I wish it was used. Let’s have some inspection tips and keep the other crap off of this forum.
I started doing limited warranty inspections yesterday, in the agreement they sign it states I don’t report anything but the defects for them (sign here) (IE-they know the house has a concrete foundation and a tile roof, etc)
Charge just about the same and your done with the report in 15 minutes, did one yesterday and one today…nice!
Great idea, Dale. Seems like there is limited risk in this type of inspection and it sure would be a lot easier to write up this kind of report.
This is a common belief in the industry, until you get charged for wrong doing some five years after the event. I say five years because this is approximately when things go wrong or when the current owners sell their home.
Warranty inspections carry more liability than home inspections because your report is used to let the builder off the hook. Without a statement that it is still the builder’s responsibility to completely review the house in its entirety, you can be held accountable. Your statements should also give reasons as to why it is still his liability. Just saying a visible inspection will not be good enough. You must state that because you did not have access to any of the construction drawings and engineering documents you could not confirm ….
Also, these inspections are code based so you must have a good grasp of the code requirements, ASTM standards and manufacturers specs etc.
Speaking from experience but thankfully covered by good reporting.
Michael, you’re absolutely right. Most things that seem to good to be true, easy money, etc, usually are.
Thanks for the tip anyway Dale. Maybe we should start a new forum titled: The sky is falling and we’re all gonna get sued! Alright, maybe that’s a bit long for a forum name.
Those guys don’t drink enough apparently (scared $hitless…:D)
If it comes to the point I have to start worrying myself to death I’ll go back to building them instead of inspecting them…
That would qualify as a LIST inspection (for sellers) or a BASIC inspection (for buyers), providing they want a written report of some type.
If they don’t want a written report (i.e., I talk, they write), then they can get my WALK inspection, which starts at $49. In and out in 15-30 minutes and no report to write; meets my requirement of grossing $100 (± a couple of dollars) per hour minimum. However, the $49 inspection is for a condo less than 500 SF; there aren’t too many of those. The great majority of WALK inspections that I’ve done the past month have been $149 SFR inspections, which take about 30 minutes–again, no report–so I’m getting about $300 per hour, far greater than my STANDARD inspection on an hourly basis. I love my WALK inspections. Eventually, I hope to do nothing but WALK inspections for 8 hours a day, come home and settle in with Ms Margarita and Dr Cuervo, watch some Will & Grace, and be done with it. Happy, Shiny People.
10-4…but charge the same as a regular warranty inspection, with a $29.00 discount of course…
I’ll have to disagree with you, Michael.
Warranty inspections around here are not done to let the builder off the hook. They are done to take the builder to task. Our warranties here are one year, although there is one small builder offering 10 years. So I would do a warranty inspection at the tenth or eleventh month, excluding the 10-year builder where I would do the warranty inspection nine years and ninth months down the road.
Once the builder’s warranty is up, there is no liability other than gross negligence of some sort, and a home inspection probably is never going to uncover gross negligence on the part of a home builder, especially in the tenth month of the home’s existence.
My E&O insurance company and my attorneys have no problem with me doing warranty inspections under the pretense of being a home inspector doing home inspections under generally accepted standards of practice within the home inspection industry. That’s all they are. They are no different from doing a home inspection on a brand new property the day after escrow closes.
Now if you wanted to, you certainly could make them different. For example, I have six different inspections: WALK (starts at $49), LIST (starts at $99), BASIC (starts at $149), STANDARD (starts at $199), PREMIUM (starts at $399), and TECH (starts at $699). I would not recommend the WALK, LIST, or BASIC inspection for a warranty inspection simply because I think a warranty inspection needs to be more nitpicky; those three inspections are not nitpicky. However, if that’s what the Client wants, i.e., if the Client was willing to accept responsibility for the small stuff, then I would have no problem coming in and documenting the big stuff that they could then take to the builder.
However, for most home inspectors (i.e., everyone except me, probably), if you use the same diligence for all your inspections, I suspect that you’ll have no problems doing warranty inspections.
I’ve talked to a lot of new naive home inspectors who think that since the people already own the house, as inspectors they’re mostly safe and out of the liability loop by doing “end of warranty inspections”. Wrong!!
I agree with Michael & Keith. The end of warranty inspections should be done by inspectors that have a serious knowledge and training in codes and know what the PMI is for what they’re inspecting.
Otherwise, like the man said - you told them it was good to go, which is why they didn’t hammer the builder 2 years ago - now they’re selling the house and the next inspector points out things installed wrong - so join the party.
So explain how it would be any different from doing an inspection on new construction the day after escrow closes. Perhaps if one is actually calling it a “Warranty Inspection” in advertisements to the public, I might be able to see your point. Otherwise, it’s just another inspection to see how the new construction has reacted during its first 10 months of use, and any major defects found at that time can be taken to the builder for abatement. Why should the seller wait until after the warranty has expired to find those problems? Doesn’t seem logical to Mr Spock because after the warranty has expired, they sure don’t have any recourse if it’s not gross negligence, fraud, etc.
When one’s contract and report are compiled properly, only gross negligence could possibly be a reason for significant continuing liability in real estate.
My contract and report specifically state that I cannot foresee the future and that if Client wants to know what will happen to his home in the future, he should consult with a tarot reader or psychic.
So much for a short tread going nowhere!
I try to keep my responses short, but some how am never able to!
We are dealing with a new construction inspection we did in 1997 right now that follows along these lines. During construction we outlined a number of issues all of which were either code based or performance based. Of course the builder ignored the problem back then but not now.
Over the last 8 weeks the same builder has spent over $100, 000 on this home. They are still not finished. What is great our clients were able to prove categorically the issues that were present 8 years ago. Of course the first call was we are liable, but upon retrieving the report we were pretty happy.
It is not what inspectors think they should be looking at it is the expectation of your clients and what they and their attorney’s think.
My point is that if you do warranty inspections, you must know codes. I reviewed a tread in another forum about egress windows. What a great inspector. How many times in a regular home inspection have you analyzed the egress window? Checked to see if it is the right height above the floor, right dimensions and has hardware that is approved by the codes for use as egress hardware? These are visible issues. As is many more that are code based but part of a warranty inspection. What about a counter top in excess of 12”. Do we record that is need a receptacle or not. There are of course many examples we can use.
An inspector armed with code knowledge and performance experience is without question a far more superior and more capable of providing their clients with an excellent report that will protect them.
The services you provide are great, but defending them may prove very difficult. If you advertise and do inspections to the NACHI, ASHI, FABI or what ever standards, you need to make it clear in your report, the statement I mentioned above in my first comment. Also, most of the inspections you listed meet no standards and probably don’t comply with your pre inspection agreement. Again they will probably be very difficult to defend and may or probably will not be covered by your E and O. After all the standards are the standards and this is what we hang our hat on when we need to, providing we can of course!
Again, the hardest thing for anyone is to learn from other peoples mistakes. The most successful do and will be ready when the sky starts to fall. All it takes is a little more defensive tools in your arsenal.
As far as your hourly calculation, I suggest you take into travel times, after inspection calls and questions etc. You will find that your hourly rate is most likely different. It is like doing a three hour inspection and spending another 2-3 hours writing reports. It is simple math!
As an experienced inspector, you are very unlikely to get yourself in trouble. Making the new inspectors aware and possible employees of the pitfalls is much more difficult and more important. Having them believe that the roads are paved with gold and with no liability may be mis-leading.
Finally, the sky is never falling if you are prepared. We take advantage of every phone call that comes into our office and convert it into revenue providing we have the systems and training in place to react to such calls.
Exactly. I’ve always believed that all businesses are about managing one’s Client’s expectations. If that is done properly, and then one follows up with good services and good products, and then one follow up again with good customer service, one should never be involved in a lawsuit. Many times, however, it is simple complacency that gets some people involved.
Isn’t that what we all are striving for?
Actually, I think that is the easiest thing to learn. The hardest is learning from one’s own mistakes because it usually costs one some money, some time, some good will, some customers, etc. Learning from someone else’s mistakes has never cost me anything other than some time to read about their mistakes.
I can assure you we have a lot in common. One day we will meet and enjoy a guinness or two.
Like Michael said, you need to know code inside and out AND be able to quote it to give your clients a strong leg to stand on, in things like progress inspections, construction monitoring and end of warranty inspections. If you can’t produce references and vitals to show whats missing or done wrong, many builders or contractors will try and blow them off.
Perfect example - 2 months ago while doing an “end of warranty inspection”, we were somehow drawn to the egress windows on the 2nd floor. They looked great BUT something just didn’t feel right. We measured them - 1" too narrow to meet egress requirements. The builders super tried telling the buyers we were wrong. The code inspector was called and said the mullions didn’t look real strong and could be easily kicked out in case of fire, etc. and that it would be OK as is. We referenced the applicable code sections with measurements & called the code department head and **** got taken care of.
How many home inspectors doing a visual inspection to NACHI, ASHI NAHI or anybodys standards do you honestly think would catch something like this or even think about measuring existing windows (except for RR & Pope).
I guess it’s different here. Builders in San Diego County seem to take home inspections very seriously when those inspection reports and/or repair requests show up a couple of weeks/months prior to the expiration of the warranty on the home. Hmmmmmm. Wonder why.
But there’s no need to quote code or anything like that. A STANDARD home inspection is perfectly fine for our San Diego home builders. It’s no different from doing an inspection on the day after escrow closes and taking that report/repair request to the builder. Any time within the warranty period is going to get the builders’ attention here.
Here its not gonna work that way. HI’s are a joke to builders unless they’ve got something behind the name. We’ve had some builders refuse to credit an inspection report not done by an engineer or a code certified inspector.
Informative discussion on one and two year warranty inspections. I believe I may change my contract accordingly.
Thank You Gentlemen.