Stressful for you?

By
Home Inspector with Integrity Home Inspections LLC

 

About three times a month it happens to me........I Show up at the home finding the water and the pilot lights off. Of course I call the Realtor to inform them that there cannot be a complete inspection performed, for obvious reasons. The Realtor will typically ask, "can't you just go ahead and turn them on so we can get the inspection completed? The buyers really do not have time left on their contract." With the price of gasoline and scheduling of other inspections in mind.....

Your response is:

1) Sorry, I am not permited to operate main shut-off valves or to light pilots

2) You are going to have to pay for my second trip out here if I only do a partial today

3) The buyer will see an increase in the inspection cost if I have to come back

4) I'll just do a partial inspection and charge the client less

5) I will just leave and you call me when the home is ready, no up-charge

6) Turn the water on and light the pilot lights and then turn them off when you leave

I know there are many answers and every circumstance is a bit different but the lack of utility service really puts us, as Inspectors in an awkward posititon. We are already seen in many circles as the "deal killers" and then when we throw the announcement that there is no way to complete the inspection it just seems to create more of a barrier. I do ask the Realtor if all of the utilities are on and if the pilot lights are lit but that does not always ensure that they will be. Thoughts???

Be Safe

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Rainer
434,914
Scott Daniels Florida Real Estate 2.0. Agents Earn 100% Commission.
Florida List For Less Realty, Inc. Broker/Owner. - Cooper City, FL

MR,

Seems to be happening a lot in today`s market..

Jun 01, 2008 10:23 PM #1
Rainmaker
175,273
Dennis Swartz
Rickert Property Management - Columbus, OH
ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, CMCA, MBA...experience counts!

I agree it is hard to control, and a dilemna for an inspector, but if you don't come up with a user friendly response you may not get future business.

What about actually lighting the pilot if the gas is on? What is the difference if an inspector does it or I do it as the agent? The inspector should theoritically be competant to light the pilot since they are inspecting the home. I know, liability. But remember, you have liability when you unlocked the front door and that becomes a worn out excuse.

Jun 01, 2008 10:32 PM #2
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

In retrospect Scott, I am sure a good deal of it is from the foreclosure market. Thanks for stopping by.

Blessings

Jun 01, 2008 10:33 PM #3
Rainer
28,105
Chip Jefferson
Advanced Building LLC - Lexington, SC

Sometimes things happen well beyond your control. I do think that this justifies a trip charge. When doing appraisal appointments If I can I turn them on for them.

Jun 01, 2008 10:35 PM #4
Rainmaker
66,966
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

Well, you asked if they were on, you were told yes they were. There is nothing else you can do if they lied to you. I just do the inspection the best I can, and tell them if they do get the utilities on, then i will be happy to come back for a nominal trip charge. Everyone must understand that we are busy too, and it takes time and gas to return.

Jun 01, 2008 10:44 PM #5
Rainer
164,544
Gary McAdams
GMAC Schwartz Property Sales - Key West, FL

We will have that happen a lot.  My first thought is they are hiding something.  Could the water be off due to a leak?  In Florida water and electric must be on for inspections per contract.  If they are not on the seller must turn them on and the inspection period starts the day both are on.

Jun 01, 2008 10:47 PM #6
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

Dennis, I pray you did not perceive my blog as being crass, I in no way will present a hard-line attitude to the Realtor or the lient. I agree, it SEEMS only right that I would light them because I am able. The issue is as you suggested a liability concern. I did turn the gas on to a pilotless set of gas logs a few years ago. The pipe immediately after the valve had cracked threads and when I lit the logs it backfired to the opening in the pipe right at the valve. I singed the hair on my arm and hand to get it shut-off. There are many scenarios and in a perfect world the utilities would be on.... Some of the other responses, like Kevins have more the verbage that I like to use. I doubt if the Realtor lied about the utilities, more likely they are too busy or do not see the importance so do not fully follow up.

Blessings

Jun 01, 2008 10:56 PM #7
Rainer
66,943
Rob Muller
ReMax Town & Country - Canton, GA
Cherokee County Real Estate

I've heard this happening more lately. I agree that an extra charge for having to go back out when the utilities were not on is fair and reasonable- especially if you were told they were on. As far as there not being much time left for the buyers- the inspection is so important, maybe they should consider an extension to cover the inspection.

Jun 02, 2008 12:07 AM #8
Rainer
12,363
Shaun Wren
AGENTFORLIFE - Lakeland, FL

Hard to do a job that isn't prepped.

Jun 02, 2008 12:08 AM #9
Rainmaker
176,382
Alan Langstone
Mount Pleasant, SC

As a relative newcommer to the real estate industry, this says more to me about the Real Estate Agents attitude, the selling agent know that the inspection is going to take place but does not ensure that the utilities are on.

 

Jun 02, 2008 12:18 AM #10
Ambassador
602,608
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Michael, this can be stressful for the REALTOR, too.  Listing agents don't always have control of having their clients turn on utilities.  Buyer agents have even less control over the property. 

Experienced agents already know that inspectors can't take the liability of turning on utilities yourself.  You could cause a flood because of a broken water pipe, or a fire because of an electrical problem that no one has reported.

Best thing to do for any vacant property is check with the agent to make sure the utilities are on before the inspection is scheduled.

Jun 02, 2008 01:25 AM #11
Ambassador
1,422,732
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR

It is most disconcerting to the buyers agent even after all the arrangements are supposedly made.  Most times they aren't.

Jun 02, 2008 01:30 AM #12
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

Wow, I truly appreciate your responses. That is what I love about this A/R community. All that I have to do is pose a scenario and people respond with helpful tips and advice to help me re-ground myself. I, like most of you know mostly what should be done but it is those little nuances that you folks add that really help me make sense of some things. So long as we continue to work together the job will be easier. Thank you again

Blessings to All

Jun 02, 2008 12:04 PM #13
Rainer
5,035
Rob Kleinschmidt
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspections - Lake Geneva, WI

It is a tough situation.  No matter how hard you try, the houses with no gas and water supply still happen.  We can always try to keep educating everyone about the home inspection process and what we need to truly serve the customers.

Keep moving forward!

Jun 09, 2008 01:29 PM #14
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

Thanks for stopping by Rob, It is all about educating and then reminding I think.

Blessings

Jun 09, 2008 03:14 PM #15
Rainmaker
90,166
MC2 Home Inspections
MC2 Home Inspections LLC - Denver, CO

If you don't come up with a user friendly response you may not get future business.What about actually lighting the pilot if the gas is on? What is the difference if an inspector does it or I do it as the agent?

All I can say about this persons response is WOW.

Never ceases to amaze me

Jun 10, 2008 06:13 AM #16
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

I'm right there with you Mike. I think the difference is spelled liability....

Blessings and thanks for stopping by sir

Jun 10, 2008 06:19 AM #17
Rainmaker
59,401
Dana Bostick
True Professionals, Inc. - North Hollywood, CA

I've been known to tell the Agent the risks and tell them that they are more than welcome to turn them on if they like.  They think about it a while and say "we'll get them turned on properly" and pay my return fee.

As long as you are going to take the responsibility they are all for it.  When the shoe is on the other foot the song is different.

Jun 10, 2008 05:36 PM #18
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

Thanks for stopping by, Right on the money Dana

Blessings

Jun 10, 2008 10:19 PM #19
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