Hoarders Inspection Fee

I’m not sure if this was asked in another post somewhere else, but I have a question that pertains to inspection fees and to what you are actually able to complete in some of our clients houses. Lets say you charge a client $300 to inspect there house and when you get there you find out that they are hoarders or just have a ton of things in the way inside and out and most of the house is uninspectable. How would you go about justifying charging the $300 and not completing a full inspection? I would feel bad taking full payment, but be annoyed at myself afterwards if I didn’t because its business. Any thoughts on this?

You have it backwards. Base fees should be based on a home in average condition.

When you arrive at a hoarder house, you charge more. If it is a pigsty, charge more. If it is in a state of disrepair, charge more. If there are multiple kitchens you weren’t told about, charge more. If there are multiple outbuildings, charge more. If the county listed unfinished basement is now finished, charge more. If the square footage is way off, charge more.

If it can’t be inspected because you can’t see it or get to it, report it and move on. If you have to come back and take up another 1/2 day slot to finish the inspection, charge for your time.


I had similar situation 3 weeks ago. Renters refused to allow me into bedrooms and of course attic access was thru bedroom closet. RE agent called owner aka seller, but tenant pretty much told everyone “too bad” I advised everyone that the inspection was limited now and its no fault of mine. So i wrote report accordingly and got paid at original price. Its not our fault or our responsibility. Its a business and thats your fee. I would doubt if client would think they shouldnt pay full amount

I advise all my clients up front that as long as the information about the condition of the home provided to me is not misrepresented, my fee is FLAT RATE, so it doesn’t change if the inspection takes as little as 1.5 hours or 6.0 hours. I believe only once in the last 6 or 7 years have I found it necessary to adjust my fee, and that was for grossly understated square footage.

People don’t like moving targets. One fee. For every home in bad shape, you will get a pristine condo with no attic or basement. It all balances. Sure, they are a kick in the pants, but it truly balances in the end.

A hoarder home would be easier since I don’t have to move things to inspect.
Which I note in the report.

Agreed Chris

Jeff, I always look up the home (in advance) in the city assessors database, its typically pretty accurate.

Also, I have found the square footage over estimated more often than not as they go by the listing info.

I also verify as much info as possible, which is why I rarely have any sq. ft. issues. Usually it is when a home is listed as unfinished basement or attic, and it has been finished/reno’d. I switched to charging for TOTAL sq. ft. as opposed to FINISHED sq. ft. a few years ago, and haven’t looked back since. No issues.

I do the same . It is total. Because we inspect total.

The chances that you may “miss” a significant defect can increase dramatically in a property that is occupied by a “hoarder.” Therefore, reducing your fee would be an extremely poor business decision.

I have narratives written specifically for homes that are too cluttered to conduct an adequate evaluation. I have had homes where the only things inspected were the exterior components because I could not safely access the interior of the residence.

Collect your full fee and charge an additional fee if they ask for your return.

Pictures pictures and more pictures are needed. Reports have extreme limitations and should be pointed out on the Inspection report. Clients are already expected to pay your full services and if you want you can provide them more after you get your Inspection fee.
I have only done a few that I would consider hoarders and would do the same.
Return and take more pictures of cleared areas.

I never reduce the fee, but I disclaim if I. Can’t access areas, I use the term “abundantly furnished” to describe that condition. Just in case, I don’t want to offend.

It’s a “visual” inspection, you can only inspect what you can see. The client should let you know if it’s a hoarder’s house and to be prepared for it. We can’t go around re-arranging their home during an inspection. Flat fees are also not good in my opinion. I am doing a one bedroom condo this week on a 900 sq ft home with no roof directly over them, no water heater, and very easy. How can I charge them the same as the 3,600 sq ft hoarder’s house that I did 2 months ago?

**Never reduce the fee. ** Unless of course you want to.

They pay you what they agreed to.

Sometimes you get the Bear sometimes the Bear gets you.