I’ve been in Orlando FL all week and had the opportunity to talk directly to and listen in on classes from a actual lawyer who knows our business very well for many years now. Here’s just a few things I learned.
A. Your contract needs to lay out exactly what you will do. If you exceed your standard of practice you need to tell the client what you will be doing and what they can expect.
B. If you have E&O and Joe Ferry for example you better ask your carrier if you’re allowed to approach Joe for his services first before notifying them. Some carriers will void your policy if you don’t go to them first.
C. If your state has a statute for home inspectors you need to follow the standards of the state. Do not follow an association or mix the two.
D. Don’t mingle bank funds personal/business.
E. Don’t use fancy words in your reports or contracts. Most American’s have a 7 to 8th grade reading level. Keep it simple stupid.
F. He actually writes contracts for you after he researches rules in your state for a very affordable fee. I bought one.
G. Take pictures of every room and the outside to include the roof no matter the condition. If you’re sued Lawyers need a way to recreate the picture. You don’t need to include them in your report (ideal) but just have them ready.
H. Do not let anyone but the buyer sign your contract. If a realtor signs it or someone other than the potential owner of the home and something goes wrong the owner has every right to come after you and you will not have any protection (contract) to back you up. The contract you have signed by their rep will be thrown out 9 times out of 10.
Ok guys I’m not a lawyer. Hire one or call me for this guys name. Just passing along what I learned. If I think of more I will post it.
I don’t think I can Nick. He has a contract to where you can’t resell it and posting it would allow one to give it away for free at least that’s where I see it. He states more in his class just can’t remember it all at the moment. All made perfect sense to me. Do you see anything wrong with what I just posted above from the notes I took?
And another thing it is not wise to show up to the job and have them sign the contract and NEVER inspect the home and have them sign afterwards. Also if you agree to do something in conjunction to what your contract states you need to write it on a piece of paper sign it along with the buyer and put the amendment to the contact in your records with the original contract.
Lawyers are sales persons. They are after your money. That’s all. You can listen, but be careful how you act. All laws vary from state to state. Nick has spent countless hours on his agreements, and many other forms. He knows the business. Most all attorneys do not.
I would agree that most lawyers wouldn’t have much clue about what we do this one however specializes in our business and has for 15 yrs according to him. He spoke off the top of his head for quite a while. You just had to be there.
I would need a strong argument on H to change my direction. No one signs my contract other than the buyer. If it’s a company than only a authorized representative of that company will sign at the bottom and the top of my agreement will state the company name.
Lots of lawyers like to get involved, in a national level, in the home inspection business … but you (and others) need to be aware of a few things.
First, the actions that you describe in “F”, above, constitutes the performance of law business. If this attorney that you paid to do this for you is not licensed to practice law in Missouri, he appears to be violating the law by charging you for and providing this service. In this regard, anything else he would have to say would be suspect, IMO, since he appears to be violating the law in the process of providing it to you.
Second, what Nick is saying about a contract is true. The more language that is put into an agreement, the more it restrictive it is on the service provider and the more it favors the Plaintiff.
Much of what you published to be the remainder of his presentation is pretty basic common sense.
I hear you Jim and he fully states that he cannot defend you in your state unless another Missouri judge or lawyer assigns him. I’m saying that wrong but it’s something along those lines he states they have the authority to allow him to defend. At any rate in my opinion what he is doing is no different than you or I using the NACHI agreement. They are not licensed MO attorneys as well. My new contract does not state that the attorney who wrote it defends me in any shape or form nor does it promise me anything. What it does is give me the option to have an experienced “inspection industry” lawyer write a contract that makes more sense to a judge over a contract written by a MO licensed lawyer who has little if any knowledge about our industry. I felt good with the guy and you know me I can be some people’s worst critic.