During almost every inspection, most buyers and many agents want to know how much this or that is going to cost to repair or replace. After more than 40 years in the construction trades doing everything from a small bathroom remodel, building houses, owning a decking company, owning one of the largest remodeling companies in the United States to working on an electrical power station and a 500 room hotel, I have gotten pretty good at determining how much it will cost to make repairs and upgrades.
Why the variation in contractor quotations to make the repairs or upgrades that come to light during an inspection of a building? As I’m sure you’ve noticed, costs can vary greatly to do the “same” job. The reason I put quotes around the word same is because even though you might ask three different contractors how much it will cost to do the identical job you might get some very big differences in bids and quality of workmanship.
One of the most dramatic examples is a custom remodel and addition in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles. Three different painting contractors were asked to give estimates on the same work. One gave a price of $12,000, which seem unrealistically low considering what needed to be done. The next came in at $18,000 which seemed too high and the last one came in at a shocking $29,000! I was so amazed at the highest bid that I called him and asked him how he could possibly justify such a high price. He told me he is always the highest bidder and then spent the next 10 minutes explaining all the preparation work he felt was needed in order to do the job properly. He told me he looked through the rest of the building to see what level of workmanship was going to be expected and realized these people had very high standards and it would take far more effort from his best crew to deliver it. His time estimate for completing the job was also double that of the other two bidders. In the end the highest bidder was chosen to do the work. His attention to detail demonstrated how different the “same” job can really be. Obviously the needs and wants of the buyer can make a HUGE difference in costs.
I have numerous stories similar to this one but the point I wish to make here is getting the job done properly takes time, experience, knowledge, willingness and money. I feel very strongly that the lowest bidder is usually not the best one for the job. True there are rare exceptions but that is just what they are – rare and exceptions.
Our RISK Assessment™ will let you know the expected useful life left in each major system, the estimated costs for needed immediate repairs/maintenance and what your costs are likely to be over the next five years for each system, other than for routine maintenance.
How much repairs cost are open to a lot of fluctuation. The prices we give you are based on years of experience as well as constant communication with local reputable tradesmen. That’s how we keep our finger on the pulse of current conditions in the industry. Factors like the cost of oil can vary the cost of some roofing products greatly.
Our goal is to get you in the ballpark price range for repair/replacements we recommend. It still depends greatly on what you want and how much you are willing to pay. If you insist on the cheapest price you are unlikely to get the best job. In some areas like, carpet or painting, this might not be very important to you. In areas like Roofing, Heating and AC, Electrical, Plumbing and Structure I feel very strongly that you should get the best product you can for a reasonable cost. Otherwise, experience shows that you will wind up paying far more than that lowest bid in the end.
Each site is different. Each owner has different expectations. Part of our inspection is to evaluate your needs and give you some realistic cost estimates for that particular site.