if I give a play by play, it will prolong the inspection and it could distract me from noticing something important. So I tell them that I give a summary and walk around after the exterior, and then the interior. Some prefer to just come back at the end, some insist on following me around, and I have had the odd inspection with the buyer, the seller, and each of their realtors present. 1st time buyers sometimes need a bit of extra time, whereas some busybodies who won’t stop talking get their own notebook and I lend them a laser measuring tape. I let them see it as a perk that if there were any measurements they need to take, NOW would be a good time and that often get s them off my back. One thing for sure is that by having the client present, even if just at the end, it allows to build a rapport with the client and definitely increases the number of referrals. Also, if there are any major items to point out, the client will have a better idea of what you are talking about in the report than if they just read it.

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My customers are the reason that I am in business. I encourage them to follow along on the inspection. If you don’t, you will lose many first time customers and subsequent referrals.

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Like Larry K, I give them something to do to keep them reasonably busy. Mine - check the electrical outlets and switches to see if they are all working. Or like Larry a clip board and tape measure to check window dressings, appliances, and other measurable. I also will provide a periodic update of the “significant issues”. I believe your client has the right to attend and be made aware of what you find. And, yes, it can be a distraction, but setting some ground rules generally works. What I find most distracting is the home owners wanting to follow you around and tell you what’s not a problem or give me their POV.

This is tempting to do, but I always ask them to leave the inspecting to me.

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Ditto what Brian said with the exception that I don’t consider them a distraction.

The inspection is a process that you need to command and control, don’t let anyone else do it for you.

As far as the home owner goes, they give me permission to be on their property, not the other way around, and although they usually do leave, I have had many inspections where they stayed, normally they’ll ask me if I need anything and then they stay out of the way and let me do my thing.

I don’t mind having the owner/manager tagging along, he or she will generally engage with each tenant and stay out of my hair.

But I learn far more from the tenants, who often provide context and point to good stuff. It’s tedious to hear them tell me where the smoke detectors are (happens all the time) but I generally can quickly establish that I inspect lots of units and don’t need help finding things.

Since covid, nobody really wants to tag along very closely. Count this as a pandemic silver lining.

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Agreed, but it never hurts to have them see what is working, especially if the inspector only “randomly checks” a representative number.

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I am just getting started myself and I think I am going to tell them that they are welcome to come along for ALL THREE HOURS of the inspection. And I am going to emphasize the three hour part and see just what response I get.

Personally I prefer the client being there. It is better explaining things and showing them at the same time. At the end I then go over what I have found again. This way once I hit send on my computer I never hear from them again (except for Thank You) because all their questions are already answered.

I will admit some ask too many questions. This mostly happen when the client brings their family. If the questions become unbearable then I tell them when I see an issue will say something to them. At that point they usually not bother me anymore.

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When I say 3 to 5 hours, they’re writing the check and leaving within 20 minutes. LOL.

Very true statement, especially when they keep giving you the deer in the headlights look.

Very good idea. I give them one my company pens and paper, tell them to walk around and note things that concern them and then say I will give what they wrote “extra attention”. Makes them feel like they’re part of the process and important.

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