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Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
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February 7, 2019 4:34 pm  
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. 

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Norman Oklahoma

"Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through." Learned Hand


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A Harris
(@a-harris)
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February 7, 2019 5:06 pm  

@ Just a Surveyor

Many people are only selling their current residence because they can not afford it or anything else for that matter and without the funds from the sale of  the property they would lose everything they have.

What you are thinking of is what many people, bankers, attorneys and real estate people want, a no fault system like they live under where when the deal sours and goes away, nobody is out any money.

The labor laws that are on the books were written for instances like this and to give notice to the cheap lying stealing people that think they don't have to pay for your work.

There is a term for what you are referring to and I believe it is "no fault" or something to that area of thinking.

In Texas or any other place for that matter, it is a practice that is hardly ethical by any professional involved in any real estate transaction, survey or whatever.

When a client insists upon picking up the papers themselves before closing, they pay me then or I send it to their closing agent.

0.02

RPLS NE Texas
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Jim Frame
(@jim-frame)
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February 7, 2019 5:43 pm  

Payment at closing means no closing, no payment.

Not so.  Although I never write "payment at closing" into my contracts, I love it when the client or title company requests an invoice be delivered into escrow, as it means I get paid sooner.  The contract is in force no matter what, I don't care who writes the check.  If the deal falls out of bed I still have a contract that I can enforce.

Jim Frame
Frame Surveying & Mapping
609 A Street
Davis, CA 95616
framesurveying.com


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LRDay
(@ridge)
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February 7, 2019 6:59 pm  

Client asked me for the invoice so he could have it paid through the closing.  Invoice was due on receipt.  No contract for "paid at closing".  Just finishing the survey so no time lost here.

Apparently client though they would pay him for the survey and then he'd pay me.  I never thought that, been paid a few times from a closing, know how it works.  So he rewrites the invoice someway and sends it in.  I should have got wise when I asked if I should send it to the title company and he said just send it to him and he'd get it to them.  I didn't even know what title company it was.

Buyer got wise.  If not I'd got a bigger payment from the title company.  Wonder if he'd then asked me for a refund.  Probably was an interesting day at the closing.

Might be good it happened this way. If the title company had paid him this sort of guy probably would have tried to stiff me.

You guys are a tough bunch today, sort of wish I'd kept this to myself.  I think I still have my license but you never know!

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by LRDay

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holy cow
(@holy-cow)
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February 7, 2019 7:49 pm  

One time the real estate agency paid me out of the earnest money when the sale failed to close.  Only one time in 30+ years where the closing agent had to do that.

On the other hand I have had plenty of clients who never got around to paying the invoice until they had the money to do so, which was after closing.

One time I had a fellow call to find the corners I had set a couple years earlier for a different fellow.  Turned out this was the buyer from that sale.  He had merely speculated on the tract and was selling it to someone new who had insisted they wanted to see the corners before closing.  Somewhere in the conversation he commented that he thought my bill from earlier had been too high.  The client had paid me in full, so I didn't see what the problem was.  Turns out my client had modified my invoice to be exactly double what he had paid me.  When they split the modified invoice he got every penny back.  To tell the truth, I was amazed the client had enough intelligence to figure out how to do it and not get caught.  He was one of those guys I would describe as being "as sharp as a stick of butter".


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A Harris
(@a-harris)
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February 7, 2019 9:24 pm  

It has become necessary to create a document that has some security items that can not be scanned and recreated, altered and such for a long time.

A unique design, coloring, watermark or some embedded pattern that can not be captured and reprinted.

I get drawings and property descriptions of mine and others from clients and interested parties that are incomplete and do not contain the proper preamble or closing statements. Also, use a specific way of saying things that most people can not grasp using and still relay a completely understood description.

I have had to pull out the original many times dealing with shady people that try to get away with altering my work to suit their own desires at the title company and to new buyers.

 

RPLS NE Texas
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MightyMoe
(@mightymoe)
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February 8, 2019 6:51 am  

Every one of my "paid at closing" events happened because the seller or his agent had hired me to cut out a parcel of land for them to sell. Never was being paid at closing a part of the contract, it's has always been a good time to settle up the bill and if the sell falls through, I still have been paid, it usually takes a bit longer.

 


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Lookinatchya
(@lookinatchya)
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February 12, 2019 7:52 am  

A bit off topic but reminded me of a situation I discovered several years ago. I came across an invoice from a now deceased surveyor who was one of my main competitors. He itemized the invoice for a small subdivision plan. $xxxx for the survey and plan, $xxxx for the local review fees and recording fees. He inflated the review fees and recording fees above the actual costs. Doing this he was able to reduce the cost of his survey work and pocket the amount he overcharged for the other fees. This made it possible to under bid the cost of his survey work.


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Duane Frymire
(@duane-frymire)
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February 12, 2019 9:54 am  

If I'm the seller, why should I care about (or pay for) appraisals, inspections, surveys?  I'm moving on.  The inspectors and appraisers are controlling their market by working for potential buyers and getting paid immediately for the work they do.  Sale falls through due to appraisal/inspection, another potential buyer comes along and they do it and get paid again.  They also charge more per hour than surveyors. 

The ethics I see involved are that surveyors are harming their own livelihood, hence the existence of the profession by accepting terms such as paid at closing.  Course I do it all the time; too common and expected around here to fight it.  And not sure how/why it would change my opinion of the boundary.  Even if I survey my own land I want it to be right and stand up in court if necessary; same with the appraiser or inspector.  I don't see the incentive to avoid problems thing.  Like I'm going to risk my license for a fee from a property survey?  Course maybe some of you are actually making some real money from those things that you could retire on one or two; not in this neck of the woods.

And yeah, I charge $50 to file a map; filing fee is $10.  If takes my time, I'm charging for it. So there.


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Dave Karoly
(@dave-karoly)
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February 12, 2019 10:19 am  
Posted by: Duane Frymire

If I'm the seller, why should I care about (or pay for) appraisals, inspections, surveys?  I'm moving on.  The inspectors and appraisers are controlling their market by working for potential buyers and getting paid immediately for the work they do.  Sale falls through due to appraisal/inspection, another potential buyer comes along and they do it and get paid again.  They also charge more per hour than surveyors. 

The ethics I see involved are that surveyors are harming their own livelihood, hence the existence of the profession by accepting terms such as paid at closing.  Course I do it all the time; too common and expected around here to fight it.  And not sure how/why it would change my opinion of the boundary.  Even if I survey my own land I want it to be right and stand up in court if necessary; same with the appraiser or inspector.  I don't see the incentive to avoid problems thing.  Like I'm going to risk my license for a fee from a property survey?  Course maybe some of you are actually making some real money from those things that you could retire on one or two; not in this neck of the woods.

And yeah, I charge $50 to file a map; filing fee is $10.  If takes my time, I'm charging for it. So there.

The house we sold last year had 3 home inspections all paid for by the buyers.  At least 2 appraisals were paid for buyers.  First buyer backed out before inspections.  Second buyer backed out as a result of inspections, didn't ask for anything.  Third buyer back out (2nd inspection) because the Feng Shui of the house was wrong; that one really pissed me off, lost a better offer because of those idiots, couldn't they see that at the first showing? But I'm not bitter.  Forth buyer had inspection no. 3 as a result of which they asked for a credit which we agreed to (finally someone with common sense).  Forth buyers closed escrow, they are a 20 something couple, both Civil Engineers.

This post was modified 1 week ago by Dave Karoly

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? -1 Corinthians 15:55


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Bill93
(@bill93)
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February 12, 2019 11:00 am  

If the seller pays for an inspection or survey, doesn't that make the property more marketable?  Then a buyer doesn't need to get one.


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Dave Karoly
(@dave-karoly)
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February 12, 2019 11:32 am  

Every buyer wants their own home inspection.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? -1 Corinthians 15:55


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Rods_n_Stones
(@rods_n_stones)
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February 12, 2019 11:44 am  

Many times I prefer to be paid at closing, especially on existing tracts and I am up front with the Client. I struggle with the local perception of value of the Survey for the standard lay person around here and more often than not, I am faced with the "This is far too expensive for a sheet of paper" argument. Yes, there is a small chance that the transaction will not close, however, I have not had any issues with it. I have a good relationship with the Title Companies I work with regularly and once they have my invoice in their hands, I am nearly guaranteed that the invoice will be paid, even if that payment is delayed. For some reason, Clients don't argue much with the title folks. I have only been forced to file one lien that I can remember in the 10 years I have been licensed.

Paid on/at Closing or not, the temptation to omit some fact from the face of the survey is a question of ethics. I have a duty not only to my Client, but also to all of those other interested parties that fall under the category of "The Public". More often than not, whatever encroachment or other conditions I come across ends up either as an exception in the Title Commitment that everyone else ignores...including the lender...or there is a resolution of some sort. Sometimes that resolution involves additional work for me (i.e. working up a variation/exception, or providing a lot line adjustment or plat/replat).

I can think of a project several years ago where the Client was made aware of a significant possible encroachment of the home they were trying to sell onto an adjacent property. They were provided the survey showing the condition and chose not to share it with the neighbor, they then proceeded to refuse to pay for the survey, and changed realtors. Funny enough, the title folks called me some time later to inquire about the likelihood of an outstanding invoice, which I provided, and all of a sudden we were paid. My guess is that the Realtors "spidey senses" started tingling, or another Realtor filled them in,  I never asked.


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FL/GA PLS.
(@flga-pls-2-2)
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February 12, 2019 12:41 pm  

The "payment at closing" deal is illegal for surveyors in Florida World.  😎  

"I,d rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead"....Jimmy Buffett
"All I know is, if you look around at the human race you've got to wonder what the hell God was thinking!" ...Lee Marvin, "Paint Your Wagon"


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