I’m assuming you all base your fee on the size of the house you’re inspecting, right?
On our county property records we can look up finished and unfinished square footage on each house, but naturally, finished sq. ft. doesn’t include attic, basement, decks, garage, etc., all of which would be inspected. The difference between finished and unfinished can be a lot.
So I’m assuming you would charge based on unfinished square footage, right?
I’m wondering because when I sold a house I renovated several years ago, the inspector actually measured the entire house and charged the buyer accordingly, but I’m also assuming that none of you actually measure a house these days since that information is either on a property tax website or on MLS.
I know it’s kind of a nit-picky question because sometimes the difference would only amount to $25 or so, but still, how do you guys arrive at your sq. ft. numbers?
This isn’t Facebook. I’ll come back when you learn how to write an appropriate thread title that allows inspectors to utilize the search engine, and for it to have a fighting chance at operating properly.
Charge acccording to the total square footage “under roof”. We don’t have basements, but I do look up the property on the appraisers site for size, age, pools, and crawlspaces. Garages, unfinished utility rooms, and porches all get inspected and need to be included in the square footage.
I have a base price to get me out of bed. Square foot increases the price by 1,000 sq ft increments (it takes longer). I add for additional HVAC’ s (usually in larger houses) Crawl spaces, and detached garages. I have an age factor - I add for every 25 years. Yes I charge just as much for a finished sq ft as an unfinished one - and that is usually in the MLS. Attached garages, porches and decks are free - it’s just worked out well for me. Client’s don’t usually have that detailed of a description and I’ve found that too much “does it have this, does it have that” and they start to get harder to close.
Price is, unfortunately, the first thing people ask about. Not experience, not services offered, none of the other stuff that is more important, and people want a fast answer. I find that using square footage is the simplest way to accomplish this. I don’t charge for travel time within my service area (Dallas-Fort Worth), and I do not charge extra for older homes (although I probably will some day).
I give discounts for new construction and one-year warranty inspections, and I charge less for condos and townehomes than single-family homes.
There are times that I feel I am devoting too much time to the inspection for the money (mostly with older homes), but there are also times I almost feel guilty for getting paid well for an inspection that takes only a few hours. My plan is to start charging more for the older homes when I get too busy or just plain fed up with inspections that take 4 hours on site and 2 hours at my desk.
I do base mine mainly on Sq. Ft. and age of the home. I always look up the property on the County Assessors website and even the sales listing. Very few homes here have a crawlspace but many do have basements. Basements Finished or not I count the square footage as the same, to be inspected. I also do try to find out if a house in on a crawlspace and charge additional for that. (that is info that is not given on county website except maybe you can tell by the county or sales photo or just my experience of a few areas that are on expansive soils that will many times have crawlspaces). But it is hard to take everything into account till you are there at the home. We all know when we show up at a short-sale, Repo (or 99% of the Flips)…We did not charge nearly enough. But I have never upped my price to my client because I didn’t guess correctly what I was up against. My client always has a firm Price when they sign the agreement and that is normally online and well before the actual inspection. I do include attached garages in my base price. Doing some extra reserch can also give you some extra info on things like an extra out building or detached garage that your client may also want inspected, for an additional fee.
(I have also found a few that are Advertising More square footage than what the county is showing. For these I print off the county sketch and take it with me to verify a few measurements. This may/can tell me and my client that either there is an addition (possibly un-permitted) or the seller is not giving out the true Square footage (knowingly or unknowingly). Yes is probably outside the SOP, but since my state does not tie my hands, I can provide extra service to my clients when needed)
There is an inspector in my area that bases his fee Solely on the sale price of the home. The higher the listing price, the higher the fee. I believe he charges same fee for any home selling up to a certain amount, like $199.000. IMO this method is absurd. Different strokes for different folks.
Anyone who simply asks “How Big” and throws out a price is just lazy.
You also fall into a price war with other inspectors. This delay actually locks in most callers because you project a competence in doing business, not just selling your services at a discount where the client will always come out short.
I never give a quote without looking up the house on line.
I always interview the client to determine their expectations and how well they follow directions.
As Nick posted (or look at the NACHI Fee Estimator).
We should not charge by the hour or by the SF, if you want to be around 3 years from now.
Want to beat out the other inspectors, quit acting like they do.
How many floors is a factor that we have added to our equation. Two or more floors add time to the inspection. It befuddles me why inspectors decrease price rise above a certain SF. the more SF the more systems and time involved.