Booking Home Inspection Jobs

To give a price quote you have to determine the amount of time and liability that's involved with the inspection. Explain to the client what a prepurchase home inspection is. Let them know it's a visual, limited time, nondestructive and nondismantling inspection. You can't be responsible for things that you can't see, such as, behind finished walls, floors and ceilings. You also can't see any underground systems like wells, septics, oil tanks, etc. Don't scare them off into thinking you won't do anything for them. Just make them realize what a home inspection is. This way everything is up front and they won't think that your inspection is a guarantee that will find all the problems, visible and nonvisible.

I'll list some items that you should find out from the client when giving a price quote for an inspection job. The following items are all listed on the appointment and price quote cards that are included in this book. These index cards will help you give price quotes and keep track of your home inspection appointments. Remember that when giving price quotes, you always have to consider the amount of time the on‑site inspection and the written report will take to complete. Another factor to consider is the liability involved.

  1. Is the subject property a condominium, single family, multifamily, etc.?Condominiums take less time than a single family house inspection. This is because the Condo Association maintains most of the exterior of the condo building. There is a monthly assessment fee charged to all of the individual condo owners to pay for this maintenance. A single family house will take less time to inspect than a multifamily house, especially if the multifamily has a separate heating and/or air-conditioning system for each unit.

  2. What's the square footage and/or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the house?  The larger the square footage is, then the longer the inspection will take. Sometimes the client won't know the square footage size of the house so try to find out how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are. For example, a four bedroom and three bath house will be a large home and will take some extra time to inspect.

  3. From what you know, is the house in overall good, average, fair, or poor condition?  The worse condition the house is in, then the longer the inspection will take. Also, if the house is in poor condition and needs a lot of repairs, then there's more risk for you. The client should be able to tell you what the overall appearance of the house is from what they could see. They don't have to be a home inspector to give you some idea of the general condition of the house.

  4. What's the age of the house?  Generally the older the house, the more repairs will be needed and/or there will be some outdated operating systems. This can lead to more risk for you due to the possibility that you miss something that you should have noticed.

  5. Is there a garage?  If the house has a two car detached garage, then you'll spend a little more time evaluating this then if there was no garage.

  6. Is there a basement and/or crawl space?  Basements and crawl spaces can have serious problems in them, especially if the house is older. These areas must be inspected thoroughly. You have to account for all of this in your price quote. Also, ask if the basement is finished with wall, ceiling and floor coverings. If it's finished than you won't be able to see behind any inaccessible areas. Make sure your client knows this.

  7. Does the house have a central air-conditioning system?  If it does, then this must be evaluated, (if the weather is warm enough to test it safely). If you include this in the inspection, then you'll spend more time at the site and in writing the report.

  8. Is the house connected to a septic system or the city sewer system?  If the house has a septic system that you're going to dye test, then you should include this in your price quote.

  9. Is the house connected to a well water system or is it supplied by the city water system?  If the house has a well water system that you're going to test, then you should also include this in your price quote.

  10. Do you want a termite and other wood destroying insect inspection?  If the client wants you to check for these insects, then you'll be more liable if you miss something that you should have noticed. So charge the client for this service.

  11. Do you want radon gas, mold or other environmental testing done?  If you test for radon, mold or any other environmental hazards you want to charge for this service. All houses should be tested due to the health hazards caused by high levels of radon or mold in a home.

  12. Do you want a laboratory water analysis done?  If you test the water, (you should always test well water), for bacteria, mineral and/or radon content then you want to charge for this service also.

  13. Where is the house located?  If the subject property is farther away from your office than the normal inspection site, then you want to charge for the additional traveling time involved. This is important when you start to get busy. While you're away from your office you can't answer the phone to give price quotes. When this happens, you'll miss some jobs, unless of course you hire a secretary to answer your phone.

  14. What is the selling price of the house?  Be careful when asking this since some people don't like telling anyone the sales price when they are buying or selling their home. If people hesitate to tell you the sales price then just explain to them the reason why you are asking that question. It's not that you're trying to be nosy, you just need to know the sales price because the liability risk and time involved to inspect a $1 million dollar home can be far greater than that involved with inspecting a $100,000 dollar home. You have to account for this in your price estimate.


If the client asks if you're an engineer or an architect, just educate them about this common misconception. By telling them the facts, you'll earn their respect for being so up-front and honest.

Real Estate Advice Education House Inspection Appraisal Home Improvement Renovation  Tell the client that it's highly recommended that they attend the inspection. This will enable them to see firsthand all of the different aspects of the house you'll be evaluating. Having the client attend the inspection also helps to eliminate questions, phone calls and problems later. Tell them that it's also recommended that they arrange the inspection at a time when the owner of the house you'll be inspecting will be home. The reason for this is that there are many questions you need to ask the owner of the house directly. As an "A to Z Home Inspector" you need to ask these questions to obtain some information to help you with the home inspection. I'll explain more about this later.

Real Estate Expert Investing Advice FSBO Homeowners House Buyers Sellers Realtors Agents Brokers Sometimes you'll book jobs to inspect vacant houses. Some houses are left vacant when being sold for a number of different reasons. The homeowner could have died and it's an estate sale; the owner may have been relocated by his company for a new job position; the owner may be away for a long vacation; it could be a bank foreclosure sale, etc. If the subject property is vacant, then there are important items to be aware of. Often, vacant houses will have the utilities turned off. You should notify the client of this when booking the job. I've arrived at houses many times to do a home inspection or appraisal and the utilities were turned off. This limits what you can evaluate. For example, without electricity you can't check the outlets, switches or operating systems; without gas or oil you can't test the boiler/furnace or water heater; without the water supply turned on you can't test the plumbing pressure and drainage. There's another aspect to be aware of with vacant houses. If the property is located in cold weather areas, then the heating system must be kept on all winter or else the water pipes must be winterized. This protects the pipes from water freezing, expanding and cracking the pipes.

Pre-inspection contracts are starting to gain support among many inspection companies. The purpose of these is to have the client sign a contract before the inspection. The contract is designed so that the client will understand what the inspection involves and what the limitations of it are.

There are inspection companies that offer some of the home warranty programs that are on the market. Home warranty programs offer the home buyer a type of insurance policy. The buyer obtains the insurance so that if they buy the house and something breaks down or there's a problem, they may be reimbursed for any expenses. This is different than Errors and Omissions insurance. E and O insurance covers the home inspector. Home warranty insurance covers the home buyer. If you're going to offer a warranty policy to your clients, then make sure that you read the fine print and that you understand them completely. Sometimes these policies are very limited in their coverage protection, so you and your client need to know up front what your client will be getting for their money.

Many of these home warranty policies only offer the client a depreciated value reimbursement for any claims. They also do not cover certain aspects of the house and the coverage period is limited to about 12 months after the client moves in. This means that if the client buys the house and the boiler needs replacing in 14 months, then the policy will not cover this expense. Also, when a claim is paid it's usually depreciated. This is similar to auto insurance. When an insurance adjuster "totals " a used car after an accident, the insurance company only pays you the book value of that car. They don't buy you a new car! Basically it's up to you. Some people feel it's a selling point to offer their clients a warranty policy. It's pretty much a judgment call from your own perspective. So look into the warranty policies in your area and decide if there's one for you. But whatever you decide, make sure you read the fine print so your client doesn't think he's getting "full blanket" insurance coverage.

Some States require seller disclosure forms for home sellers to sign when they're marketing their house. You will come across some people who try to convince home buyers that they don't need to get the house inspected. They tell the home buyers that an inspection isn't needed because of a seller disclosure form and/or a warranty program.

The seller disclosure forms are very limited because the seller of a home knows nothing bout home inspections. The seller can only tell the home buyer if things are working up to their standards, which may be different from the buyer's standards. For example, the seller may have no problem living in a house with low water pressure or an occasional water problem in the basement. However, your client who is the home buyer, has totally different needs and standards that they're looking for in their purchase. This can't be evaluated properly by a seller disclosure. Also, let's say the seller disclosure states that the roof has no water leaks. This could be a true statement. Maybe the roof isn't leaking now. But what if that roof is 20 years old and it's going to need replacing within a year? The seller knows nothing about roofs. So how can the seller tell a buyer that there's no need to worry about the roof. These are the reasons why a home inspection is still needed, even if there are a seller disclosure form and a warranty program for the house.

It's very important that your client understands the severe limitations of the home warranty programs andthe seller disclosure forms. Your client has a right to know this information.

Real Estate Advice Education House Inspection Appraisal Home Improvement Renovation  It's very important that your client understands the severe limitations of the home warranty programs and the seller disclosure forms. Your client has a right to know this information. So don't let any Realtors, sellers or other third parties try to convince them that they don't need to get the house inspected.

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