#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 thorough and detailed inspection should be. Our inspectors spend around 3-5 hours on a home inspection (single family 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 price, the person will 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 a state licensed home inspector. This may not sound very impressive and that’s because it is not. Every home inspector has to complete those steps in order to legally work as a home inspector. Unfortunately, most think that this is all the experience necessary to be a competent home inspector. This 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 including 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 hands-on training (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 of which they end up attending usually over 100 inspections. On top of the shadowing inspections, they have to complete about 15-20 training inspections one on one with the company owner who works with them to train and 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 an attempt to pass the test inspections again. We have had guys 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 from years but never had such extensive training like what we require our inspectors to go through.
#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 unusual problems 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 want to ask a lot of questions or we inspect a house where there are a lot of “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 and time to ask any questions. It only makes sense to not rush the inspection on one of the biggest financial investments of your life, right?
#5: Our report software is the best in the industry. We use HomeGauge software which provides you with an HTML report that allows you to click hot-links in the report (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.com/sample-reports/
#6: Our in house review process. All of our inspectors complete their inspection report someone from our team, either the company owner or one of the other inspectors, will take the time to go through the entire report and look at all the pictures for accuracy and clarity. This allows us to ensure we deliver an accurate and detailed report every time.
#7: We offer Re-Inspections as an additional service. 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.
#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 an office manager. This means you can reach us quickly at any time during normal business hours. Our office manager knows 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 office manager 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.
#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 and let us know if you’d like to include any of them with your scheduled inspection. These prices are discounted and only apply when combined with a home inspection. We currently offer the following add-on services: