Is It A Must?

Do you have to have a lawyer look over and approve your written contract (odviouly being better off) but is it madatory and how many people have done this?

Also, would I be able to use another inspectors client agreement(with permission of course) and just change the company name and little bit of info on that, and not receive any kind of “crap” for it??

Don’t know what the PA laws state, but as far as I’m concerned it’s a good idea to have your lawyer look at it, but its optional.

Go ahead. But if you don’t want any “crap” about it, it would be best to not post that you have done it on the message board. :wink: Someone is bound to have a conflicting opinion that they would love to “share”. :mrgreen:

I could definitly see that, but people have openly shared said document with me on this board, so therefore outta my hands;) … but you think I’m better off seeing a lawyer. So I’m presuming tat I need a real estate lawyer, but what kinda charges am I looking at, and does it need to be done ASAP or can it wait a bit?

Call a couple of RE lawyers, ask them if they work with other HI’s in the area. Ask some local HI’s who their lawer is, and get a referral from them. If the laywer has HI experience, just ask them what they would charge to look at a 1 or 2 page inspection agreement, and give you some direction with it. It would probably only take them a half an hour. Maybe $100.00. Some might do it for free because it wouldn’t be worth billing you for such a short amount of time. Just ask.

And before anyone else shoots me down…I e-mailed mine to my lawyer and she read it, and replied that it looked good to her. $0

Here’s another option…Copy the iNachi agreement and use that. Nick’s already had a lawyer look at it for you, and you’ve already got permission to use it.

Most of the report writing software comes with at least one contract option. Laws vary from state to state, so you should always have your attorney review a document that you intend to be “legally binding.”

Also, check your state association, they may have one for purchase.

Using another inspectors PIA (with permission) is fine, but again, have it reviewed by a Real Estate or Contract Attorney.

It is always good (just makes plain sense) to talk with a lawyer before you do anything legal. Also remember that different states have different laws and requirements.

That said, you are welcome to use a copy of my agreement (see my web site, below, and click on the left side tab for “our agreement”). Change the name and the state. But I also, highly, recommend that you run it by a good lawyer with experience in contract and HI law in your state. Maybe Joe Ferry would work with you.

Hope this helps;

BTW: And, Adam, this is not meant as a slam on you or anyone else.

I get a lot of calls and talk to a lot of new inspectors. They ask me about E&O insurance, contracts, the HI law, forming compnaies and corporations, payng taxes and writing reports.

With regards to all these topics, they all ask “Do I really have to consult a lawyer (or accountant or get a business license, etc)”.

If one is going to be serious about this profession, one has to be serious about how they work in this profession.

One has to know how to properly run a business, understand accounting, understand payroll and taxes and business law, as well as any state HI laws they may have. Or, one has to pay someone else (accountant, lawyer, business manager, etc) who does know about these things and have them done right.

To do otherwise is to, not really, want to be successful in your business. This hurts your clients and will, eventually, hurt yourself.

Local people ask me if they really have to pay taxes, get business licenses, file their payroll taxes, etc.

My biggest thought is “these people can’t be serious, can they?”.

I guess it takes all kinds. Maybe that is why so many HIs fail in the first couple of years.

Just my opinion and not meant to name, include or offend anyone.

Does this remind you of anything?


IMHO using someone else’s is fine if you have their permission. I borrowed mine from an HI friend of mine. I bypassed most of what your worried about because he is from the same state and his agreement was reviewed by an attorney. If you can find that kind of a friend in your same state, I would say you would be fine, otherwise use NACHI’s agreement. :wink: P.S. I do agree with Scott’s post above. Are you a member yet, have you completed you courses or done ride alongs yet???

This is all fine and dandy but remember weather or not you have an attorney review anything, when push comes to shove another attorney will always pick it apart. So whats good for you may not be good for me!
Long story short stick with the INACHI contract and save your money until you can get some inspections under your belt, and then you can afford an attorney who can review a more in depth contract for the services you offer.

Hey Adam how is your class coming along?

They didn’t include a pre-inspection agreement in your course material?

I would start asking for a refund if they couldn’t give you something as simple as that.


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I think I need to change my business plan.

The trouble with having it reviewed by an attorney is that there are only 2 attorneys in the entire inspection industry that have spent a decade or so researching everything that an attorney needs to know about an inspection contract.

Your attorney doesn’t know $hit.

If you paid your attorney to research and think about forming a good inspection contract for 100 hours at $150 an hour, you’d owe him $15,000.00 and he still wouldn’t be any where close to where he needs to be to change so much as a semi-colon on InterNACHI’s contract (which we have 18 years and $200,000.00 into).

Come on Nick, it’s not like you’re asking an attorney to review a dissertation on foreign policy. Bottom line is that no matter how good your agreement is, you can still get sued. It’s never going to absolve you from any and all liability.

There are some basic key points that should appear in every inspection contract with regard to roofs, structure, etc., etc. And I’m willing to bet that many inspectors will share their agreement with you like Mr. Decker

With each state (at least the licensed ones) having their own HI law, different states have different requirements.

My lawyer (also a personal friend of many years) and has over 20 years experience in litigation and contract law. When I started my business, he researched the Illinois law, admin rules and case law (there wasn’t much case law). He wrote my contract and we had another mutual friend (one of the top RE lawyers in Illinois) review it and make some suggestions.

Different states, different rules, different requirements.

He did incorporate some of the iNAHI contract into mine, but most of it does not apply to Illinois. For instance, there is no limitation of liability in Illinois for HIs.

Besides, if you have a lawyer in your own state review it, and you pay him to do so, then he holds the liability if he is wrong or deficient. Fiduciary applies.

I don’t know for sure (not being a lawyer) but I don’t believe that whoever wrote the iNACHI contract would have any liability if that contract didn’t meet the requirements of a particular state and the inspector got dinged.

It is always wise for a business person to do their own due dilligence.

thanks for the response guys