Monday, February 16, 2009

A Difference of Perspective – “The House from Hell”

All too often there is what I like to refer to as “the house from hell”, not that it is so old or bad but that the issues are either voluminous or complex. I come home from the inspection and comment to my wife “another house from hell”. The inspection and report on this type of property tends to be lengthy. The particular house could be new or hundreds of years old, small or large, beautiful or not particularly so. The house may be a gift from the Gods that any buyer would be crazy not to purchase at the contracted price. However, the volume and detail of my report may not reflect that in the eyes of all beholders. Such is a fascination to me.

From one perspective the seller and their Realtor are freaked out at the report ready to take a contract out for my demise. They can’t possibly comprehend how the condition of any house, especially theirs, could necessitate a 70 to 100 plus page report from any rascal of a home inspector. I may get a call from either or both complaining that I went completely overboard with my inspection and report. I will later hear how the Realtor is bad mouthing me all over town. Never recommend this nut case, he doesn’t know what he is doing and trashed my listing. You better hope he never inspects one of your listings! I am lucky the deal closed.

Then there is the call from my client raving about how great I am, how comprehensive my inspection and report and how surprised and pleased they are at the detail of my inspection and the ease of understanding the explanations and photographs in my report. Can they offer me a recommendation for future clients and be assured they will tell their acquaintances about me when they are purchasing a home. Then is the best of all sounds to my ears of how much more comfortable they are about their purchase after walking through the house with me and reading my report.

Same house, same report, different perspectives. Which is the reaction I should strive for? Is it both? Can you possibly have one without the other? I don’t think so. Such is the unstable ground upon which quality home inspectors must tread. We present the facts as best we are able with the knowledge available to us. How those facts are perceived by the reader completely depends on their perspective. One perceives a curse, another blessing. At face value they are simply the facts with a bright light shining on them. The difference between home inspectors is the direction and intensity of the light. I am of the opinion that clients who contract with me expect focused intense light and that I shouldn’t conduct inspections for the pleasure of listing agents, their sellers or for that matter the buyers agent who may have recommended me.

My greatest pleasure comes from the call from the seller of the last house I just “trashed” asking if I can work the inspection of the house they are purchasing quickly into my schedule. Such is a “Eureka” moment. Even better the listing agent of the house I “trashed” needs an inspection for their child, relative or themselves. Need I say more? It’s all about perspective.

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