Reuben's Home Inspection Blog

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"How Much Do You Charge?"

Would you call a retail store and ask “How much do you charge for a TV?”  Probably not.  You’d have to do research and decide what you want to buy before asking for prices.

One of the toughest calls that I get as a home inspector is “What do you charge for a home inspection?”

Home buyers ask me this because they’re trying to find the inspector that offers the best deal.  When buyers are only concerned with price, they have already made an assumption that all home inspectors offer the same thing, and they assume they’re comparing apples to apples Sony Bravia 32″ LCD HDTVs to Sony Bravia 32″ LCD HDTVs.  This just isn’t true.

Here are a few key things to research before deciding on a home inspector, and to help make sure you’re making a fair comparison when it comes down to price.  This is all information that home inspectors typically list on their web site (yes, I’m assuming they have a web site).

  • Find out how long they’ve been in business for.
  • Read client testimonials.  Are they from clients or real estate agents?  Do they have testimonials from three delighted clients, or thirty?
  • Read about their qualifications and experience.  Look out for clever wording like “10 years of industry experience.”  This doesn’t equate to 10 years of “Home Inspection” experience.
  • Most importantly, view a sample inspection report.  If there isn’t one available or you need to send the inspector an email to request one, it’s probably for good reason.  Home Inspectors like me that are proud of their reports practically want to push the report in to your lap.  See, look, I’m doing it right now.
  • When reviewing a sample report, there is much more to look for than just photos and illustrations.  Watch out for useless report writing that is designed to cover the home inspectors butt, not yours.  A bad report would contain a lot of phrases like “This was observed, recommend further evaluation and correction by a licensed blah blah blah”.  When I first started inspecting, I was told by a professional home inspection instructor that this was the best way to write a report.  As I’ve written more and more reports over the years, I’ve come to realize that home inspection schools teach this style only to protect the inspector.  This doesn’t provide a service for the client.

    If you want an example of a good looking report that was poorly written, just Google “home inspection report” and click on the first sample that comes up.  You’ll find more than a DOZEN recommendations for additional inspections.  Is the buyer really supposed to follow this advice?  That’s ridiculous.

    When picking out a home inspector, spend some time researching inspectors, even if you receive three different names of inspectors from your real estate agent.  Many agents give out three names because they don’t want to assume liability if their client isn’t happy with the inspection, not because they have three companies that do great work.  For more tips on finding an inspector on-line, read this post by one of my favorite bloggers:  How hard can it be to find a good Home Inspector?

    After you’ve decided on an inspector, book the inspection.  If you’ve narrowed it down to two inspectors and you just can’t decide, go with price.

    Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections – Email – Detailed Home Inspection Reports

     

    Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

            

Comment balloon 12 commentsReuben Saltzman • September 01 2009 07:47AM

Comments

Hi, Reuben.

What a well-written, thoughtful post! You brought up several points I would not have thought of. Luckily, an agent recommended the inspector she counts on and he is excellent. I see his signs all over the place, which is another indicator.

Posted by Leslie Helm, Real Estate For Trail Riders (Tennessee Recreational Properties) about 9 years ago

Reuben - Great tips and very professional report.  Home buyers would certainly benefit from doing the research you suggest.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) about 9 years ago

Leslie - thanks, I hope this helps buyers realize there is a good reason why prices vary so much between inspectors.

John - Thanks.  The more research, the happier they'lll be.  Ironically (?),  the people that don't do any research are also the people that most certainly won't be reading my blog :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 9 years ago

Reuben, great post as usual, I would say that 99 percent of the time a buyer will be able to compare inspection reports and know which inspector they should choose----most reports are worse than terrible.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 9 years ago

Reuben, This was a great post! And it was great to see your sample report in the middle. People looking for more home inspection advice can check out my 'home inspection topic page' on my website, www.ThinkGlink.com.

Posted by Ilyce Glink, Best-selling author, award-winning TV/radio host. (Think Glink Media) about 9 years ago

Charles - you're right on.  Thanks for giving great advice on how to find an inspector online, I've sent out links to that blog a few times, and again to someone just today.

Ilyce - thanks, and great web site!

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 9 years ago

Reuben, I tell potential clients to view my report and compare it to the other inspectors they are calling. It oftens sways them to use my service since so many inspectors do not have web sites let alone sample reports.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 9 years ago

Some people just want the cheapest they can get, AND there will always be the cheap inspector to meet their price.  Sometimes they figure out later why they shouldn't have used the cheapest, but a lot of times, they just don't know any better.

Use the opportunity to educate them about the difference.  If they still want cheap, let em go there.  You can't save everyone in the world.

Issuu is a neat function isn't it!

 

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Posted by Erby Crofutt, The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY (B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com)) about 9 years ago

James - great advice.  I usually tell price shoppers to check out my web site, but maybe I should just start telling them to look at the report.  Keep it simple

Erby - yeah, Issuu is a cool application!  I found it on another home inspector's blog here on ActiveRain.  Possibly yours?

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 9 years ago

I still find it amazing that people will quibble over $25.00.  Maybe, if $25 is going to break them, they shouldn't be buying a house anyway.  Interestingly enough, during this readjustment of the market, I've been busier than usual and have had a lower percentage of price shoppers.  Go figure!

I also think the sample report is a good thing to research.  There are a lot of bad ones out there.

Posted by David Helm, Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp (Helm Home Inspections) about 9 years ago

Great post Reuben - I don't worry too much about the price shoppers.  There are plenty of other fish in the sea!

Posted by Andy Chaudoir, Your Home Inspection Connection in Central Texas (Professional Inspection Services - Georgetown, Texas) almost 9 years ago

David - or even quibbling over $50 or $75!  Do these same people go to a restaurant and complain that the prices are too high because another restaurant sells food for less?  

Andy - I don't either.  I've started off by telling people I'm definitely going to be one of the more expensive home inspectors they call, and if they're looking for the lowest price, it's not me.  That usually gets people interested, and makes them starting asking why.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 9 years ago

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