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Coronavirus Update: Home Inspectors
by David Brauner, Senior Broker at OREP.org
Our mission over the last 18 years of publishing Working RE is to be a unifying voice for our industry- reaching home inspectors regardless of membership in any particular professional association or location. Today Working RE reaches over 25,000 professional home inspectors with our print magazine and digital editions- by far the most wide-reaching publication for inspectors in the country. So now what?
Well, in times like this, we are called to step up in any way we can. To answer that call, Working RE and our sister company OREP E&O insurance, are creating a National Home Inspectors Survey and Blog. The blog is a way for you to exchange strategies and circumstances with your inspector brothers and sisters in every corner of the country. The survey is for your feedback.
Last week we created a blog and survey for our real estate appraiser audience. Many of them also face the hard decision whether to put themselves and their families in danger to make a living. In the case of appraisers, many lenders are continuing to require interior inspections despite stay-at-home orders and relaxed federal lending guidelines that permit “desktop” appraisals which don’t require an interior inspection. You can read what appraisers are saying here.
How are you faring? Are you still doing inspections? If so, what precautions are you taking? You can share at our blog. Below are some tips we’ve gathered to add to your information database.
Finances & Insurance
I know I have skin in this game, but if you can keep your E&O insurance in place, no matter who you are insured with, it behooves you to do so. If you let it lapse, you lose coverage for your prior inspections. Every Claims Made policy for home inspectors works this way. (Click here to read more about Claims Made policies.)
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One strategy to preserve money, if you are at renewal time, is to consider financing. There is a 60-day moratorium on cancellations for non-payment now in place in response to the crisis, at least at OREP, but I’m sure at most carriers. So if it’s renewal time for you, you can elect to finance your E&O policy this year, pay the much smaller down-payment, and if you need to, defer future payments without being cancelled (for 60 days). When things get back to normal, you can catch up or pay it off.
Ask the property contact specific questions when setting the appointment, such as:
• Is anyone in the household currently sick, coughing, or carrying a fever?
• Has anyone in the household recently returned from a foreign country in the past 14 days? Or Seattle, New York or Santa Clara county? (Known HOT SPOTS.)
• Has anyone in the household been in contact with parties who have a confirmed case of Coronavirus?
• Is anyone in your household under mandatory or self-quarantine?
When performing the inspection, the following precautions are recommended:
• Avoid shaking hands at the time of inspection.
• Wear masks and/or gloves as needed.
• To minimize surface contact, ask that all light switches be turned on and all doors opened prior to entry.
• Wash your hands and clean your tools thoroughly after each inspection.
• Carry antiseptic wipes/hand gel.
• Leave your shoes outside when you return home.
Many inspectors are also requesting that the house be completely empty, with no one present in the home, for his safety and others.
We’re here. Good luck and we will get to the other side.
About the Author
David Brauner is the publisher of Working RE magazine and principal of OREP Insurance Services. David has helped inspectors, appraisers and other real estate professions with their E&O insurance and risk management needs for over 25 years.
> Stay up-to-date and connected, OREP/Working RE has established a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Discussion and Resource Page where you can share your thoughts, experiences, advice and challenges with fellow inspectors.
>> Take the Coronavirus: National Home Inspector’s Survey. Provide your industry feedback.
Free Risk Management Online Course Claims and Complaints: How to Stay Out of Trouble
Presenter: David Brauner, Senior Insurance Broker OREP
David Brauner, Senior Broker at OREP, shares insights and advice gained over 25+ years of providing E&O insurance for inspectors, showing you how to protect yourself and your business. Watch Now!
Note: The Winter 2020 issue of Working RE Inspector is mailing now to over 25,000 home inspectors nationwide. OREP Insureds enjoy guaranteed delivery of each print magazine and many more benefits.
by Jack Mason
Home Inspection and Real Estate are not essential! Food and medicine are. How large a percentage of a real estate transaction justifies the risk of spreading a deadly virus? How large a fee does it take for a home inspector to disregard ASHI’s SOPs and Code of Ethics? Not very large based on what is transpiring in Massachusetts.
At great risk to the general public as well as to buyers, sellers, real estate agents, home inspectors and all of their families, showings and home inspections are taking place almost as usual. This shows a blatant disregard for self and/or others.
I feel very fortunate that my employer made a leadership call early on, that with so many unknowns, and with clear guidance from Governor Baker that home inspection is nonessential, to stop inspecting. Not doing so is breaking the law. Breaking the law is a quick way to lose your license, void your insurance coverage and lose your ASHI membership.
Home inspectors need to hold themselves to the highest ethical standards. Blatant disregard for ASHI’s Code of Ethics is shameful and puts the integrity of the Home Inspection profession at risk. Risking the well being of the general public is criminal.
Before you inspect in Massachusetts during a pandemic, ask your insurance agent if you are covered for performing inspections that disregard the Governers Order. Find out how much your insurer will pay for deaths and illnesses resulting from rogue inspections.
This comment is my less than humble opinion. I do not represent any employer, AHSI or the Massachusetts Board of Home Inspectors. The web page linked to below is an FAQ page from a highly regarded Home Inspection firm that I am very fortunate to be associated with but I do not represent. There is some excellent information on this page for all stakeholders in real estate transactions and home inspections.
Stay safe. Stay Well. Protect the public. Mind ASHI’s SOP’s and COEs.-
by Richard Buendia
Wear eye protection-
by Larry Wiggins
If your state says you are non essential (PA) and you violate that order and do an inspection and were to have a claim, would the insurance be denied for violating a directive lawful order-
by Ed Brookins
Internachi is offering a free Corona virus course and certificate for free.-