Re-inspection problems

So I am pretty new. I have done around 60 inspections. I do have pretty well rounded construction experience and I am a journeyman Pipefitter.
I am getting to the point where about 1/3 of my clients want a re-inspections. The problem is that once I send my reports the clients agent creates a repair request that is always reworded by the sellers agent and signed by my client. They change the wording from things like “Licensed electrician” to “Seller” will complete work and mark out items like qualified contractor or certain parts of the repairs. These are all agreed to and signed by my clients even though I advise them to have professionals complete the work. Also when I go back to re-inspect all agreed upon repairs I have never seen them more than half complete. This leaves me with another re-inspection. So far I have been to at least 4 Re-re-inspections that have had items still untouched and repaired items that were just unacceptable. But when it gets to this point the clients and agents are asking me to contact the contractors which I have done a few times and they are not very pleasant to say the least. My problem is when I see this I always know that it is a bad situation and only problems will result from dealing with bad contractors and sellers. I have a hard time putting my name into it even though I have a ton of disclaimers in my reports.
A guess my questioning here is at what point do I draw the line. I feel very bad for my clients and realize that if not for the re-inspections they would be buying a home that has had only 25% of the repairs made and would not know any better because the sellers always say the repairs are complete. Does anybody have any experience with this? Has it really gotten to the point where 99% of contractors have know idea what repairs are correct or just dont want to go through the trouble of doing it right?

How much do you charge to go back out?

Are you sending out a report that can have the words changed. Won’t a PDF stop all but the really bad seller’s agent?

If all else fails you can have a talk with the seller’s broker and show him what is happening.

Good luck!

You should definitely be charging for your re-inspects. So the question becomes why do they continue to pursue a home that the sellers will not fix properly, and why isn’t the buyer’s agent representing their (buyers) interest by requiring a professional level of repair? Somebody must be desperate for this sale.

My inspection reports are on Spectora so they can not edit my report. It seems like nobody reads the report not the Client, the agent, or the contractor they send it to. They are simply printing the repair request, marking out and changing certain words on the repair request then resending I guess.

Also I do charge for every re-inspection. But I feel bad about charging them for a second re-inspection and I feel it should be paid by they sellers. I have no idea why they push the houses and why the clients still want them but I also dont feel like I can tell the client not to buy the house.

I’m not doing re-inspections at all. I do not want extra liability or given warranty any repairs.
Always recommend to be repair by license professional.

As a few other Inspectors noted in a previous thread concerning Spectora’s Summary. Most agents will only pick out items in Red, and the Very brief one line description of the defect, instead of reading the more detailed outline in the report. That may be part of the problem.

Personally I hate doing re-inspections.

There is the main reason I hate summary pages. People use them like Cliffs Notes and don’t read the report in full. I supply a summary only to the Clients attorney. Hand deliver to him/her and explain the contained info.

OMG ME TOO. Usually nothing but trouble/hassle.
OP ~ Are you privy to WHO did WHAT repair & are they licensed or not BEFORE you go back.
Sometimes I can smell a problem coming down the 'ol road so I’ll insert this in the report email sent. :cowboy_hat_face:
If you stick to it you won’t be doing many reinsps but I understand it could also cut your revenue.
Luckily down here most deals are as-is with the right to inspect.
Usually the after inspection negotiation results in a cash credit @ closing so no repairs.

**please note: any requested reinspection cannot be performed without
first obtaining & reviewing repair papers from licensed contractors

1 Like

It’s your company, and you get to write the rules. Try something along these lines:

“All repair re-inspections must include a receipt or invoice from a licensed/qualified tradesperson to confirm the repair, prior to scheduling the return visit.”

Also, have a frank conversation with your clients and explain the historically poor track records that accompany most re-inspections. Set the expectation that things can go wrong.

Not sure what you’re trying to say here, I would never state anything other than what was observed. So, if it ain’t done right, just say so.

2 Likes

I agree that most clients only look at the summary. But here in NC it is mandatory we have the summary page. The licensing board has a paragraph that is required to be in the header stating that the summary is not the complete report and the report should be read in its entirety.

I was told by an agent here in NC that the real estate commission requires them to at least suggest the inspection and recently added that they suggest a re-inspection.

I can definitely see the need for re-inspections because of all the questionable contractors and sellers interest in making the cheapest repairs possible. My problem is that I need protect myself from the liability involved and still represent my clients. So many times I see repairs that are inadequate. I usually just report on what I see, stating what had been done. That leaves the client with the question (Is that repair ok?) If I say no then the next question (What needs to be done?). Well did you read the report? Usually the answer is no. But they are 2 or three inspections in and all is lost if they back out of the deal.

That’s not bad. You need to set your client’s expectations. I tell them upfront that on the typical reinspection if we inspect 10 items, we expect to see ~5 of the items with no apparent work having been done. Of the remaining 5 that have had work done, 2-3 will have issues with the work that was done, leaving the remaining 2-3 being OK, based on visual reinspection. So we expect ~25% success on average.

So what to do about it?

Charge more for your reinspections and do it based on time or numbers of items. This way you won’t be asked to reinspect the trivial crap because the meter is running the entire time you are there. This also cuts down on the number of times they ask you to come back. If you’re talking to contractors, you’re charging for consulting time. My reinspection fee was $250/1st hour $150/ea additional hour, based on actual time-on-site. I did lots of reinspections

I tell clients that they will rapidly reach the point of diminishing returns on reinspections because I will cost more to inspect than it would cost them to hire their own person to perform the repair (my reinspection fee is much higher than a tradesperson’s fee). At that point, they will usually request a monetary concession from the seller rather than go around multiple times on failed repairs/reinspections (they also have a pending transaction and short timelines).

If the contractor’s work is really bad, tell your client that they should request a different contractor and that you will decline to inspect this contractor’s work again because you do not trust that he is capable of performing a competent repair (you still need to manage your own liability). Your client will take cues from you in the negotiating process without you explicitly telling them how to negotiate.

When the repair request does not match what was in the report, aside from who did the work because you care about the end result, not who performed it, but because someone decided to reword what you had written, that is what you tell them on the reinspection (if you told them A was deficient and they requested repair B, you can’t help them because that’s what’s now in their contract).

A reinspection is an immensely valuable service to your client for the reasons that you mentioned in your own post. You just need to reset both your own and your client’s expectations. They can use your reinspection findings to convert failed repair requests to monetary concessions from the seller that they can use to hire their own contractors. So like the original inspection, the reinspection is an investment that will typically produce a positive return (value is what matters, not cost).

3 Likes

Thanks to all the responses. All of the help is highly appreciated!!!

We charge 95 for reinspection up to an hour. We will check anything that was on our original report that they asked to be repaired. We ask them to have a list of the items they asked for so we can quickly go through the list. I use home gauge and can do it fairly quickly on the companion. We have repair complete, repair incomplete, marginal repair, and unable to determine if repair complete/get receipt auto comment. All of our wording puts as much responsibility on the contractor as possible. We do not talk to contractors or help renegotiate. I will discuss with a contractor if they have questions and call me, but if they ask about anything needing a license if they don’t have one, I tell them to have that trades person call me… If we have to make an additional trip to the property, we charge the same 95. Every once in a while I will wave the charge if its appropriate.

We don’t like doing them, but its helpful for the customer so I fell that we should provide them. We find many repairs are not complete.

This is the practice I have adopted. I also state that on average only about half of repairs are attempted, and half of the half are done incorrectly. Recommend Seller credit instead of the Sellers sisters boy friends cousin doing the repair under a short deadline.

2 Likes

David,

Are you a home inspector or general contractor? Because if your a home inspector you should not be talking to the contractors, mostly because you are not an expert in their field and they will greatly disrespect you. Let the contractor do their work, let the agents do their work, and do yours. Don’t try and police the purchase, or repairs as it is not your problem or job by any means. And definitely don’t feel bad for charging for your re-inspection, your time and overhead are not free.

I highly recommend you limit your re-inspection to 1 time, that will save you a lot of brain damage. Once you have advised your client twice, it is not your problem anymore move on. This industry has a lot of problems on the realtor end, we can’t fix it. The realtors should be the ones policing the repairs, but they are generally too stupid to spell their name let alone manage a contractor.

Take that advice from somebody who was a former contractor / builder for 25 years. If you would of called me and told me how to do my work, I would of ripped you up one side and down the other. You are doing the right thing caring about your clients, but you have to draw the line at some point for financial and time reasons. I have been self employed most of my life, time is your greatest asset.

Your on the right track brother, business is like football. It is a game of adjustments, keep up the good work.

Rick Moore, BA CPI
Sherlock Homes Inspection & Appraisal, LLC
Mead, CO

1 Like

On your reinspection report you can say something like this.
It would appear that recent repairs or improvements made, have not had the benefit of professional labor.
Or:
Recent repairs or improvements made are not up to industry standards.
If your client still wants to go forward, why should you feel bad about anything?

Is anyone providing a verbal only reinspection? (no written report) It’s something we are considering for the report writing time savings and reduced liability.

In my opinion, you, as an inspector cannot insist who does what repair, nor demand to see receipts, etc before you re-inspect. I re-inspect all the time, and will simply re-inspect - looking to see if the issue is fixed or not. If it looks like an amateur job, I will let the client know it. I stress to them the importance of a licensed professional making repairs and why…
If repairs are not done, or are inadequate, make sure the buyer understands… don’t let them get so wrapped up in loving the house that they accept the issues. And if their agent doesn’t protect them, I’d have a talk with them as well…

I try and emphasise to my clients that repairs need to be accomplished by professionals (especially electrical , plumbing HVAC and roof issues). And that they get (DEMAND) copies of the repair receipts. This does three things for them; No need for a re-inspection, it assures the repair was done correctly (or at least is on someone else’s {the licenced professional’s} shoulder and not ours), and also will help them if they need to make a claim on their home warranty. Many times the inspection report is used by home warranty companies to deny a claim. They look to see if we called out a problem on the report…
A receipt (along with the inspection report) showing it has been professionally repaired and working when they moved in, will (help) keep a warranty company from claiming it was a pre-existing issue.

And yes, above all…always charge enough for re-inspections to make it worth your while and added liability.

1 Like