How much does a Home Inspection Cost?

The home inspection cost varies a great deal depending where you are located geographically within the United States so I am only going to talk about Kansas City home inspections.

Even in the Kansas City Metro Areas you will find a wide array of home inspection prices. Typically as of 2017 a quality inspection performed by a full time professional home inspection company; the cost of a home inspection is $350 – $400 for a standard size home. Of course the price increases as the size of the home and amenities increase.

The majority of home inspection companies charge according to the amount of square footage with certain add on fees. Premier Inspection Services found this type of fee structure to be difficult not only to ourselves but to the customer.

The home inspection cost

What causes the home inspection cost to increase is basically tied to the amount of work and time involved to inspect the property and write the home inspection report. The size of the home can be determined by the amount of bathrooms, HVAC units, kitchens & fireplaces. Everyone seems to know the amount of these items when buying a home because these items are important to the buyer. Whereas the total square footage is more difficult to determine and many times is not advertised due to a fear of being sued for making an incorrect statement (This has actually happened).

To me a home with large rooms really doesn’t make a difference, it is the amount of bathrooms, fireplaces, electrical panels, multiple air conditioners & kitchens that take up the majority of time and effort. Of course if the home is over 5500 square we would want to look into making a customized quote due to this may take multiple inspectors to complete the home inspection and report in a timely manner.

The Home Inspection Business

Now that we have talked about the size of the structure let’s talk about the home inspection business. Sometimes people think wow that’s a lot of money for 3 hours of work. If that was the case that would be true but it is not the case.

Kansas City home inspectors on average have to drive 45 minutes to get to the appointment which means 1.5 hours of drive time. With 3 hours of onsite time plus 1.5 hours of report writing time (if all goes well) and 1.5 hours of travel time. That means there are 6 man hours (Minimum) in one inspection. [ And if the customer orders radon testing then there is an additional 2 hours spent driving, writing and uploading that report ]  That doesn’t include all of the time spent scheduling the inspection to gain access to the property and the multitude of follow up questions from either the buyer, seller, real estate agents, mortgage company needing paid invoices or contractors hired to make the repairs.

Premier Inspection Services   Premier Inspections, Premier Service – Guaranteed!

Professional home inspectors such as Premier Inspection Services have a lot of overhead such as company vehicles, tools, computer equipment, report writing software, employees, E&O insurance, general liability insurance, workmen’s comp insurance, an actual office that answers the phone and so on… And all of this is what is needed to provide you the best service and protection you deserve.

Of course you can always hire the part-time cheap home inspector that’s new to the home inspection business or the retiree that decided home inspection would be fun to do for some extra income. They don’t have hardly any expenses, insurance or the experience to provide you the professional service and protection you deserve. They definitely won’t be around if you were to have issues or questions. If they fail to identify issues correctly the cheap home inspection cost just might be the most expensive thing you ever purchased… On second thought maybe that’s not a good idea.

 

Author: Mark Pence – Premier Inspection Services

It’s Time for Your Home Inspection

You have found a home that you love and it’s the shiny features that pulled you into the home: granite countertops, gleaming new Kitchen appliances, mosaic tiles in the master bathroom and so on… Now it’s time for your home inspection.

Don’t fall in love too fast.

There’s more to a house than what first meets the eye. You don’t want to be stuck living in a money pit when you thought you were buying something move-in ready.

But how are you supposed to know if a house has foundation problems? Or faulty wiring? Defective piping? What about hidden problems you haven’t even considered? ( Such as buried sewer lines, mold behind walls that have been freshly painted, Radon Gas which you cannot smell… ect. )

Three words: Premier Inspection Services

It’s imperative that you get the house inspected as soon as you sign the purchase agreement, no matter if you’re buying a fixer-upper or brand-new. (Before you sign the contract, make sure the final purchase is contingent on the inspection findings.)

(If you are buying outside of the Kansas City Metro areas see my separate blog for more information about “how to find a good home inspector”). Otherwise see our reviews at Google, FacebookAngie’s List & the Better Business Bureau BBB

When you hire a home inspector, you need to ensure that the inspector isn’t cutting corners, signing off on a job not well done and is looking out for your best interest.

In Kansas & Missouri home inspectors are not required to be licensed with the city or state. Therefore many of the Kansas City home inspectors are part-time inspectors and lack the proper education and experience needed. Not to mention up to date tools / equipment needed to perform a good job and insurance for your protection.

Premier Inspection Services is a full time, full service professional home inspection company with multiple inspectors. Since 2006 Premier Inspection Services has been recommended for home inspections by Real Estate Agents, Attorneys, Mortgage / Title Companies, Past Customers and their Friends & Family. Over the years we have performed multiple inspections for many of the same clients due to our high customer satisfaction rate.

A home inspection report can sometimes scare buyers

Sometimes home inspection reports can scare buyers into thinking the home is a lemon when it’s really not. That is why it is important for the buyer to get to know the home and be present while the home inspector performs the inspection. That way at the end of the inspection the inspector can help explain the findings in person providing a better understanding of the conditions noted along with possible ways to make improvements. Also often the inspector will point out maintenance tips that might not make it into the home inspection report.

It’s Your Home Inspection and It’s Your Decision

At the end of the day, the inspector shouldn’t tell you whether you should buy the house. A home inspector is like what a news reporter is supposed to be: objective and reporting just the facts. Few homes yield a perfect inspection. Ultimately, you must decide whether the problems found with the house are deal breakers.

Author: Mark Pence – Premier Inspection Services

What Is The Difference Between Home Inspection Organizations?

There are now 2 Major Home Inspection Organizations

Up until 2016 there were three major home inspection organizations; ASHI, NAHI, and InterNACHI. As of 2016 the NAHI organization has dissolved and their members in good standing were absorbed by ASHI. They’re not the only organizations for home inspectors, but they’re the largest.

American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)           One of the Major Home Inspection Organizations

To quote from ASHI‘s website: “In 1976, a group of visionary home inspectors with the common goal of building consumer awareness and enhancing the professionalism of their field established the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). This not-for-profit professional association for home inspectors made its first order of business to establish and advocate high standards of practice and a strict code of ethics for the member community.

The Mission of ASHI is to set and promote standards for property inspections and to provide the educational programs needed to achieve excellence in the profession and to meet the needs of our members.”

ASHI’s highest level of certification is the ASHI Certified Inspector, or ACI designation.  To get this designation, a home inspector must*:

  • Pass the National Home Inspector Exam, which is a 200 question / 4 hour proctored exam.  This exam is also used for licensing in approximately half of the United States.
  • Complete the ASHI SOP and Code of Ethics online training.
  • Complete a minimum of 250 fee-paid home inspections, with the reports in substantial compliance with ASHI’s Standards of Practice.  To verify this, the list of inspections must be submitted to ASHI, and then five reports are selected for submission.  The reports are sent to an ASHI report verifier, who then grades the reports for compliance.

ASHI Certified Inspectors are the only true 3rd party certified Inspectors in the industry that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

*This is my summary of the requirements.  For the full list, click here.

 National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI)

NAHI was founded in 1987.  To quote from their website: “The National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI) was established in 1987 as a nonprofit association to promote and develop certified and licensed home inspectors in the professional home inspection industry.”

NAHI’s highest level of certification is the Certified Residential Inspector, or CRI designation.  To get this designation, a home inspector must*:

  • Pass the NAHI CRI exam, which is a 140 question exam administered through PSI Testing Centers, or pass the National Home Inspector Exam.
  • Complete a minimum of 250 fee-paid home inspections, which must be submitted for verification.

*This is my summary of the requirements.  As stated above this organization no longer exists.

InterNational Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)

InterNACHI was founded in 1990.  To quote from InterNACHI’s website: “InterNACHI’s mission is to provide its membership:

  • free, online training, continuing education, and academic degree and certificate programs all over the world;
  • business training, software products, marketing services, student services, and membership benefits; and
  • knowledge, skills, and abilities to maintain competency and achieve inspection excellence.”

InterNACHI’s highest level of certification is the Certified Professional Inspector, or CPI designation.  To get this designation, a home inspector must*:

  • Pass the InterNACHI online exam, which is free and open to the public.  This exam is designed to be taken at home.
  • Complete the InterNACHI Code of Ethics and Residential SOP online courses.
  • If the applicant has never completed a fee-paid home inspection, they must submit four mock inspection reports.

*This is my summary of the requirements.  For the full list, click here.

The way I See It with these Home Inspection Organizations

ASHI’s main goal is to improve the home inspection industry.  NAHI is ASHI’s little brother.  InterNACHI’s goal is to cater to individual needs of members.  Here in Kansas City, most home inspectors belong to at least one of the two organizations.  A few belong to more, and some don’t belong to any of them.

While there are some major differences in certification requirements between the organizations, being certified by any or all of the organizations listed above does not make one a better home inspector.  I’d like to say it does, but it doesn’t.  If a home inspector decided to quit paying their annual dues to one (or all) of these organizations, they would lose their certification.  Would that suddenly make them a worse inspector?  No.  I think that should end the discussion right there. I’ve found that debating pros and cons of home inspection organizations gets home inspectors WAY more excited than politics or religion.

As for myself, I’ve been a member of ASHI since I started inspecting houses back in 2006, I have been the president of the Great Plains ASHI Chapter, every home inspector in my company is a member of ASHI, and all are ASHI Certified Inspectors.

One of the Major Home Inspection Organizations    

Author: Mark Pence – Premier Inspection Services

 

(Some of this information was provided by a fantastic home inspector – Rueben Saltzman)

How To Find A Great Home Inspector

Obtaining a personal reference from someone you know and trust is best.  If you know and trust your real estate agent, go with their recommendation for a home inspector.  If you have a great real estate agent, they’ll have a great home inspector to recommend. In order for the agent do be able to do their best job they need a good inspection and report. The inspection report is a tool that you and your agent will have to use to negotiate with. Agents know what inspectors provide them the best tool for them to be able to negotiate with. This is what they do for a living, and their job is to work in your best interest. While some home inspectors like to complain about sleazy real estate agents only recommending semi-incompetent home inspectors who won’t “kill the deal”, I’ve also heard plenty of home inspectors around the country essentially brag about what horrible customer service they give.  There are good and bad folks in every industry.

If your agent gives you the names of three Kansas City home inspection companies, they’re probably doing this because they don’t want you to sue them for a bad home inspection; not because all three inspectors are equal.  Ask your agent, off the record, who they would use.  If they say it’s a tie or they won’t commit to one, read on.

Step One: Read the Home Inspectors Reviews

Assuming you don’t have a great personal reference, the next logical step is to hire the company with the largest ad in the yellow pages or search online.  Yeah, that might be better.  If you want to find a great home inspector, start by comparing highly rated home inspection companies.  By highly rated, I’m thinking of companies with great reviews on Google, Yelp & Facebook *

* There are other online web sites that allow you to see ratings for home service providers, but the way that these service providers get work, and therefore get rated, is by paying money for every lead they get.  I truly believe that the best home service providers don’t need to use these services, so are not listed in their rating system.  I’m not going to say what web sites these are, so don’t ask :-).

Great reviews are great, but it’s also nice to look for bad reviews.  If a business gets a bad review, hopefully they respond to it.  Their response will give you a lot of insight into what kind of company they really are.

Also, one little trick with Yelp is to go to the bottom of a company’s review page and look up the non-recommended reviews.  It seems as though about 40% of Yelp reviews show up in the non-recommended section.

Step Two: Read Sample Home Inspection Reports   A good home inspector writes an easy to read reportSee our Home Inspection Report

Once you’ve found what you feel would be a great home inspector based on online reviews, go to their web site and read a sample report.  If they don’t have a sample report available, I’d seriously re-consider hiring them.  Short of actually attending several home inspections, reading reports is the best way to compare different home inspectors.  It’s a little bit more work to do this, but if you weren’t willing to put in a little extra time researching your home inspector, you probably wouldn’t be reading this.

The best home inspection reports have several things in common:

Photos –  ” A photo is worth a thousand words” Every home inspection report should include photos. Not photos of an up close shot of wood rot for example but a photo of the affected area that is taken far enough away so that you can see exactly where the issues are that need to be addressed. The comments in the report should explain the actual issue you are looking at.

Easy to read –  You shouldn’t need a legend to figure out what the inspector is trying to say.  Home inspection reports should be easy to understand and shouldn’t need someone with industry knowledge to interpret them.

Complete – home inspection reports should contain three basic components when addressing an issue: what the issue is, why it’s an issue (if not obvious), and what should be done. For example, if a water heater had a pressure relief valve that was plugged off on the end, a great home inspection report might say: “The pressure relief valve discharge tube is capped, which will prevent this safety valve from functioning; this could cause the tank to explode if the water heater malfunctioned.  Recommend the cap be removed.”

A weak inspection report might say: “Capped relief pipe needs repair”.

Both of these descriptions address the defect, but the first description is obviously a far superior description, and lets the client know why this item needs repair.

Disclaimers kept to a minimum – Many home inspection reports are filled with CYA verbiage that is focused on explaining away why the home inspector couldn’t see this or why they couldn’t inspect that.  This isn’t helpful to home buyers, and when there’s too much of it, it starts to sound ‘weaselly’.  Nobody wants to read through a list of stuff that wasn’t inspected although my company does provide a list of items that were not able to be inspected at the time of inspection. ( Such items could be… a garage that is so full of storage you can’t even walk in it, an electrical panel that is covered by a TV entertainment system in the basement, an attic access in the ceiling of a closet that is full of china dolls. ect. ) This list makes it easy for you and the seller to know what needs to be done to allow inspection of these items prior to purchase. A lot of Kansas City home inspectors hide the not inspected items in the report so that you the buyer don’t complain about not getting a full inspection.

Realistic recommendations – This one is huge.  Many home inspection reports are filled with recommendations for further testing and further inspections to the point where it gets absurd.  Mold testing?  Asbestos testing?  Lead testing?  Sewer scans?  Plumbing inspections?  Electrical inspections?  When I see recommendations for all these other inspections, I get the feeling that the home inspector is only concerned about not getting sued; they’re not nearly as concerned about providing great service.

Confidence – this one is a little harder to define, but it’s really what sets asides the rookies from the experienced home inspectors.  Anyone with the most basic understanding of a house can observe an abnormality, call attention to it, and recommend a second opinion / further inspection.  With knowledge and experience comes the confidence to say that something isn’t a problem.

Once you’ve read through a number of online reviews and sample inspection reports, you should begin to have a clear idea of who the right inspection company will be.  You’ll probably have to spend more money to hire this company, but you won’t regret it.

Author: Mark Pence – Premier Inspection Services

(Some of this information was provided by a fantastic home inspector – Rueben Saltzman)

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