Ascertaining the home inspection cost to charge a customer requires the inspector to consider a host of factors, some depending on the individual house he is to inspect and some not so dependent. Also, home inspection cost, in general, is an amount restricted by market forces such as competition and what the client is willing to pay. This article digs into both kinds of price factors, ones that are property-independent, related mainly to the subjective evaluation of an inspector’s worth, such as overall expertise and the quality of his reports, and ones that are house-dependent, such as its type, size, and age. Also, it will point out special add-on charges (corresponding to add-on services requested by the client) that can increase the inspection fee.
Home inspection cost factors not dependent on the specific property stem from the inspector’s assessment of his value, or what he feels the job he does is worth. Inspectors, being generalists, need to have a broad knowledge of how a house is constructed and of how it works. To gain this knowledge entails extensive training, and the inspector must prove mastery to acquire his license. This knowledge or expertise equates to a certain intangible value. Possession of a license to perform a pest inspection, including identification of insect species, implies greater knowledge and greater value.
But beyond basic expertise, there are substantial differences among home inspectors like the reports they issue, their communication skills, and their thoroughness. These differences result in cost variations that may not be obvious without some worthwhile investigation. Someone wanting to hire an inspector can request sample reports from each candidate and compare them. It is relatively easy to determine who takes the care to deliver helpful and precise information and who whips out what amounts to a checklist without giving it any extra thought. Thoroughness and written communication skills are assessable through the sample report also. Verbal skills, valuable in answering questions and explaining findings, are somewhat harder to assess.
Chief home-dependent factors playing a part in inspection cost are house type, size, and age. The standard type is a single-family residence. Inspectors often establish their fees using it as the norm and make adjustments for other types. Customers may anticipate other types (mobile homes, condos, and duplexes) to cost less, but the inspection entails virtually the same level of work. As for size and age, the price increases for larger houses and older ones, as they typically develop more issues.
As a matter of course, inspectors charge more for rendering extra services that the client requests. Examples of such services are returning to do a re-inspection, conducting an air quality assessment, and investigating the presence of hazardous materials such as asbestos, radon, mold, or lead paint. These extra services are tasks generally not part of the home inspection and consequently, command more money. Inspectors vary in their qualifications to render any or all of these services. The client may also request the inspector to incorporate additional items conventionally excluded, such as swimming pools, detached structures, or retaining walls. Naturally, the inspector justifiably charges more to fulfill these requests as well.