Trying to see where home inspections typically go sideways, and why.
IMO, the most serious mistakes take place when first discussing the inspection with your potential client, ie. failing in properly setting your clients expectations.
Hear, Hear, Mr. Jonas!
THAT is a huge mistake.
Yep. Nailed it - that is exactly it.
Offering and performing all these “Free” services that add little value to the inspection, far exceeding requirements, and then not performing them properly! All of these “Free” services take time away from performing the actual job of inspecting unless you do plan on additional time on site to properly perform them. Taking time away from the proper inspection needs then results in much greater chance of missing issues you should catch.
Attempting to perform to many inspections in one day. You really do not know how long an inspection will take until you finish performing it. Trying to perform multiple inspections requires being on time to each one. If a prior inspection runs into difficulties and issues the natural reaction for many is to cut it short in an attempt to stay on schedule for the next inspection. This leads to a high potential for missing issues you should have caught.
Activating valves, breakers, etc., that have been deactivated. You have no idea why it was deactivated but you will most likely find out when you activate it! It is not your job to prep a home for an inspection by ensuring valves are on, water heaters are filled, gas to heaters is on, etc., etc.
Rushing through your inspection without an ounce of thought and performing it robotically and without proper caution. Something as simple as turning on a vanity faucet can cause you great grief if you don’t bother to look under the vanity first! In this example did you notice that the drain line was disconnected before turning on the faucet?
Believing that everything you read in your training books (I see you’re a student member) is gospel. Training books provide basic theory but NEVER cover everything needed to be known as they can’t possibly cover it all. You need to learn how to “Think outside of the book” to understand what you are doing, how it might affect the home, and how to prevent doing something you’ll regret later!
Trying to be BMOC and please everybody involved with the house sale. Your job is to inspect and find deficiencies with the home and not to help REA sell the home. You are there to proect your client to ensure they know as much about the home’s condition as possible. You are not there to make anyone happy as the moment you start thinking this you have lost objectivity in your job. Along the way you will destroy some buyers’ dreams about the house that was so perfect and so right for them. OH WELL! Those buyers that do not appreciate your efforts to fully inform them will buy that POS anyhow. By protecting them you also protect yourself from those buyers who WILL be calling you back if you miss the loose doorknob set to the broom closet!
There are so many things that can go wrong during an inspection and you will encounter new ones years after you get into this business. For a start do perform an inspection on your own home and during that process for each step along the way do that step in your mind in every conceivable way and it will show you what can go wrong!
Good luck and read this BB often to see just what other Inspectors get hung up in!
Not charging enough for their inspection .
Three biggest mistakes:
Marketing before you are technically competent.
Not charging enough.
Well said JJ! We all need to remember this.
Speaking strictly for myself, spending too much time at on-line forums and not enough time marketing my business.
The knowledge gained here sure has helped many inspectors .
You are absolutely correct. I should have specifically referred to the time I have spent allowing myself to be drawn off on tangents that have nothing to do with gaining knowledge.
One way to see where other inspectors are “messing up” is to look at their on-line reviews. Of course, one must take consumer complaints with a grain of salt, but such complaints often have as much to do with ineffective management of expectations as they do with actual lapses in the performance of the inspection.
Hope you don’t mind a non-HI InterNACHI® staffer jumping in, but I respectfully disagree with this. It’s true that you don’t want to engage every former client who has a non-legit complaint, but you DO need to police your online reputation because nearly everyone who’s considering hiring you will be looking you up and reading reviews about you and your services. Especially if you get a low rating – even for something that’s obviously frivolous or outside the scope of the SOP – your reputation (and future bookings) may well depend on your defense of it.
You can read more about this topic, including what to do if someone disparages you unfairly or actually libels you, in this article:
Virginia Home Inspector Wins Judgment for Defamation - InterNACHI