Has This Ever Happened To You?

I booked an inspection and let the buyers know that is should take about 3 hours. I just got back from the inspection and this is what happened. I started the inspection at 10:00am. The homeowners were not home so the listing agent’s assistant was there. The house was about 3000 square feet. I like to explain the systems of a house which does make my inspections longer. The buyers left around 1:30. The buyers loved my inspection so much, they gave me an extra $50.00 in my check. All I had left was to inspect the attic and the sprinkler system. It was about 2:00pm four hours into the inspection when the home owner called and said that four hours was long enough and to leave. The owner was a real estate broker and he has been on many inspections and it has never taken four hours to do.

I called the buyers from my truck while I was still in front of the house and they said that was okay and they loved my inspection and will be waiting for my report.

The way I feel about my inspections is that I am there for the buyer to do the best job I can do no matter how long it takes. Did I do anything wrong? Has this ever happened to you? Should I try to do this in less time and miss defects while rushing? The house had a lot of things to inspect.

In my report I will note about the limitation of not going into the attic and testing the sprinkler system.

Thanks Rick

The buyer “loves” your inspection, today, but you must inform them in your report that your report is incomplete and that you were not allowed to perform the complete inspection. They will not “love” your inspection when or if undisclosed issues are discovered after they have closed.

It will be at the buyer’s option to walk away from the deal or to accept the partial inspection that disclaims a major portion of the structure of the house. If the seller wanted to impose a time limit it would have had to be agreed to in advance in the contract.

Disclaim anything that could possibly be related to the areas that you were refused access to at the beginning, middle and end of your inspection report. This will include but is not limited to the condition of the roof, sheathing, attic structure, insulation, electrical wiring, ventilation, moisture intrusion, rodent infestation, wood destroying insect damage, and plumbing.

Also, explain it in detail in an email and keep the copy.

I seem to take longer than most as well. I am not comfortable to check a representative # of things. I try to check everything. It only seems to piss off the used house salespeople anyway.

Russell seems to have a great idea of having a team hit a house. If you have no team then you should not rush just for anyone’s sake. Just do the best inspection you can and let the chips land where they may.

I agree with all James stated, and I would be certain to add to the wording in the disclaimed areas that the homeowner aborted the remainder of the inspection. I am sure in the Purchase Agreement terms, he allowed for an inspection, and I have never seen one that had a time limit on how long the inspection will take. He opened the door for the buyer to walk away. Get ready for a call to return to complete the inspection, and suggest to your client that the homeowner pays for the return trip, upfront!

That’s what happens when you answer your phone while on the job! :p;-)
Let it go to voicemail, and decide to return the call when you want.

great point…!

You check the sprinkler system?

Brad, The buyer asked to do this special for him. I usually don’t inspect the sprinkler system.


This has not happened to me, yet.

If/when it does as in your scenario, apparently owner not being there (phone call), I would have completed the inspection until someone personally said I must leave.

As mentioned disclaim everything you were not allowed to inspect.

Guys, thanks for all your replies. The phone call from the homeowner was not to my phone. It went to the owners phone in the house and the realtors assistant who knows the homeowner picked it up and handed it to me. He told me to leave. I did apologize to him for the inspection taking so long and I did ask him again if I can finish but he refused. I did not want him to call the police so I just left.


Leaving was the correct thing to do since you are only there with the owner’s permission. When that permission has been withdrawn, it is inappropriate for you to stay.

Just chop out of your report all areas that could even remotely be affected by what you were not allowed to observe. Charge the full price to return and suggest to the buyer that the seller reimburse him since he violated his agreement resulting in the return trip.

And one more thing … never apologize for taking the time you need to provide a complete and accurate inspection.

This is the absolute last time I will tell you all this unless personally asked.

The above quote is a huge mistake.

What do you do when shopping around for stuff when no one answers and you get a machine???

YOU AND THEY HANG UP. He who answers the phone gets the job.
All you have to do is tell them you will contact them shortly in a nice happy pleasant voice and that you are sure you can help them.
Don’t answer and the job goes to someone who does. Good luck.

That’s another tip to remember…

Never assume what happens in your backyard, applies to the rest of the world. The world DOES NOT revolve around Florida!

Around here, if you answer the phone during the time that someone is paying for that time, you have one very pissed off client on your hands. It is considered a personal insult.

Do as you wish.

I am just telling you what perspective clients do.

I’ve been asked to leave… I’ve done as much and also informed the host that the report will be incomplete, there will be additional fees to return etc…

Many times… no matter what was said/happened, the next call you receive will be asking when you can go back and finish… and it better be quick.

Cannot be repeated often enough.

3000 sq ft? I have never taken less than 5 hours. But then most our homes have crawl spaces as well.

They certainly can, especially if they have 3-4 Baths, huge Kitchen, Four car Garage, massive Attic, etc…

Yep… I quote 3 hours (approx.) for a 2,000 sq/ft 3/2 attached 2 car. I also warn them that I will take whatever time I need (at no extra charge!) to insure a complete inspection. Usually, the longer I take, the happier my client is. 99% of the time my client is in attendance for the entire inspection. Believe me, they are educated about the home when we are done. The report is almost meaningless afterwards. (Yes, I get paid ‘before’ the inspection commences)!

I recently did a 3000 sqf, 3 story house with bathrooms on each floor and the GFCI reset for ALL bathrooms were on the 1st floor. I got a good workout that day! It took me 5 hours to inspect.

Rick, why did you leave such an important part of the inspection, the attic, for last?

Were you writing the report (in any way, matrix, computer, handheld, etc.) as you went along?

You were correct to leave the irrig till very last, since that usually gets you dirty.

Since this was Paramus, I assume you spent a lot of the 4 hrs investigating and documenting water damage and mold.

Industry rule of thumb is 1 hr/1000 gr sf, so you estimated correctly. Inspections with buyer(s) present and actively involved are the worst, as the interruptions, talking, people in your way really suck. It is very difficult to keep on schedule under those conditions in a fully furnished home.

Sounds like you did the best you could. The $50 bonus proves you were, at least in your customers’ eyes. Now think about how you can refine and improve your process to increase your speed while keeping them smiling.:slight_smile:

Where does this come from?