How to overcome two fears?

Hello Everyone,

I am currently working on my certification and although the education process is going well, the ultimate test will be once I’m with a client inspecting a home and I have two big fears:

  1. That I might miss/overlook something

  2. That I will tell the client “I don’t know, I’ll have to get back to you” so often, that I don’t look professional (granted, that’s 100% better than telling your client false information, but still).

Does anyone have any tips on how to overcome these fears?

The first one I would advise a new inspector to do is get e&o insurance. The second one which we all encounter every once in awhile. Is the do like you said tell them you don’t know that you will find out

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I second what Roy said above. I shared these same fears, very common for many. Study as many photos as you can, including its parts etc. When I hit the wall on identifying a part of a system, I would say I’m not too familiar with this setup but it is a part of the supply, hvac, etc. Then by time the report was ready, I’d either remember or have identified the components etc and placed in report. :blush:

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Experience: practice, practice, practice… as you gain experience you will gain confidence and your fears will fade away. Good luck!

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Only a fool has no fear. As pointed out, your fear will abate as you gain experience. In the mean time it elevates you to the few who wish to do an exceptional job. That’s a good place to be.

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You should prepare your clients expectations up front that you will never find everything wrong because of the time allotted and the scope of what a Home Inspection is.

I would guess that 99.9% of the inspectors walkaway from something on every inspection. Just don’t make a habit of missing the big stuff.

You will likely get in trouble by talking too much, than too little.

#2 If you think everyone knows everything your delusional. Tell them you will get back to them after you complete your analysis and report. Then find out what you don’t know and follow up with them (don’t just put it in the report). This is the problem with on site reports. I very often change my mind the morning after the inspection when I wake up and have my first cup of coffee.

Home Inspection has standards and many of the questions you get are outside that scope. Tell them that. Again look it up and get back with them ASAP.

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Been there done that! When I first started I made mistakes, something that I do now is walk everything twice once in one direction once in another direction helps avoid any mistakes. The other thing I do if I get called away or distracted I will leave something right where I’m at, such as a hat or knife so I know right where I left off. Or when in doubt come back to where you know you’ve already inspected and continue from there.

The second one is much harder. Anybody on these boards knows that I’m asking questions quite regularly as I definitely don’t know everything. What I do if put on the spot is give my best gut opinion and say however I’m not truly an expert on that and want to go home and clarify and further investigate to ensure I’m giving you the most accurate information and possibly can. Reading these boards regularly, constantly watching YouTube videos, and not watching things like Mike Holmes will help build your confidence. Every time I watch one of his videos I get paranoid that I made a massive mistake.

My mentor taught me We are not specialists, We are generalists. Some of us have a lot more experience in some areas than others and there’s no way for us to know everything. Unfortunately mistakes will happen, keep some money set aside to pay for a small incidental mistake because they will happen. My mentor’s been inspecting for 20 maybe 25 years and he says he still makes mistakes. To error is human!

Figure out a checks and balances system that works for you and you avoid most of your mistakes. At one point in time I bought a GoPro just for inspections. I would do the entire house without it and then go back through as if I were documenting every sqyo inch of the house on the GoPro.

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Hi Slava,

  1. Every inspector has those fears to some degree, they just lessen with time and experience. Keep learning, and the more you can learn about a property before you show up to inspect, the better prepared you can be.

  2. There are some things we don’t have to know. For example, things that take research, like manufacturer’s installation recommendations, and even those you’ll pick up over time as you start seeing the same systems/components repeatedly.
    Start a reference library both in folders online, for message board posts, websites, and anything else you find helpful, and on your hard drive (both organized by home system), where you can save technical papers, manufacturer’s recommendations, PDFs, etc., and build it over time.
    Something like this:

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Hello everybody, thank you very much for all of your support and helpful recommendations :slight_smile:

Hopefully, with experience and time, I’ll be able to pass the favor forward to those who will be new inspectors then.

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With over 35 yrs in this let me assure you of several things …

#1 You will for sure MISS things. Remember to NOT miss the big things. I don’t give a crap about a drippy faucet, loose doorknob, door that rubs, cosmetic issues, etc … Those are BS things. YOU want to never MISS SIGNIFICANT or MAJOR cost items or GLARING safety HAZARDS

#2 IF a client asks a question that has NO bearing on what I’m doing … Politely tell them so (they ask what type of tree that is in the backyard, I smile and say I live in a condo - I’ve got no clue & keep walking)

BUT if its an important question like … When they finished the basement and enclosed the furnace and water heater in a 8x5 room AND buyer wants to know IF more combustion air is needed = IF I don’t know I’ll find out and get back to them.

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Hey Slava,
I’m in my 4th year. I remember my 1st few “real” inspections like it was yesterday. I didn’t sleep the night before and the night of. It goes away.

When I 1st started I inspected my own house several times using my software. It helped me get accustomed to my software. I’d rather do it at home than in front of a client. Then I threw out a plea for help on facebook and asked people to pass it along. I stated that I was a new home inspector and needed some paid inspections under my belt for practice. My goal was to do a quick 25 inspections. All I wanted was to cover my expenses. I did them for about $35 ea. None of them were for real estate transactions. Most were from people who just wanted to know the condition of their house. Some were planning to sell their house and wanted to know what to expect down the road. By the time I had 25 inspections, I was fairly comfortable with my software and started to develop my one flow around a home. At least I looked like I knew what I was doing with 25 inspections. Then I started charging a living wage. 25 inspections taught me how much I don’t know. 200 taught me that there’s a lot more that I didn’t know. I’m very comfortable with it now. Don’t worry about admitting to not knowing things, just tell them that you aren’t really sure and you don’t want to guess. You’ll look into it when you get back to the office and you’ll give them the right answer. Just do as many practice inspections as possible before doing real ones.

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