Some companies call them “Drive-By” inspections. We hate using that term, because we actually stop and conduct the inspection based on the requirements of the work order. You will never see an NMFS inspection with “car parts” in the photo. Our inspection photos are clear, straight, and capture the entire property. Where provided, we always include an address verification photo. If we discover the property to be vacant, we take a full front photo, (rear if accessible), 2 side photos, an address verification photo along with a photo of the water spigot showing the water is either on or off. We report on damages, vandalism, hazards and conditions that would present liabilities. If we cannot provide a photo through the window on a first time vacant, we ask neighbors for verification. We never guess. We check all doors and windows for security and report it unsecured if we cannot lock it back using existing hardware.
On every interior inspection we do, we provide photos of every major room in the building. We check to see if the windows and doors are locked. We check the ceilings for damages that might indicate a roof leak. We take photos over the toilets to show if it has been winterized or not. We also check for health hazards such as mold, dead animals or visible signs of vermin infestations. We know the difference between an interior in “Good” condition with tons of left over junk, and one that is truly in “Fair” or “Poor” condition that needs maintenance to preserve the property.
Homeowners waiting on someone to call them, to do an inspection they never knew they needed, can be very frustrating. The first thing we do is call the homeowner to set up an appointment to inspect the repairs as soon as possible. We try to set up an appointment that fits their schedule the best. We use the insurance Scope of Work provided to us by our clients, or ask the homeowners for copies. We understand that we are not “building inspectors”. We represent the interests of our clients, who have an interest in making sure that the property is brought back to the same standards as before the loss. We take photos of all finished repairs as well as those not yet repaired. We provide percentages of completion, not based on what the homeowner or the contractor would like to see, but based on actual completed repairs using the documents the claim was written for.
One of the most important questions a mortgage field inspector faces, is if the property is occupied or not. Just because the electric is turned off, or the water is shut off, does not mean the property is vacant. The opposite of “occupied” is not occupied. The presence of personal property is only an indication of occupancy, not a determining factor. Furniture does not occupy property. People occupy property. A house can be full of furniture, all the utilities on, and yet be considered vacant. The question of occupancy or vacancy is determined by whether or not the property is lived in by people. The next question is how this is determined. NMFS trains our inspectors to make professional assessments of this question by using a series of steps that are taken to determine occupancy. We are not afraid to ask the neighbors or take photos through windows to help determine the occupancy. The wrong determination can lead to trouble for all of us. We never guess. Reporting “unknown” to our clients is like ordering a hamburger without the meat. It’s useless information.
National Mortgage Field Services will place your message in a sealed envelope and tape it to the door or place in the crack of the door with the words “Confidential” in plain view. We will also take your door hangers, cards, or any other messages you want us to deliver and take it right to their door. Whenever possible, we’ll hand deliver the message if the occupants are home.
These can be some of the most difficult inspections to conduct. We understand the legal ramifications of not contacting the homeowner, or even their neighbors. On these type of inspections, we don’t even ask the Post Office, they may work there! If we discover the property to be vacant, we know that we are not even authorized to step foot on the property. So we don’t. All observations are made by roadside. This is where the experience of the inspector comes in. They have to be able to use discernment skills in making accurate assessments of the property occupancy and condition.
It’s important to get to these properties before the vandals get a hold of it. The Mortgage Field Inspector is often the first one ‘on the scene’ so to speak, and we have to be able to determine quickly and accurately the condition of the property so that it can be preserved. Broken windows, utility conditions, security of the home as well as any outbuildings is important information that needs to be reported as quickly as possible. If at all possible, we will secure the property with existing hardware.
We don’t actually chase the cars, but we will go to the last place of residence and hand deliver your message for the owner to call you. If the car is onsite, we’ll take plenty of photos so that you can get a good idea of the condition. We’ll also take photos of the VIN number for proper identification.
Commercial inspections often need plenty of photos, while at the same time; the inspector needs to display the ability to be discreet. We understand the importance of marketing trends, area rental rates as well as location. Deferred maintenance plays a bigger role here, especially if there are potential liability situations that need to be addressed. We understand that we do not have permission to take photos of people who may simply be patrons, and have no idea why we are there. We do mortgaged commercial inspections as well as commercial insurance inspections.
Whenever a merchant wants to start using credit card transactions, we go out to make sure that the business is legitimate. This can be in a brick and mortar building or at a residence for a home based business. We take photos of signage, business cards, business licenses and anything else to help prove that the merchant is actually in business. If it appears that they are not a legitimate business, we report that as well.
Often called Collateral Inspections, we go where ever the equipment is located. It could be a huge lawnmower for a golf course, a backhoe at a rental yard, or even a salt water pump in an oil field. Give us an idea where it’s located, the serial numbers, and we’ll go out and take photos of it, and report on its condition.