Please don't bring Dad next time

Home Inspector with Clayton Inspection Service, Inc.

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.



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Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Dads mean well..though sometimes we wish they would appear only after the ink was dry on the closing well I know !

Mar 02, 2009 11:12 PM #1
Judy Jennings
The Green Company - Ashland, MA
Broker - The Lanterns at Warren Woods - Ashland MA

I guess that if I think of the 2 hours as a marketing meeting - That sums it up pretty nicely. Chances are, you will get a referral from "Dad."  Nice job. 

Mar 02, 2009 11:28 PM #2
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Jack, Dad was just looking after his Son and Daughter-in-Law. I'm sure the time spent will lead to future referrals.

Mar 02, 2009 11:30 PM #3
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Jack, Sometimes we just have to "do the time" and it sounds like you did it very nicely and I am sure you will have a customer for life.

Mar 02, 2009 11:48 PM #4
Charlie Ragonesi - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

It is part of the nature of the beast. Everybody means well, It is a pain smile collect your fee and move on. Nice post. We see it selling homes as well.

Mar 02, 2009 11:55 PM #5
Jim Mushinsky
Centsable Inspection - Framingham, MA

Hi Jack.  An offer for a family lunch sure sounds like they appreciate your work.

I'm not sure if this was appropriate in your situation, but here is what has worked for me in the past.

I bring extra flashlights, AC Sensors, and laser thermometers with me on an inspection.  When the client's relatives get over involved I will ask them if they want to participate.  If yes, I will give them a task.  Touch the AC sensor to all the switches and light fixtures.  Measure the hot water temperatue at each faucet.  Look at every floor joist with the flashlight.   As you know there is no shortage of tasks to give them.  Of course I do not use any of their findings as a substitute for any of my tasks.   The clients really like to use the tools.

Mar 03, 2009 04:33 AM #6
Vince Santos
StepByStep Home Services LC - Canton, MI
Southeast Michigan Home Inspector

I've had several clients over the years bring their parents to the home inspection. Usually they follow me around for a bit, ask typical question, and are attentive when I come across something. However once in a while I get those parents like you described. Their intentions are of course good but when the questions keep rolling it can be difficult to move on to the next item. I'm not sure there is anything you can do other than be patient and answer each question. I've found exceedingly inquisitive clients tend to be appreciative and will provide future referrals as long as you remain patient.

Last year I had a client who showed up with her father/ retired Realtor. His questions were not unlike an open hose bib. I mean they just kept pouring out. The thing is he was such a likable gentleman it was impossible to be annoyed with the questions. In fact he left such an impression I keep in touch from time to time to see how he's doing.


Mar 04, 2009 01:16 AM #7
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor


I bet dad was an engineer by trade. They will study a property to death. I came through your city on Sunday on the way back from Gatlinburg. It did not snow there but I arrived home to Dyersburg,Tn to a pretty big snow on the ground.

Mar 04, 2009 01:56 AM #8
Dennis Goudreau


I know exactly what you are saying, on a recent inspection for a young couple I had both dads,both moms,and 1 brother,suffice to say it was a long inspection.But it went good everybody had their questions answered, explanations of particular issues were met with no bad reactions, one of the dads is a recently retired Marine so I made sure when I walked I was in cadence. Overall not a bad experience .

Mar 05, 2009 04:44 AM #9
Nikki Marlatt-Young
At Ease Home Inspections - Arbutus, MD
Housing & Rental Inspections

Good Job Jack!!!!  

I love knowing my Daddy still has my best interest at heart!

Mar 06, 2009 01:50 AM #10
MC2 Home Inspections
MC2 Home Inspections LLC - Denver, CO

Lord knows I have had my share of overprotective dads. I am still dealing with one that emails me once a month asking me to keep coming out to his daughters home everytime something doesnt look just right.

Mar 06, 2009 11:36 PM #11
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