I hear from real estate agents quite a bit that myself and the people that work for my company are “too picky”.  Really?  I thought that is what a professional home inspector was supposed to be.  A professional home inspector should be very detailed oriented able to document everything that he or she sees.   To me “picky” means documenting everything allowing the home buying client to go through the home inspection report and determine what is important and what is not important.  While performing a Highland Park home inspection the buying agent whom I had never met before made sure she let me know how great her home inspector was.  I really can appreciate her love for her home inspector but really did not understand why he was not there performing the Highland Park home inspection.

As you probably can guess I looked up the new realtors home inspector to find that his reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, Better Business Bureau, Redfin reviews and so on were let’s say to be the less desirable.  My clients from the Highland Park home inspection were also savvy enough to also look up the realtor revered home inspector and obviously were not impressed.  I did ask my clients why they chose my company over the referred realtor home inspection company.  This is the list of reasons that separated the 2 companies.

  1. FULL TIME COMPANY ~ The clients from the Highland Park home inspection were looking for a home inspector that worked only as a home inspector to assure that his or her skills were honed by performing home inspection every day.  Most home inspectors perform home inspections as a side job for extra cash while performing a full time job.
  2. LICENSED TRADE INSPECTORS ~ The clients from the home inspection were looking for licensed tradesmen to perform their home inspection because that meant that would know how to install, repair or replace any issue at hand and should know what issues to look for.  Pinnacle Property Inspection Services Inc. has licensed plumbers and heating contractors on staff to be able to determine major issues at a glance.
  3. REVIEWS ~ The reviews that were seen on the internet and friends that have used our services made our clients from the Highland Park home inspection comfortable to hire us to perform their home inspection.
  4. ERRORS AND OMISSION INSURANCE  ~   The fact that Pinnacle Property Inspection Services has error and omission insurance even though it is not required by the State of Illinois made our new clients comfortable that if any issues that came up would be dealt with.
  5. PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT ~ Thermal imagers, moisture meters, 40′ ladders, inside shoes are all little things to others but made the difference why the clients from the Highland Park home inspection hired us over the referred realtor home inspector.
  6. SAME DAY LARGE INSPECTION REPORTS ~ The 131 page home inspection report was delivered via email 2 hours after the inspection was performed so that the clients could start to go over the report and determine what issues needed to be addressed.
  7. RADON, ASBESTOS AND MOLD TESTING ~ The clients from the Highland Park home inspection wanted a radon test to be performed.  We own a small company called Pinnacle Radon Testing that was able to accommodate the home inspection time.  The home that was inspected was an older home that had vermiculite insulation that was also able to be tested for asbestos all in one visit.
  8. ROOF INSPECTIONS ~ Willing to walk the roof versus the use of binoculars.  All roofs are walked to assure that hidden issues are all documented to assure our clients do not move into a home with hidden issues.

The clients explained that they did know that are services were more expensive than the competitors but understood because this is our only business.  The clients from the Highland Park home inspection obviously understood the difference with value and price.  If you are a home buyer that is looking for a home inspector do not hesitate asking any questions that may influence your home inspection process

If you have any questions about this article please contact us at pinnaclepropertyinspection.com or 312-961-4228.

Jim Kolke

The Thermal Home Inspector

 

Portions of the home have the snow removed for proper view of the homes grade and foundation

Portions of the home have the snow removed for proper view of the homes grade and foundation

The home inspection portion of a home can be one of the most important portions of as home purchase.  Finding the right home should not be discounted in any form or fashion.  What a professional realtor does in their portion of a home purchase has real value and should not be discounted.  Unfortunately during the winter months of the Midwest some area of a home inspection may not be performed properly due to the weather.   Recently during a home inspection in La Grange Illinois we had to explain to out buyers that there are areas that may not be inspected properly.   We explain this to our clients through our email verification when booking the home inspection that certain areas of the home inspection will not be inspected fully due to weather issues (snow coverage).  These are some of the areas that may require further verification prior to closing to assure no hidden issues are uncovered after the closing of the home.

  1. ROOFS ~ Roofs of homes in the Chicago winters can be hard if not impossible to view and deliver a proper verification of the condition of all aspects of a roof system that may require an additional visit from your home inspector or a roofing contractor to assure that there are no hidden issues that may have a real cost to them.  Luckily for the La Grange home inspection clients we were able to walk the roof and broom areas of the snow away to assure that hidden issues were not under the snow.  Ask your inspector prior to your home inspection what their policy is for roof inspections so you know what to expect from his or her home inspection report.
  2. AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEMS ~ Air conditioner systems cannot be tested less than 60 degrees to assure that the compressors or any other portion of the air conditioner system does not become damaged due to working this system in cold temperatures.  As a home buyer you should expect this system not to be tested due to the frigid cold temperatures of the Chicago winters.   We recommend the air conditioner systems are certified from a HVAC contractor prior to closing or funding put in escrow until the unit is tested in the spring to assure proper working order.  The clients from the La Grange home inspection expected the unit would not be tested but were pleased that we found the system was only 2 years old which limits the potential for replacement of such a new air conditioner system.
  3. GRADING, SLOPING, SIDEWALKS AND DRIVEWAYS ~ The grade and slope of the homes dirt around the home can be hard to document to assure that the grade of the home is not back pitched potentially causing harm to the foundation of the home.  Here at Pinnacle Property Inspection Services we shovel the snow around the foundation to see if the grade and slope is correct and to see if any cracks in the foundation can be found.  Driveways and sidewalks are attempted to be shoveled to deliver a full picture of the home’s condition.  This is not required by the Illinois Standards of Practice for home inspector but can really help the home buyer to get a full picture of what the home really has to offer.  Our clients from the La Grange home inspection really appreciated the fact that we were so diligent.  Asking your home inspector if he or she will bring shovels to inspect the grade if a good qualification question when hiring a home inspector.

As you can see these areas are very important areas in your home inspection process that may deliver potentially expensive repair costs.  The La Grange home inspection clients were prepared of what to expect during a home inspection in the winter months because they asked many questions prior to booking their home inspection.  You too should be diligent to assure you get the proper home inspection you pay for.

 

If you have any questions about this topic you are more than welcome to contact us @ 312-961-4228 or pinnaclepropertyinspection.com

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

The Thermal Home Inspector

I guess this question is all relative.  Personally I hear that our home inspection cost is a little high or in the higher end of the market.  I don’t get upset because most home buyers, home sellers, real estate brokers and real estate Realtors don’t really understand what it cost to run a profitable home inspection company.  There are many aspects that will influence the home inspection cost or price.  Pinnacle Property Inspection Services receives numerous calls and or emails daily on quoting out home inspection services.  I’ve tried to explain to my clients that you are paying for a professional service that should not be treated so lightly.  Today I’ll expose the real overhead cost to run a profitable home inspection company in Chicago and anywhere in the United States.

  • Errors and Omission insurance should be a major cost of a home inspection company.  I know that a very large percentage of Home inspection companies do not buy Errors and Omission insurance.  Why??  A cheap $250,000.00 costs about $2500.00 for 1 year.  If you do only 200 home inspections a year you will have to lose $12.50 a home inspection.
  • Home inspection license is another major cost.  In Illinois we pay $200.00 a year and $200.00 a year for our business license.  That is $400.00 a year.  I understand that most states do not have licensing fees so most of these home inspectors in these states flock to a home inspector association.
  • Home inspector association is a great way to meet other home inspectors and get recognized by your customers that you are a professional.  I personally belong to InterNachi and find a great worth for their marketing skills to help the company get leads.  The membership is $275.00 a year.  If you did 200 inspections $1.25 would go to pay that fee.
  • Tools and office equipment is unbelievable cost.  We use Fluke thermal imagers which cost $5000.00 for 1 camera. Moisture meters, hand tools, gas meters, thermometers, mold testing equipment, radon monitors and so on is a huge cost.  Let’s just call that $30.00 a home inspection that is passed on to the client.
  • Transportation is a huge cost.  As most of you know that gas is not getting any cheaper.  I would venture to say $6000.00 would cover gas fees for 1 year.  The cost for 200 home inspections is $30.00 per home inspection.
  • Home inspection marketing should be a major cost to any home inspection company.  If it is not and they are doing well then they are very lucky.  We budget $20,000.00 a year in marketing but let’s call a 200 home inspection budget at $3000.00.  This won’t get you big growth in sales but will keep you where you are at.  The cost for this marketing budget is $15.00 per home inspection.

If you were to add all these numbers up we would be close to a $100.00 per home inspection.  I recently received a call from a client that wanted us to perform a home  inspection in Chicago for $275.00.  The home was 3 bedrooms / 2 bathrooms home that were approximately 2000 square feet.  This inspection took me 3 hours to inspect and 2 hours to prepare the home inspection report.  The client from the Chicago home inspection did not hire us for her first home inspection.  She did hire us for the second home inspection though.  My price for this Chicago home inspection was $395.00.  I lost the initial deal to a home inspector that does any home for $275.00.  I’m sure he does not have any of these overhead costs that a real home inspection would incur.  He can come in and be the budget home inspector for these clients that think they are getting a great deal.  If you are a client that is worried about how cheap you can get your home inspector to perform a home inspection then be prepared to have issues in you home that you did not know about.  My client from the Chicago home inspection almost was on the hook for a new roof…. $11,000.00.  Pay now… or… Pay later.  You choose!

If you have further questions about how I derived at these prices you are more than welcome to contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke