Home Inspection Costs
Usually, the first thing we are asked when a client call to ask about a home inspection is “What does it cost?” Most home inspectors price their inspections based on the same criteria: size, age and foundation type. This is the minimal amount of information we need to provide a quote. We usually start by asking for the address because buyers don’t always have the other information available when they call. We can go to Zillow and get the information we need before getting a price. Our base price for a condo starts at $250 and for a home $295. The price goes up based on heated square footage, additional buildings and we charge a little extra for a crawlspace. (They can be hazardous.) For example, a 2,000 square foot house built in 1970 with a crawlspace would cost $425 and a 4000 square foot house built in 1998 with a finished basement would cost $495.00.
An established home inspection company will offer a full menu of additional services. Some services may be included that other companies upsell. For example, we include IR Thermography with all of our inspections. Yes, IR cameras are costly and proper use requires additional training but all of our inspectors have been trained and each of them has an IR camera in their toolkit. (We never charge extra for using the tools in our bag.)
Termite inspections are regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and we believe that every home buyer should have one. Because we have a relationship with an extermination company, we are able to offer these free of charge.
We charge extra for a sewer camera inspection but this is because we frequently have to send an extra person, we only have one sewer camera and the equipment is very expensive. We rarely cover our cost when providing this service but we believe it is critical to inspect any main sewer lateral that is over 20 years old.
Radon testing is offered by most home inspectors but buyers should ask what kind of radon test is offered. We use continuous radon monitors. Each device costs $1200, must be sent for annual calibration and require a quality assurance program to ensure the machines are working properly. In return, we get results immediately when we pick up our machines, they are very accurate and tamperproof. There are certainly less expensive, less accurate and more time-consuming devices on the market that are not ideal to use during a home inspection. Radon testing saves lives and we do not cut costs on important diagnostic tools.
In a “Sellers’ Market”, it is not unusual for a seller to refuse to fix anything that a buyer requests after the inspection. This is unfortunate for the buyer but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have an inspection just because they have a weak negotiating position. Sellers rarely know the condition of everything in their home and the disclosure (or I as call it, “The Book of Lies”) is almost always filled out moments after it is requested with very little effort in providing accurate information. The home inspection is the only chance a buyer has to understand the condition of the home they are purchasing. They may be paying top dollar for a home with major upcoming expenses and zero room for negotiation. Without a home inspection, they may purchase a home that they would have otherwise walked away from. That is a costly mistake.
If the cost of the inspection is less than the homeowner’s insurance deductible, then it might be a great deal. Small plumbing leaks can become big plumbing leaks. Slow, concealed leaks can cause major damage over time. Certain losses are not covered by insurance but can easily be prevented by hiring a competent home inspector. We recommend an annual inspection of some areas of the home. (The places homeowners never go, for sure.) A buyer’s home inspection may also discover problems that the seller cannot legally ignore. Sellers lose negotiating power when they are faced with the duty to disclose the findings to the next potential buyer.
Offsets to the Cost
Some home inspectors offer home maintenance programs that can be of great value to their clients. We buy a HomeBinder subscription for all of our clients. This is an amazing tool for managing your home and organizing all documents related to the home. It can also be a powerful tool to help market one’s home when it comes time to sell. We also have a relationship with Porch that benefits our clients. The Porch Home Assistant will help transfer or set up utilities and also provides our clients with significant discounts on handyman services. (This “Assistant” is an actual person.) Porch also backs up our inspections with a 90-Day Porch Inspection Guarantee. If we miss something, Porch will cover it up to the cost of the inspection. We have the most highly trained inspectors in our market but they are human, and humans can make mistakes.
Don’t Settle for Second Best
We are aware that there are many low-cost providers of home inspectors in our area. It might be tempting to call one because the house looks good and the inspection should be “easy.” In our experience, that “easy” inspection may be the one that requires the most proficient and experienced inspector to recognize a major problem. If you are going to shop price on a home inspection, you may as well skip it altogether. If you are going to hire a Professionally Trained and Independently Certified Home Inspector, know that the quality of the inspection report, the complimentary termite and IR Thermography and additional assurances that The BrickKicker offers makes an inspection with us one of the smartest investments you can make in your new home.