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How Much Should Your Home Inspection Cost?: An Interview with Steven Johnson of Beneficial Home Inspections

By Steven Johnson

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

After graduating from High School I attended Washburne Trade School for three years in Chicago and worked as a Union Carpenter where I earned my Master Journeyman Carpenters Certificate.

I went on to supervise and manage large multi-million dollar construction projects and spend almost 30 years in the construction industry. I started my home inspection business over 10 years ago with my construction background this was a good fit.

Even though the economy was beginning to slow I quickly saw that there was a need for an inspection company that could provide better guidance from someone experienced in home construction.

I also achieved my NAHI CRI Certification (National Association of Home Inspectors Certified Residential Inspector). This is the only proctored exam in the industry which is also much more difficult to pass then the State Licensing Test and is given at an independent testing agency. Unfortunately most other certifications are taken online and there is no limit to the amount of times you can take the test.

We also perform many environmental tasks.

I am have an advanced Certification for Mold and Air Quality testing and inspections.

I am certified and licensed for Radon Gas Testing.

I also use thermal imaging during most inspections which can sometimes find defects such as moisture intrusion that are not visible during the inspection.

Our inspections include:

  • Reports using computer generated software and digital photos.
  • We include operating and maintenance information.
  • A Free Limited 90 Day Home Warranty
  • Recall Check of the Major Appliances
  • Build Fax Report showing any construction permit history or citations for the home.

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

    Whether a home buyer is buying a condo, a 100 year old vintage home or new construction the cost of a home inspection is worth it's weight in gold when performed by an experienced inspector who also understands building construction. Many defects I find are not immediately apparent and can be fire, electrical or structural hazards. In new construction it may take years for certain defects to be discovered which will likely be past an builders warranty.

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

    My home inspection costs are calculated by such factors as square footage and age of the home.

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

    The costs for home inspections performed by various inspection companies in the area are often dictated by the inspectors experience in building construction, time spent at the home inspection, content of the report and services they can provide. The difference in the quality between a $300 and a $500 inspection can be huge. That $200 difference may be the best $200 they could ever spend when making what may be the biggest purchase of their lives. Unfortunately some home buyers are just looking for the cheapest inspection they can find and don't realize how to identify the difference.

    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?

    When searching for an Inspector buyers should ask questions such as:

    • Inspectors background and experience in the industry.
    • What other certifications do they have.
    • Past customer comments or referrals.
    • Does the inspector carry errors and omissions and general liability insurance.
    • Is there license current (I have personally heard of several issues with unlicensed inspectors).
    • How long does the inspection take (a proper inspection on a 2,500 square foot house is 3 hours or more at a minimum).
    • Inspection fees and what is included.
    • Most importantly remember that all inspectors and inspection companies are not equal...

      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?

      Good luck if you don't do at least a little research (you will need it). History also shows that the State of Illinois goes through almost 1,00 inspector licenses a year on some years (1,000 in and 1,000 out). The question I hear almost daily from people and customers is "I was thinking about becoming an Inspector". Unfortunately, minimal class time (often only a few days) and licenses are fairly easy to obtain. Also some Realtors only refer inspection companies who do quick / cheap (often called drive by inspections). This can mean less time spent at the home and a quicker and easier transaction with less issues for the Realtor to deal with.

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

      I have several options available for folks who would like to schedule/price an inspection or may have questions:

      Office # 847-356-9632 (We are a real business and have real people in an office answering the phone!)

      Our web site: www.BeneficialHome.com We have a great web site with lots of information where you can also schedule / price your inspection.

      I can also be reached via email: SJohnson@BeneficialHome.com

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