As an inspector I meet new people daily who hire me to help them make an informed purchase on the home they are buying. Over the years I’ve encountered all types sometimes likable and other times, well just strictly business and nothing else. Because of this I’ve learned to adjust accordingly based on how we interact for that short time but also have come to realize you can set the tone. I find when I introduce myself with a smile it is more often than not returned setting the tone for a friendly experience. After all we are all there for the same purpose and a level of trust is needed. My intention is to look out for their best interest always.
Today I inspected a home for a woman in her 80’s and prior to the inspection received a call from the Realtor who warned me about the buyer but not in a mean way, she just said the buyer knows what she wants and is really to the point, no fuss about it. So I figured it would just be that kind of inspection and not my first rodeo, whatever. Oh I was also told I should address her as Mrs. (inserts last name) and not by first name as she would not like that…whew alright then.
The introduction went as I suspected at first in a very business like manner with handshake, business card and explanation as to what I would be doing. Right away she grilled me on my contract wanting to discuss the details. That’s not a problem really but the way she spoke was evident that she demanded a high level of respect and attention, something that I think is acceptable. We got past that and I went on my way to inspect promising to discuss details at the end but bracing myself and wondering if I would be able to adequately explain my concerns without interrupting or otherwise bringing her scorn. I hadn’t seen that yet but was kind of expecting it.
When I was finished I of course held that promise and approached as I did the first time, confident as always, but this time with a smile and she smiled back with her head tilted to the side as if to say, “what have you to say.” When I talked to her she continued to smile and nodding her head once in a while shushing her family when they interrupted, which I thought was funny, but never interrupting me even once. When I spoke I felt like she was making sure the stage was mine. At the end of my speech she asked a few good questions and so did her family. As we all talked her family joked with her and she back. They all laughed and smiled but still maintained an obvious respect for her as such you could see they held her in very high regard and I suspected her as the matriarch of the family. By the end of our conversation I realized this this person was not mean or unreasonably pretentious but rather kind, likable, confident and experienced in life. Someone who has seen more than most.
The lesson is not new to me but something I have come to realize is that preconceived notions are unfair and often times will cheat you out of an experience. I have and do struggle with this at times but will try to meet everyone with an open mind.