How much should an inspection cost? (posted by John Smith)

[ASKNACHI]This question was posted on by John Smith (from Philadelphia, PA). [/ASKNACHI]How much should a typical home inspection cost? What about the extras?

Also, what extras are worth the money?


   Rather than judging an inspector by his or her fee, you should judge them by their qualifications, referrals, etc. Make sure that he or she is a NACHI certified inspector. Ask around and see if you know anyone who's used them before. Check the inspector's web site, etc. When you're paying **hundreds of thousands of dollars** for a home, the extra cost for a good home inspection is worth every penny.

My Advice…Avoid Price Shopping.

Lower home inspector fees should be regarded with suspicion, as they often identify those who are new to the business or who do not spend sufficient time performing the inspection. A home is the most expensive commodity you are likely to purchase in a lifetime. One defect missed by your inspector could cost 100 times what you save with a bargain inspection. The best method of price shopping is to shop for quality. That’s exactly what you’ll receive with NACHI Certified Home Inspectors.

One more thing… Choosing the right Home Inspector can be very difficult. Unlike most professionals, you will likely not get to meet the Inspector until after you hire them. Furthermore, different inspectors have varying qualifications, equipment, experience, reporting methods, and yes, different pricing. One thing, (for sure) is that a home inspection requires work, a lot of work. Ultimately a thorough inspection depends heavily on the individual inspector’s own effort.

David Valley

Alot of inspectors charging low fees, make up for it in volume so they have less time to spend on you and your report.

Home inspectors who charge greater fees often only perform one inspection daily or every couple days, but then will devote a greater amount of time to you and your needs, giving greater personal client service.

Asking about the price of a home inspection is probably one
of the most common questions I get asked. Many people
assume that all inspectors are equal and the next best thing
is to find out which one has the lowest price. But the truth
is, not all Inspectors are equal. In fact many Inspectors have
extreme limitations and may not even realize it.

Becoming a home inspector has become a very popular
business that is advertised everywhere now a days. The
problem with reading some books and then being certified as
a home inspector is that this person can now have enough
knowledge to be dangerous. To the Consumer who is looking
for a quality home Inspection, a poor Inspector who cost
less, may do more damage than good.

Also, when you consider that most homes are prepped,
painted and prepared for “the sale”… does the book worm
Inspector know how to see past the facade of the cosmetic

The trained eye of an experienced home Inspector will seek
to find problems that may exist beneath the surface and
not just take for granted that everything looks good.

Home Inspector’s that rise above the rest will also have a
strong devotion to their Client based on a firm ethical belief
that they are to disclose all the facts, regardless of weather
or not the Realtor or others are happy with their findings.

An independent, experienced and thorough home Inspector
may find thousands of dollars of problems and potential
concerns that may be missed by others. As the saying goes
“you get what you pay for”. Cheap is not always better
when it comes to something as expensive as the purchase
of a new home.

A quality home Inspector will want his Client present during
the inspection and will take the time to address all the
concerns that the Client has. The report will be written in
a itemized and easy to understand fashion to ensure the
Client is fully informed and not confused. This care and
attention to detailed quality is worth every penny, when
seeking to discover the all the details that are hidden in
the home.

My starting price for a home inspection is $400.00 and my
Clients tell me that it was well worth the money. I normally
do only one inspection a day and it usually takes 3-4 hours
or more to complete, plus the time to write the report.


Each home is unique and tells its own story. A good inspector will take the time needed to allow a home to tell that story in detail. He will then spend the time necessary to ensure that you receive the service you deserve, which is an accurate, objective report that truly helps you to make an informed decision about whether to buy that home or not. As stated by others above, many inspectors will price inspections low. They may even advertise their ‘efficiency’, in that not only do they not spend an inordinate amount of time on an inspection, they will also produce your report right there in the driveway. There are some very good inspectors who do this, but usually it’s a quicky job containing what are known as ‘canned’ comments (pre-written into software), that often do not address accurately the uniqueness of the home being inspected. While most if not all software programs used by inspectors have such pre-written commentary, many of us rarely use them. It’s like buying nuts. You can buy a $2.00 can of mixed nuts from Fred’s Dollar Store, or spend $6.00 on a can of Planters Deluxe. Which is the better value? It depends on whether you mind getting ‘less than 65% peanuts’, along with some puny macadamias, as opposed to getting 100% good quality nuts with no peanuts. In home inspections, like everything else, you get what you pay for.

I think it depends on the market. When the business is slow people drop their prices.

Never have I dropped my Price .
When its slow there are going to be x number of Home inspection done .
Dropping your price will not increase the number of home inspections getting done.
This way of doing thing can only lead to others doing it to and every one would be working for less money .
When its slow Get work done around the home see about improving your flyer’s.
Get ready for the increase Inspections that will be coming .
Roy Cooke

I have never dropped my prices.

I have never dropped my prices either.

I just raised my prices again this month. Only did a few less inspections last year than the year before but made a lot more money. Less work, more money. Its a no-brainer. Can afford to be a little more selective about the homes I take on and am getting calls from further away.

I know we provide a valuable service, and I know not to fall prey to price shoppers. However, I am new to the industry and would like some guidelines from other members on what to charge. For example - based on house square footage, floor levels, price of house, etc.

Any help would be appreciated.


You need to do a “cost analysis” of what you (and only you can decide this) need to charge. There is a work sheet available to do this and if I find it I will post the link or if someone knows where it can be located.

Essentially what it does is maps out for you what it costs you to exist as a business. Costs of vehicle, insurance, tools, supplies of all kinds, vehicle maintenance, software, computer hardware, plus the other benefits or costs to you the owner have to be figured in. You do plan to pay yourself? and any help you hire (recommend paying your wife for helping if you are married). When you get to the end and you are not making a profit, then you need to adjust your inspection fees to where you are. If you are not making a pure profit than you have a “hobby” and the only person making any money are those you are paying to stay in business, plus the government (they want their cut of your business).

Too many people get into this business thinking they don’t need to charge too much because they want to grow the business but in the short run, end up going out of business early because they were not “making a living”. So many are lured into this business by false advertising touting $100K plus a year claims put out by HI schools and courses.

They always show the clean cut guy in the clean, pressed slacks and a dress shirt carrying a clip board talking to an equally beautiful couple in front of a beautiful, well manicured home. Much, if not most of the time this is not the scenario that goes down. Too, many of the HI courses do not teach the person how to set up, grow or market their start up business so the individual makes many costly mistakes right out of the chocks.

In San Diego…they go for $59. They are down to $139 in Colorado. When ADvantage makes it to your town, they will be free with the purchase of a Shop-Vac from Loews.:wink:

I think this thread is steering away from its purpose, to answer the questions of our potential clients.

We try to make about $38 p/hour more or less.

Very well stated, John. You mind if I steal some of it for future use? :smiley:

Speak for yourself please; you should set your expectations higher for yourself and for our industry, we are professionals are we not

You’re not serious, are you?

I do believe he is pulling our collective legs, on this… I know Dan charges a hell of a lot more than $ 38.00 a hour, he has too because of his computer habit:p …