Blog by All-Star Home Inspection Services LLC.

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How much does a Inspection cost?

Fair question, how much should a home inspection cost?  I think this question, if asked by potential buyers, is often not answered correctly by even the best home inspectors. The cost of a home inspection should be worth the time of an insured, qualified, and experienced building inspection professional with current knowledge of the many components of a house such as, roofing systems, plumbing design, electrical loads and structural capabilities.

It should be worth the time of the building professional to accept the liability and record keeping requirements of a California real estate transaction for a period of four years after the sale. It should be worth being called into a court of law and asked to defend the standards and practices used to define the inspection.  The inspection should be worth the inspector belonging to professional inspection organizations such as American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the California Real Estate Inspectors Association (CREIA). These organizations require constant training and have rigorous entry requirements for individuals to qualify as Certified Inspectors.

In our experience, as a home inspectors since 1990, a good inspection of a 1500 sq.ft. building, can take 3 hours on site and another 2 hours to catalog and produce a concise illustrated report the new home owner can keep as a reference document. Add in the average travel time in the Bay Area and it is a 6 hour investment from the professional that you hire. You can bet that the lowest priced inspector will NOT be the inspector we described above. Caveat Emptor!  (Let the buyer beware!)

            True cost to the inspector varies but scheduling, software, tools, travel, insurance, training, marketing and the time spent on the job all add up. If an “inspector” says they can do the same quality for $100-200 you should suspect that this individual will not be there if needed. Ask for current insurance numbers, professional certifications, and the experience and training that qualifies them. Most people would ask these questions of any building contractor to do a simple $10,000 dollar job, why not do the same for the individual that will inspect your $500,000 dollar investment in real estate?

            The fact of the matter is the good inspector will provide the buyer with the means to negotiate thousands of dollars off the asking price of the average home. Just by identifying a failing hot water heater and having it replaced before you move in saves $1500 dollars (and a lot of pain and suffering). Knowing that the roof may only last another 2-3 years of your new 30 year mortgage could reduce the offering price by $10,000 dollars. Finding out that the foundation is compromised may keep you from spending $50,000 dollars and allow you to get out of the deal before it is too late. A home inspection performed by a qualified professional pays for itself many times over. A good realtor knows this and uses it to their client’s advantage. If the cost of the inspection is a concern, then by all means put the cost into escrow or use a credit card. Any reputable company will have these options available to you. Remember in life there is no free lunch and you do get what you pay for. Seek value over cost and prosper in the long run.