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.)
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
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"
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?