I did an inspection for a nice couple yesterday, it went very well. However, I was at the house almost two hours longer than I expected to be. The problem was Dad.
It seems Dad had called a few years ago when he was looking for a house. He spent a lot of time on the phone with my wife. He went to my web site. He called some references. He ended up, not buying a house, but he kept my contact information in his wallet (no kidding, he showed me the paper). So when his son and daughter in law were going to buy a house, he called me.
He came prepared. He had his measuring tape, his clipboard with graph paper, a digital camera (really nice one too), and a video camera as well. He had a list of concerns - boy did he have a list.
When I start an inspection, I always ask my clients if they have any concerns, so I can address them. I ask them not to come and get me to come and look at something, because I might lose my sequence. I also tell them that if I do find something they need to see, I will come and get them, so they can see first hand what I am talking about in the report.
The problem came when I would show them something, it would take a little longer than normal to explain and discuss. There would always be a few more questions.
For the most part, he left me alone. But between him and his son, they always seemed to have questions, that led to other questions.
When I was just about finished, here came the typical questions, like should I buy this house, am I getting a good deal, if you were going to rate this house, what would it be, and on a scale of one to ten, where would this house be. Usually I will get one of those, and move on, but he just kept coming back with another one. Even after I told him I don't rate house, and I have no idea what houses sell for in this neighborhood, and I'm not looking to buy a house, so I wouldn't buy this one. All the questions, and all the stock answers. It was like a bad dream.
It's funny, I thought I was in control during the inspection. But clearly I wasn't. Somehow, those extra minutes stretched into almost 120. How did this happen? My wife told me I was going to be in for it after she scheduled it. "He's a talker", she said. "He will wear you out", she added.
He was, and he did. However, I have no doubt he will keep my number (he has my card now) in his wallet, and tell everyone he knows what a great inspector I am (I hope).
I guess that if I think of the 2 hours as a marketing meeting, it doesn't seem so bad, especially if it brings new business.
If I would have had an afternoon appointment I probably would have moved along faster, and maybe cut his questions off. But he also might have got the impression I was cutting him off, and not left with the warm fuzzy feeling he did. I know he was feeling good about me, because as I was in my truck getting ready to leave, he tapped on my window and asked me if I wanted to go to lunch with his family. I begged off, telling him I had another appointment, but thanked him.
Maybe bringing Dad was OK after all, I just need to allow for extra time for this family.