Tough Situation.

I submitted a report for a nice lady that was qualified for a USDA Direct loan. She told me it took her over a year to get qualified and that the lender required an inspection to be done and they also required to view the entire report.
The house was built in 1972 and it was in good shape with all the common things that you would expect a house of this age to have. (i.e. unprotected GFCI, leaky faucets, clogged gutters, missing cover plates, ect.) I also reported on the negative grade towards the house as a possible major problem but there was no indication that the grade had caused problems in the past.
The lender replied back wanting all the items reported as repairs to be repaired. This created a situation that was upsetting for all parties involved. The buyer, seller, all agents, and myself met today at the house to discuss the plan of attack. The seller was extremely upset and of course blamed everything on my report writing saying that I was basically too thorough and reporting on things like missing cover plates, and valves that leaked into the tub was ridiculous.
I remained poised and went over every issue on the report one by one. The major issues were lot drainage, a poorly constructed deck built into an embankment, and feeder wires that were hung from a tree going to a storage shed and were within arms reach. Having built homes for years I was comfortable in suggesting how these things should be fixed and what methods to use in doing so. All issues were relatively simple and low cost but the buyer was in no way capable of doing these things and the seller was unwilling.
After arguing back and forth I finally suggested that I would work with the seller to facilitate the repairs at no cost to keep from loosing the deal. (I am in Washington and performing work on a home for a fee within 12 months of inspecting is illegal.) After offering to help with the repairs at no cost the seller finally calmed down and then complimented me on being a “stand up guy” and I had never worked with either of these agents but hopefully they will use me again.
I learned a lot from this experience especially how my report writing will affect the transaction. I will put more thought into how I categorize issues and possibly add a minor repair category. I do, however, believe that a lender should do the hiring of an inspector if they require the inspection. More and more lenders are requiring to view inspection reports and then demanding that all repair items be addressed. This is upsetting to me in that a lender is not present at an inspection therefore does not have perspective on what are real problems and what are not.
I feel that I am a good inspector but this situation has definitely left me second guessing myself. If I would have put the lot drainage in the monitor category instead of the repair category a lot of this frustration could have been avoided. Does anybody have any input on this or have had similar experiences?

So you want guys here to justify you softening your report for lenders and Agents ?
Go ahead and when you start putting everything in a minor / monitor category be sure to post us on your lawsuit.

Seems to me you are working for the seller rather than the buyer so good luck with that.

The extra money you make from Agent and Lender referrals should help to defray the Lawyer and Insurance costs.

That’s the Christmas spirit Micah. Well done and may God Bless you and your loved ones.

I simply tell my clients NEVER to release the inspection report that I prepare for them to their lender, unless they want to pull out of the transaction. Lenders are used to seeing appraisals, not inspection reports and they generally do not know how to deal with them.

If the lender requires an inspection report, they should hire the cheapest inspector that they can find for the lender and use my report for themselves. No good has come from a buyer providing their inspection report to the lender.

Fortunately, the lenders almost never ask for inspection reports. In every instance I know of that the lender has received/reviewed the report, the have killed the deal for the buyer. My reports will be prepared the same way, regardless who might be reading them.

I come across this all the time, yes there is different styles of writing. How ever the long and short is if there was problems it is your job of reporting it, It is the home and owner’s fault you found them. BTW i would never offer to help fix the problems.

I take it that when you say lender you mean USDA, because the government borrows the money directly to the buyer in a Direct Loan. Now a Guaranteed Loan, the government guarantees if the loan defaults that they will cover something like 95% of any losses occurred by the lender.
Each loan type has a different form that needs to be filled out by the inspector or some cases the appraiser. You should have been required to fill out that form. Each state has their own forms. If the lender is requiring something that is not on that form, he is overreaching and can be called out to prove it is required by Rural Development. Any underwriter of a loan can set their own conditions, but cannot say that all of the conditions are required for Rural Development if it is not so. The local Rural Development office can straighten crap like this out, usually.

I had an agent call me yelling that my report was unprofessional blah blah. He gave me several recommendations on how things should have been reported. recommending repair was left out of all them. I thanked him for his feedback and told him to have his client call me. She loved the report. I’m not sure I would ever sit down at a table and offer anything to the seller. If my client knows I did a good job and loves my report then my job is done.

Thanks for the input. I never planned on meeting the seller and if I think I may be put in this situation again I will definitely be more cautious. I have never offered to fix anything before but it seemed like it was the right thing to do. I Would definitely never offer to fix anything I wasn’t comfortable or qualified to.
Since the last post I have talked with the sellers agent and the buyers agent. The sellers agent seemed indifferent but my clients agent told me he was appreciative and that i would get all his business. I definitely don’t plan on writing “soft” reports but I think I can learn from this and improve as an inspector. Personally I feel that I will never “arrive” in this business and there will always be room for improvement.

I sure hope you charged for the extra meeting. It is no different than a reinspection. Your time is worth money. These types of meetings will only cause you grief and a loss of your valuable time. You should never put yourself in the position of getting stuck and having to defend your objective report because the sellers, buyers, agents or mortgage people don’t like something. The report is what it is. If they don’t like your report and the home is too much, they move on to the next home. If your report satisfied the client, they will call for the next home.

NEVER offer to fix anything, regardless of whether it is for a fee or not. You are an inspector in this instance, not a contractor. The reputation that you garner will hurt your business in the long run. It could also be seen by some that your “free” repairs (value exceeding $10) are being used to get more referrals from agents, something that is not allowed in the State of Washington.

Hummm, this is apparently a low income buyer from the sound of your post. Playing the part of the devils advocate, what if in the near future they struggle to pay the payment and all of a sudden “something” happens to the work that the “nice” HI did? If you are not a licensed contractor, then a lawyer may be able to prove negligence on your part.

I am often asked to “help” someone with an electrical problem. Usually it is a situation where their brother in law’s cousin’s best friend’s neighbor who used to know an electrician wired something and now my _____________ quit working or they blink off and on. Can you come over and fix it because I cant afford to hire a contractor right now since I am going on vacation to the Bahamas next month. This has played out 100 times if not more over the years.

Plain and simple, I am no longer a contractor and my license and livelihood are far to valuable to jeopardize. Is yours???

My wife has always had a good answer for these people .

Gee we will put you on the list as soon as he gets my things done for me I will tell him for you.

I will never put myself in a situation like this again. Thanks for all the input.

This is good point that this newbie did not think about. I guess I was trying to be helpful. Never again!

If someone from the government reads your report, especially if it is a thorough report, they seeyou as doing their job for them. Therefore, they just endorse your findings, as if they actually did the work themselves, and you will find yourself under pressure from all concerned to “make things right”.

Inspect, observe, report and serve your client. Do your job, and do it well. But DO NOT allow someone else to have you do their job for them

Hope this helps;