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  1. #1
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    Default Under priced home inspections

    Often I read on inspectors website that low pricing is an indication of inexperience.

    I guess it must be true. If you look at prices being charged there are many inexperienced inspectors plying their wares.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Interesting to say the least. There are plenty around, and with a tougher market I see prices dropping perhaps only to survive.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    There's a PE around these parts who advertises up to 3000sq ft for $200. Around here, that is cheap.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    I don't consider my inspections cheap but it's funny because some people think I charge too much as other say I gave them the lowest quote. I don't know what to make of that.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I don't consider my inspections cheap but it's funny because some people think I charge too much as other say I gave them the lowest quote. I don't know what to make of that.
    I've told this before, but in the same week I had one woman ask me why I was so cheap and another why I was so expensive. Amazingly, I got both inspections.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Thanks, Raymond. I see the lowest pricing is in the Toronto area (GTA). Plenty of fodder there for the Big Mike Show.

    If you actually try booking an inspection, for a 2001 sq ft SFR you will see higher prices.

    Vancouver $599, GTA $499, Halifax $450, Montreal $700

    Of course there will be a royalty to pay to the Network I suppose.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 01-30-2013 at 08:46 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    I've told this before, but in the same week I had one woman ask me why I was so cheap and another why I was so expensive. Amazingly, I got both inspections.
    If anybody ever asks why so cheap, you are not charging enough.

    END GLOBAL WHINING

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Found it interesting that Carson Dunlop & Associates Ltd. New Home Inspection cost more than a standard inspection.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Found it interesting that Carson Dunlop & Associates Ltd. New Home Inspection cost more than a standard inspection.
    That's the aggravation fee for putting up with the super following you around arguing with everything you find.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Never understood inspectors charging more for older homes or in the case above more for a new home.

    I charge the same for old or new as I set my pricing according to sale price.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Perhaps the additional price difference is based on the "perception" that a older (historic type) home and a newly constructed home take longer to inspect.

    Although I believe through experience there may be some validity it depends a lot on the individual home.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Never understood inspectors charging more for older homes or in the case above more for a new home.

    I charge the same for old or new as I set my pricing according to sale price.
    If you inspected enough of the older neglected houses we see in the Philly area on a regular basis, you'd understand why some might charge more.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Never understood inspectors charging more for older homes or in the case above more for a new home.

    I charge the same for old or new as I set my pricing according to sale price.
    I set my price strictly by finished square feet. But here the oldest home you'll ever see was built in 1875 (I know because I inspected it), so not as big a problem as areas with 300 year old homes.

    I like the idea of pricing by sales price. I have inspected some dinky high end condos that sold for mucho bucks.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    I find the opposite with old homes I am more comfortable with them than newer homes. But then again my inspections of older homes are not done with the intention of making them new. Most of my clientele hire me for my knowledge of older homes, century homes, farms, et ceteras. I guess it boils down to what your most comfortable doing.

    Personally I think its to my advantage from a marketing pov to specialize in older structures.


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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Charging by the sales price?
    You guys want to be at the whim of the real estate market? You want to make less inspecting the POS 3000 sf repo that is torn to bits and selling for 100K?
    Doesn't make sense to me.

    END GLOBAL WHINING

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Thompson View Post
    Charging by the sales price?
    You guys want to be at the whim of the real estate market? You want to make less inspecting the POS 3000 sf repo that is torn to bits and selling for 100K?
    Doesn't make sense to me.
    There are some hell holes around here that will make you rethink setting inspection fees by sales price of the house. A lower than normal than sales price to me is an indicator of mucho report documentation for me and my experience over the years has proven to be right most of the time. The new houses are a piece of cake compared to the old ones. Old ones are littered with years of neglect and DIY repairs.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Never understood inspectors charging more for older homes or in the case above more for a new home.

    I charge the same for old or new as I set my pricing according to sale price.
    We charge extra for old. We charge extra for crawlspaces and pools.
    Were also the most expensive from what I hear.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Never understood inspectors charging more for older homes or in the case above more for a new home.

    I charge the same for old or new as I set my pricing according to sale price.
    So, if you went to have your tires rotated you would be OK with them charging by the value of the car and not the work performed??? A service call for an appliance would have the hourly rate based on the value of the home ?? Is this how Canada works ??


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Well, the tire analogy is not a good one. Comparing an apple to an orange. Is this how Canada works? Thats just silly. I guess thats why Canada didn't have the same problems as you folks state side, because we didn't have the real estate melt down perpetrated by fraudulent loan schemes.

    Garry what is your minimum fee? I looked under your profile but you don't have a website.

    My minimum starts at $465 and goes up from there.

    Nick, My inspections are priced on the price of the house simply because I am in a different area market wise, inventory wise and market value wise and clientele.

    Some of these new homes I have inspected are dismal considering they are supposedly built to code and supposedly inspected by code inspectors. At an brand new $800K house recently there were all sorts of issues that I documented, from poor grading, electrical, lack of gutters, missing caulking, damaged exterior foundation drainage membrane, missing nails from joist hangers, damaged kitchen cabinets. That inspection took just as long as a century house.

    However what works for you will not work for me and vice versa. Definitely a business decision as to how we structure our fees and marketing. I would suspect my clientele is different than yours and where you practice as you intimated.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Raymond,
    Not ignoring you, was waiting to see if anyone else had any thoughts on the question of rate based on property value as opposed to age, square footage, special conditions. You have a min $ fee with a sliding scale on sale price. Which makes the question of fee easy for the client. They do not have to figure out the square footage of the property (actual or assessed) and and other variables that may be involved as some determine their fees. You equate a 1,200sf (single floor) condo built in 2002 with a 4,500sf (3 story) detached property built in 1900, if priced the same. Your choice, I just find it interesting when it is approached in that manor. Job time averaging as a method that works on determining costs and fees.

    What people actually charge is irrelevant since it is relative to the market and local conditions. Cost of living is a lot higher in Boston or NY City as compared to West Virginia or South Carolina. Then there is the exchange rate, experience, knowledge, philosophy, ethics and so on. Not to mention business model. $200 in Mexico is a little different than $200 in NYC.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Brian, our website master and creator, has an excellant presentation regarding inspection cost to us as a home inspector, that should be considered when establishing our inspection fee. If your inspection organization has not had him give his presentation, I would highly recommend you do so.
    It has been a few years since he spoke at FABI and we are over due for his return.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    I'm sorry to say it, but I tend to charge based on what my competition is doing to a point. I know that the other guys are doing X. I know that most of the clients are coming from Realtor reference and I can't get but so far away from the average. And when they specify me, my ego kicks in and I want to be fair. But I always charge more for older (75yrs+). After a point, you can't just visually inspect some things. You gotta touch 'em. Takes more time.
    And sometimes it depends on how I feel that day. Did I like talking to the client or the agent? What was I going to do otherwise? I'm not real ambitious anymore. In fact, I'm borderline lazy. Plus it's just flat out fun going through peoples closets and seeing how everyone lives. It's either a sociologist's or an anthropologist's dream job.
    JLMathis


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    My fee is based on SF, age, location, what the market will allow and how much time that I feel I will have invested in the inspection and report.

    I know what it cost for me to do business.....I don't strive to be the highest or lowest, just the fairest.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    I wish I could charge based on how long it took to do the physical inspection plus time writing the report. This is not feasable however as most people want a set cost. I've had 5000 sq ft homes that took a lot less time than a 1200 sq ft mess. I charge by square footage and feel like the money I made inspecting the easy 5000 sq ft house is offset by the money I lost doing the smaller mess, it all evens out.

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    I can only speak for myself, but my pricing has allowed me to work with a more sophisticated clientele. Since I don't solicit Realtors and since I only work with a handful of professional and ethical Realtors who do refer me, I am not beholden to anyone other than my client(s).

    Each of you will have different business models and different clientele and market conditions. Some of us will be more comfortable doing older homes or new homes.

    But like some of you I don't have to bust my backside, nor do I want to do 1-2 inspections everyday. I am happy doing 2-3 a week if I can.

    Unless one is inspecting a large house there are for the most part 9 systems of a house, whether old or new, you will be inspecting the same systems.

    The way I see it, anyway.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    If you inspected enough of the older neglected houses we see in the Philly area on a regular basis, you'd understand why some might charge more.
    Very true and most of the time it's not the original house but all the "improvements" made over time that are the real headaches. I have come to abhor the thought of another inspection on a house built out in the country over 25 years ago. They are often built and heavily modified without permits or if they did have a permit, the inspection was by a good buddy. Almost without fail, the owner(s) and their good ole buds have butchered just about every part of every system in the house. The report writing is a bummer.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    I've thought sometimes about having a flat fee for up to three hours of inspecting and then implement an hourly fee for any time above and beyond three hours. If buyers would go for it, I would do. It's rare that I ever get out of a house in less than 3 hours anymore.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Today, I thought it would be a fairly straight forward two and a half hour, inspection on a simple ranch style home, but nope, this home had all kinds of different things going on and four hours later, I am headed down the winding driveway. I too, have thought about an hourly rate, but when you spend fifteen minutes trying to figure out W-T-H you are looking at, it's probably better that your client isn't checking his watch.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    I'm going to start charging by a percentage of the estimated repairs. I should be a millionaire very soon.

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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    I agree with Scott. My fees are based on SF and what it cost me to be in the business. I am not the cheapest nor the most expensive. Just fair.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    By SF and sometimes distance .


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Often I read on inspectors website that low pricing is an indication of inexperience.

    I guess it must be true. If you look at prices being charged there are many inexperienced inspectors plying their wares.

    Suppliers in The Home Inspection Network. | The Home Inspection Network
    Thanks for bringing this to light.

    I am 2nd on the List (NewLook Inspections) and have been in business full time since March 2001.
    I filled out the application, but did not sign their contract as they want 20% of the my Fee. Talk about taking liberties, I am definitely calling The Home Inspection Network to get my name off.

    FYI, the $90 is an upcharge for asbestos sample taken to lab, analyzed and test results emailed to buyer.
    The $385 is my starting Fee for a SFD < 2000 sq.ft. and < 25 years old.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    There are some hell holes around here that will make you rethink setting inspection fees by sales price of the house. A lower than normal than sales price to me is an indicator of mucho report documentation for me and my experience over the years has proven to be right most of the time. The new houses are a piece of cake compared to the old ones. Old ones are littered with years of neglect and DIY repairs.
    i've been seeing alot of foreclosure and REO inspections lately, and if i were to charge based on sales price alone this would not work, these houses have all kinds of problems yet are selling at the low end of the market. i actually should charge more for these due to the time it takes to cover everything.

    Bee Positive Home Inspections, LLC.
    www.beepositivehomeinspection.com

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    The longer I do inspections the more I see the tale of two buyers:

    Camp A: Internet shoppers, view all inspections/inspectors as the same, just need one and are going to get the absolute cheapest one out there.

    Camp B: Usually more educated and savy than camp A, realize the difference of a good consulant as opposed to the cheapest and are willing to pay for it.

    The problem is it's VERY difficult to appeal to both camps. And, unfortunately, there are much more from camp A than camp B.

    Fortunately, the longer you are around the more your name gets passed around to friends, family and collegues of camp B but your phone number is still on the internet for all of camp A to see


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    The longer I do inspections the more I see the tale of two buyers:

    Camp A: Internet shoppers, view all inspections/inspectors as the same, just need one and are going to get the absolute cheapest one out there.

    Camp B: Usually more educated and savy than camp A, realize the difference of a good consulant as opposed to the cheapest and are willing to pay for it.

    The problem is it's VERY difficult to appeal to both camps. And, unfortunately, there are much more from camp A than camp B.

    Fortunately, the longer you are around the more your name gets passed around to friends, family and collegues of camp B but your phone number is still on the internet for all of camp A to see
    Camp A: - The first thing out of their mouth is How much? or I want a quote.
    Camp B: - Educated or "experienced" may be the difference but I love the ones whom I have to ask, "Would like to know the fee for the inspection?" Saving on the inspection wasn't the first thing on their mind

    I do get an an inspection every once in a while directly from an agent's recommendation. It's one of those who want the buyer to know as much as they can about the house. I've been told several times that they don't want to be the blame for a sorry inspection and have an angry buyer to contend with. I get along with these agents but I never market or cater to them.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    This week it happened to me again. I had a client on Monday tell me that I don't charge enough for the service I provide and yesterday, a caller told me that I was too expensive and hang up.
    It continues to be a funny business.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    I'm just starting out, and honestly, I did a price/cost comparison and yes, I'm going to be cheaper then the other people out there.

    I have noticed from looking at my competitors websites, and I do find some of the pricing very odd to say the least. Most of the websites tend to suck as well, but that is for another thread.

    I can see the argument of having pricing based on the value of the home, but I personally don't believe in it myself. I'm also finding it odd how many inspectors justify different pricing for different services, upgraded costs based on sq footage, what is included, etc.

    Andrew


  38. #38
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Andrew

    If you haven't already done so ensure your have your name somewhere on your website under 'about us' or 'contact' info. It amazes me to no end how many inspectors omit their name.

    To me its the equivalent of leaving your name off a business card.

    People like to know who they are dealing with.

    Good luck with your endeavours.


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Kling View Post
    I'm just starting out, and honestly, I did a price/cost comparison and yes, I'm going to be cheaper then the other people out there.

    I have noticed from looking at my competitors websites, and I do find some of the pricing very odd to say the least. Most of the websites tend to suck as well, but that is for another thread.

    I can see the argument of having pricing based on the value of the home, but I personally don't believe in it myself. I'm also finding it odd how many inspectors justify different pricing for different services, upgraded costs based on sq footage, what is included, etc.

    Andrew
    Pricing on price of home: It Depends. If you are in an area with pretty much the same size lots and and amenities, it should work out. In areas like mine where the land can be worth more than the house like a $220K house that sets on 10 acres, the pricing per sq ft is more equitable. I base my fees on TOTAL square footage not what is just above grade and usually listed. And, I adjust for older homes, additional kitchens, and more than 2 heating units if I want to. No one will complain about reducing fees but increasing fees can create a negative feeling. Do due diligence on the house before confirming a fee. I learned to look up as much information about the house before confirming the inspection the hard way.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  40. #40
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    My price is based on square footage. Age, quantity of furnaces, on or not on a crawlspace, etc. are not considerations. I have added on fees for things like radon testing.

    Last week on the same day, I had one lady hang up saying that I was too expensive. And a few hours later, a client added $50 to the inspection fee saying that my inspection was worth more than I charged him. Today, I had a guy (and his agent) try to negotiate me down at the inspection since the water was off. I said, "Not my problem. If the inspection takes four hours or two hours, the cost is the same." At the end, both thanked me for doing a thorough job.

    There are guys charging considerably more than me and some charging considerably less. Some folks figure you get what you pay for, but most will take the cheapest and never mind your superior qualifications.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  41. #41
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    I post my fees on my website. I think my competition checks periodically because for some odd reason a lot match my fees and some newbies use them to undercut the typical inspection fee. Some don't agree with posting the fees but I leave some adjustment leeway and I've had a number of clients tell me they appreciated me being up front with what they can expect to pay. Unfortunately, the price shoppers don't look before asking.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Yup me too. I believe in full disclosure of my fee schedule.

    I think it keeps the price shoppers from calling and thats a good thing.


  43. #43
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Well atleast for the first 250 or so inspections, I'm going to be cheaper then the competition. I may raise my rates after that though. I guess it really depends on my cost of doing business.

    I mean I'm sure everyone will take about the same time to do the same inspection, and write the report basically the same, so the actual time it takes everyone start to finish will be about the same as well. And obviously in the beginning, I'll be taking longer then the rest of you guys because I'm just starting out, and don't have a system as of yet. So the hours I spend on a job will go up, and my base hourly wage down. But I think I'm going to need those jobs that you guys won't touch to get my foot in the door honestly, even if some of the clients are less then stellar..

    As for add on inspections, I am planning on doing them as well, but I need to go get my certs and take some additional classes. Such as PA requires me to get certified for mold testing and remediation. I'm also planning on getting my cert for air quality testing, water testing and hopefully some blower door training as well. I already do deep energy retrofits, and install spray foam, so I don't really need any training in those areas myself.

    I'm guessing some of you guys offer other non inspection services as well, on average how often do you get called out to do those non-inspection services each month?


  44. #44
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    Default Re: Under priced home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Kling View Post

    I mean I'm sure everyone will take about the same time to do the same inspection, and write the report basically the same, so the actual time it takes everyone start to finish will be about the same as well. And obviously in the beginning,
    Actually, no. I have an acquaintance who says his average time in a 2500sq ft house is an hour and a half. Mine is closer to three hours. I have no idea how he gets through a house that size, that quickly. I don't know if that means he is much faster, looks at fewer things, or just better than me..........or if I am much more thorough.
    And then your client can dramatically affect your time in a house. A few days ago I a guy with OCD. He would fixate on everything I pointed out and ask 15-25 questions. Four hours and change on a 1200 sq ft house! Sheesh! He paid me the same price as the guy that doesn't ask a single question.

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