Performing contact inspections requires careful execution and attention to detail to ensure accurate results while respecting the privacy and rights of property occupants. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the appropriate way to perform a contact inspection and what steps to take depending on the occupancy status.
Approaching the Property
When completing a contact inspection, it’s important to approach the property deliberately so as not to appear suspicious. The primary intent of this inspection is to determine whether the property is vacant or occupied. If it’s found occupied, you should attempt to make contact with the person residing in the property. Some visual clues that the property may be occupied include personal items present, a car in the driveway, or full trash cans. However, these are just clues that the property may be occupied and are not definite indicators that it is occupied. For example, the car in the driveway may belong to the neighbor.
If the property is determined to be occupied, you are required to take specific photos, including the front of the house, the property address, a street scene, and photos of any key identifiers which support the occupancy is occupied as well as any damages you may identify. When taking the front-of-the-house photo, ensure that you capture the entire front of the house. It’s also imperative that the address is clearly visible in the photo. If it’s not visible, provide an additional zoomed-in photo of the address to confirm you are indeed at the correct property. The address can typically be found in the front of the house, the mailbox, the address post, or at the curb of the property.
A street scene photo is utilized to determine the neighborhood conditions and visually assess whether it is stable, declining, or improving. It’s important that this photo is included with the results of the inspection.
Upon obtaining the front-of-house street scene and occupancy supporting photos, it’s required that you attempt to make contact with the homeowner or the individual listed on the work order. Knock on the door and attempt to directly deliver the door hanger to the homeowner. If someone answers the door, verify that you are speaking to the correct contact person. It’s important to obtain the contact name listed under the order information to confirm whether it’s a homeowner or tenant occupying the property. If the individual you speak with is not the contact name listed, verify that the name listed on your order is the person who actually resides on the property.
It’s important that you never leave a door hanger with a minor, and at no point should you discuss financial or loan status information. If asked for the purpose of your visit, state that you are completing an inspection on behalf of the bank. Any additional questions should be directed to the homeowner’s mortgage company or bank if contact is not made with the resident. If you still determine the property as occupied, you’re required to leave a sealed door hanger in your attempt to make contact. You must ensure it’s the appropriate door hanger based on your order.
Once you’ve completed the inspection, fill out the door hanger with the contact name and number found in the order instructions. Seal the door hanger and hang it on the front door. The door hanger should only be left on the individual door handle and not in any other inappropriate places such as windows, fences, or mailboxes. You’re also required to take a picture of the door hanger showing it was left in the correct place. The photos should be taken from a distance to identify and confirm what door it was left on.
If you believe the property may be vacant, you are not to leave the door hanger. One of the best ways to tell if a property is vacant or occupied is by looking through one of the windows to see if there are any personals visible. If there are no personnel present, take a photo to support your vacancy report. If a property is determined to be vacant and the inspection script identifies the property as a first-time vacant, you’re required to place a first-time vacancy sticker on a door at the property.
First-time vacancy stickers are not to be left on windows, mailboxes, or any other location at the property. Besides the door, you must submit a photo. The first-time vacancy sticker has proof that it was left in the proper location. A first-time vacancy certification form will also be submitted with your inspection results to United Field Services Inc.
Completing a contact inspection may seem like a straightforward process, but it requires attention to detail and careful execution to ensure accurate results. As a vendor, it’s essential to approach the property deliberately, take the required photos, and attempt to make contact with the homeowner or the individual listed on the work order. It’s also crucial to follow the instructions on leaving the door hanger or first-time vacancy sticker, ensuring that they are placed in the correct location, and taking photos as proof.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your contact inspections are completed accurately, providing valuable information to clients and contributing to the success of your business.