#1: Lower prices are usually a reflection of the quality and energy that you’ll get from that inspector. There are “bare minimums” that the state requires during an inspection and a lot of other inspection companies operate based on these minimums. But those minimums are a far cry from what a great inspection should be and, as a result, significant concerns are usually left off the “cheap” inspectors report. Our inspectors often spend 3-5 hours inspecting a typical sized home and then spend additional time to write the report including time to do research if needed and provide a detailed, quality report. (Homes are always changing, new products, new requirements, new standards and therefore we find ourselves researching often as we write reports).
#2: Home inspection companies are wildly different. It is easy to think that all are the same, but a good analogy we like to use is about purchasing a car: You can choose to either buy the cheapest bare-bones car available or you can go for a luxury car. One will be pretty cheap and one will be more expensive, but they are both cars. However, if only looking at a price without considering anything else, you’ll never know how vastly different the cars are. Just like home inspection companies, it’s important that you are not comparing the two cars just on price – it’s important to look at the features (tools the inspector uses such as drones or 33 foot poles with camera for hard to reach roofs, infrared cameras for leak detection, moisture meters, 22-foot ladder etc., report delivery – does it include photos that can be enlarged, can the report play videos to show problems, and style), history and track record (reviews showing the inspectors have outperformed client’s expectations and in-house / hands-on training for each inspector that far exceeds state standards) and performance (time spent at the inspection, thoroughness, showing up on time, getting reports delivered quickly, going on the roof when safe, crawling deep into the crawlspace when safe, opening the electric panel when safe etc) in order to get a full appreciation for why the price is different.
#3: Training and experience. All of our inspectors have graduated from a state-recognized home inspection school, passed the national home inspector exam, and have become obtained their state license to work as a home inspector. This may not sound very impressive and that’s because it is not. Anyone, without a lick of construction experience or knowledge, can complete the steps needed to become a licensed home inspector in a matter of a few weeks if they work at it hard enough – scary, right? Unfortunately, most think that this is all the experience necessary to be a competent home inspector. The quality and amount of training is one of the biggest differences between our company and other companies: where most other home inspectors would start performing real inspections, we require our inspectors to go through another 6-8 months of in-house advanced inspection training where we do hands-on training, teaching our inspectors how to wire up electric panels, install asphalt shingles on a roof, sweat copper pipes, frame walls, etc. We have a workshop with real equipment that has been pulled out of houses for our inspectors to learn from and practice inspecting with an instructor (HVAC systems / furnaces / heat pumps, boilers, water heaters, electric panels etc). We spend months going over pictures from the field, training on advanced inspection techniques, talking about problems, quizzing the inspectors, and we even make them take home electric panels that have been pulled from homes and come back the next day reporting on all the problems in the panel. We then have our inspectors shadow our seasoned inspectors in the field and they usually end up attending over 100 inspections. On top of shadowing inspections, our inspectors have to complete about 15-20 training inspections one on one with the company owner who works with them to mold them into the best inspectors in the industry. Lastly, in order to complete their training, they have to pass five test inspections where they can’t miss anything major or they keep training until they can pass the test inspections again. We have had previous inspectors in training flunk out and not work for our company because of the excellence we require from our inspectors. By the time one of our inspectors completes the in-house advanced training program through HomeKey Inspections, they can often out-inspect any seasoned inspector that’s been in the industry for years but never had any sort of formal training beyond an online state-approved course and a multiple-choice test.
#4: We don’t rush our inspections. Other home inspection companies often rely on performing multiple inspections each day to make up for their lower prices. The problem with this business model is it doesn’t allow for an inspector to take longer on an inspection if he or she runs into an unusual problem or if the client wants to engage and ask lots of questions (which we totally encourage!). The home inspectors that offer cheap inspection prices are often in and out of a home in about an hour and don’t take the time needed to do the best job possible. Sometimes our clients ask a lot of questions or we inspect a house where there are multiple “Home-Owner Specials” that require more time to investigate and inspect, and that’s fine – we don’t charge extra if the inspection takes longer. We have even had real estate agents attempt to rush our inspection but we work for you, the client, not the agent, and will refuse to rush the inspection so that we ensure you, our client, get a complete and thorough inspection. Typically you’ll only have one chance when it comes to your home inspection – choosing the right home inspection company can literally mean the difference of thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. It only makes sense to not rush the inspection on one of the biggest financial investments of your life, right?
#5: Our reporting software is one of the best in the industry. We use HomeGauge software which provides you with an HTML report where you can click hot-links (for when we recommend a product or similar), enlarge and zoom in on pictures, and even play videos that we take during your inspection. Other companies do not have the ability to zoom in on pictures or play videos, and these features make it much easier to show the seller the kind of problems that are identified when negotiating. If desired, you can save your report in a PDF format to store locally on your computer, however, we keep the HTML format of the report for up to five years on our servers. Be sure to compare our sample reports with other companies that you’ve received quotes from – here’s a link to our sample reports: https://homekeyinspections.flywheelstaging.com/sample-reports/
#6: Our in-house review process. All of our inspection reports are reviewed by either the company owner or one of the other inspectors to improve our accuracy and clarity. During the review another inspector will look over the report and pictures often finding something that may need to be added to the report or discuss a finding that needs more research or documentation. This allows us to ensure we deliver an accurate and detailed report every time.
#7: We offer Re-Inspections as an additional service at a discounted rate as a thank you to our clients. If the seller agrees to fix things found in the inspection report, how do you know they will actually address the problem (or have a professional repair)? If you choose to hire us to come back to the property for a reinspection, we will re-inspect any items that have been agreed to be fixed, and issue a pass/fail report after the inspection (re-inspection price is good for up to one hour on-site).
#8: Our Create Request List (CRL) Feature. This is a fast and easy way to create a list of items that are important to you directly from your inspection report that can help you during negotiations, or can be attached to your repair addendum form. This list will include photos and text from the original report, as well as any additional comments you make. No need to copy and paste from our report, you can easily create your repair addendum in a flash with our software feeling confident that nothing was left out!
#9: Our Satisfaction Guarantee*. Simply attend your home inspection and if, for any reason, you are not satisfied with the quality of the home inspection service, tell us before receiving your report and we will either make it right, or you don’t pay the inspection fee. *View terms and conditions here.
#10: We have office staff. This means you can reach us quickly at any time during normal business hours, seven days a week! Our office staff know the ins and outs of this industry and can help with any questions you may have in a quick and timely manner. If you need to speak to your inspector directly, no problem, our staff will make sure the inspector calls you at their first opportunity.
#11: We will teach you about your house! Make sure to show up and tell the inspector you’d like to participate and follow along during the inspection. The inspector will show you where important things are in the home such as the HVAC filter(s), main water shut-off valve, hose bib shut-off valves, main gas shut-off valves, as well as any other tips and info that they may see fit to tell you. We encourage questions – there’s no such thing as a stupid question!
#12: We offer many additional services that allow you to schedule everything needed with one company, making the process easy and convenient. Our add-on services can take your home inspection to the next level, all designed to help you move into confidence ®. These services have saved our clients thousands in the past and will equip your inspector with an almost unfair advantage at identifying problems not normally visible or identified during a standard home inspection. If you haven’t already, please read more about our add-on services by clicking here.
#13: Amazing reviews online across ALL platforms. Want to know a little secret? Companies that have amazing reviews on one platform, but lack in reviews on other platforms are a RED FLAG and typically indicate unethical business practices in the form of buying or incentivizing reviews. If a company truly is awesome, they’ll achieve great reviews on all platforms of the internet over time. We have some of the highest ratings in the area with over 500+ five-star reviews on Yelp, Google, Angie’s List, and Redfin combined! Also, be sure to check out the “not recommended” reviews as companies can often get the review sites to hide or take down bad reviews despite their legitimacy. You may be looking at another highly rated company, comparing them with us, but I’d encourage you to take your research one step further and, on yelp, scroll to the bottom of the review page and select “XX other reviews that are not currently recommended” – here usually lies some of the horror stories from other customers. If you check our “not recommended” reviews you’ll see Yelp has decided to hide hundreds of amazing five-star reviews! But wait – that’s not all! Bad home inspectors get amazing reviews all the time – how can that be? They miss things, serious problems, but often no one realizes! If you think you’ll be able to spot something your home inspector missed or be able to spot a less-than-great inspector, think again – if you had that ability then you probably wouldn’t need a home inspector in the first place. Consider this: Anyone can walk through a home, point out a few obvious problems, generate a pretty report and tell you your house has no big concerns – how would you rate that home inspector if he was charismatic, eased your fears by saying the house was great and gave you a nice report? Five stars!! But what about the solid aluminum wiring he didn’t notice that could burn down your house or cost upwards of $10K to replace? Or the Polybutylene water service pipe coming into the house from the street that could burst and costs about $3k to replace? There are so many huge concerns that can hide away in a house for years and either reveal themselves as nasty expensive problems down the road or when you go to sell the house and the buyers hire HomeKey Inspections! Inspection companies with great ratings, while important, shouldn’t be hired based on their ratings alone. Our company has inspected a home a few weeks after it was inspected by one of the other “highly rated” companies in the area and the differences between our report and theirs is astonishing – if you would like to see copies of real reports done on the same house, a few weeks apart, from our company and a competing company just send us an email and we will happily share.