Setting Expectations

Reducing the probability of being sued by setting expectations.

What if NACHI.TV produced a video about “home inspections and setting expectations about what a home inspection is, is not, what is required of a home inspector, and what is not.”

We could have an InterNACHI Member be a guest inspector on the video, describing inspection restrictions during an actual on-site inspection. We could have another iN Member speak about the S.O.P. and what is important for the client to understand about the S.O.P. We could speak about what falls within the scope of a home inspection, and what lies beyond the scope. … That home inspectors can’t see everything. Inspectors are not responsible for unexpected future events, such as a leak from the dishwasher. Etc.

An inspector could put a link to the video from their website. An inspector could direct their client to the video, and the video can assist the inspector in setting the proper expectations.

It’s one thing to have your client read a piece of paper describing the what an inspection involves; it’s another thing to have a short, educational film about it.

What do you think? If we can produce a video that has the goal of setting client’s expectations… **would you put that video link on your website? That’s the question?

**Something similar to the Consumer’s Guide videos and

The video could be titled, “Consumer’s Guide to Understanding Home Inspections.”

When I hand my customers my contract, I set their expectations by telling them that my 2 page contract is my “Please don’t sue me document”. “You may sue me if you really want to, but I did ask, please don’t”.:smiley:

So far it has worked every time but once.:twisted:

I think it could be helpful, Ben. I’d put it on my site.

I have a six page contract. Before I conduct the inspection I hand it to the client and tell them the contract basically states… I am not going to sue you and you are not going to sue me… If you do it will be a big waste of time and YOUR {The Client’s} monetary expectations are limited to the inspection fee.

Plus… I make it clear that my rates are $150.00 per hour and in the case of ANY type of lawsuit that I will sue for “Down time, loss of wages, court time, travel and expenses.”

I have been in business since 1972 and I have never been sued and I have NEVER had a client;

  1. Complain about the contents of the contract.

  2. Refuse to sign the contract.

  3. Initial any of the individual pertinent paragraphs.

As a matter of fact I have never had a complaint from a single client!:stuck_out_tongue:

Your video about “setting expectations” could act as a double edged sword.

It would have to be Top Notch and cover all of the bases before I would consider adding / attaching it to my business because if something is overlooked or left out it could actually harm an inspector .

Not all videos will meet are needs. Take Joe’s video for instance on wells. I can not really use it unless I put a disclaimer on it because talks about taking a water sample from a regular faucet. Which according to my state, it is the wrong to take a sample there because there is no way of killing all the bacteris back to the stems. So some people will link to their sites others will not.
I myself have a simple one page contract with appendixs. I go through and explain each paragh with them and where to find the appendixs in theeir binder. I would use the video but not if I got to rewrite my contract.

James. Thank you. Good points.


This is one of the most ABSURD statements I have EVER heard from an inspector.

Tell me, where would one take a water sample from. The class follows EPA guidelines, in addition to generally accepted guidelines established/sanctioned by state health departments. How would one disinfest ANY collection point? So, where would one take the sample from? Hose bib?

Please explain the statement.

I think we’d stick to the SOP, and the important requirements, scope, exclusions and restrictions. Can’t be too much harm in that.

That’s what I was taught. Closest one to the pump. (Water passes through no filters, softeners, or heaters.) Also easy to sterilize with a lighter, without the risk of melting washers.


The main problem is the different way inspectors inspect. Most of the inspectors in my area inspect appliances, which is different then the NACHI way. Maybe put a disclaimer before the episodes will work saying something in line with:
Since InterNACHI consists of home inspectors all over the world, the way the home inspection is performed may very with each inspector, so you need to consult the inspector you hire on how he preforms his inspections.
I know the statement needs a lot of work and I am not a lawyer and I do not play one on TV.

When trying to make a educational video… people choose to watch it or not.

When trying to make a legally accurate video that apply’s to all home inspectors,
there are so many details, exceptions and ways to phrase something, it will
be difficult to get inspectors to agree to put it on their web site. Plus these
kind of technically exhaustive legal type videos can become very boring to the

I think you would get more inspectors to put a video on their web site if
it’s primary purpose was to help the inspector make a sale. The need for
that kind of video is #1 on the list of priorities … IMHO.

This was not meant as an attack on you.
As Mark has confirmed that is the way it is taught in Missouri. We are not allowed to take it your/EPA way.
If a hose bib is not next to the well tank, I use the laundry faucet. The closer the better to the tank is way is taught. I like to use hand held propane torch to heat up the faucet to kill the bacteria. But like Mark stated watch out for melting the washer. If you are not comfortable using a torch, do not do it this way. I have pulled hundreds of samples this way without any problems.
I agree with the state of Missouri that logically this is the best way to pull a water sample. I can show you in several insists where the EPA has and/or still wrong on what they tell the public.
You got to understand that things are done differently in each part of the country. You do a great job of teaching. Again it was not meant as an attack.

Ben… see this thread I just started in the members section…

The common denominator for all home inspectors is the InterNACHI S.O.P. That’s possibly the area from which the video could be created.

A few inspectors have posted their way of setting expectations by sitting with their client and reading along the SOP and the agreement.
Honestly, about 10 to 20% of my clients were “no-shows” or my high-end-professional clients just wanted the report and desired not to spend time with me.
For those many instances, I would have appreciated having an online video to which I could refer or direct those clients of mine that would benefit from watching it.

For example, I can see the client benefiting from clearly understanding that a home inspection includes an evaluation of the roof system, but it does not require the inspector to “walk on any pitched roof surface, predict the service life expectancy, or warranty the roof performance.”

If you start a discussion on how many inspectors do “walk by” inspections
and want the option of not being bound to the SoP … you will
find approx. 95% on this forum do indeed promote “walk by” inspections.

Why would they want to post a SoP video on their web site?

Don’t be shocked by these stats…:wink:
I’m just telling you the truth… for better or worse.

Also… I have go by the TREC SoP… sorry.

Very interesting, John. Personally, I’ve always thought of the SOP as “freedom.” For me, having guidelines in which to work is freedom. Kinda like having guidlines in life for my children - they’re happy, joyous kids when they know the guidelines in which to behave.

Your nature was developed over time and you have become a man of principles.
That has become your world view because you were teachable. Enough said.

Offering a “Walk By” with *no *contract which some do, not me, I feel they bring down the price and more people will rely on them instead of getting a full inspection, is complete freedom. No contract, no SOP, no signature, you do a ‘walk by’ and then you walk away.

I’m shocked John.
Please provide supporting verifiable documentation supporting you bold statement.:shock: