Texas cancellation charge

Texas real estate has gone nuts. People are bidding over list on a home and sellers are reducing the option period from 10 to 3 days. As a result I have experienced a rash of jobs being scheduled and cancelled at the last minute. There are all kinds of crazy reasons but most are:

  • they found a cheaper inspector
  • the contract did not work out although they told me they had a contract
  • buyers remorse
  • the seller being a jerk and trying to get them to cancel so they can accept a higher offer.

I am thinking of not scheduling any work more than 5 days out without a non-refundable retainer (about $200; more on big homes).

I am also thinking of a $100 retainer on all other homes that cancel less than 48 hours.

I am requiring a retainer versus a cancellation fee as I foresee no one paying a cancellation fee.

I am willing to extend the same back to the client. If I get sick, fall off a roof or have car trouble and have to cancel I will give them the same money assurance.

Of course I am willing to be reasonable. If someone became very ill etc. I would not apply the charge.

Is anyone doing this? Trying to judge resistance.

I have the same buyers along the coast with the same excuses. Amazing. They appear to be speed dialing looking for an inspector.
I will not schedule out 5 days. They will usually cancel.
I quit doing old homes. Don’t need to.
I don’t have a cancellation charge. Good luck collecting it.
Retainer? They’ll probably hang up on you.
Even a checkbox chimp should have doubled his fees by now.

Anyway, I offer ones I can’t get to inspections after they close only within 1-year if they realize they got one of the checkbox chimps. How do you produce a 4-5 page TREC report? My termite guy is constantly complaining he only has a 45 minute window to get to a house and do a WDI inspection before the inspector (starts and leaves) and locks him out. Yep. 45 minute inspections. You want his phone number to verify that?

2013 will come back and haunt a few inspectors.

Good points Jim. I’ll share one more problem. A lot of agents are buying good deals or homes for themselves. If they referred a job to me in the past 3 years they are looking for a steep discount. Made more than a few mad when I gave em 10%. Hell they wanted it for free.

I am like you. Stopped doing old homes for the better part. I tell them I charge by the hour and my fee is more than a check box monkey. That runs most of them off. Also cut way back on pier n beam. Maybe 1 every two weeks and usually a return client I know.

TG for the internet. When someone calls the office sends me the address. If it looks hard I turn it down. Sure I could charge more but I have found higher pricing to be negative advertising in some cases.

I have been able to get a retainer on very large homes. I explain the cost of putting together my team. If they do not want to be sincere then I do not want to schedule it.

Your right about not booking more than 5 days out. I might even roll it back to 4. I had 5 cancellations last week and all but one day got booked within 12 hours. Enjoy the feast while we can.

Problem with check box monkeys is what they can do to our insurance rates. The experts will feast next year.

Interesting. I did not put 2+2 together, but I’ve had a boat load of cancellations. The week before last I booked the same day 3 times. I did ultimately get an inspection for that one day, but have had a “no work” day before due to cancellations.

I have gotten a bit of sympathy when I state something along the lines of “I won’t have any work that day.” I usually use that line when I sense they may be a bit flaky.

I’m like you John, I’ve quit doing pier and beams except occasionally or for a friend. Yesterday I drove to a city in deep East Texas a “fer piece” from here. I really didn’t want to do it, but he seemed insistent on using me. So I threw out a large number on a 2400sf house and sincerely hoped he would bail. He didn’t. Go figure.

I haven’t thought of using the phrase “retainer”, but it might work. The only negative side for me would be the use of credit card to capture the retainer. I quit taking credit cards a year or so ago (unless the client is way out of town/state and can’t attend the inspection conclusion). I would be open to suggestions as I’m tired of the cancellation game, i.e. I found a cheaper inspector.

Oh, here’s one for you. A lady called me yesterday and I couldn’t get the phone. Her voicemail said, “I’m waiting for your call.” I called back in about 30 minutes and left her a message. She called back and said, “I found someone else”. Apparently she wasn’t waiting too hard :smiley:

The market is a feeding frenzy. Many inspectors are getting top dollar but some buyers want the Checkbox Chimp. I won’t book 5 days out. After my greeting I’ll tell them I’m booked past my time limit, apologize and tell them although I can’t help them now please all me after you move in if you have leaks an I’ll shoot with my infrared and help find the leak for free if they are in my immediate area or a simple trip charge if I have to burn gas. To some of the buyers right now you are simply a drive through MacInspector. Don’t expect loyalty.

T.T. showed me a 12 page POS inspection this week in HOU town with a $675.00 invoice fee on it. Fees have doubled in the last 2 months and that is encouraging. For the liability, insurance, gas, tools and equipment, etc. a starting fee of 5 digits is not unreasonable for H.I.'s.

I check the CAD and Zillow on every address. A few times I’ve had to ask who is going to inspect the extra 500 sqft or garage apartment they forgot to mention after I gave a fee. Of course few mention the pool that I don’t inspect anyway. Those folks are focused on the pool. They forget about the house. I don’t know why they even get inspections. They’re going to buy it anyway.

Then there are the ones that were told by some agent to not pay more than $$$ for an inspection. Of course they are being steered to the Checkbox Chimp.

how big was the Houston house for $675?

Sorry for lateness.

1620 sqft. Built in late 70’s I think.