Hello all. I don’t post a lot on the forum, I kind of sit back and see what’s relevant in the industry. Money seems to be a hot topic. Im loosing money left and right from utilities not being on when I show up for an inspection. I want to keep this short so I’m going to just throw a log in the fire and see what happens. I have a clause in my contract (to the buyer-usually MY client) that there will be a $75 charge if utilities are not on when I show up for my inspection. This is more of a scare tactic because I understand a buyer has no control over the utilities. Realtors can feed us work and honestly don’t give a damn about us at the same time. I lose a full day of work $250- to whatever. Who else deals with this and how? I’m a sole LLC. So on a day to day basis I don’t have a backup plan to make money in place of that lost inspection. Any feedback is greatly appreciated
You requested all utilities to be on but if they are not…its nothing to do with you.
Why on earth do you consider it a lost inspection? Inspect what you find and disclaim what you are not able to inspect. Collect your fee and go home. No big deal!
Keep your clause in your PIA but get paid in advance of the inspection. Say it is company policy, or whatever but get paid in advance.
Let the seller and listing agent fight it out on who is going to pay for you to go back , and back, and back. It doesn’t matter how many times, let the listing agent be your client, or the seller but get paid in advance.
Chuck Evans has a very good clause in his PIA. maybe he will see this and help you with the wording.
PAYMENT FOR SERVICES:
The inspection fee is to be paid at or before the time of the inspection. A 24-hour notice of cancellation is required, otherwise, a late cancellation fee will be charged. If a return trip is required because utilities are not turned on, the property is inaccessible or any other reason, a minimum fee of $250 will be charged.
I did one inspection/day so a dry run was a significant revenue loss. If the fee is not paid, the client cannot get back on my calendar. In Texas, the standard contract places responsibility for ensuring that the utilities are on squarely on the seller. I advise clients to seek reimbursement from the seller (failure to meet contract terms).
I really appreciate all the input so far and thank you all for such quick responses. I have had a really bad month and I attribute it my lack of business sense and relying on the realtors I have been working with to do their jobs (It’s in their contracts also). I guess my question is how do you morally charge YOUR customer that has no control over the utilities and expect a good referral/review on your performance? I’ve started my company by myself with my money and I feel I’m still kind of new. I see all CMI’s have replied. That means you are more seasoned than I. Please answer in the mind frame when you first got into business.
You’re a business. Your time has value. Reasonable clients understand this. Those who don’t, you don’t want anyway, so you fire them. Never give someone a second chance to waste your time at your expense.
Tell them to collect reimbursement from the seller or builder - that’s why they have an agent.
I fully understand Chuck and I appreciate your time and response.
Same as what Douglas posted ^^^^^^^^
I agree with inspect what you can, disclaim the rest, and charge for 2nd trip to the property. It’s not within your control to have utilities on. We charge 95-250 depending on what utilities are off, size, location, and how cool everyone is about it…
I agree with the above - inspect what you can, and clearly show what you couldn’t inspect and why. Around here, for some reason, they always forget the natural gas when they have the utilities on for inspection. I always offer to return, but I warn them that you can’t just call and have gas turned on - someone must be there or the gas company won’t do it. I’ve had several agents ask why I can’t just turn on the gas for the inspection…and I ask them if they will accept responsibility for the home if I do - never had one agree to that!
Hey Walter -
Do you send email confirmations to your clients prior to the inspection?
Email confirmations to client and all agents prior to inspection. We even send one to the listing agent which mentions that we need all utilities on, and failure to do so may require a re-inspection for a fee, and delay their transaction.
Require payment from your client prior to inspection. Offer to go back and re-inspect certain systems after utilities have been restored, for a FEE!! You should not be losing money because some a–clown can’t get the gas or water turned on.
Yes sir. I send to my client and their agent. I guess where I’m having the issue is charging my client for something that is out of their control. Of course ever time I’m told by the agent every is ready. The. It’s a different story when I show up. I think I’m going to just press on from here forward even if the utilities are off. Then charge them a second fee for coming back. They can hash is out with their agent.
This topic comes up from time to time. Its happened to all of us. Best practice is to make it clear the client will pay anyway. In my area this happens most often when the property is a foreclosure. As soon as I see that I put everyone on notice. I don’t turn on the water or the electricity, charge is the same, and the client is responsible (through his/her Realtor) to make sure everything is on. Banks are the big culprit here. They turn everything off and winterize to save money which costs everybody else.
If you don’t already have it covered (and you probably do)…
Here’s some wording from my confirmation email that you may want to steal.
I’ve only had 3 or 4 call-offs since I added this a few years ago.
Strongly Recommended: To avoid risk of an incomplete inspection report, delays to any applicable inspection deadlines, and additional inspection fees - Client (or client agent) should confirm that all utilities are “on” and operable for inspection. Any necessary pilot lights should be lit for proper inspection of gas-fired equipment (such as: gas fireplaces, gas-fired water heaters). Property owners and tenants should be alerted of the scheduled inspection. Access to building and any locked areas (such as foundation crawl space, storage areas, detached garage, commercial roofs, mechanical rooms, standby generators) should be confirmed. Property owners or tenants should be informed that the Property Inspection includes inspection of all attic areas, and HVAC equipment (furnaces, air-handlers), and these areas should be made accessible (such as clearing access of any stored items).
I charge a $150 return fee, if they utility are not on.
In red on my InterNACHI contract, I state that no report is released without payment in full. You have to train everyone at first, but they usually understand that your time is valuable. The faster they get the utilities on so you can finish (+extra fee) the faster they get their report!
Agree with Doug and Chuck 100% … PLUS … inspect what you can, disclaim the rest, and IF they want you to come back for a 2nd trip to the property (its NOT my fault utilities are NOT on … SO we charge 200-250 depending size, location, etc. AND we agree I feel bad about charging the buyer SO we recommend buyer get $$$$$ from seller or L/Agt.
Bottom Line … Time is Money. Train them or let them train you
This is really well worded. I only have a blurb about the utilities but this one seems to caver it all. Thank you so much. After seeing this one I will be rewording mine.
The listing agent should make sure, with the seller, the utilities are all on. If not, inspect what you can. It could be a return visit for you at the sellers expense to complete the inspection. I don’t reduce my fee. I’ve had water off and had the water dept come turn it on while inspecting. It’s the sellers responsibility to have the utilities on. If they won’t have them on, inspect it as is, report on what you can. The buyer will probably back out if the seller isn’t cooperating. It’s not your fault.