How do you open up a 13' ladder in a house with 8' ceilings?
Select the lightest weight ladder that is long enough for you to peer into an attic and that will fit into the trunk of your car. Make sure it is heavy duty enough to allow for your own weight. Aluminum ladders generally weigh less than wood or fiberglass.
If you just need it to peek in the attic, a Polder "3 step" featherweight may work for you. I bought one from Bed, Bath & Beyond about 3 years ago for around $50 which I doubt they still carry, but new ones are still available on Amazon for the around the same price. It's aluminum weighing less than 10 lbs., total length of 54" with the top step at 30" off the ground so if you are at least 5'5" it should work for reaching 8' ceiling scuttles. This ladder also fits in the trunk of my Malibu and it's so lightweight I sometimes just throw it onto my back seat. Here's what it looks like:
3 step ladders are okay if the attic access is in the house; poke your head through the scuttle, take a good look around, take a picture, & move on. However, they won't help you if the access in in the garage, about 10' off the ground. For those, I have to take out the telescoping ladder my wife got for me. It collapses to about 30", fits anywhere. Just make sure it's secured in the extended position, or it might collapse when you're about halfway up the ladder in a vacant house where no one will find your rotting corpse for days after your head gets crushed on the concrete floor and blood oozes from your eyes, ears, and nose until you die. Maybe I worry too much sometimes. Good luck with the ladder!