I’m looking for a repair cost estimator product or web site source that I can use and site in my reports. Who’s using what?
I use Marshall & Swift estimating for commercial buildings.
Are you required by your state to give estimates on repairs?
If not, I recommend you seriously take a look at the situation you’re putting yourself into.
I have personally experienced a legal issue where I tried to categorize repairs as minor or major using a $500 line separating the two.
The plaintiffs attorney was all over that one and had a field day with it even though it didn’t hold water in the end. Yes, it didn’t go through but anything involving a legal claim costs thousands of dollars to defend. That’s punishment enough!
The cost of the repairs does come up during the inspection often. I simply put it back into the realtor’s court and give them something to do. I advise the client that they should consider getting a contractor out to perform a more detailed estimate which they can use in their negotiations and will give them a first step in getting the repairs done should they elect to do the repairs themselves because they already have a contractor in line.
Being a former general contractor, I know how estimates work. I know that once you start making the repair there is a large possibility of latent conditions which must also be taken care of to complete the repair, thus increasing the cost.
If you think that a disclaimer written in your report will save you, there is a better chance that it won’t. Lawyers use what they see and put it in the context that they wish. Again, you’re spending thousands to defend yourself and have not made or potentially made any money from the estimate you provided in your inspection report. Inspection reports are not estimates and once you even suggest a cost to repair, it becomes an estimate in the eyes of the plaintiffs attorney.
Just my opinion and personal experience.
i’ve been a construction estimator off & on for about 30 yrs. books don’t work. i have a dozen on my shelf (means, walker, national) & read them to try to keep up with whatever but don’t remember the last time i used one to prepare an estimate. even tho my mantra is “it’s only an estimate!” the books may be off 25 or 50 or 150% because they just can’t predict the circumstances of the project.
Hear, Hear. Bad estimating kills more contractors than bad workmanship. I consider estimating to be a specialist discipline in itself, and I always encourage people to get bona fide estimates from licensed contractors when contemplating repair costs.
If someone asks me what it will cost to repair something i tell them I’m a home inspector. Here’s a source you can refer them to to get a rough idea:
That’s the one I’ve been sending my Clients to for about four years. I have had some comments come back from Clients about the site, all favorable. Might have something to do with the fact that I’m in San Diego and the creator of that site is in San Clemente, 120 miles away. Other areas might find that these costs are higher than normal for their area.
The link above has a fairly decent cost factor for repairs.