Discount Inspections

Home Inspector with Helm Home Inspections

I see that a lot of people shop for inspections by price.  They may be spending $500,000 for a home but opt to find the cheapest inspection they can find.  What's wrong with this picture?  Making a major investment without getting the full particulars about that investment seems a bit wrong headed to me.  ALL INSPECTIONS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL!  That may bear repeating; ALL INSPECTIONS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL.  There is an old adage that "you get what you pay for".  In inspections this is very true.  Someone is doing cutrate inspections for a reason (usually they are trying to buy their way into the business).  It is unlikely that someone who values their service so low will do a very thorough inspection.

A better way to shop for inspections is to look at the background, experience and reputation of the inspector.  Certainly being a member of a National Organisation is a plus, but no guarantee.  Do they have E&O along with General Liability insurance?  Do they have any construction related background (again no guarantee, but I would want someone who has a good understanding of how houses are built)?  Are they formally trained? Classroom training with hands on experience doing supervised inspections is  best.  I would be wary of online training.  Do they price their inspections appropriately? (This means, do they value what they do?  If they value what they do, they are more likely to want to do a thorough job).  Lastly, do they actually spend an appropriate amount of time doing the inspection.  In Washington, with Home Inspectors also doing WDO (wood destroying organisms) it is very hard to do a single family home in under three hours (that does not include report writing time).  Larger homes, and older homes (locally up to about 120 years) will take longer, and should cost more for the inspection.

David Helm, Inspector

Posted by

David Helm, Inspector, Helm Home  Inspections Bellingham, Washington  Licensed Home  Inspector #272                                                       WSDA  Licensed Structural Pest Inspector  #69844                                                                                    


Luke Fredericks
Royal Home Inspection - McHenry, IL

First of all in my market the average home inspection price is $300, so I'm really not that far from the average price.  Also I work in two different areas, with completely different housing markets.  In Rockford, IL, home prices can be as low as $20,000, I don't feel that home price merits a high-priced inspection.  In Mchenry homes are can be upwards of a million dollars, therefore I can charge higher.  If I were to be in Chicago I could charge $400 or more for an inspection.  Prices have to reflect the market you work in as well.  I do realize that on the west coast prices tend to be higher, so I can see why you charge so much.

Jul 01, 2008 12:51 PM
Jeffrey Owen - Houston Metro Home Inspection - Katy, TX

Jacks comment hits the nail on the head.


This mess usually solves its self over time. Same is true in most businesses.


TG and Y or Neiman Marcus. You get what you pay for.



Katy, Houston, Sugar Land

Jul 01, 2008 02:56 PM
Mark Reusch
A Major Inspection Service & Consulting - Simpsonville, SC

Jeff I prefer to call it Needless Mark-up which is my joke for it when my wife worked at the San Francisco Store.

Jul 01, 2008 03:26 PM
Brenda Carus
Century 21 Zwygart Real Estate - Monroe, WI

You get what you pay for in the service industry, and home inspections are no exception.  Great post.

Oct 30, 2008 06:29 AM

It amazes me beyond words why buyers feel that spending $400-$500 for a professional inspection is too much money when their financial livelihood is at stake. I spend half my career inspecting previously inspected homes for owners who admitted shopping for the cheapest inspector they could find.

Oct 30, 2008 06:59 AM
David Helm
Helm Home Inspections - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp

Thanks Brenda, I'm surprised that this post found its way to the top again.  It just goes to show that there is still a lot of people shopping inspections by price and not by quality.

I don't know who the 1:59 post is by. You must have forgotten to log in.  I agree whole heartedly with your sentiments.

Oct 30, 2008 07:15 AM
Bob Elliott
Elliott Home Inspection - Chicago, IL
Chicago Property Inspection

Hey who dares wake up the sleeping?

Just got email notification on this from what....over a year ago.

Since then the Real Estate market has changed quite a bit gentlemen .....and ladies as I see Brenda roused me back.

Just this morning I met a few of the local Inspectors telling me how they are getting foreclosure inspections and the clients want a punch list rather than a report, so they are charging less .

After hearing this they went on to complain they are making less. Duh!

I am getting more foreclosure and short sale Inspections to but certainly would not cut my fee in half for them.

If anything I would charge more as there is going to be more time consuming defects in a foreclosure just because of the lack of maintenance associated with this type of property.

If you are getting a 2 flat for $70,000 in Chicago and figure it needs no work, you my friend are living in fantasy land.

Please guys or gals,do not cut your fees then complain about less money for bread on your table.




Oct 30, 2008 09:31 AM
David Helm
Helm Home Inspections - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp

Hi Bob,

Long time no talk.  Amazing the legs this blog has shown.  I fully agree; although foreclosures and short sales are not nearly the issue in this market.  Please guys and gals, keep those prices up where they belong!

Oct 30, 2008 11:18 AM
Tom Martin
Quality Check Home Inspection - Fall River, MA

I believe like others have said here, you get what you pay for

It is not hard to know when you get a call for an inspection if they are price shopping.

What I do is sell my strong points and years of experience. Then I give them 3 names and numbers of past inspections and tell them to call for a reference ( of course I have the permission of my client) Then I tell them when you call other inspection companies please be sure to ask them for references you can call.

I had a woman call just last week and when she called the other inspection company she called me right back. I know she didn't have enough time to call my references, she said the other inspection company told her "we don't give out names or number of past inspections" so she hung up and booked with us.

In our area we call the cheap 45 min inspections, Drive by inspections. Again you get what you pay for.

Great post nice to see it is still going strong.


Nov 01, 2008 03:33 AM
Bob Elliott
Elliott Home Inspection - Chicago, IL
Chicago Property Inspection

Hi Bob,

Long time no talk.  Amazing the legs this blog has shown.  I fully agree; although foreclosures and short sales are not nearly the issue in this market.  Please guys and gals, keep those prices up where they belong!


10/30/2008 06:18 PM by David Helm, Bellingham,Wa. Home Inspector (Helm Home Inspections)



Hi David

Yeah not all areas have lots of foreclosures, with some more than others.

You are right about long time no hear.

I need to squeeze in more blog time and keep figuring I will do it when things slow, but they are still going well.

I must -must- must make time, as I have some of the newbies in Illinois bragging to me about catching up on points.

Nov 01, 2008 02:23 PM
Erol Kartal
Schaumburg, IL

Hi Bob,

Some of these new guys :-) think that the more posts the better. It use to be that way, but Active Rain for some time now has <no follow> tags following most links but not all of them. I'm not convinced that 100 posts is any better for serps than 500. Besides, Google would not give a web site top ranking from one source of (blogging) activity.

Nov 02, 2008 11:59 AM
Bob Elliott
Elliott Home Inspection - Chicago, IL
Chicago Property Inspection

Hi Erol

I am sure you noticed , since you are in my market area ,that some of my older blogs from Active Rain have good page rank on Google and Yahoo.

You may be right but , AR has definetly helped my business.

I have no SEO knowledge  compared to most so I am gratful to have found this site and found out about it ironicly at TIJ where I was banned for dis-aggrement over their unfair posts.

Talk about censorship. lol



Nov 02, 2008 02:18 PM
David Helm
Helm Home Inspections - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp


You may be right, but I know that Steve Smith, who is the top point getter in Washington, dominates google.  I am a meager 2nd in this area. 

Nov 03, 2008 02:48 AM
Erol Kartal

By looking at the html code for some pages, there are links with <no follow> tags and links without. So yes someone afflicted with a blog addiction LOL could rank very high. :-) By using some <no follow> tags AR prevents this great blog from becoming a spam circus which is good for all participants.

Nov 03, 2008 03:08 AM
Erol Kartal
Schaumburg, IL

Back to the main topic...

Does anyone else involved in the real estate transaction give discounts? Nope. I do for multiple properties to be inspected for a client, but never discount a single inspection when asked too. Too much 'can you beat this price' garbage out there. Let people find what they're looking for LOL.

Nov 05, 2008 03:43 AM
Rick McCullough
Alert Home Services - Denver, CO

Hello All,

I haven heard the PRICE thing for almost 20 years now. How much money do you NEED to make for a comfortable living. I charge a REASONABLE fee for my services. I am not there for cosmetics only the safe and sanitary conditions of the home. I earn well in excess of a 5 figure income. Broke that 6 figure in 1995. Business has slowed somewhat now but still saving money and give GREAT services. I personally don't like the high end homes, they tend to be more up in the air buyers. I like down to earth people, lower end homes. I have done well in excess of 20,000 inspections now and rarely advertise. Mostly word of mouth referrals from buyers, agents and many repeat buyers and their families.

To me the ones that charge by sq ft are price gouging their clients, what is one more bedroom, bath, a little larger family room or living room, most homes have only ONE heating system, ONE roof, ONE foundation, ONE electrical service panel.

Now I do add for more services, radon, sewer video, re-inspections, home warranties, etc. but if they want to ask questions a year later call away, I'll help out in any way I can for my clients.

So charge any price you want,, that is what freedom is all about.

Mar 02, 2009 09:52 AM
Steve Hall
RE/MAX United - San Marcos, CA
Make the Call to Hankins and Hall

I actually heard a fellow realtor ask a client if they wanted a cheap inspection or a good inspection.  Not very good risk management of their part. 

Mar 15, 2009 05:08 AM
Jeff T
BEACHSIDE Home Inspection - Satellite Beach, FL

If home inspectors want to be respected like other professionals, they must act like professionals. Lowballers damage the profession, and use a down market to justify it.  We shouldn't be looking to reduce our prices, but improve the value added to our customers.


Feb 05, 2010 05:52 AM
Timothy Allison
Allison Property Inspections - Upland, CA

Well said, the housing boom produced many fraudulent flt by night inspectors. These guy's undercut us and drive down the industry standard. And here we are with the overhead of running a legitimate business, while these low ballers run around taking our business. It would be nice if the Realtors and Inspectors could educate Home buyers on the dangers of hiring "Low ballers".

On the upside, those of us that have been around for a while, running a legitimate business - will reap the rewards during the next economic upturn!  


Feb 05, 2010 05:46 PM
Steven Turetsky
Comprehensive Building Inspections & Consultants - Staten Island, NY
Building Moisture Analyst

I work very hard for my fee. When I consider the effort I put forth, and more important, the amount of information I provide to my clients, there is no way I would consider working for less. I have yet to do an inspection that wasn't worth exponentially more than the fee I charged. Whether it be information that contributed during negotiations, or the headaches avoided, my work is worth every cent it cost. I would rather go fishing than work for less money.

I became a Home Inspector because of my construction background. I have built many things, from dog houses to high rise buildings to operating rooms, and have hands on experience in many (if not most) of the trades. Don't get me wrong, I do not think I know it all... nobody does, and we can all learn something new everyday. It is the better Inspectors that strive to gain as much knowledge as possible, and never stop learning.

Unfortunately, there really is no way for a client to determine the skill of a Home Inspector. I've seen new guys do a great job, and old timers that provided nothing more than toilet paper. And, since most of us deliver our reports via the internet, many of those folks that shopped for for the cheapest price... and nothing more, ended up wearing doodoo.

So BUYER BEWARE! You can pay ME now, or pay much more later!!!

Jun 27, 2011 05:43 PM