We are neither the cheapest nor the most expensive. Businesses with different levels of management, advertising departments and employees will naturally have more overhead, typically newer inspectors will charge less as they gain experience on your home while learning the trade and Family run Owner Operators are priced in the middle.
Remember that homes cost 100’s of thousands of dollars so this is not one area that I’d recommend cutting corners to save 20-100 Dollars.
Many homes require repairs in the thousands to satisfy the requirements of a buyer’s home inspection repair addendum while $5,000-$10,000 is not out of the question to bring it up to a properly functioning home.
We find evidence of termites/wood boring beetles etc. in about 1/3 of the homes we inspect so don’t panic. You want us to find evidence so that we can call for a treatment of the ENTIRE home. As with many things in the world today many homeowners choose to cut corners and only treat a small areas of the home instead of the entire structure, this does not make sense, the termites will just move over. Just as questionable are the new bait station treatment system where the pest company places bait stations in the ground for the termite’s to eat. If the termites find the bait, when the station is checked termiticide is placed inside and replaced and over a period of year or two this will eliminate that particular colony, the problem is that there are probably 3 or 4 colonies surrounding most homes. I prefer to have a chemical barrier around the entire perimeter. One distributer demonstrated where 10 colonies were feasting on a home, they dyed the termites to show how over 5-to 10 years each colony died off (as it was also feasting on the home). When walking down the street in New Orleans you will see them every few feet on the sidewalk, this is great because while you can treat a home you cannot treat an entire city.
I would estimate that we find wood boring beetles in 1 out of every 15 homes, many inspectors to not even know the difference and mistake them for termites. Funny story, last year I received a call from third party “expert” termite inspector that was called in to settle a dispute between our findings “wood boring beetle damage” an another companies finding of “termites”. When I asked him how I could help he asked me to explain how he could tell the difference. True story
Radon is a Class A Carcinogen (and the second leading cause of lung cancer). The EPA recommends that all home buyers do a radon test. When you sell, you can bet the buyer will have the home tested then you will be stuck with the cost of remediation.
Without a doubt unless the home is over a crawl space have the home tested for radon, if it is high it is usually easy to fix for less than $1,000 with the added bonus that once a system is installed it also reduces some of the moisture evaporating up through the basement floor.
Buyer (and Buyers Agent) will receive a Report printed on paper on-site before they leave the house and later that day a pdf and all the pictures in dropbox will be emailed to them. Most times it is easier to walk around with the realtor just after the inspection with paper in hand to decide on what items will be on the addendum. We typically also take 75-150 pictures to document not only the finding but the condition of the home at the time of the inspection.
Basically between inspection companies there are 2 Kinds of reports. The first is a Check Box Report and the other is a Written Report. The Check Box Report used by most inspectors (because it is easy) consists of about 100 boxes that the inspector places a X in, If it exists they put an X in the “inspected” box, if they don’t inspect it they put an X in the “Not Inspected” Box, if the item is not in the house they put an X in the “Not Present” Box, Then there is a “Minor” and a “Major” Box. It would be nice if life and home inspection were black and white but it is not that easy there are many gray areas, (six sigma does not apply to a home).
Call me old school but rather than just check a box, I prefer a comment about each, if it is major we detail the item in “Bold Print” that is what the buyer will focus on.
“Our” report - A.C. suction line above the furnace insulation should be repaired because it is dripping condensation onto the furnace and may affect the electronics inside the cabinet beneath. HVAC mechanic should correct and service.
Most likely this is a minor repair however worded this way technically the A.C. is not working as designed and would under Delaware law permit the buyer to ask the seller to correct and service the unit because it is “not functioning as designed”.
“Their” report - X in Minor with a comment that “Monitoring is recommended and that servicing may or may not be needed as it may or may not affect the unit and that the HVAC technician should inspect for additional defects and it is strongly recommend that this happen before settlement.” Technically a buyer could not ask for this as the comment about monitoring and saying that it “may or may not” be need is ambiguous, therefore it becomes a maintenance item which buyers are not permitted to ask for.
A Home inspection is a cursory examination, a use and function walk through to point out obvious defects and help the buyer prioritize and determine items that are not functioning as designed, reaching the end of their life expectancy and basic tips on maintaining a home (turn of the hose bibs, change the furnace filter, clean the gutters, add a backup sump pump etc.) Technically, by the contract only items that are not functioning as designed or safety related, not maintenance issues, we try to add value with a less than 10 page evaluation section rather than provide 40 pieces of paper with canned small print CYA verbiage. I guess if one just wants to see 150 boxes checked with X’s and make a decision in 1 minutes on your $250k purchase that report would satisfy them. That is what some realtors prefer, no gray areas. But what good is a report that has a few boxes checked and in the small print states that the Roof should be inspected by a roofer, the heat and A.C. should be inspected by an HVAC technician the plumbing should be inspected by a plumber, the foundation inspected by a structural engineer, the grounds by a landscape architect, the wiring by an electrician, the garage door by a qualified contractor etc. for EVERY item in the home. This is why we prefer that you attend the inspection with as few distractions as possible, yes you can bring a few focused individuals that help with the inspection but please not a distraction to the process. This is about the Buyer reviewing the house with a professional, We have a set process and prefer that everyone walks with us as we explain each item and the nuances of each.