Going the Extra Mile (or at least another 30 Feet) For My Clients

By
Home Inspector with Precision Home Inspection

You may have noticed - it's winter.

Here in the Philadelphia area that means that we have a layer of perma-snow covering everything.  I can't remember what it looked like without it.

It impacts EVERYthing.  Fewer parking spaces, horrible street conditions even a week after the snow which alter bus routes and create horrid traffic....

And, snow covered roofs which means limitations on Philadelphia home inspections.

Many times, we do not inspect the roof, simply because we can't see it or it is just plain too dangerous to attempt to. 

That said, for flat roofs or roofs where I think I can achieve at least some minimal safe access, I pull out the Little Giant ladder and climb my chilled bones the 25-30 feet up to take a look.

Why?  Why do I take any risk at all, regardless of how limited?  I can't think of any other Philadelphia home inspector who is climbing roofs.  Most (not all) clients seem to inherently understand the problem the snow creates, and do not expect it.  The Realtors all go wide-eyed when I tell them I am going to look at the roof, clearly they are not expecting it.

So why do I do it?

Because I can't NOT do it.  I don't know how not to try to do everything I possibly can, or tell clients anything that begins with "Our policy is..."  To me that's weak - it's BS, and it's doing less (or maybe the minimum) that is expected of me.

I never do the least that is expected of me.  I ALWAYS want to exceed expectations.  I don't want my clients to be "satisfied," I want them to be flat-out HAPPY!

Yes, it opens me up to added liability when I light an unlit pilot, or test things other inspectors refuse to test, or go on roofs other inspectors wouldn't walk.  But if I were the buyer, I would want my inspector to do those things.  Sure, I would understand if he didn't for whatever mumbo-jumbo reason he have about insurance, or liability or policy....but inside, I would be quietly disappointed.

So, what is to be gained by going up on that roof?  Well, a peaceful view for one....and roof shingles (not visible from the ground) and flashing that need to be replaced.

I understand that everyone has a different comfort zone and it's up to each inspector to make his/her own call on the safety aspect of it.  But wherever possible, something in me pushes me those extra 30 feet. 

And it is worth it every time.

Comments (39)

Chris and Berna Sloan
Group 1 Real Estate - Tooele, UT
Tooele UT

Way to go, Joseph! Here in Utah, of course we deal with weather related stuff all the time. It's the climate here that makes the roof inspection that much more vital. Way to go the extra 30 ft. Be carefull!

Jan 31, 2011 03:20 AM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

is that a squirrel's tail, sticking out of his hidey-hole?

Jan 31, 2011 04:26 AM
Armando Montelongo
Armando Montelongo Companies - San Antonio, TX

People may think I'm cruel when I get down to business, but when it comes to my employees, buyers, people being foreclosed on or students - I use the same business model. I always say, "You're in the business of helping people." Because we are. 

Great read!

Jan 31, 2011 04:33 AM
Aaron Seekford
Arlington Realty, Inc. - Arlington, VA
Ranked Top 1% Nationwide 703-836-6116

That is a very smart and much needed couple of steps that you're taking there Joe. I'm sure your clients certainly appreciate it!

Jan 31, 2011 04:54 AM
Debbie Rumsey
HomeSmart Realty West, Carlsbad, CA - Encinitas, CA
Realtor, Green, SFR

Joseph, you are the kind of inspector real estate agents are proud to refer their clients to.  Can't relate to the whole "snow thing" but seems like it would be a bit dangerous climbing on an icy roof!  Yikes!

 

Jan 31, 2011 04:55 AM
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

This is definitely the right attitude to have for buyers. It is, after all, in their best interest to have every aspect of the house inspected. Last time I checked, roofs were a part of the house...

Jan 31, 2011 04:59 AM
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Joe - I admire you for wanting to exceed expectations, and I do the same thing, but I have to say that no inspection fee or happy customer is worth risking your personal safety on an icy roof or an unlit pilot light.  Sorry to be the sole person who disagrees here.  I wouldn't risk serious injury for any client.

Jan 31, 2011 05:06 AM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I only hire inspectors who go on roofs. My clients need all the information they can get. This alone should skyrocket you in your business.

Jan 31, 2011 05:26 AM
Jan Stevens
Coldwell Banker Pittsburgh - Cranberry Township, PA

Jason #26 has a point about your personal safety and the safety of anyone else who is with you (pilot light). But I love your attitude and commitment to going the extra distance, and I wish you were in Pittsburgh!

Jan 31, 2011 06:03 AM
Kathy Goldman
REVA Online | SEO Boost For Real Estate, Social Media Marketing for Real Estate and Real Estate Blogging Expert - Waukesha, WI
Social Media & Marketing for Real Estate

Great working attitude Joseph! I am sure all those clients will be flat-out HAPPY! I so hope there will be more inspectors who has got a attitude such as yours. :)

Jan 31, 2011 06:15 AM
Kathy Goldman
REVA Online | SEO Boost For Real Estate, Social Media Marketing for Real Estate and Real Estate Blogging Expert - Waukesha, WI
Social Media & Marketing for Real Estate

Great working attitude Joseph! I am sure all those clients will be flat-out HAPPY! I so hope there will be more inspectors who has got a attitude such as yours. :)

Jan 31, 2011 06:15 AM
Laura Forman
RE/MAX AEROSPACE REALTY www.LauraSellsBrevard.com - Melbourne, FL
Your Brevard Premier Property Specialist

Excellent work ethic.  You could move to Florida, but in the summer time it's really HOT on those roofs.

Jan 31, 2011 06:25 AM
Dawn Crawley
Dawn Crawley Realty - Pinehurst, NC
Find Pinehurst Homes

Wish we had a great inspector like you down here in Pinehurst. Fortunately our inspectors don't often have to worry about snow. Your clients are lucky to have you.

Jan 31, 2011 06:49 AM
Gerard Ladalardo
Black Ops Outfitters - Aliso Viejo, CA

I think going the "extra mile" will separate you from your peers in a good way.  I think it's almost expected from some clients these days, even though it's not reciprocated from them sometimes. It's the nature of the beast 

Jan 31, 2011 06:50 AM
Janet McCarthy
San Diego Homes Guide - San Diego, CA
Broker Associate

It's hard to go against shat you've been told all your life, Work on and do a great job and you'll get ahead".  Hope you have a great business, but please be careful

Jan 31, 2011 06:52 AM
Karen Pannell
Real Living / Home Realty - Owensboro, KY
Owensboro KY Real Estate -270-903-2167 Homes, Cond

Joseph, love your business philosophy!  I want a home inspector like you - one who will go the extra mile and is physically able to do so!  (we once had a home inspector who was too large to get in the attic or even under to look in the crawl.  Not good!)  Best wishes in 2011!

Jan 31, 2011 07:21 AM
Karen Pannell
Real Living / Home Realty - Owensboro, KY
Owensboro KY Real Estate -270-903-2167 Homes, Cond

Joseph, love your business philosophy!  I want a home inspector like you - one who will go the extra mile and is physically able to do so!  (we once had a home inspector who was too large to get in the attic or even under to look in the crawl.  Not good!)  Best wishes in 2011!

Jan 31, 2011 07:21 AM
Don Hintz
2D-enterprises / HAUS Design, LLC - Anderson, IN

Joseph,

All to often, complacency drives the bottom line.  I don't know about you, but I like sleeping at night and not having to look over my shoulder.

I much rather my clients have to 'wait' for me to do it right, than them waiting for someone else to have to re-do what didn't do when I should have.

Excellent point!

Jan 31, 2011 12:50 PM
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

Joseph, this ices the cake, or ices the roof as an even more appropriate response.

Feb 01, 2011 11:46 AM
David J. Caracausa
The Premier Properties Group - North Wales, PA
ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, SRES, CRE

Quite an interesting read - nothing worse than an ice skating rink on your roof! I'll show this to someone I know that works as a roof maintenance expert in Philly.

Aug 24, 2015 06:23 AM