Charging For Unfinished Basement

Hey Folks,
I have a question I need help with. I will probably answer my own questions as I ramble on. I left a contract at a local realtors office to present to an out of town client coming to town breifly today to get it signed & leave a check. When the realtor saw that the fee was for the entire square footage of the home (3926 sq.ft) including the unfinished basement, I thought I was going to have to do CPR on him, he was furious that I would charge to inspect “unfinished area”. We live in a small town & everyone knows everyone & there’s only 2 inspectors (another NACHI inspector friend of mine). Isn’t it customary to inspect “the whole house” not just living space???¿ I was charging $325.00 & no mileage for a 120 mile round trip…I tried to get client info to just deal with the client but couldn’t. That would have made it cleaner & I will insist on doing it that way next time.
T.J (“Spittin’ Feathers”) Christopher…A+Home Inspections…

You did right. In fact, there is more to actually see and document in an unfinished basement than a finished basement. Stick to your guns.

I don’t include unfinished basement areas when calculating square footage. I use finished square footage for my pricing plus other things.

Your price seems reasonable and I agree with you about dealing with the client directly. I respectfully insist on talking directly with the client to discuss price, for a signature on the inspection agreement and to see if they have any particular concerns with the home. :wink:

Reviewing this again, I am wondering whether or not your advertised prices are established by the square foot. If they are, you would not normally include unfinished basement space with it…but your fee for this job is still right and you may wish to consider raising your square foot prices to ensure that you will receive this amount for similar inspections…finished basement or not. $325 is not an unfair price for that size house…in fact…you should charge more, IMO.

I charge the same for every Home $399:00 and for Condos $325:00 .
If I have to drive 120 miles I need an extra $75:00 at least and could be more .
Roy Cooke

I crawl around in unfinished crawlspaces and charge the same if it was an unfinished basement. Did you ask the realtor if he was paying for the inspection? Is his commission gonna be less for a home with an unfinished basement?:roll: :roll:

I don’t know what makes anyone, including Realtors, think they have a right to determine a home inspectors prices. I doubt they ever give the plumber, the electrician or anyone else the grief they give to home inspectors. I wonder how he would feel if you acted all incredulous at his commission! You are independent of him in every regard. Your business, along with your expenses of doing business are none of his business. I am fortunate to work with many good Realtors who do not do this. They never bat an eye or question my price. If we do not balk at the price when questioned about it then maybe they would stop acting like horses behinds when they get the invoice.

Sound advice!

I believe that he is charging way to low for his inspection and the trip.

The mistake I see here is that he let the Realtor act as the middle man. I always get the client’s name, address, phone number, and E-Mail address and communicate DIRECTLY with my client.

Every time a Realtor acts as the middle man they want to be “in charge” and s h - t always happens.

I agree with Jim…Stick to your Guns!

I never ask if the basement is finished or not. It has to be inspected, so I add it to the living space square footage. IMO it is floor space and the client may want to finish it later. If so they will want to know if it is feasible to do.
Tell the realtor you will deduct from your price but not enter the basement to see the plumbing, joist, electrical, etc… Ask him if that will make the client happy. See what he says about the price then.

I struggle with the issue also. Currently, I charge for basements, finished or not.

Do you also charge for garages? That is “floor space”?

Yes I do. Square footage under the roof. Its no different than a large family room with most likely more mechanicals. It is also part of the load bearing structure. If I inspect it I charge for it.

Thanx guys for all your help & comments. The only hangup is I live in a small town in a very sparesly populated state & out here you still have to spoon feed people new ideas like color TV, running water, etc…
Thanx again,
BTW I’ve been charging $175 for up to 2000 sq ft

Thanx for all your help & comments. Out here in this part of the West, you still have to spoonfeed new ideas to them.
I’m getting $175 for up to 2k sq. ft, $225 for 2k to 2500, $250 for 2500 to 3k, etc.
Thanx again,
T.J. …

Have you thought about joining NAHI and offering repair services at those rates?

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: That’s Funny!

How do you guys charge extra for a unfinished basement? It’s the foundation…among other area’s like the plumbing, electrical, sewer lines, heating and cooling. Do you charge extra for the attic? 95% of the homes in Michigan have a basement, maybe it’s a regional thing.

I treat it just as I would a crawl space…charge extra to inspect it.

Not to beat-up the issue, but I agree you charge too little. As for square footage of the basemant…are you going to inspect the basement?=yes. Should you charge for inspecting it=yes.

Maybe when the realtor questioned it you should have asked if he wanted the basement excluded off of the report?:shock: :wink:

I’ll inspect anything FROM THE STREET…and it’s only $100.00 bucks…it’s gets written up on a flavored napkin that I immediately ingest after I get paid…:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:


I’m with Chuck McCann. It is a part of the foundation; of course, around here, we have mostly crawl spaces and I can’t charge extra for those, so how do I charge for the unfinished basement.