"Don't get caught in the 1-2-3 trap. That is, a ONE-eyed inspector, doing a TWO-hour inspection, for THREE hundred dollars. It's not worth it in many ways. Buyer Beware!"
"After the joy of a cheap price withers away, the frustrations of a poor inspection linger long". -- Calvin Bolt
Calvin has decided to "retire from the rat race" of doing JUST the BUYER TYPE whole house inspections. He still does everything else listed, except for radon and lead paint.
Here’s a subject everyone is interested in! First of all, you need to consider that a home inspection is an INVESTMENT and not an EXPENSE. If you hang onto my report long enough and refer to it a couple times a year, it will pay you great dividends!! Pricing, basically, is based on age and square footage. There are a few nominally priced add-ons for some not-so-common amenities. This is why I need the address of the house, if it’s a FSBO, so I can look it up on the internet and give you a fair and accurate price up front. When it comes to sizes of homes, a small home has all the main components in it that a medium size home has. A small home has 100% of the “overhead” time involved as what any size home has. For these reasons, a 400-700 square foot bungalow is the same price as a 1500 square foot ranch. The price for a 1500-2500 square foot home is only a nominal amount more. After 2500 square feet, the price starts rising exponentially per 1000 square feet. Remember also, that if I’m inspecting a 2000 square foot ranch, I probably also have 2000 square feet of attic and 2000 square feet of crawlspace to inspect, at no additional charge. These square foot numbers for these uninhabitable spaces continue to grow with the size of the home, with limitations when the home turns into 2 or 3 stories.
Usually when a home is built, it takes 3-4 months to complete it. Larger homes in the 4000-8000 square foot range take 5-10 months to build. There are many inspectors out there who believe they can inspect any home in 4 hours or less, including travel time and also having the report finished. I feel fortunate to complete a State Licensed Home Inspection (no report or travel time included) in 6-10 hours. (It will take 10-12 hours or more when the house is 4000 square feet or larger – depending too on the age and mostly the condition it is in.) An inspection is not just a “defect list”, but each system and component has to be inspected, identified and described, even if there is nothing wrong with it. I take a ton of pictures to help me complete my report, the next day when I am back in the office. I go to an inspection to collect "puzzle pieces", and then I assemble them back in the office to see what the whole picture looks like. I do research as required, and look at the photos too, while working on the report. I like to sleep on it too and I do keep a notepad by my bed for those early morning thoughts and revelations! A single puzzle piece could look like something totally different on the job (better or worse), than what it will look like in the completed picture, so I don't come to final conclusions on the job site or at the end of the inspection itself. There is much to look at, remember, visualize, memorize, record, photograph, think about, inspect, identify, and describe. I have a lot of things to look for that are missing too, regarding outdated safety standards/hazards, which takes a lot of concentrated thought. I also have to correlate what is on the roof, with what is in the attic; what is in the attic with what is on the floor below; what is on the main level with what is in the basement/crawlspace; etc. It's a huge "in depth" thought process, to say the least, to do an inspection, and not miss anything to do it right. There are always mysteries for me to solve that take time. It takes a lot of concentration, at least to do it right, not miss something, and have to come back again later etc. So, all of this is to respectfully say I really strongly prefer to inspect alone--you will actually get the best inspection this way! I get too distracted, lose my concentration, and lose my trains of thoughts with someone watching me, let alone asking me questions/engaging in conversation. :) I have had to go back to jobs before because I was distracted and missed something (that I remembered I missed when I was working on the report). I don't want to miss anything on your behalf or mine either. I deliver a very thorough report, and this report explains all of my findings with accuracy and with recommendations too. I take each inspection very seriously and intensely. I answer questions in my report that you were not aware of to ask! :) I hope you can understand my perspective. :) If just the (home) inspection part takes 8 hours +/- on the job, for example, the (home) inspection report will take a minimum of 16 hours +/- to a maximum of 24 hours +/-, generally and roughly speaking. It's all, "For the Best".
When it comes back to pricing again, people wonder will they get their money’s worth? That’s a good question. Let’s take a look at that. There are always those out there who are strictly looking for the least expensive price and they are not real concerned what kind of inspection they get, as long as they can say they had an inspection. Some sellers have told me when they bought their home, they didn’t even have it inspected. Then when they get an inspection response from the buyer (who hired me) identifying the hazards I found that they (the buyer) want the seller to fix, then the seller feels regret that they didn’t have the house inspected when they bought it. Some sellers and realtors have even been upset with me for reporting the items. I just report what I see. Remember, I am an unbiased inspector. If I don’t report it, then it may become my responsibility. Anyway, let’s say you hire the inspector who’s all done in 4 hours (including the report) for $300.00. My inspection will definitely take more than 4 hours, and will definitely cost more, but it will be much less "per hour" than the other home inspector. As I mentioned before, it will take almost the whole day to do a legal State Licensed Home Inspection and the whole next day to do a legal State Licensed Home Inspection report. I will supply you with maintenance advice and some homeowner articles, and even tell you how to fix many of the items. Now I ask, “who’s charging too much”, “who’s giving you more than what you’re paying for”, and “what’s the best deal”?
You can take the high road, or you can take the low road. The decision is yours. But respectfully said I know some people just feel they can’t afford an inspection and that’s really too bad. That’s really not the area to try and cut costs when purchasing a home. I really wonder how they will be able to set aside the money it takes to maintain a home? Some people truly are better off to rent than to try and bite off owning a home. I inspect many foreclosed homes every year. Please think before you buy.
My clients are picky people. They are fussy people. They want it done right. They know a good deal when they see it. I keep busy 12-14 hours a day minimum, and 6 days a week. It’s all client referral and word of mouth. I have to work that much to pay my overhead anyway. I run a conservative business, but my overhead costs are still at 65%, and that doesn’t include costs I have for health, life or disability insurance. Much of this cost is in continuing education, classes, seminars, training, testing, and license renewal and membership renewal fees, so that I can be the best I can be for YOU. I spend at least 5 hours a week with my nose in various manuals, code books, and reading articles relating to the building business and inspection business to serve YOU better. I don’t know it all and that’s why I keep studying and reviewing. I spend 2-3 DOZEN hours in structured settings each year, mostly in Indianapolis. Then, I do a great deal of online studying and testing as well. When I get words of appreciation, notes or letters thanking me, letters of recommendation, or even a monetary tip for a job well done, it really helps me to keep going on and helping people with the biggest material purchase they will ever make in their lives. The biggest appreciation I receive is when people refer me to others that they know, because they know they received a competent State Licensed Home Inspection and Report and more.
Do YOU want to invest in my services??