First Paid Inspection Done

I got a call out of the blue on Friday someone saying they needed a home inspection in a town about an hour from my town. I thought it was some of my friends playing a joke on me - It was a bit of a surprise to say the least. Anyway it ended up being a legit customer and I got through my first inspection. This was the best thing for me bc i was getting a little complacent. I ended up writing all the recommendations down on paper and taking loads of photo’s and then went back home to create the report in spectora which worked well. It took me about 6 hours yesterday. Here is a link if anyone is interested.

I do have some questions from this experience and would appreciate any advice.

I was able to get general liability insurance and E&O insurance through NEXT the day before the inspection - I needed something quickly. The client E-signed the internachi Inspection agreement through the spectora website. So at least I got that done. The experience made my think a few things…

This most probable screwups I could see happening based on my limited experience are.

  1. Missing something minor or major in the inspection and then they buy the house and are pissed at you

This paragraph is from the internachi agreement - this basically says (i think) If we miss something in the inspection - you agree that we are not liable. So what’s the problem - why do we need extra E&O insurance? That paragraph seems pretty water-tight…

LIMITATION ON LIABILITY AND DAMAGES. We assume no liability for the cost of repair or replacement of unreported defects, either current or arising in the future. In all cases, our liability is limited to liquidated damages in an amount not greater than 1.5 times the fee you paid us. You waive any claim for consequential, exemplary, special or incidental damages or for the loss of the use of the home/building.

To be honest - this next paragraph basically - says I’m not prepared to carry the liability of missing something in the inspection - I can carry the liability but it’s going to cost you a lot more???

You acknowledge that this liquidated damages is not a penalty, but that we intend it to: (i) reflect the fact that actual damages may be difficult or impractical to ascertain; (ii) allocate risk between us; and (iii) enable us to perform the inspection for the agreed-upon fee. If you wish to eliminate this liquidated damages provision, we are willing to perform the inspection for an increased fee of $______, payable in advance.

  1. Damaging the house (Leaving the water on or the oven on, etc)
    Im hoping my general liability policy would cover this? I’m trying to read through the policy but it looks like chinese to me in fairness. I drove away from the inspection and was 30 mins down the road and drove back to double check everything - I was that paranoid.

  2. Falling off my ladder or somehow injuring myself on the job.
    I have my own health insurance from my main job but I don’t think they would cover a claim if they knew i had fallen off a roof on a side job. Do you folks typically carry extra workman’s compensation or injury insurance for yourselves?

The last question I had was when I got to Attc - there was no way I could have walked it. It was a very low sloping roof. There was no plywood across the joists and i would have had to crawl across the joists - I couldnt walk or crawl it in fairness. I had my limitation from the spectora report and took some photos near the attic entrance. Would you folks really crawl through an attic like that? Just curious

Thanks again for any advice.
Tim

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good questions… im just starting my training …ive been in the building trades for 20+ years…but i would like to know the answers to these questions as well…

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Here’s how I view it. The agreement is designed as a deterrent for a client to pursue anything more than a refund of the inspection fee. If the client has a solid claim and gets a lawyer/court involved, that’s when you will need the insurance.

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so if you dont fill in that higher price section for full liabilty when you sign it your fine i guess right?

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I removed that section actually. It sounds silly to me.

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As far as the attic, use your best judgement. Most attics in my area have very deep insulation. It is a large liability to blindly crawl through it without a catwalk.

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where did you get the contract? you can cut thing out of it?

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It really depends on the attic. If I think I can get around the attic and back to the access without causing damage or getting injured, I’ll crawl around to where I can. If there is not enough room or the insulation is too thick to see where I could step or crawl, I do the best I can from the access. Do what your comfortable with and note any limitations in your report.

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yeah if the pitch is too low and there is no cat walk fastened to the joists,I would just sit at the attic opening with a flash light and camera and look best you can for wetness, critter infestaition, structural damages, etc. from there…if you try n crawl around the joists ,even if you could stand on them, there is a high probability youll damage the ceiling just moving those joist around causing the old drywall screws to loosen and push through the sheet rock. not worth the risk. trust me

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I use the NACHI agreement but have modified it to suit my needs.

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If you link to your actual finished report, perhaps redacted as to address, people might give feedback.

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I hear you. That link should do that.

That link won’t work like that. You have to make your report a sample report in Spectora. Then go to settings, sample reports, and copy a link to the report from there. Let me know if you are having any trouble and I’ll see if I can walk you through it.

Also, think carefully before posting your sample report on the forum. Many members (including me sometimes :grin:) can be quite, how shall we say, blunt, with their critique. Make sure you have thick skin!

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Only if you have a Spectora account. Why not save it as a PDF and publish it here?

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It won’t even work if you have a Spectora account. Unless you know his username and password. Also, Spectora PDFs’ suck. I encourage the OP to use the method I stated above. Then you will be able to see the report as it is meant to be seen.

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TC-sample-report.pdf (11.1 MB)

Hopefully that will work. Sorry I would have gotten it sooner. Thank you to anyone who has a look. Go easy though its my first one. Any insight on the insurance questions i appreciate too.
Hope all you folks are keeping warm! Its fricken cold out there.
Tim

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Sorry Lads - I didnt know that.

About a million major defects yet the SOP you reference describes material defects. Is there a definition of defects in the report for your client?

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I only did a quick glance of your report. But in my opinion way too many things in the summary, such as paint stains.
And also too many disclaimers, such as how you won’t guarantee the roof from leaking, and other things you will not do or that or generally not part of a home inspection.

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Im using a template from Big Ben - and I might have turned that section off but I agree there needs to be a definition of the different defects.