One aspect of human nature that has always baffled me is the tendency on the part of some people to create problems where none really exist, notwithstanding that I have been living with a member of that tribe for the last thirty-one-and-a-half years .

To these folks, a rainy day at the beach is an enormous problem. To me a big problem would be something, say, on the order of getting a leukemia diagnosis. Do you see the difference?

Several years ago, I was out sailing with some friends and one of them accidentally threw my anchor overboard. Unfortunately it wasn’t connected to the boat at the time. When he realized what he had done, he was extremely upset and nigh pathologically remorseful. I told him to forget about it. But he wouldn’t let it go.

So I told him what a wise friend had once told me when I did something similarly boneheaded: “If you have a problem that can be solved by money, you do not have a problem.” The problem represented by a lost anchor can be rather easily rectified with the application of sufficient sums of money. As a general proposition, leukemia can not.

So I was more than a little surprised when two separate home inspectors in two separate states asked my opinion on an identical issue that had been causing them a good deal of hand-wringing. Each had done an inspection for a client and were paid for their work. Some time later, the clients requested that the inspectors generate another invoice so that the client could recover the cost of the inspection as part of closing costs that were being picked up by the seller and would appear on the HUD-1 as such. The inspector would simply deposit the Title Company check in his account and then refund the “overpayment” to his client.

One inspector went ahead and complied with his client’s request but wondered whether there was something “illegal” about it. The other simply refused to do it and got into an email spitting match with a lender and a real estate agent, one of whom told the inspector that he was going to advise colleagues never to recommend this inspector to their clients again.

Of all the issues that a home inspector needs to be concerned about, I would place client satisfaction at the very top and worrying about the “legality” of this innocuous request would not even come close to making the list.

This business is hard. It is even harder when you invent additional problems for yourself.

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