Foreclosures and shady clients....CAUTION!

Hi everyone,

Here’s a story for you… It “pays” to use your 6th sense.

I got a call from some sellers, “selling” a foreclosure and wanted an inspection… I thought this is strange!!! The seller who is foreclosing can’t afford his payment, wants to pay for an inspection… I find this out while I am at the property.

So I start tesing a hose bib, and no water pressure… The water meter is LOCKED OFF by the City and shut off. So the sellers still want be to do the inspection… I told them, sorry can’t do the inspection… water is shut-off and I can’t really do a thorough job… so I left.

Here’s the question: Why would a seller who is being foreclosed on, who can’t even pay his water bill… want to pay me $300 to do an inspection on his condo that appeared to be freshly renovated, painted, new carpet, etc. Place didn’t even look like a foreclosure… it was actually nice.

Something just wasn’t right… and I am glad that I left the property.
Anyone have similar experiences with this?

Story is a little confusing but why not just ask the client that question before you chuck it down the tubes?

There’s more than one reason for the water to be shut off. Not necessarily just that the water bill wasn’t paid. It’s not our place to decide what is going on and to not do the inspection. You may not be deducing the situation correctly.

He’s the owner, took it back from the person he sold it to originally, renovated it and is now reselling it. He wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything he missed. I personally think you made a big mistake.

Go with your gut.

How much?

Better than this home inspecting crap, I hope? :mrgreen:

You’ve established a new inpection category: “Walk Aways”

How does one go about marketing, these?

There are many potential scenarios but what you believe is the only one that matters. I may have asked more questions but would still go with my gut.

I’ve been doing these for awhile now. Basically, when I meet someone and they ask for my business card I just turn and walk away. When a potential client calls on the phone I just hang up after a few seconds. When I get an e-mail about my services I simply don’t respond. Now, I have to admit that although there is a fair amount of activity with this approach it is not all that lucrative. Maybe someone can help me tweak my process. Oh, and I have confirmed that this method meets our state’s licensing laws. :slight_smile:

Maybe the fella’s that called you were the Owners of the place and wanted an inspection as the people that they foreclosed on hadn’t made the payments and needed to see where they stand with the property before assuming it back, as for the water off , you should have wavied the plumbing section as to no water and finished the inspection. IMHO

Over the years I have found that people hire me for various reasons, of course most of my clients are by nature conventional and have a sincere need to know the current condition of the home they are buying, but about 3% of my jobs come from clients who are seeking a home inspectors aid in getting out their contract. I make it a point of never asking why people hire me but given the questions asked during the inspection it becomes fairly easy to figure out who is who.

I don’t care what my clients motive is for hiring me, my report is my report, use it however you wish. On the other hand, when I get that gut feeling about being paid I simply ask for cash prior to starting. This method has worked well for me, try it, it is much better then walking away form a potential job and provides a more fertile ground for future referrals which by the way is the lifeblood of my business.

**Cash **does seem to help the gut feel better…:mrgreen:

Hi Everyone,
Thanks for your feedback… sorry I left out some details, I wrote this post at 12:00 am… I was tired…

Let me add some details to this story:

  1. The Client never told me “why” the water was shut-off, but his name on the City Water Department shut-off tag at the meter… He told me that he didn’t know why the water was off!!! The Cities I inspect in, it takes a while before the City will shut off your water… at least 3 months of non-payment.

  2. I did ask him why he wanted the inspection…I received the “Deer in headlights look”… very strange!!!

  3. He still wanted me to do the inspection with the water off??? And come back again when the water was turned on!!!.. I could have mentioned, inspection PAID via CASH only… but I think I would have received another deer in the headlights look… :slight_smile:

I trusted my gut with this one… and if you are ever encountered with a similar situation, you should trust yours too…

I am not hurting for business… 17 inspections this month has me exhausted anyways…

When I was renting out my house before it was foreclosed on, the water ultimately was in the owner’s name, MINE, and even though it was my renter that had let the bill lapse I was responsible for getting it paid up to date and having it turned back on.
Unfortunately it was tied into the garbage service also which they hadn’t paid either, both of which I had to pay to inhabit the house legally. The total bill to get the service back on was almost $700. I had the deer in the headlights look as well I can assure you. Especially when the water company told me they would put a lein on my house to collect for the bill.

Nope, the owner’s name that hired me to do the inspection… his name was on the shut-off tag and he told me he lived there (NO tenants). If the guy can’t afford to turn his water back on, how can he afford my inspection…

I guess I could have said… pay cash right now, before the inspection begins or no inspection. I don’t trust you! I could have… but didn’t want to push the issue with them.

I always have them pay for the inspection upfront. Before I even go to the inspection. Through Paypal, or if it’s a check, I make sure I can cash the check first. I won’t inspect without pay.

Relatives or best friends can also be led wrong .
This is what is happening in many areas.