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Inflating Invoice  

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LRDay
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Doing small boundary survey and I agreed to have it paid from the closing of sale of the property. Client (seller) asks me to send him invoice so he could submit it to the title company. Normal so far. Buyer had called and asked some questions and told me he was paying half the survey and wanted to know the cost which I told him. So I emailed the invoice. Get a call from the title company and the buyer at their closing. Buyer wanted to know why the invoice was for almost twice the amount. I told him it wasn't. So I forwarded the original email and invoice to them. Interesting eh? Midnight cut and paste I suppose!

Another first for me.  Wonder if I would have received the extra money it the altered invoice was accepted.  How was that going to work out for the seller's advantage?

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Bill93
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Paid at closing seems risky.  What if there is no closing?  Does your contract still require the owner who didn't sell to pay you?

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LRDay
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Posted by: Bill93

Paid at closing seems risky.  What if there is no closing?  Does your contract still require the owner who didn't sell to pay you?

I just OK'd being paid from the closing funds that was scheduled.  I would still require payment if it didn't close.  I don't work like a real estate agent that I get paid only if they get paid.

It's closing today and they (title officer) told me my payment would be sent tomorrow.

It's not my SOP to get paid at closing but if the timing works I'll accept it that way some times.

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WorkerBee
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The company I work for also works this way, the only thing we wait to do until after closing is setting corners.  Is it really that uncommon?

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FrozenNorth
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I think it's fairly common to be paid at closing.  Back in the day when I did more residential stuff, I was paid at closing a lot.  Sometimes you had to carry the invoice for quite a few months, but not a big deal.  Usually small amounts of money.

That being said, it's considered highly unethical (and in some jurisdictions illegal) to require payment only if the sale goes through.  But nobody here is doing that anyway.  In cases where a property didn't close, I required payment from whoever ordered the survey--real estate agent, bank, owner, etc.  They always came through.

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WorkerBee
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Posted by: FrozenNorth

I think it's fairly common to be paid at closing.  Back in the day when I did more residential stuff, I was paid at closing a lot.  Sometimes you had to carry the invoice for quite a few months, but not a big deal.  Usually small amounts of money.

That being said, it's considered highly unethical (and in some jurisdictions illegal) to require payment only if the sale goes through.  But nobody here is doing that anyway.  In cases where a property didn't close, I required payment from whoever ordered the survey--real estate agent, bank, owner, etc.  They always came through.

To be more clear, I should specify that we do send out a waiver that we will be paid by the signer, regardless of whether or not the closing occurs.

"...for services performed regardless of circumstances that may arise, including delay or failure to close on property."

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Just A. Surveyor
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Payment at closing is a serious conflict of interest for a surveyor whose payment is dependent upon that closing. More surveyors around here have been played for the fools they are by agreeing to those terms. 

Just say no.

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Bill93
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Posted by: Just A. Surveyor

Payment at closing is a serious conflict of interest for a surveyor whose payment is dependent upon that closing. More surveyors around here have been played for the fools they are by agreeing to those terms. 

Just say no.

Payment IF closing is unethical or illegal because it gives the surveyor incentive to  not report issues.  Payment AT closing does not pose that problem, but does add risk or delay to the collection of the fee.

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Tommy Young
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Posted by: Just A. Surveyor

Payment at closing is a serious conflict of interest for a surveyor whose payment is dependent upon that closing. More surveyors around here have been played for the fools they are by agreeing to those terms. 

Just say no.

I disagree.  Payment at closing and payment if closing are two vastly different things.  I can only remember 1 time in the 18 years I've been here when we got stuck over a deal that didn't close.

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Skeeter1996
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You make the Invoice out to whoever ordered the survey. Agreeing to get paid at Closing has no effect on whether you're going to get paid or not. All my experiences have been Closing is within a week of filing the survey. It actually expedite payment. The Title Company will make sure all the bills get paid.

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Just A. Surveyor
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Posted by: Tommy Young
Posted by: Just A. Surveyor

Payment at closing is a serious conflict of interest for a surveyor whose payment is dependent upon that closing. More surveyors around here have been played for the fools they are by agreeing to those terms. 

Just say no.

I disagree.  Payment at closing and payment if closing are two vastly different things.  I can only remember 1 time in the 18 years I've been here when we got stuck over a deal that didn't close.

We can disagree and do so civilly and I still believe that payment upon closing incentivizes the surveyor to not report or show a problem as doing so will likely jeopardize the closing and thereby putting the whammy on your payment.

 

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Norman Oklahoma
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Posted by: Just A. Surveyor

Payment at closing is a serious conflict of interest for a surveyor whose payment is dependent upon that closing. More surveyors around here have been played for the fools they are by agreeing to those terms. 

Just say no.

I agree with that. It's a basic PS test ethics question. Payment at closing means no closing, no payment.  That's a clear COI.

Now,  if you choose to let the client slide a little, and ultimately and coincidently get paid just after the time of closing, that's your business. But no way I'd put any paid at closing terms in writing. 

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holy cow
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I'll allow a few to go this way each year.  Sometimes its a month or two later than everyone expected.  Not too bad if you are working with more than just the seller or buyer.  Talking with the others (lender, realtor, title co.) helps greatly.

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