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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Oregon
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    Default Cost Estimates in Reports

    For those of you that put cost estimates in reports do you have a source? As in, a book or some online guide? Or, do you just make up the numbers "on the fly" based on your experience and the trends in your area?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: Cost Estimates in Reports

    In PA, we must cite a source in the report if we include cost ranges. But I also provide figures based on my own experience. Not made up but actual costs I have seen paid or paid myself. Almost everybody around here wants cost ranges in the report.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  3. #3
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    Mar 2007
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Cost Estimates in Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    For those of you that put cost estimates in reports do you have a source? As in, a book or some online guide? Or, do you just make up the numbers "on the fly" based on your experience and the trends in your area?
    For anyone that provides cost estimates (I only do it for clients that pay for this service, and very few want to pay for this service!)I would highly recommend that you purchase a copy of either RS Means or Craftsman publications guidebooks that cover repair cost. I have both and actually I like the Craftsman books the best, they also cost a good amount less. You can get the books, or download to your computer.

    They are accurate if you use them as they are designed and will provide you with a trusted source you can cite should you get into a situation that you need to back-up your findings.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: Cost Estimates in Reports

    Thanks guys... great info. In general, we don't do costs but have a new client buying a bunch of houses and they want them so I've made an exception.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
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    1,363

    Default Re: Cost Estimates in Reports

    I get a little leery of providing estimates. To me there's a correlation between a home inspector telling a client what the contractor may charge versus a contractor telling a client what the home inspector should be doing and we all know how that last part burns our cookies.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Cost Estimates in Reports

    I base my cost factors on local experiences and costs and have done so since 1990's.

    Costs can vary widely based on a number of factors. Books can provide costs but you can never factor in all variables without seeing first hand what one is up against.

    I think that fact should be a disclosure right up front if you are providing costs to your clients and that they should have prices verified by contractors.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Cost Estimates in Reports

    Carson Dunlop publishes cost estimates. The prices are theirs, not mine.
    The latest version warns that prices can vary as much as 300%. How's that for CYA?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: Cost Estimates in Reports

    The PA Home Inspection Law requires us to cite our estimate sources and to state in the report it is recommended that the buyer obtain actual estimates from professionals in that specific field of expertise. In 9.5 years of inspecting, I have had one customer take umbrage with my cost range figures as he expected me to see through walls.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Singapore
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    22

    Default Re: Cost Estimates in Reports

    I try really hard not to give repair estimates since it is an easy way to make the client mad. However, if they insist (and many do) I will give the materials costs (from my latest trip to Lowes) but I tell them the labor costs will vary widely. After the hurricanes, when I was in Baton Rouge, roofers demanded a signing bonus and extra tips, other times you could get them cheap. A good carpenter or plumber will charge more than a bad one and I don't know which the client will hire.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
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    Default Re: Cost Estimates in Reports

    I used to put cost estimates in reports. I don't anymore. Too many idiots calling me asking how something could cost so much or it ended up costing them a $100 more than what I had estimated. I'm there as an HI, not a rehabber. I'll give someone all the verbal estimates they want during an inspection but the numbers don't go in the report anymore. Joe idiot lawyer calling asking how a furnace swap out can cost $+/- $2500 bucks when his client can get the furnace on the internet for $500. Morons.
    I do a lot of rehab cost estimates as a separate service so I deal with a lot of contractors and know our local numbers pretty well. If I don't know it, I can call and find out fairly quick. I've tried a few versions of the books Scott mentioned and have never been able to make them work for our local market. If you are going to provide cost estimates get to know contractors so you have someone to call and ask.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    5,847

    Default Re: Cost Estimates in Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    I used to put cost estimates in reports. I don't anymore. Too many idiots calling me asking how something could cost so much or it ended up costing them a $100 more than what I had estimated. I'm there as an HI, not a rehabber. I'll give someone all the verbal estimates they want during an inspection but the numbers don't go in the report anymore. Joe idiot lawyer calling asking how a furnace swap out can cost $+/- $2500 bucks when his client can get the furnace on the internet for $500. Morons.
    I do a lot of rehab cost estimates as a separate service so I deal with a lot of contractors and know our local numbers pretty well. If I don't know it, I can call and find out fairly quick. I've tried a few versions of the books Scott mentioned and have never been able to make them work for our local market. If you are going to provide cost estimates get to know contractors so you have someone to call and ask.
    The cost repair estimates books take some getting use to. You have to use the multiplier for the Zip Code or area you are in. Even then you need to give a broad range. A good example would be to have a toilet reset. RS Means says that in my area it will range from $110 to $175. This takes into consideration that the plumber is charging $75 to $100 an hour plus parts.

    If I change the Zip Code to Brentwood TN (Multi Million $ homes and old money) the fee goes up by about $50 on the average.

    If you have local statistical history of pricing then it is always best to use that but if you do that you need to state that the price is based on information from your private files with homes that have similar issues.

    I do a good number of 203k consulting jobs and residential cost analysis for banks so it is easy for me to give pricing but I do not do it for free....!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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