I was asked to quote an exterior inspection of 371 homes in a community for approx. 20 HOA convenant/restrictions…(Ext. trim/peeling paint, grass height, vehicle storage…). The inspection will be visually performed from the sidewalk. Has anyone performed these? Tips on quoting or reporting? I can’t find much info online, although seems like HOA’s are outsourcing this. I am in the $3,000 range and plan to report with a spreadsheet since this doesn’t seem to fit in my HI software well. - Thanks
Why would you want to be the scapegoat for the HOA? If any homeowner were to get upset about a compliance notice the HOA is just goin to point the finger at you. Who wants that headache? Besides, that could be 371 potential clients that you could lose, just something to ponder…
BTW, Welcome to the MB!
Welcome to our forum, Brent!..Enjoy!
Thanks! Believe me…being the scapegoat was the first thing that crossed my mind. Which is why I wanted some honest feedback. It seems like HOA’s are engaging 3rd parties…most likely just for that reason.
Thanks Larry, long time lurker, first time commenter!
I’ve done inspections similar to this but only as a subcontractor.
As the principal, you must have E&O insurance for this, and probably would need a lawyer to draft up an indemnity contract for you and the HOA. So consider that in what you charge. Write-ups take the most time. The actual inspection is usually going to be 5-15 minutes, with a write up that could take 15 minutes or an hour depending on how many issues there are or depending on what reporting system you’re using. If the properties are newer it will take much less time. If you only have to do a text report and can save pictures for archival purposes, that would save you a lot of time.
For every single issue you identify, you must have a picture. This is for liability reasons. You do not want to have a picture for anything except maybe ID the risk (front house photo) unless required or unless they request specific photos.
A company that specializes in this type of inspection would pay approximately $10 per inspection to a subcontractor or employee. This depends heavily on the area, where rural areas will pay more because it’s much harder to get someone out there. Keep in mind, that company would be making a profit on top of that and doing thousands of these across the US. And they would have standardized processes and lawyers that specialize in due diligence, and they would have office reviewers. That’s a lot of overhead. I would imagine $30-$40 or so per property for a very simple inspection being a possibility for a company that specializes in this. But I never saw the overhead for this, I just did it as a subcontractor.
As a subcontractor I did inspections like these for about $10, but I would almost always bill about double that and get it paid pretty easily.
Consider if they’re asking for a quote they’re probably going to shop around for a home inspector who will quote them something super cheap and go with that. The HOA may not know or care about the liability issues or even care much about quality. They may be expecting $5-10 per property because they’re just seeing it at face value - hey this shouldn’t take long, right?
I think if it were me I’d consider doing this for around $20 per property and would have a lawyer draft an indemnity contract for the HOA first. (On thinking this over that might be too low if it were me personally. The $20 figure is if the properties are clustered, relatively new, and if the lawyer didn’t tell me this is a stupid idea, but the liability still nags at me.) Even as someone who has done a lot of these, I’d hesitate to be the principal on it because of the liability. That’s a lot of dang houses and each one is a potential trip to court, even if you have covered all your bases.
As some have said, a possible issue you run into is becoming the HOA’s scapegoat.
Heck, you could try just telling them $50 each and see what happens. They are probably already paying $30 per month per property to get the lawn mowed. And there’s little possibility of a future court case baked into that.
*Other edit: what I’m thinking about might be more complicated than what they want. You also might land yourself a regular contract if you got in the good graces of the HOA. Anyway the point is consider liability and go from there.
Just another thought. Think of how much time this could take you. Do you expect to do 100 houses a day? 50? 20? I would think 20 is pretty high depending on how the reports are structured. If you need to send them a document for each property that could easily take 30-45 minutes after paperwork. So that’s could be up to a month of work. Do you really want to bill yourself out at $100 a day for this?
Our HOA has a “management company” for stuff like this & to drain the budget.
There’s a guy who comes around twice monthly.
We call him “Bob the Rat-Fink”.
Many shout out & give him the finger as he drives by.
He never gets out of the car… … …
Great info. Thanks Jacob!
I was just thinking - if all they want you to do is note any issues and not prepare a report for each individual property you could probably bill much less and do them much faster. Maybe work them into some kind of monthly deal if they need regular checks. That is, maybe all they would need is a note and address where issues were found.
You might want more info about what specifically they need. If it’s a breeze walkthrough it could be a pretty good deal for you but then you wouldn’t charge them as much and maybe they’d do a contract.