month I would like to go over some practical on-site phrases
I have found useful. In this exercise I have used what I
consider to be unprofessional language with what, in my
experience, has worked much better. Have fun with the below.
professional phrases for common situations:
#1: Always write what you say and say what you write, be
of saying "this is stupid,"
or "geez, look at this"
say "for increased safety, we
recommend:" or "for
optimum performance we recommend:"
the following instead of the "Code"
word, use: "Not serviceable,
nonstandard, substandard, unconventional, inadequate, temporary"
client asks "do you think I can
do that myself" say: "You
know your capabilities better than I do, you should decide
of saying "its old,"
say: "The component is nearing
the end of its useful life and may require repair or replacement
at any time." If the component is really old
say: "The component is beyond
its expected useful life and may require replacement at
of saying "its toast,"
say: "The component is at the
end of its useful life and is in need of replacement"
the client asks "should I buy
this house?" or "would
you buy the house?" say: "You
are going to live here. You need to make this choice with
your family based upon the information you obtain from me,
as well as all the other factors you feel are important
to making this decision."
a client asks you (usually on the phone) "I've
been shopping around; are you better than ____ inspector?"
say: "_____ is a good inspector,
my qualifications are similar and my company's inspections
.." (change subject from other inspector,
don't fall into the negative marketing trap)
client/real estate agent asks: "but,
was it to code when the house was built?" say:
"we are not doing a code inspection,
however, the current standards are our guide for safety
recommendations. My recommendation provided is to increase
safety or performance of the component, not to determine
of saying "I found many problems
with this house" say: "there
were some conditions requiring attention in this house"
or if several serious items (safety and/or high cost) say:
"I found several items requiring
attention in this house, some of which I would consider
significant safety (or cost) conditions."
the owner/agent/whoever says "but
a contractor was just here and said everything was fine
and to code" say: "professionals
are entitled to their opinions, and based upon my training
and experience I feel
You are entitled to a
second opinion, just ask for it in writing, on professional
letterhead, like my report"
you see something that is impossible to determine if repaired
or if performing, say: "inquire
with the seller regarding the performance of the cooling
system (an example) during hot weather," (good
comment for the winter) or "inquire
with the seller regarding the history (if any) of water
intrusion frequency and intensity during wet weather in
the basement." (good comment when water stains
noted at base of basement walls)
of saying "that looks like a
homeowner repair to me" say: "this
appears to be a temporary repair and I recommend
If you say "homeowner"
you just allocated responsibility.
of saying "the builder should
of.." say: "this
component may not perform as intended" or "the
installation does not appear to conform to minimum standards."
If you say "the builder should
of" you allocated responsibility.
asked by the client "does the
seller have to fix that?" say: "No,
everything in real estate is negotiable and I recommend
you discuss this with your real estate agent."
ever say "that's illegal."
Only municipal deputized Code inspectors acting in their
municipal capacity can make a determination if something
is legal. Say: "It appears to
be not serviceable, not standard,
say "It's grandfathered."
There is no such category in any zoning ordinances. Usually
it's "existing nonconforming"
the municipality uses. However, only the municipality can
make that determination. Recommend consulting with them.
you are inspecting a system and notice many items requiring
repairs, don't say "there's a
bunch of stuff wrong here." Try: "There
were too many conditions noted needing correction to catalog
in my report. I recommend evaluation by a licensed ____
and correction as necessary to assure the system is safe
and performing as intended."
a component is shut down and not operational when you are
there don't just write "not tested,"
recommend activate. Direct the client to have the component
activated by a licensed professional AND repaired if necessary
(might be shut down because it is not working). Recommend
a safety check as well if it's a fuel burning appliance.
you are looking at something and not quite sure what is
wrong, but it looks questionable, try this: "The
_____ is installed in an unconventional manner. I recommend
evaluation and repair if necessary by a licensed _____."
the seller will follow you around and start fixing things
you are observing and verbalizing and then try to convince
you to change your report. Try: "I
write things down only once. Also, just because I write
something down does not mean you have to do anything. You
might as well relax and wait until you get the response
to the home inspection from the buyer."
asked : "Can I go up on the roof
with you?" say: "It
is our company policy, and a request from our insurance
carrier, that only the inspector use the ladder."
are many other situations we could think of and have some
fun with. However, this is all I have room for today.
phrases used in this inspection tip are provided for informational
use only. Kaplan does not endorse the use of these phrases
talk next month,
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