Trying to get a great deal on everything is the new normal. Shopping on deal websites and watching for bargains is taking on the characteristics of a sport. We tend to hate it when we pay retail price for anything. This condition, while normal, can involve high levels of risk depending upon the purchase.
In some areas of life, we need to take the approach of searching out the “best overall value.” For example, if you are in the market for a heart surgeon, the lowest cost may not be the first priority in your search criteria for the best surgeon. You may still give consideration to price, but realistically you probably realize that shopping based on price alone could have long-lasting serious consequences.
So it is with shopping for a home inspector. In the Phoenix area, you have many options. Some inspectors are very good, some are very poor, and many are just average. Highly skilled home inspectors are able to identify and properly document more facts about the property. We are starting to see home inspectors advertise that the inspection pays for itself many times over because multiple defects are common and they tend to offset the cost of the inspection through findings that can be negotiated out with the seller. This is an interesting way to advertise and the claim is based on truth. The importance and overall value of a home inspection is undeniable IF you choose the right inspector. The way to save money on a home inspection is to identify the best and the brightest.
Even though I write an article like this, I must admit to looking for bargains all the time. Over the years I have trained myself to step back and look at the big picture. If I am unwilling to deal with the pain of something going wrong with the purchase, I always pay the asking price of the high quality provider. I no longer buy cheap products or services if the result has a chance of causing me financial or emotional pain. This would be the result from a bargain home inspection gone awry and I encourage you to consider more than the quoted fee.
Overall value can be determined in other ways. Some home inspection companies provide additional benefits that come at no extra cost (e.g., 90 day home warranty, RecallChek for safety hazards in the home, 1 year termite warranty on the termite inspection). Additionally, some home inspection reports are easy to read and some are not. If you can’t understand the report, you will be handicapped in the process. These benefits can easily be ignored when searching based on low price alone.
The final consideration is business longevity. In the last economic downturn, over 500 inspectors left the business; here one day and gone the next. Even though you must be licensed in Arizona to conduct home inspections, it is still a relatively easy process. I have taught many home inspectors and watched their development. The inspection quality has a direct correlation to the amount of experience the inspector has. One indicator is, of course, how many years they have been in business. Save money on a home inspection by choosing a company with a long history in business locally.