Do Builders Charge For Quotes??

If someone looks at a house which is for sale, and the house needs a good bit of work done to it, is it possible to get a builder to come out to the house and give a quote/estimate as to what the work might cost. Even though the house is not owned, and obviously there's always the possibility that the purchase may not even happen.
Do builders usually charge for giving quotes/estimates for building work? i.e. substantial work including windows, slates, fixing damp, plumbing, electrics, tiling etc...
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it depends on the situation In general the answer is no , certainly in my case but I have in the past and would do in the future when I feel that the person asking for the estimate is really asking for a survey type report than a true estimate for work they want doing By that I mean as you may have alluded to that you do not own the house. You may purchase the house depending on what the quote says. If the house was yours and you were in a position to undertake the works then it is fair but if you are in no position and in all probability will not then you are just using the builder for a free service. In most cases like this a charge is made and if you do purchase the house and go ahead with the work then the charge would be refunded.
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On 20 Jan 2004 17:26:22 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@postmaster.co.uk (SuzySue) wrote:

They probably would seek to charge for something like this. As you don't own the house you would presumably need to seek permission to gain access, and thus you couldn't even pretend it was yours when talking to a builder.
Builders, painters, decorators, plumbers, electricians are all people who have to earn a living. They aren't sitting on their backside waiting for the phone to ring so that they can spend time and money (they have to pay for fuel and so on to get there) helping someone out with their house purchasing decision.
There's also the issue of you making a purchasing decision based upon this quote. What would you do if you bought the house and then found that the building work required was more severe? Sue the builder for all costs involved? In such a case a builder is likely to want to be very sure of what he is quoting for.
As the other respondent advised, it's entirely possible that a builder would be prepared to re-imburse the cost of providing an estimate or quotation if they got the work.
Note that this situation changes if you own the property already and invite a builder to come around to give you a quote. Very often that quote might be provided free of charge, providing that no expert analysis were required (e.g. putting a camera down a drain to review the state of a waste pipe or uncovering some plaster to reveal the state of brickwork, etc). Notionally the builder would turn up, look at the job in hand, scratch his chin, and give you the quote - without doing any actual work. And this would take place on his way to do another (paying) job so is not really a great loss for him.
PoP
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I was in a similar situation. If I mentioned that I didn't own the house, they wanted to charge, although they would give a non-binding rough estimate over the phone for free, based on there being no complications. I was looking for costs for reroofing, inserting lintels, etc.
I suspect builders get a lot of potential purchasers wanting quotes and find that very few such prospects result in a contract.
Christian.
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

It depends to some extent on what question you are asking the builder.
If, having examined the house yourself, you know precisely what you want done, a builder will hopefully quote for this for free.
If, on the other hand, you are asking the builder to advise *what* needs to be done before quoting for it, that includes an element of consultancy for which I would expect a charge to be made.
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I once took a builder round a house that needed a fair amount doing to it., and got him to do a written estimate for loads of jobs of varying sizes. This was then going to be the basis for negotiating the purchase price. The estimate came to about 20k and ran to many pages. The viewing took at least half an hour, the estimate must've taken longer at least as long to prepare and type up. In then end I did not buy the house and he had no hope of getting the work.
With hindsight, having subsequently worked on a freelance basis myself in another field, and realised that time really is money, I always felt a bit bad about it, given that it was done on such a speculative basis. I actually wish he'd charged me for an hour. The saving grace is that, purely by chance, he turned out to be working on a job a few doors down so he didn't have any travelling time or expenses. Were the situation to arise again, I'd offer to pay.
W.
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