Answers to your home inspection questions.
Do I need a home inspection?
Yes. Buying a home may be the largest investment you will make, so gaining insight into the general condition of the home; disclosure of visually observable material defects; understanding the need for repairs; and knowing the positive attributes of the property give you the necessary facts to make an informed buying decision.
Our American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI®) certified home inspectors inspect the major systems in the home, including the structure, exterior, roofing, electrical, heating, cooling, insulation, plumbing and interior components.
Simply stated, the more you know about a property, the less risks inherent in purchasing the property.
What is the cost of a home inspection?
Choosing a home inspector based solely on price is a risky proposition. It may be tempting to hire the least expensive inspector. We get it, but we also understand the risk. Those few bucks saved could cost you big down the road if your inexperienced inspector missed something.
ValueGuard Home Inspection Fees
Single Family and Townhome Inspection Fees
- 1-2 Bedrooms, up to 1000 sqft — $399
- 2-3 Bedrooms, up to 1500 sqft — $449
- 3-4 Bedrooms, up to 2500 sqft — $499
- 3-5 Bedrooms, up to 3500 sqft — $549
- Larger properties please request quote.
- Age, building height, and outbuildings subject to additional fees.
Condo Inspection Fees
- Up to 1000 sqft — $359
- Up to 1500 sqft — $379
- Up to 2000 sqft — $399
- Larger than 2000 sqft. Please request quote.
Radon Testing Fees
- With home inspection — $170
- Without home inspection — $195.
Termite Inspection Fees
- Single Family — $90
- Larger homes – call for quote.
Note: above inspection & testing fees subject to change without notice.
What communities does ValueGuard serve?
We inspect homes everyday in Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. ValueGuard home inspectors, radon technicians and client service folks live, work and volunteer throughout our community.
Should I attend the home inspection?
We encourage you to attend the home inspection, if you can. Valuable information regarding the condition of the home and its systems can be gained from spending just a couple of hours with our home inspector. Additionally, important information on the proper operation and maintenance of the house and its systems is reviewed.
We welcome your questions throughout the inspection process and our inspectors are always available after the inspection if you have additional questions.
How long does the home inspection take?
Plan on 2 to 2½ hours for the inspection; however, the time can vary depending on the size, age and general condition of the home. Smaller properties and condos generally take less time; while larger, more complex properties may take longer.
Our inspectors are quite thorough and never rush. Feel free to ask questions during the inspection. And we don’t keep you waiting at the end of your inspection for the inspector to write up your report. Our goal is to deliver your inspection report via email the next business day. If you have questions after receiving the report, your inspector will be happy to answer them.
Are all home inspection reports the same?
No. All inspection reports are not created equal.
Most home inspectors provide standardized, off-the-shelf inspection reports and many are simple checklists. We didn’t find these reports acceptable so we designed our own proprietary inspection software and reports.
The result is benchmark reporting – each space, system and component are methodically inspected the same way, every time. Nothing is overlooked. Our photo-rich inspection reports are actionable with defects and relevant information clearly summarized, allowing you to move forward with confidence.
And we deliver nearly all reports by email by the next business day, maximizing your decision time.
Why choose an ASHI® Certified home inspector?
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI®) is the nation’s oldest, largest home inspector trade association. To become a member, an inspector has to pass a national home inspection test; have performed at least 250 inspections; and pass another test that covers standards of practice and the code of ethics. Members are required to take 20 hours of continuing education annually to keep abreast of new materials, building standards, technologies and inspection techniques.
Why not pick the cheapest home inspector?
Inspection fees vary from one home inspection company to another. Criteria used to price inspections include size of the home, age, features such as a detached garage and additional specialty inspections requested, including radon testing and termite inspection.
Experts recommend against choosing an inspector on price alone. A “budget” inspector may charge less because they need the business (inexperienced) or because they spend less time (takes shortcuts) and schedule more inspections per day.
We know it’s tempting to hire the least expensive home inspector. We get it, but we also understand the potential downside if your inexperienced , inexperienced or “fast” home inspector misses something.
Are "new home" inspections necessary?
Yes. Even the best built new home may have significant safety or repair issues that may go unnoticed for a long time by new home buyers. The result may be costly repairs down the road.
10 questions to ask your home inspector
The following questions are provided by HUD:
1. What does your home inspection cover?
The home inspector should ensure that their inspection and home inspection report will meet all applicable requirements in your state and will comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics. You should be able to request and see a copy of these items ahead of time and ask any questions you may have. If there are any areas you want to make sure are inspected, be sure to identify them upfront.
2. How long have you been practicing in the home inspection profession?
The home inspector should be able to provide his or her history in the profession. Newer home inspectors can be very qualified, and many work with a partner or have access to more experienced home inspectors to assist them in the inspection.
3. Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection?
Related experience in construction or engineering is helpful, but is no substitute for training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection. If the inspection is for a commercial property, then this should be asked about as well.
4. Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the home inspection?
Some inspector associations and state regulations allow the inspector to perform repair work on problems uncovered in the inspection. Other associations and regulations strictly forbid this as a conflict of interest.
ValueGuard will not perform repairs or recommend specific contractors for the work.
5. How long will the home inspection take?
The average on-site inspection time for a single inspector is two to three hours for a typical single-family house; anything significantly less may not be enough time to perform a thorough inspection.
6. How much will it cost?
Costs vary dramatically, depending on the region, size and age of the house, scope of services and other factors. A typical range might be $350-$500, but consider the value of the home inspection in terms of the investment being made.
7. What type of home inspection report do you provide and how long will it take to receive the report?
Ask to see samples and determine whether or not you can understand the inspector’s reporting style and if the time parameters fulfill your needs.
8. Will I be able to attend the home inspection?
This is a valuable educational opportunity, and an inspector’s refusal to allow this should raise a red flag. Never pass up this opportunity to see your prospective home through the eyes of an expert.
9. Do you maintain membership in a professional home inspector association?
There are many state and national associations for home inspectors. Request to see their membership ID, and perform whatever due diligence you deem appropriate.
10. Do you participate in continuing education programs to keep your expertise up to date?
One can never know it all, and the home inspector’s commitment to continuing education is a good measure of his or her professionalism and service to the consumer. This is especially important in cases where the home is much older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.
Is ValueGuard accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
Do you make repairs or recommend contractors?
No. We do not perform repairs or recommend specific contractors for the work.
We adhere to the principals embodied by the Code of Ethics of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI®). Our inspectors shall avoid conflicts of interest or activities that compromise, or appear to compromise, professional independence, objectivity, or inspection integrity.
For more information, see Code of Ethics of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
What is radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium found in nearly all soils. This gas moves through the earth and enters buildings through cracks and/or holes in foundations and floors and accumulates.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Surgeon General have identified Radon gas as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Living in a home with elevated radon readings for a long period of time significantly increases your chances of contracting the disease. The risk is even more pronounced if you smoke or have ever smoked.
We strongly recommend that you test your home for radon – whether you are currently living in the home or plan to purchase the home.
Do I need a radon test?
Yes. The only way to determine if you are at risk for high radon levels in your home is to perform radon testing.
The EPA and Surgeon General recommend testing for all homes below the third floor. The EPA further recommends that homes with high radon concentration be mitigated. ValueGuard is a test only firm. To avoid any potential conflict of interest, we do not perform or recommend radon mitigation services.
What is a tamper-resistant, electronic radon test?
ValueGuard Radon Technicians utilize state-of-the-art testing protocols, including continuous rate, tamper-resistant electronic radon monitors which detect any unusual readings of radon, temperature and humidity caused by opening the surrounding windows. Tilt and power sensors detect if the monitor is moved. Hourly barometric pressure readings will even help detect unusual radon averages due to extreme weather conditions.
The results are provided in a professional, four-page Certified Radon Report that indicates the overall average radon concentration, as well as hourly graphs detailing temperature, radon concentration and barometric pressure for the duration of the 48-hour test.
What is the cost for a radon test?
ValueGuard radon technicians use only premium, continuous rate, tamper-resistant electronic radon monitors.
- Radon Test Fee: $195; $170 with a home inspection
- Note: companies charging less may use non-electronic, non-tamper resistant radon testing equipment.
ValueGuard radon technicians are certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. We can generally schedule your Radon test with only one day notice and will email your test results shortly after conclusion of the 48-hour test.
Angie's List Super Service Award
ValueGuard Home Inspections Earns Esteemed Angie’s List Super Service Award
ValueGuard has once again earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace site in 2018.
“Our home inspectors have worked hard to consistently provide excellent customer service to all of our clients,” says Chase Millard, Vice President of ValueGuard.
“Only about 5 percent of home inspection companies in the nation have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”
ValueGuard has been recognized by Angie’s List since 2004!
More Home Inspection Resources
Additional Home Inspection Resources
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), founded in 1976, is North America’s oldest and most respected professional society of home inspectors.
ASHI Certified Inspectors have completed a recognized certification process. ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics
ValueGuard home inspectors are Certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
Better Business Bureau (BBB) ValueGuard is a BBB Accredited Business with an A+ rating.
ValueGuard radon technicians are certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Dr Oz: The #1 Cancer Risk at Home, February 9, 2011. Must watch video about the health risks of radon on your family’s health.