Learned a valuable lesson on Friday. Do yourself a favor and check the realtors listing. Client told me house was around 1500 sq ft. I offered to do the inspection for $400. When I get to the property it turns out to be around 3000 sq ft. Inspection agreement was already signed.
I always check land records or MLS. If there is a discrepancy I call the client before the agreement is signed and adjust the price. It happens fairly often.
You can edit your agreements you do not have to do the inspection for the price you quoted.
Most common problem is listing agent who simply copy the SDAT (property ownership/tax) records. The SDAT records clearly state: Above Grade Square Feet. Property has a basement it can easily double the size of the house.
That is a lesson learned, Gordon.
When I spoke to the Clint on the phone, among other things, I explained that my price was for the sq. footage that THEY provided to me and if I arrived to inspect and it was larger or smaller I would adjust the price accordingly.
I had that on my inspection agreement also, for them to initial.
It was great fun to lower the price when it was smaller…even $25 they appreciated.
Although I did have a minimum charge that I explained to them, also.
VERY common problem. I always state that I price based on the TOTAL square footage of the property including basements and crawlspaces and finished attics, not the “finished” square footage that the Realtors usually publish. I tell them I am inspecting your entire house, not just the finished portion(s). I usually consult the public Property Tax Records same as Bob because like he said, the above ground figure usually gives me an idea of the total size. I also use multiple sources for the listing like Zillow, Homesnap, etc. because often they will be slightly different. I also take a look at the property on Google Maps with the Satellite image layer turned on to see if there appears to be any outbuildings, etc. I think we have all been burned a few times with houses that “grow” before we actually get to see them LOL.
I try to learn as much as possible about the property before I give a price. When I first started I had a home that was supposed to be 13 years old. When I got there I found 43 year old house with many, many issues: roof leaks, mold, pest in the kitchen to name a few.