Second trips for not my mistake

I need some opinions on what to do. The last couple inspections I have done have had situations where I was asked to return to check things out there were inaccessible when I did the inspection.

The first house, the boiler was OFF and the plumbing had not been turned on because of a “miscommunication between the realtor and the plumber”. Certainly not my fault but I went back out there 2 days later (100 miles round trip), without charging a trip charge.

The second house last week, the hot water heater room in the garage was blocked as well as the very high attic access in the garage. I got a call yesterday asking if I would go back out the 100 miles round trip to now look at hot water heater and get in the attic.

What do you folks do as far as making second trips when it’s not your fault? It doesn’t seem right to charge a trip charge to the Buyer. In both of these cases, the Seller had stuff blocked or off.

Thanks for any input.

I make it clear when this is disclosed during an inspection that I must return due to the home not being ready that there will be a return trip fee. It goes to the client who will frequently pass it on. Regardless, your time has value. Of course, there is always exceptions.


So do you disclose that in a Pre-Inspection agreement, or verbally with a real estate agent, or buyer themselves?

I added my return trip charge to my inspection agreement.

If I have to return because the home is not ready for the inspection, I will charge 1/2 of the inspection fee payable in advance of the re-inspection, or some such…I don’t remember the exact wording.


I have ir in the PIA. However, most people dont read and retain that so I revisit it, if needed, during the inspection. Also doesn’t hurt to make it part of your setting expectations conversation prior to the inspection.

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I only have one or two per year. The ones that I have had to make a second trip to, I scheduled accordingly so it lined up with other inspections. Because of this, I did not charge an additional fee.

My logic is that you cannot charge the buyer for something that is outside of their control. If I were to see a pattern from one particular agent, then I would maybe change my approach. This has never been the case. Also, who is really at fault? The buyer’s agent said that they told the seller’s agent to have the home ready. The seller’s agent said that they told the seller. The seller said that she told her husband to clear out the closet where the scuttle hole is. The husband says he didn’t feel like it, but he is not paying. It’s not worth the hassle of fighting on how to get paid.

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All great input, thanks everyone.

Have a great day.

I’ve had some instances where things were inaccessible due to homeowner’s personal effects or things being turned off. Normally (if they’re not there) I’ll let the agent know that I can’t get to the (water heater/electrical panel/etc) item and many times they will contact the listing agent or seller to let them know and someone will come address it. It works sometimes. Other times? Return trip charge (50% like Larry said).


My policy is I don’t charge if it’s local or can be scheduled on a day where there’s close proximity to another job.

If it’s going to take a significant chunk (2 hours including travel) out of my day, then I charge. Usually 50% or less depending on the scope/time commitment.

They come in cycles for me. I usually don’t get reinspections for a month or two, then I’ll have a few in the same week.

My feelings on the “fault” thing is that the agents should have educated/arranged with the sellers about what needs to be on/accessible for the inspection.

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I agree with you that the agents should have educated the sellers about what need to be done for the inspection on their end. However, the agents need to be reminded by me via email that I copy to them from what I send the buyers e.g. I will inspect the home in the condition that I find it, so you may want to remind your agent to make sure the seller’s agent tells the sellers all of this: blah, blah, blah.

In the event that I must return to the home because these items weren’t accessible, I will charge 50% of the original agreement fee. You may be able to recoup your payout from the sellers because it was not your fault that they did not hold up what my email required to be done. I apologize for this charge but you are the only ones that I have an agreement with. I hope you understand…or, some such, :smile:

That 95% of the time got things done,


Trip charge language on PIA, yes! How much is two hours of your time worth?

Another similar topic to consider is communicating to have sellers assure gas (LPG) furnaces, natural gas fireplaces in the warmer months must be connected, pilot lit and control functional. I put this reminder in the quote as a Zero $$ charge.

On average, I only run into these situations once a year. They’ve fallen into two distinct categories, 1. First Time Home Buyers and 2. Very, very meticulous buyers (politely phrased)…

How you decide to handle it depends on your business model? Are you just starting out? You may be a little more flexible (and look for trends like is it the same buyer’s rep). Are you well established? You may start asking for the buyer to compensate (the buyer can take it up with the seller through not completely supporting the buyer’s inspection period). Just depends on what your desired outcome is. There is no wrong answer!

Spot on Larry.
A return trip fee is necessary.

Our agreement is with our client and they are the ones we need to do everything we can to take care of.

As many do, I often find things inaccessible. If the sellers agent is available I call them and have had them come and clean out a closet to get access to the attic opening.
If something can be worked around or a box moved fine, but handling a sellers stuff is not something we should be doing.
I have been hitting the seller from all angles by encouraging the client/buyer and buyers agent to make sure everything is clear, unlocked, turned on, etc. Especially on FSBO’s.

How frustrating trying to do what you are hired to do and then stopping/waiting to get access to a panel or access point.

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When I was new to this, I was very reluctant to charge but found out 9 times out of ten your Client is not going to be offended if you charge a return trip fee and understand. They realize time is money and especially if you need to travel over 20 miles one way, you should be charging for that also (IMO).
Agents Know the house should be ready for inspection and it is Their Job (both buyer’s and Seller’s) to make sure this is understood by the seller. It really is the Seller’s Agent that should be paying the return trip fee for a home that for whatever reason is not fully ready when we are scheduled. That is why they get 3-6%. It Is Their Job!

What I have found is the seller’s agent will normally fork out the money without much hesitation. 1. Because they know it is their responsibility and 2. They want that 3-6%.

In short Don’t be afraid to charge for your time and talents. or as my old buddy Crapgame says

Return trips to check for items completed on a re-inspection is a little different, that is normally all on the buyer, but don’t be giving that away either.

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I charge $100 for a reinspect.

I try to soak them for whatever it’s worth…Yes!

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LOL! LOL! LOL! Yes, you’re in business, Roy. “SOAK” is what I laughed at… :smile:

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Soak’em Inspection Services! :rofl:

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It was supposed to be funny… :rofl:

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Haha! Mr. Soak’em!


Soak’em till you choke 'em! :blush:

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