Home inspectors - repair costs


I attended a real estate investors training a few weeks ago. There, we were told that we should always look for home inspectors that will include the estimated cost of repairs along w/ pictures, etc in the inpection report. They said that if they don’t include this information in their report that they are probably not qualified since a qualified inspector should know the cost to repair. This would be great!

I personally have never seen such a report in the couple of properties that I bought. I have also called a few home inspection companies to ask if they provide this service and thus far all of them have said no.

Is this true/realistics?

Please advise.

I have never heard of an inspector giving estimates. I have purchased in several states. Maybe that is something particular to your state or local area.(?)

Besides if he was giving estimates that would imply he could fix it. Someone runnning and inspection business and a repair business would be a conflict of interest. I’m sure they woudl find all kinds of “problems” to fix.

I believe the opposite is true. As “aak5454” suggested, it would be a conflict of interest. Here in NJ, independent qualified inspectors are truly independent of lenders, brokers, contractors, etc.

Realtor-sourced inspectors may do this because they’re affiliated with a realtor who wants to get the sale. But they’re not independent, and I personally won’t be using them simply because they’re hooked up with a realtor and so don’t want to find anything bad.

Are you sure they weren’t talking about appraisers?


Thx for the replies. Maybe I did not paraphrased it correctly. I was not referring to estimates like if they were going to make the repairs themselves, what I meant is that they would let the buyer know in writing about how much would it cost to repair whatever it is that needs repairs. After all, the buyer is paying the inspector so the inspector is working for the buyer.

As I said before, I have never found an inspector that would do this but it would definitely be a plus since after inspection you would know the aprox. repair costs without having to bring in a contractor to give you estimates and probably be charged for it.


But if he’s not offering to supply the services, 2 issues come to mind:

  1. the costs would differ dramatically depending on whether you have your own contractors or whether you’re using a store-based service (such as Home Depot).

  2. The costs would also vary depending on whether you’re acting as the general contractor or bringing one in. A GC could bump up the subcontractors prices, then add his own fees on top.

For out of state property inspection particularily, provided one doesn’t have his own contractor, will it be wise to get up to 3 GC for estimates, or are these other contractors that will cost less?

I agree that you need to have accurate repair estimate before buying, don’t skip this.

I assume we don’t have to pay any money for their estimates to get them to come to your property, any experience?

My qualifications:

Currently Associate Broker/Certified Appraiser
Formerly Home Inspector/Commercial Pest Control Consultant

As a Home Inspector I offered repair cost estimates at an additional fee (it can be a lot of work and there’s a degree of liability–highly litigious field). I used Marshall & Swift Cost Estimate Manual (as do most Appraisers nationwide)–combined with discussions with area Remodeling Contractors.

By the way…I disagree with the notion that Agents steer their clients to Home Inspectors who’re most likely to overlook property conditions. There’s always few exception to any given rule, however, they’d be inviting increased risk, and their Broker has probably advised them to give @ least a number of references & let the client choose.

I meet the Home Inspector & Buyer @ the property to introduce & let them in. I then tell my client that the Home Inspector does not need a translator & ask that they lock the property upon completion of the inspection. I depart before the inspection takes place.

Agents are professionals with a lot to offer. Many have seen literally thousands of transactions and regularly save their clients time & money.

I dont know about your local area but i personally have been doing inspections during my summer for the last eight or so years, he has been in the business since 1989. When he inspects property he gives a very detailed inspection report, and he only works for the buyer because he has been accused of intentionally missing things for the seller and had to go to court to explain that a home inspector cannot tear open the walls etc. What he can inspect is only ont the surface. With his detailed report he gives a estimated cost of repair for each item and total estimated cost as part of the standard inspection procedure. He also includes a floppy disc with detailed pictures for an minimal fee. A good home inspector in your area will provide an ESTIMATED cost of repair and also include a disclaimer that it is an estimate and could be more or less. Since my dad is 56 and has been doing construction and remodel since he was 13 working with my grandfather his estimates are usually dead on give or take a little depending on which company you use. I have to chuckle to my self when you say a real estate inspector who gives qoutes has alterior motives but the simple fact of the matter is if you are an inspector you are not allowed by most state laws. To perform repairs on a property you have inspected is a conflict of interest and if your inspector offers to do repairs i would reccomend not using them again because more than likely they are either not licensed or dis-honest. A good inspector in your region will offer a full inspection and qoutes as part of the package deal and offer additional things like sprinklers pools etc (im sure you know the drill) at a nominal fee. If you are working through an agent they will know who to trust and who has a good reputation. Most selling agents despise my father and he has received threats and angry calls saying he has “broken a deal” due to him not “overlooking” the small things like broken windows and dishwasher drain line loop repair etc.
sorry gettign a bit carried away here.

Bottom line: find an inspector in your area that will provide accurate repair estimates, and not offer to repair them, and reccommend licensed bonded and insured companies to do the repairs.

hope it helps

“Most selling agents despise my father and he has received threats and angry calls saying he has “broken a deal” due to him not “overlooking” the small things like broken windows and dishwasher drain line loop repair etc.”

You know there’s two sides to this issue and the Agents side is rarely heard. My background speaks for itself, and I think I can offer a unique insight into this topic;

Rarely is a deal blown by “small things” in a Home Inspection report, like a “broken window,” or “dishwasher drain line loop repair.” The typical buyer doesn’t walk away from such easily fixed, and inexpensive items, and most sellers are happy to have these things repaired to sell their home.

The problem arises when a Home Inspector (1) fails to point out that they have no authority to dictate items be repaired (that’s part of the negotiation process between a buyer & seller). (2) A Home Inspector fails to point out that a home was built during a certain era & then proceeds to recommend a home be brought-up-to-current-code (i.e., electrical, plumbing, heating, etc.). (3) A Home Inspector examines components they have no qualifications examining, and then pass the buck by recommending additional inspections (by “qualified experts”).

The preceeding are just a few examples. Here’s problems I’ve had w/the last three Home Inspectors:

(1) My favorite story: I met the Inspector @ the property to introduce him to the Buyer & let them in (I always leave thereafter). No matter how polite or friendly I was…this guy was short & must’ve had a bad night.

His attitude was so bad…I promptly went back to the office & told my wife, “we’re gonna have problems with this guy.” Now I don’t believe in psychic abilities, but sure enough…he calls for numerous items to be repaired, and 5 additional inspections by “specialists” on a 6 year old house!!! He rattled the buyers so bad…they wound up walking away from the deal over a functional hot-water heater (they weren’t typical buyers).

(2) Home Inspector (Franchise owned…the worst type) performed a Pest Inspection on a home, and didn’t realize he needed to be licensed to do so. He didn’t perform the inspection in accordance with WSPCA or NPCA Guidelines & created a “situation” over incipient moss (moss in the Pacific Northwest…imagine that! :D) Buyer’s wound up buying anyway after I pointed out he was incompetent, and not licensed to perform Pest Inspections.

(3) Inspector called for numerous items to be repaired & additional inspections on an extremely well maintained & clean home. Among other things…he called for a new roof, electrical panel replacement, heating system to be serviced by technician & any repairs (ambiguous) made.

Roof is newer & needs to be cleaned of pine needles is all. Electrical panel is the same on literally hundreds of homes throughout the project & none has had any problems in the nearly 30 years since they were originally constructed. Heating system is newer, but there was no sticker indicating the last maintenance treatment.

Home Inspectors in some states still don’t need to be licensed or certified. They can be yesterday’s Butchers, Bakers & Candlestick Makers.

Any home (even a new one) can be shot down by a Home Inspector & buyers sent running for the exits. The Home Inspection Industry needs to balance working in a litigious field with alienating themselves due to over zealous recommendations. They need to educate their clients…not scare them to death.


In Texas, inspectors must be licensed. They also use the same promolgated form and so all the same items are checked with every inspection. It works very nicely. Sometimes you still have an inspector who oversteps his service by editorializing, i.e. insinuates seller is trying to hide something, but most of the time inpections do what they are supposed to and that is bring more information to the buyer.


Texas & Nevada were two of the first states to require licensing of Home Inspectors, and that was many years ago. Since then many states have followed suit.

Those interested in finding out if their state requires licensing of Home & Pest Inspectors can find out by logging-onto their states Department Of Licensing website.

Infowell and all,
it is IMHO, not just good to have a requirement of licensure, but also the uniformity of the report. i was a RE agent in another state, and sometimes you would get a one page written report of problems but not what was ok, i as a licensed REA in Texas appreciate the Home Inspectors and their professional expertise, and the very nice uniform report they provide .

justmyopinion -
I am an agent in NC and while we do have inspector liscensing, we do not have a uniform report. The differences are as you might expect. I have found that I try to use inspectors that have a clear and concise report. Some do. Some don’t. A uniform report would surely make things better for my clients.
To the point of the thread, although I am relatively new as an agent, I have never heard of an inspector offering repair estimates. Pictures, yes. Estimates, no.
If you are in this as an investor, a trusted contractor that can provide you with timely estimates is critical IMO.

I appreciate your input and your right the agents side especially the sellers side is rarly heard but then again unless its a maintenance inspection the inspector should only be workign for the buyer in my opinion in order to maintain the view to the buyer that he may not be missing things intentionally.

Very true and well worded, I used those two items as examples but im sure the phone call i remember had alot more to do with the house than a broken window and a drin line loop.

I dont know about other inspectors as i have never worked with any others, however, when we do give estimates we explain that this is only an estimated cost of repairs as done by the licensed contractor of your choice, and the cost may be higher or lower. And what needs to be repaired whould ALWAYS be worked out between the buyer and the seller, the inspector has no say in what does and does not need to be repaired, he is only there to inform the buyer what is broken, not up to code, or basically something that needs attention, we also do not report on cosmetic items.

Again this is something many inspectors forget about, not in my case though ;D , My father knows alot more about it than i do but i do notice that when we inspect an older home and he notices things that are under par by todays standards and are dangerous he will notify them that it is there but will not give a cost of repair or say that it does need repair due to the fact that home inspectors can only inspect homes based on codes in place at the time of their construction. The one loophole is if an add-on is of obviously new construction, then in Oklahoma the house, now this is were it gets tricky and i may be wrong, i beleive when add-ons are new the entire house is dealt with as if it were built during the same time period as the add-on

This again is something that we simply cannot do. a home inspector cannot legally test or report on pests, mold, or items he cannot see on the surface of the structure - minus crawlspaces etc of course, due to the simple fact they are not qualified to do so. an inspector can “recommend” they inspect it but this is only a recomendation and usually after large amounts of mold, “wood destroying organism infestation” exit tunnels or rats etc are an obvious threat. I recall one house we did a few years ago in ski island Oklahoma, it was a three story home next to a lake that had originally had a basement but they ripped it out to make a 5th bedroom, full bar, pool room and wine cellar with sliding glass doors leadign to a large patio. The home had been on the market for about 10 months and the guy was gettign a really good deal on it - but thats beside the point - the upstairs was decent to say the least, the average 70’s thick brown shag carpet engulfed the living room. But it was when we went down stairs things started to get a bit hairy. The first thing we noticed was stalagmite type structures hanging fro mthe ceiling some 3 inches long, as we went along i was looking for an electrical outlet and upon looking behind one of the beds - inspectors are not alowed to move furniture by the way - its too much of a liability - we notices thick black mold along the walls. Needless to say we took some pictures and left the disk as just a little fyi to the buyer and seller,

This is always a good idea, it may seem odd to soem people but when a home is being inspected we actually prefer you nto be there, ive had people follow me around and try to explain things wrong with the home, and i actually had a little old woman coem in and she kept turning off the ac when we were running tests on it, very frustrating, it took use a good half hour of running in and out of the attic and out to the condenser to realize it wasnt kicking off by itself that it was that woman.

Franchises are the worst i agree, in oklahoma as i stated earlier its a whole different shebang for pest and mold inspectors, when my mom sold her home in phoenix a home inspector from new jersey was sent down to inspect her home and they told here it needed to be treated for termites due to the dry-rot on one of her gable-ends and they also said that somehow termites can eat through cement-stucco and cinder block construction to get to the wood inside, last time i checked termites didnt have diamond teeth so i dunno, maybe im wrong?

My Father was one of the first members of ORCIA Oklahoma Residential and Commercial Inspectors Association, and was one of the lead members to get inspectors licensed in oklahoma, when he started there were 3 inspectors in the state and not more than a few years ago there were 88, after licensing there are hundreds, its around 400 +/- i think now - the state made the inspectors test a whole weekend long course! - YIKES-

We often do get called to inspect builders work and often have to take pictures of places where they have used poor patch work on studs that should be complete, but mostly when we do new homes we end up writing things up liek the installers broke one of the oven ranges and piddly stuff like that.

IF they could it would be great but as long as jim-bob and his brother hairy are out there doing the job for half the cost of a legitimate inspection there will always be a problem in the inspection business

a few other people noted things like non-uniformity in inspection documents, and not marking things that are correct and only those that are wrong, The form we have used for the last 16 or so years includes every inspectable item in a standard home, a second page for duplexes, and for special inspection orders a blank lined page. when we go over it we put check marks if its good and double x’s if its bad the n we state next to it the problem. Oklahoma law is getting weird they started making us take the fuse-box apart and see what size and composition the leads of the wires coming in from the main were including what amperage main, and saying what the plumbing consisted of if it was visible under the sink under the house or in the attic.

any more questions?

“…any more questions?”

No questions but, a couple more comments…

For those buying new construction: One would think a new home would be relatively void of problems…right?

Not so! You’d be surprised how often electrical outlets have no juice, or phone lines are @ the street but somebody forgot to bring the lines into the house (details…details).

Or the tub overflow that wasn’t properly installed…what a mess in your new home.

Buyers would be well advised to carfully interview, and employ the services of a qualified Home/Pest Inspector even for new construction…say like TLowery05 or his Pop!

Also…buyers will want to know that their Home Inspector is also a licensed Pest Inspector…otherwise they maybe paying another inspector out of pocket.

If you’re concerned about the condition of say a roof, make sure your potential Home Inspector has an solid background and understanding of the various types of roofs (especially the one on your potential home).

Home Inspectors backgrounds vary widely…some were former roofers, while others were former electricians. Delve into the background & find out if they belong to any professional organizations, their educational qualifications, and if they hold any professional designations (usually an indication they’ve gone the extra mile in their chosen profession).


I bought a relatively high-end new home by a VERY reputable builder and the electrician had vented the bathroom exhaust fan DIRECTLY into the ceiling insulation! The inspector caught it and the builder, naturally resolved it but was quite embarassed by the fault because it reflected on him…

So, you’re right, new construction can and does have problems.