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HOW MUCH SHOULD A HOME INSPECTION COST?

"How Much Do You Charge?"

 

This is often the first question prospective home buyers ask a home inspector. You have spent a lot of time researching for a home that's just right for you, but how much time will you spend researching for the right home inspector?  Do you really want the cheapest, most inexperienced person to inspect one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make?  Will the owner of the business conduct the inspection, or an hourly employee?

What are the inspector's qualifications, educational levels, and experience?  Is the inspector "part time" (as are many) or is this his full-time business?  What kind of testing equipment will the inspector be using?  What kind of report will they provide?  Have you viewed a sample report?  Does it include photo documentation?  Does he have good references?

Have you verified that the inspector has a valid SC or NC Home Inspector's license? Do they have any complaints on record with the state commission that granted the license?
 

Assuming you have thought through and inquired about all of the above, now the question about the home inspection fee can be asked.  However, there are many factors involved when it comes to how an inspection firm calculates the fee. This includes the inspector's level of experience and qualifications.  The type of report produced and the time taken to produce it must be considered. (Some inspection reports from some firms may be whipped out in pencil onsite, while ours will be digital, include photographs, and might take 4 hours or more to complete.)  The size, design, age and condition of the property are also factors that relate to the time it takes to perform a thorough inspection. (Some homes / condos might take 2 hours or less to inspect; older, larger homes might take 4 or more hours.) 

Will the inspector climb the roof?  Can the inspector enter low crawl spaces (if he weighs 300 lbs., probably not)?  Will the inspector traverse the attic when it's 150 degrees Fahrenheit, or just pop his head inside for a quick peek?  Will he?  Can he?  Is he physically able to do these things?

Some so called "informational" web sites state that home inspection fees run from $180 to $230, however, these low fees are usually based on an inspector doing three inspections per day and completing on-the-spot checklist type reports. As a service to prospective buyers we have uploaded portions of an actual checklist inspection report from a low cost home inspection company. (These documents were scanned & converted to a .pdf file. None of the scanned pages have been altered, these are exactly what the client received.)
Click to view 3 pages of a $200 inspection report.

Having a hard time trying to understand the handwritten comments on those pages?  Do you see any photos? Do you think this kind of report is useful? Brochures and business cards from "low cost" area inspection companies can be found in many real estate agency offices. Do you think when real estate agents go to buy a house for themselves that they will use one of those "low cost" inspectors?

If a thorough inspection, full narrative report and photo editing of an average size home takes 5 to 6 hours, (not counting travel time), how "thorough" is the inspector who does 3 inspections & reports in one day?

What's the alternative to a quick, low cost, practically useless inspection and handwritten (difficult to decipher) checklist report?  Us.  Click to view an abbreviated, sample inspection report from Alpha and Omega Home Inspections, LLC.
 

Money. Let's put things in perspective: If you're buying a $200,000 house and the inspection fee is $300, that's 0.15% of the cost of the house!  On a $400,000 home, it's .075%.  Most real estate agencies charge 3% to 7% to sell a house.  That would be $12,000 to $28,000 for a $400,000 house!  The cost of a home inspection is a bargain, even if you paid $700 for the inspection, and most are less than half that!  If the owner of a house is willing to pay a real estate agent a $12,000 to $28,000 commission to sell a $400,000 house, how much are you willing to pay to know exactly what you are buying?

The real value of an inspection and report should be measured by its usefulness. If a home inspection report fails to help a prospective buyer fully understand what they are buying or if it doesn't provide accurate, detailed information, which the client could use in the real estate negotiation process, what good is it?

 

Send mail to jfunderburk@aohomeinspection.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 2007 Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC.
Last modified: 04/17/17