First condo inspection

I got a call to do a “condo” inspection. The condo is a “townhouse” (no need to explain what condominium means, I get it) and my client thinks the townhouse has settled significantly because of huge cracks in the house.
We had a massive earthquake 11/18 and really f@&#^{% up a lot of houses. Look up Anchorage, Alaska 2018 earthquake, you’ll get the picture.
They don’t want a full inspection but just an inspection related to the foundation/crawlspace and cracks.
Should I charge by the hour since it’s not a full inspection or charge what I would charge for a condo?
I searched through the condo threads in the forum and I saw that some inspectors got information about the HOA and included it in their report.
Should I do that also?

Not the actual house but identical to it. Picture for better idea.

Were there any work permits?
Send me the address & I’ll do a Buildfax search on it.

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I charge 1/2 the price of a regular inspection for a partial inspection.

And if that’s the case, and you see the same thing, you will likely be passing the foundation inspection on to a SE or other professional.

I probably wouldn’t take a “post-earthquake” structural inspection, but that’s just me.


Wouldn’t that fall more in the field of an Engineer to asses and report?


@mgoldenberg this street is stupid. I’ll get the address, stand by.
@ddagostino that’s a good point, maybe I’ll just walk through with her and explain some stuff. The damage might not be from that earthquake either though. We had one of the snowiest winters this year. Lost of snow melt, could be truss uplift? But even then, still refer someone else.
@mcyr good point.

If that is the case (huge cracks in the house, etc.), you may decide to save him some money and recommend a structural engineer. This may help:

If you do it, I would charge by the hour and I would recommend that the client gather and review the latest minutes and financials of the HOA, themselves.

It sounds like he wants some sort of guaranty (Not saying that is what you would offer, but you know how clients can be when the zero in on a specific conditional area.) regarding the structural integrity of the unit and if you feel confident, then do it and make sure you refer ANYTHING out that looks suspicious.

Happy inspecting, Jacob. :smile:

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Update: I called my client back to go over what I’m able to do so she didn’t waste her money on me.
The earthquake has nothing to do with the cracks.
It just recently started showing some signs of settlement (in her eyes) and wants me to come out an look at her crawlspace and foundation. She used to be the chairman of the HOA and impressively was involved in every process of that place being built and has all the original paperwork, and all home inspection reports since the dirt work.
She wants my report and a SE report to bring to the HOA. She is one smart cookie.
I’m charging her $150hr. This will be fun. Thanks for the help fellas.
Happy inspecting!!


I read the thread and had to double back. Are we talking cracks in the foundation? Or drywall cracks? Either way, looking forward to what you figure out on site!

I never take money to confirm a problem, of which the customer is already aware. What can you do? Confirm:
“Yes. There is really a crack/infiltration here. Call a specialist. $150 for the advice.”

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Good for you, Jacob! :smile:

Come back and let us know how it went.

I explained that to her. She wants multiple opinions before she brings the info to the HOA.

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It went great! Just some minor truss uplift and sheetrock cracks. A section of the garage slab was cracking real bad; on the opposite side was a downspout with no extension, that seemed to be the cause. Her garage seemed to also start to split where they poured it in sections. Crack was 1/4" in some spots.
Gave her my recommendations, she was very please and said she’s telling all her friends about me.
Although total rookie move, forgot to give her my damn business card when I left. She handed me cash and time stopped after that haha.

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Super! Great job Jacob. I’m glad it worked out for you and her alike. :smile: