I have realtors asking me all the time about why our inspections are “so expensive”? There are a multitude of reasons why we charge what we charge and I hope here I can answer some of those questions for those inquiring minds.
A Home Inspection
A Mechanical/Structural Home Inspection is what most Inspection companies will offer. This is your basic home inspection to identify deficiencies and assess the condition of the property. In our case, our Mechanical/Structural Home Inspection is at a minimum a 900 point inquiry to the components of a home. The average competitor offers a 500 point inquiry (if they even know?). We have over 40 years of Award Winning custom Home Building Experience bringing a different lens to a home inspection over the competition’s internet certificate.
Costs of Insurance; memberships; continuing education
There are additional costs to our business that many other companies do not have and can therefore offer their services for less because they do not have the same expenses. Locally, the Board of Realtors requires fees to belong to the Board of Realtors which grants us access to properties via a service called Supra. Supra charges a monthly fee for the ability to use the lockbox to gain access to properties. The Board also charges an annual fee to be an affiliate which indicates we promote the industry of Real Estate. In our case, we belong to three Board of Realtors offices (Bagnell Dam Board of Realtors; Lake of the Ozarks Board of Realtors and the Greater Springfield Board of Realtors). Many of our competitors choose not to be an affiliate member because of costs. We feel the need to embrace the other members of our industry (Real Estate) and support one another.
In the State of Missouri, anyone can be a home inspector. You do not need any training, certifications, insurance or experience to advertise and procure clients for the purpose of charging them money for providing this service. All of our inspectors are AHIT Certified (American Home Inspector Training Institute); carry General Liability Insurance up to 2 Million and we carry Errors and Omissions Insurance coverage’s in addition to the vehicle expenses; insurances; maintenance and upkeep. As former Builders, we are well aware of the proper way a home is to be built yet here in Missouri – there are few governing agencies to assure a home has met the National BOCA Codes (Building Occupational Code Authorities) a minimum standard in the building industry. Although we are not code enforcers, we can help educate our clients if the property they want inspected actually would meet the minimum standard. This is not generally taught by internet inspection certification classes.
If you are an affiliate member of any of the Board of Realtors, the only insurance requirement is a General Liability policy – IT IS NOT REQUIRED TO CARRY ERRORS AND OMMISSIONS INSURANCE and most of my competitors do not carry it. General Liability insurance is very good if someone hits their head on my ladder; but will do you NO good if I accidentally leave the hose on and flood the basement. We have been in business for over 40 years and the thought of not carrying full coverage’s is appalling.
Because we strongly feel every American has the right to representation when navigating the murky waters of real estate – we support our local agents in a variety of ways. Our insurance has an additional binder that should the unlikely and unfortunate circumstance happen that we miss something resulting in a lawsuit that mentions each and every person affiliated with the transaction, the agent would be covered under our E&O insurance if they referred us. This is a huge difference compared to most of my competitors. We want to be a team player bringing folks together with trained, educated and competent professionals so as a community we can live side by side and not be ducking because of a vague or dishonest inspection process.
It costs money to belong to National Organizations which assist in continuing education classes and advocate for a level playing field when it comes to home inspectors. We again feel it is important for both the industry and our clients that we continue our education to best serve our community. We are lifetime members of InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors); and ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors). Again, most of our competitors do not affiliate with any of the National Organizations therefore are not required to participate in continuing education classes nor do they pay the dues.
To best serve our clients, we have the training and ability to provide other inspections and testing to further educate our client as to the true condition of a property. Additional services add to the cost of a home inspection because they go above and beyond that 900 point inspection process mentioned earlier. A few examples of extra services are:
Well and Septic Inspections. We are State Licensed (another expense for licensure and required continuing education classes annually) providing well and septic inspections for our clients. In areas around the Lake, many septic systems were installed incorrectly, not properly sized, and are leeching into the lake. Costs to replace some systems can be as high as $30,000 or more. Educating our clients as to the condition and type of system they are buying is a very important component to their final decision on a particular property.
Radon Testing; mold testing and asbestos testing.
We have been certified for the above captioned testing procedures to again further educate our clients as to what they are buying. We have three very expensive Radon detection Machines which can aid in the assessment of the radon levels within a property and do not have to wait for some canisters to be sent to a lab. Furthermore, being certified and using these machines benefits our clients because this type of data is required for a reputable remediation company to design a system based on this data. If canisters are used and the radon levels are high – someone like us still need be consulted to perform the testing procedures we use for a remediation system to be designed.
As a certified Air Quality Specialist – we can provide testing for molds which can identify the types of molds, the spore counts and lend aid to remediation companies as to what they are dealing with when performing mold remediation.
Wood Destroying Insects. There are a plethora of insects that can compromise the structural integrity of a building. In addition to termites, we have commonly identified post beetles, carpenter ants, wood boring bees among others. We can help assess if past or present evidence of wood destroying insects are present.
So you see, our training and services may be more than our competitors offer – therefore there are pricing differences.
Office Staff. Since people offer contracts on real estate 7 days a week – we do our best to provide, prompt, knowledgeable service offering office hours 6 days a week. We have full time staff answering the phones, preparing preinspection agreements, correspondence to our clients and their agents almost 60 hours of every week. Our staff is there to be available when we are out in the field providing undivided attention to the task at hand – inspections.