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How Much Should Your Home Inspection Cost?: An Interview with Jack Skagerberg of Bayou City Inspections (Houston) TREC #20518

By Jack Skagerburg

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Bayou City Inspections was started just over 2 years ago and we offer a wide variety of services. We primarily do owner occupied single family general home inspections. We also do investor inspections and this can range from a walk through before tenants move in to insure all items of the property are working as intended, to full inspections for multi-family properties.

Is there something important that most people don't know about the cost of a home inspection that they should know?

When people think about the cost of a home inspection and hear a price sometimes they can have a moment of shock. But we are here to help protect your investment, give you a piece of mind about your purchase and safe guarding you in case there is something no working as intended and be expensive to fix. The price of the home inspection where we are telling you that a house is in good working order is usually well below 0.005% of the cost of the house. In the grand scheme of buying a home $275.00 for a $100,000 home is not that much money for the peace of mind a good home inspection can give you.

How do you calculate what the charge for a home inspection should be?

We base our price for a general home inspection of the square footage and start at $275.00 for 1,500 square feet and below. We then raise our price by $25.00 every 500 square feet.

What are some of the things that account for higher or lower home inspection prices from other companies in the Houston area?

There are many reasons that could make the price of an inspection to vary. All companies set their own prices for what they are willing to work for. We found that our services are well priced and that is why we have them set where they are. The other reason prices can be higher is if there are other ancillary services being provided i.e. inspections for: swimming pools, wells, septic systems, termites, and crawling under pier and beam foundations.

After people receive a price or a quote, what questions should they ask the home inspector to help make their decision about who to hire?

In my opinion I feel that you should ask your questions before you get a price. This way you can get a feel for the inspector or at least, if calling a multi inspector company what services they offer. As for questions there is a wide variety of them. Here are a few questions I would ask.

How long or how many houses have you inspected?

Are you licensed to do home inspections? We will get to this later.

What all do you inspect? You should hear foundation, roof, exterior and interior walls, grading and drainage of the yard, roof structure (the attic), doors, windows, floor and ceilings, electrical panel and the branch circuitry, plumbing, water heater, and all the built-in appliances.

How long will a house this many square feet take? We typically average anywhere from 30 minutes to 45 minutes per 500 square feet based on the condition of the house. Are there color photos in your report? In this era there should always be photos in reports. As they say a photo is worth a thousand words.

Can I meet you at the end of the inspection as I want to see the house and hear what you have found? We always encourage our clients to meet us at the property when we are finishing the inspection. We prefer you to come at the end so we can focus on the job on hand without distractions. We have a found it is really beneficially to the buyer as we can show them any concerns we may have found before they get the report and then they have a firsthand account of the problem rather than just going off the picture.

What advice do you have for a prospective homeowner who needs an inspection but doesn't really care who does it as long as the price is decent?

You should care who does your inspection a good home inspection could potentially save you a ton of time, money, and headaches down the road if they didn't find major problems. Also do your research your realtor should have a list of inspectors. If you decide to try and find your own check out if they have a website and how it looks. Also go to TREC.GOV this is the Texas Real Estate Commission and on their website it will list all active licensed inspectors by city and in alphabetical order. I get calls all the time from people who say they had a home inspection done but the "inspector" missed obviously glaring issues. When I ask where they found them there answer is always the same the internet with a google search. And I always ask was he way cheaper than everyone else. The answer is always yes.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

People can call me anytime between 8am and 7pm at 832-462-9952 or email me at Jack@bayoucityinspections.com. Lastly they can check out my website at www.bayoucityinspections.com and there is a contact page there as well.

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