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A home inspection is a visual, non-invasive examination of a home’s structure and its interior and exterior features and systems. The purpose of the inspection is to identify potential issues that need immediate or near-future repair, health and safety issues, and security issues. At the end of the inspection, the home buyer will have a thorough understanding of the health of the home.
Finding a home inspector that is licensed and certified by reputable third-party organizations can be a huge help in saving you potentially thousands of dollars in surprise repair or replacement costs soon after you move into your new home. Surprises like these can not only elevate your frustration level and create buyer’s remorse but can also throw your home budget out of whack.
Home inspectors provide a detailed report that rates the health of hundreds of details in your home so that you can avoid surprises, and potentially negotiate some improvements with the seller. We looked into 14 home inspection companies before we found these top five.
Best Overall : National Property Inspections
Whether you’re buying, selling, or updating your home, National Property Inspections can help you with their broad scope of services, coverage in 42 states, and top-notch training and licensure, making them our best overall home inspection company.
Thorough home inspections done by certified professionals
200 locations across the U.S. and Canada
Uses the latest technology and methods
Customizable home inspection services
No warranty beyond errors and omissions insurance
No online pricing page
With certified experts conducting detailed home inspections, a broad scope of services, and robust technology, National Property Inspections has been building its reputation as the best overall home inspection company since 1987, with buyer’s inspections and pre-listing inspections. The company claims to have more than 200 locations throughout 42 states and Canada. There is no list, but you can search for the closest one to you.
NPI inspects over a thousand properties annually using the latest home inspection technologies and methods. Every NPI inspector has to go through industry-leading training and get certified in the state they work in. They also must take the National Home Inspector Examination certified by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI).
Certified inspectors look into every area and corner of a home in a pre-closing or a pre-listing scenario. Additionally, if you’re building a home, you can hire a home inspector to examine phases of the construction process.
The report received from NPI is one of the most comprehensive and detailed reports among home inspection companies. It contains high-resolution digital photos and descriptions of all significant findings explained in plain and simple language to make it easy to understand by a customer going through their first home inspection. NPI inspectors carry errors and omissions (E&O) insurance to show that they stand behind their report.
The cost of an inspection depends on square footage, the time required, age of the home, number of heating and air conditioning units, and location, among other things. Customers need to request an individual quote to check the exact cost of a home inspection in their area. If your home is between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet, expect to pay between $300 and $400, with extra charges for radon testing, well-water evaluations, and termite inspections.
Best Value : AmeriSpec Inspection Services
AmeriSpec provides home buyers with additional long-term maintenance checklists and a HomeBinder, free of charge, as a place to save all your related home information such as your AmeriSpec Report, maintenance reminders, paint colors, and more in an online application, making them our top choice for best value.
Performed more than 1.5 million home inspections
Seasonal Maintenance Checklist included
Detailed home inspection report, 400 points of inspection
No warranty beyond errors and omissions insurance
No online pricing page or estimates
While keeping their pricing competitive with other home inspectors, AmeriSpec stands out as the best value because they offer additional perks like their Digital Home Repair Manual and Seasonal Maintenance Checklist and free access to HomeBinder. HomeBinder stores your home’s:
- Maintenance reminders
- Home improvements that can be set up directly from the AmeriSpec inspection report
- Important documents
- Appliance's make and model numbers so HomeBinder can alert you to appliance recalls
- A detailed home inventory for insurance backup
With over 1.5 million home inspections performed by trained and certified professionals since its founding in the late 1980s, AmeriSpec is often one of the first companies real estate agents recommend for home inspection services.
The AmeriSpec professional home inspectors are licensed in 39 states. During the inspection, they examine and cover over 400 points of interest across various categories in a home to create an accurate record of its condition. AmeriSpec uses a complete educational training system developed specifically for them by Carson Dunlop & Associates, one of the most respected names in professional home inspection training.
Though not an express warranty, any customer that is not happy with the services they received can contact their local AmeriSpec office to resolve any issue they may have.
The exact cost of a home inspection will depend on the region and location of the home, its size and age, additional services provided or requested, and other factors related to the inspection. AmeriSpec recommends asking about the factors that will affect the final price of a home inspection when scheduling. Their pricing is in the same competitive ranges you’ll find from others, with a nationwide average cost of $300 to $400 for homes in the 2,000-square-foot range.
Best Expedited Service : HouseMaster
HouseMaster has created their Express Report to serve customers who need the results as soon as the physical inspection is completed, winning our title for best expedited service.
Quick and efficient service with express inspection report
Founded in 1971 with over two million inspections
Detailed report with recommended repairs by the inspector ready on site
Online Inspection Resource Guide
Guarantee varies at each franchise
Some HouseMaster benefits not available in all areas; need to verify everything with your local franchise owner
HouseMaster recognizes that on some transactions, time is of the essence, so they are able to deliver a complete report at the home's site upon completion, earning our nod for best expedited service.
Established in 1971, and now with over 370 offices across North America, HouseMaster has local franchise locations in every state except Wyoming, allowing it to give clients convenient service from the initial call to the final report.
They adhere to local regulations and certification requirements and are also certified nationally by the National Institute of Building Inspectors and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
Among their services, HouseMaster offers inspection services on roofing, exterior or interior elements, the foundation and substructure of a home, kitchen appliances, heating and cooling systems, and electrical and plumbing installation.
The inspection report contains information about any needed repairs in the home, their urgency, cost, as well as an estimated repair schedule recommended by the home inspector. HouseMaster provides a Limited Repair Reimbursement Guarantee, which provides reimbursement to home buyers for eligible unexpected repairs during the guarantee period, which differs with each franchise.
The overall cost of a home inspection through HouseMaster depends on the home’s location and its characteristics, so each client would have to request an individual quote for this service. However, you’ll find them within the national average cost of $300 to $400 for a 2,000-square-foot home.
Best for Sellers : US Inspect
Because of its specialized pre-listing inspection services, US Inspect is the prime choice for home sellers that want the potential benefits of selling their home fast and at a higher price.
Specialized for home sellers
Potential higher selling price and faster closing time for your home
Online pre-listing scheduler
A 60-page sample report is online for anyone to view
No expressly written warranty; check with your local inspector to see what they offer
Services available only in 20 states
Prices are on the higher end of the average range
With a 20% faster closing time and generating a 2.3% higher selling price, US Inspect offers sellers a more efficient selling process when they order a pre-listing home inspection, making them our best option for sellers. The company started providing residential home inspection services in 1987 and currently offers its services in 20 U.S. states. They have completed more than three million home inspections.
A pre-listing home inspection provided by US Inspect includes an examination of the condition of the property’s exterior, roof, structure, water control systems, insulation and ventilation, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, fuel services, appliances, and environmental systems. In addition to this, they offer other residential inspections such as termite, radon gas, swimming pool, lawn sprinkler, well, septic, and specialty inspections, as well as phase inspections for new constructions.
The majority of their inspectors are Certified Real Estate Thermographers. Every US Inspect home inspector is a member of a professional trade association, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors. US Inspect home inspectors who deliver radon gas tests are required to complete a 16-hour course approved by the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) even if the test is not state-mandated.
Sellers get a cloud-shared report after finishing the inspection with the issues found in the property, along with step-by-step recommendations on how to solve these issues. The report has colorful photographs and easy-to-read and information users can access at any time and use to sell the property easier. HouseMaster offers no warranty, but individual inspectors may have a local limited guarantee they can offer you.
A home inspection by US Inspect costs between $300 and $500, although the exact price can vary depending on the location, size, and age of the home.
Best Customer Service : BrickKicker
With educated and polite home inspectors that adhere to quality, conduct, and ethical standards of two of the most respected certification organizations, BrickKicker earns our vote as best for customer service.
Excellent customer service for customers and franchisees
Abide by code of standards and ethics from InterNACHI and ASHI
Home inspectors are trained in their BrickKicker University (BKU)
Inspectors go through extensive background checks
FAQ list is short; only three questions
40 territory locations in 21 states, but there are no BrickKicker services in most of the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions
Website provides less detail about the inspection items than other winners
With inspectors certified by two professional programs plus BrickKicker University, BrickKicker earns the title for best customer service. Each of the inspectors is educated, trained, and certified in their specialized BrickKicker University to ensure a unique approach and service in all locations. They are credentialed by both the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and ASHI.
Founded in 1989, BrickKicker has been dedicated to providing buyers, sellers, and property owners across 21 states a superb and memorable home inspection service.
The inspection includes an examination of readily accessible areas, physical structure, and operating systems of the home. Once the inspection is done, customers and their real estate agents receive a comprehensive computerized report with thorough details and a summary page with recommendations by the inspector. There is no warranty but check with your personal BrickKicker home inspector to see what they will provide for a local limited guarantee.
The cost of an inspection depends on the characteristics of a home, the location, and the type of inspection required by the client. Inspections can be as low as $250 for a mobile home to over $500 for a large home over 3,000 square feet.
Home inspection services have been growing since the early 2000s, bringing many new independent inspectors to the market. We encourage you to make sure your inspector was trained by a reputable and thorough source. It’s also reassuring to know if your inspector has been certified by an organization like ASHI or InterNACHI so that you know they adhere to a uniform code of quality, professionalism, and ethical standards.
Look for an inspection company that has embraced technology too, because they often provide extra value such as online home maintenance schedules and other perks. Our best overall race was a close one this time, between NPI, AmeriSpec, and HouseMaster, because they all checked these boxes. Ultimately, NPI edged them out as best overall because of its broad scope of services, technology, and nationwide coverage.
|Home Inspection Company||Why We Picked It||Best Features|
|NPI||Best Overall||Strong across the board: experience, certifications, nationwide locations, use of technology|
|AmeriSpec||Best Value||AmeriSpec Report; Seasonal Maintenance Checklist; HomeBinder|
|HouseMaster||Best Expedited Service||Express Report ready at the home inspection|
|US Inspect||Best for Sellers||Pre-Listing inspection service for sellers; record of faster home sales at higher prices; 60-page sample report online|
|BrickKicker||Best Customer Service||Two certifying bodies; extensive background checks; online home inspection vocabulary|
What Is a Home Inspection?
A standard home inspection is a visual examination of the physical structure and major interior systems of a home. The inspector will review accessible and exposed aspects of the home’s structure, such as the attic, walls, ceilings, windows, doors, basement, foundation, roof, and HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. The inspector will then record any notable concerns in his or her report for the customer to consider.
While it is extensive, it is not designed to provide the buyer protection from all the risks involved with buying a home. You should also not confuse it with an appraisal, a building code inspection, or any other guarantee or insurance policy.
At the end of the inspection, the buyer can expect to be aware of visible problems, whether the inspector believes repairs are required now or in the future, and if there are apparent signs of potential concealed damage or decay.
What Will Fail a Home Inspection?
Issues that put the health and safety of the people living in the home at risk will fail a home inspection. Common causes of a failed home inspection include:
- Moisture in the basement
- HVAC problems, like insufficient wiring to handle the demands of the heating and cooling equipment, gas-fired furnaces with inadequate exhaust systems, cracked ductwork, and flue pipes that have not been correctly installed
- Roofing problems, leaks, and water damage
- Moisture problems in the attic related to poor insulation, ventilation, or vapor barriers can lead to mold and mildew
- Electrical safety issues
- Extensive rotting wood
- Security issues related to proper window and door locks
- Defective smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Problems with the foundation like cracks in walls, and doors that fail to latch or that jam
- Plumbing problems.
- Defective masonry
Which Home Inspection Certification Is Best?
The American Society of Home Inspectors is the best to look for when hiring a home inspector. This widely respected organization developed the first Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics in the United States, to which all ASHI members subscribe.
ASHI certification provides further peace of mind because since 2017 it has required all new applicants to submit to a criminal background check through the Background Verified Inspector Program (BVI).
After becoming an ASHI Certified Inspector (ACI), members automatically are listed on Consumer Report's Check service. Homebuyers can find and hire vetted home inspectors.
For continuing education and keeping up with the latest innovations in their field, ASHI hosts an annual conference, an online learning center, and live webinars. The organization also has a program where ASHI members can submit a finished report for review to make sure it complies with the ASHI’s Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics.
How We Chose the Best Home Inspection Companies
We studied 14 home inspection companies before we settled on the best five. We strongly favored companies that can service most, if not all, of the U.S. Companies that have many years of experience, well-known certifications and licenses, thorough but easy-to-understand inspection reports, warranties, and affordable costs earned our top scores. Weighing these criteria will help you make an informed decision when you need to interview home inspectors in your area.