Category Archives: Services Overview

The Initial Secure And Inspection

Publication of this material was made possible through financial and material support from:


The Contractor’s Contractor


Copyright © 2013 Terry Platt


The Initial Secure And Inspection

You must have a rock-solid understanding of conveyance before you will appreciate how critical a secure work order is to your income. Let’s start with a very simple question: why are you at the property? You may think that you are there to haul out debris or cut grass or any number of things but that is a very short-sighted view of why you are there. You are there as just one piece of the puzzle. The puzzle to be solved is getting rid of the property. The lender does not want the property. The lender wants to turn it over to HUD. That’s called conveyance. HUD does not want the property. They want a family to buy it. So, in essence your job is to insure that this process of getting rid of the property goes as smooth as possible. And while you are at the property, let’s see how much money you can make.


Step one is to assume that everyone that visited the property before you was either blind, stupid or otherwise totally unfamiliar with buildings. Assume they know nothing. Now, start fresh and look at what you have here in this property. You may be looking at a goldmine. You just need to know where to look. Just like any old-time prospector you need to let training, experience and gut instinct guide you.

Not only do you have the opportunity to make money, but now and only now, is the time you have to take the steps necessary to insure that your earnings are not later taken from you by chargebacks or penalties. So for now, ignore the instructions on the work order. You see, the work order is based on the report of someone before you – that Speedy Gonzalez inspector that was trying to inspect 100 houses a day.


Step two. Understand with no doubt that in order to be successful in this business you have to prove you know your stuff and you are going to do that by showing them how much money you want to make. You are going to show and tell them about everything that is wrong with this house and you are going to provide a detailed report of the facts fully supported with lots of photos. Sure, it’s a lot of work but it makes a lot more sense to make $1000 here on this property rather than make $1000 flirting all over the county at five, six or seven properties. Slow down, stay put and find your opportunities.


Step three. Begin a slow and deliberate photo documentation of the outside. If the property is to be conveyed to HUD you should know exactly what they demand of a property before they will accept conveyance of the property. If you do not fully understand the requirements, stop now and review them. There is no way you will successfully complete an inspection and report without that knowledge.  If the property is already a HUD property and is to be put on the market, insure that all conveyance conditions are still in place and then move on to conditions that put the property in a marketable condition. What is marketable condition? A good way to answer this question is to look up and down the street and realize that this house, the one you are working on, has to look as nice as everything else in the neighborhood and, if possible, better. That’s marketable condition. The pick of the litter.

While doing your outside inspection remember that absolutely everything must be looked at, documented and photographed. You’re looking for gold nuggets, let me give you a few hints:

  • Rotten facia may indicate additional damage to roof decking or trusses.
  • Peeling paint on wooden surfaces may lead you to water damage.
  • Cracks in brick may indicate foundation problems
  • Curled, missing or discolored roofing shingles are a dead give-away to needed roof work.
  • Odors may lead you to all kinds of needs such as vermin or insect damage, plumbing issues, mold, etc.
  • Always inspect the integrity of fake stucco.
  • Is there debris? What is it? How much is there? Prove it with photos.

You should be looking for money. If you look for it, it’s there.


Step four. Have you ever noticed how some people just do not seem to notice their surroundings too well? Actually, anyone living in a house does not notice that the paint is two or three shades darker than it was last year. Three crayon marks is not that much more than two, right?

Here is a sure fire method to make sure you earn every possible cent from the interior of this place: just realize that everyone that looks at this place as a potential buyer wants a $250,000 house for $10,000 and they will find everything they can to justify a cut in the price. So, pretend you are them. Start looking.

Go over every room. Floor to ceiling. What’s wrong?

  • Look at wall and ceiling stains very carefully. Is it mold or mildew? Investigate.
  • Look inside of all cabinetry that has water fixtures. Is there dampness or rot?
  • Are plumbing fixtures secure? Do they show signs of leaking? Rusty stains?
  • Check condition of water heater, HVAC units inside and out.
  • Inspect electrical outlets for signs of overheating. Are outlet covers loose or missing?
  • Is there debris? What is it? How much is there? Prove it with photos.
  • Does the flooring have weak spots, trip hazards or uneven surfaces? If so, there’s money there.


Step five. Keep in mind that someone is probably paying for insurance on this property. Could any condition you found have been caused by vandalism or mother nature? Does your client want you to file a police report for vandalism? Does your client want you to tell them that the tree limb probably crushed the carport during that thunderstorm last night? You need to know. If you help them with their insurance claims they may have more money they can pay you.


Step six. Write, write, write and click, click, click that camera button. By the way, does your client want all these photos date stamped or not? When you’re done tell your family how hard you worked and that you did everything possible to earn as much money as possible. You even moved those mounds of debris so you could get good photos of the wall behind it. You took at least two pics of every room – from opposing angles even, two pics of every report of damage, at least two of everything and the photos of the citations are clear enough that the citation can be read from the photos. Utility meter photos are sharp too. You inspected, reported and took photos of all the outbuildings too. You can also tell them that there is no way that you can be charged back or penalized for failing to report damages because you reported and documented everything.


Even though your client might not want to know about cosmetic issues on your first report, you now have documented proof of the condition of the property on your first visit. Each time you visit the property in the future, you will go through the same routine for any remaining issues previously reported as well as any new changes such as vandalism, storm damage or new debris dumped on the property.

Play fair. Stay honest. Make money.