Does a home inspector give cost estimates for repairs?
Monday, July 2, 2018
Providing a cost estimate for repairing defects found during a home inspection is not required by the Florida’s Standards of Practice (61-30.801) for home inspectors, determined by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Most inspectors don’t do it, and with good reason. The kind of “ball park” estimate that an inspector might make can be wrong by a significant margin because of changes in the competitive marketplace, concealed problems, materials, or code requirements. Getting a real price from a tradesperson or contractor while still in your inspection period is always best.
We do provide rough estimates on repairs that are easily quantifiable, like roof or water heater replacement, but always followed with a warning about getting an actual bid from a contractor for all big-ticket defects. Luckily, most of our estimates turn out to be a little on the high side, but some customers ignore our recommendation to get a real price and call later to tell us how our number was too high or low—after they have closed on the property.
So we provide only limited estimates, based on our experience and average prices from an insurance adjuster’s estimating guide. There are also many defects that cannot be priced without further evaluation and sometimes, for example, even opening up a wall.
The big question we always get asked when inspecting a bargain-priced fixer-upper is “Do you think ten-grand will take care of everything?” We can’t answer that one, because we have no idea what level of remodeling the customer expects. Plus, totaling up all the expenses of a house renovation project is a time-consuming and separate job in itself.
If the home inspector you select is unwilling to provide cost estimates for repairs, we think you should not be disappointed. Your inspector is there to tell you the condition of the house you are buying and point out things that need to be fixed. A contractor will provide accurate pricing.
By the way, “ten-grand” is never enough to remodel a fixer-upper.
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