Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How much should a standard inspection cost?

I know a lot of inspection companies charge heaps for a standard inspection, but I don't. I know some people do not use me to do house inspection simply because my charge is too cheap. Good on you if you want to go for one with higher price, just like we normally say: you get what you pay for.

Here is my understanding about how much should a standard inspection be charged:

If traditionally an inspection report is called "builder's report", then the author is a builder. Currently a builder's rate is still $45/h. Let's say a good builder should charge $60/h. A standard inspection should include 1h travel + 2h site visit + 2h desktop work = 5h x $60 = $300 + $50 (insurance + fuel + tool depreciation) = $350 + GST. So $400 incl should be a entry mark. Some companies charge extra for tools used, but if a builder does not charge for him to use a hammer, I can not see why an inspecter is to charge extra for him to use a moisture meter.

If a guy charge only $150 for a verbal report, but charge $700 for a written report, then there is a reason to challenge him: If a builder is not good in computer, that's not the client's fault. In average, a pre-purchase report should not take more than 3 hours to draft.

How much a moisture report should cost?
Nothing really. Without interpretation of the construction, moisture itself means nothing. We have seen some reports with wording like “bedroom 2 moisture - 13%". I would not rely on that report to make any decision. I share the view of William Hursthouse from

"Almost all prepurchase inspectors have one of the scanning type meters nowadays and I have seen many reports where readings from these meters are listed, giving the impression they represent actual moisture contents. When I see that, my heart sinks and any respect for the author evaporates instantly..."

How much we charge? Roughly $250 + GST for a verbal report and $450 + GST for a standard inspection report. We have the opportunity to charge more, but we think business sustainability means more for us.

Why do not I charge for infrared scanning (thermal imaging)?

Let's try to answer some questions first:

  1. Can infrared camera really see what's behind wall lining or cladding?
  2. Can infrared camera really see any moisture behind lining or cladding?
  3. Can infrared camera really see the timber condition behind lining or cladding?
  4. Can infrared camera really tell if something is built wrong?
  5. Can infrared camera really tell if building workmanship is good or not?
  6. Can infrared camera really tell if something is built in accordance with building standards?
  7. Can infrared camera really know if any potential risks when something currently weathertight?
  8. Can infrared camera really know if something currently dry but was not weathertight in the past?
  9. Can infrared camera really know the source of moisture if it does detect it?

If the answer for all of the above questions is NO, why we need charge for that?

Think about that question from other point of views?

When you ask me to do a house inspection, do you really just what to know a simple answer: Leak or not? See if you want to know something listed below:

  1. Did it leaked in the past?
  2. Will it leak in the future?
  3. Anything built wrong?
  4. What are the maintenance costs to ensure weathertightness?
  5. If it is leaking, are there any major structure damages?
  6. If any major damages, how that can be fixed?
  7. If the leak issues can be fixed, how much will that cost?

If nothing from above listed questions can be answered by using infrared camera, then why I need to charge for that?

From 495 house we inspected in the year 2011, only 10%  or less of them can be categorised as leaky houses. What did we do for other 90% of inspected house? We did far more than just moisture testing. Only fraction of major issues found during inspection is moisture related. I like the traditional name in our Country to describe house inspection - builder's report: I'm a builder first. I need to understand building before putting up tools.

Don't worry. I got all sort of tools, include infrared camera, which is always in my pocket. We just do not charge for that.

10 reasons why some buyers do not need a builder's report:

  1. Already spent half million buying a house, haven't got extra $400 for a house inspection.
  2. All builders are cowboys who used to build leaky houses. I rather trust myself.
  3. My mate is a builder.
  4. They charge for the report, but do not guarantee anything.
  5. I already got a report from the Owner.
  6. If I ask inspections, I will never be able to buy a house, as builders always pick up issues and everything is a shit from their point of view.
  7. I'm buying a new house with CCC, so why need a report?
  8. The agent said it is not leaking, so I just buy it.
  9. I got infrared report, the house looks dry, so why need a builder?
  10. There are multiple offers, no time for a builders report.