Dear PoP – Know of any good and cheap home inspectors?

Photo of Sherman Ave from 1909 by PoPville flickr user rockcreek

“Dear PoP,

Just found out that my good friends dad’s has taken an ill so I have to actually pay for a home inspector for my condo. On top of the unexpected car breakdown and the down payment I am barely keeping my head above water. It’s a new development on the 3300 block of Sherman Ave NW don’t know if you have mentioned it in your post. But despite that fact that it was newly renovated in May 2010 I still think I should get my condo inspected by a professional.”

Very sorry to hear about your friend’s father. Even on new construction an inspection is always a good idea. Anyone have any recommendations?

33 Comment

  • George Pettie at HomeChek of America. I have used him several times and have been happy with his work.

  • houseintherear

    My Dad! Mention “Prince of Petworth” and he’ll treat ya real nice.

  • OMG! That’s my house.

  • I forgot his last name but # is still in my phone-


    It was $450 for an old 2 level rowhouse and basement. Very thorough and taught me a lot. He helped me get almost 10K from the sellers in repairs and also had good recs for plumbers, electricians roofers etc.

  • Mine too…here is the original advert!

    Thanks for collecting these archives, rockcreek.

  • hate to sound snarky here but if a ~$300 home inspection is really putting you over the limit, perhaps you shouldn’t be buying a place.

    I am not blaming you specifically, but half the reason we had the “subprime meltdown” is because millions of people who had zero business taking on such debt were given loans they couldn’t service.

    I know the term “housepoor” exists for a reason but you really need to do a last minute rethink because the last thing DC needs is another property to go into foreclosure.

    Maybe I have it all wrong, maybe you are putting a six figure downpayment down and you clear six figures on income or something, but I suspect not.

    Maybe you should reduce your downpayment, keep some money in the bank for a emergency (like your broken down car). Soundsl like you completely tapped yourself out.

    • I have to say that I agree. Even if you have a huge down payment in your back pocket and the terms of your mortgage are favorable now, changing interest rates, property taxes, and tax exemptions could easily jack up your expenses over the next several years. Be careful, and don’t rush too quickly into something you can’t comfortably afford.

      -love, a middle-class homeowner

    • Not to jump on this, but I would be really cautious about not having enough money for these expenses when you first buy. My husband and I bought a flipped house this summer and, while we have a healthy emergency fund, I still have panic attacks about what would happen if we found ourselves in a precarious financial position.

      In addition to an inspector, you’ll need to pay for closing costs (which may end up higher than you expected, so watch out for that if you asked for a seller subsidy), and issues will come up when you move in. We’ve easily spent $2000-3000 on things so far (granted, we are in a house which will cost more, but still something to plan for).

      Good luck with everything! Sorry I don’t have an answer to your original question- I totally forgot his name. One other thing to know about the inspector is that s/he will teach you all about your heating/cooling/etc systems, so listen carefully!

    • +111111111

  • never has the axiom “you get what you pay for” applied more appropriately than with home inspections

  • I hired Guy McKinney from Home Survey Company (202-291-5136) to inspect my condo less than a year ago, and I thought he did a good job. It cost $195 for an interior-only inspection (which is most likely what you’ll end up with for a condo in a multi-unit building).

    And yes, you should always get an inspection regardless of the building’s age. Good luck.

  • if it is a new construction or recently renovated condo an inspector will do you no good. since you dont know whats behind the wall you will ultimately see problems once you move in.

    you can probably go through the place yourself and test every appliance and utility that you can see if you can see/hear problems, look for stains on the walls which can indicate poor plumbing. make sure that the breaker box has room for upgrades (ie room for extra brakers), crank the thermostat and see if the air flows well form the register and that the furnace actually heats… etc

    i had my house inspected (paid 400$), paid extra for mold test and the inspector did not catch anything wrong with the house. soon thereafter i noticed damp basement, roof distress and many other things.

    i think you are better off saving your money since it is a condo and look for defects yourself.

  • Warrick Cromer at Inspect It 1st did a great job on our inspection a couple years back.

    • Don’t hire Warrick. He said my furnace was in good working order. In reality, it was 25 years old and had a cracked heat exchanger, which would release carbon monoxide if I would turn it on. Of course, I find out this information post-settlement and during the coldest days of the year.

  • We used this guy twice and were very happy with him. Sorry I can’t remember how much he charged

    Complete Home Inspection Inc.
    Richard M. Jackson
    Annandale, VA 22003

  • If it is the development I looked at on the 3300 block of Sherman Avenue I would definitly get an inspection. The rehab was very poorly done and the tenants will be spending a lot of money fixing issues long after the developer is gone.

    • Agreed!

      I walked through and was shocked at some of the obvious flaws – landings that settled and were super off kilter, bamboo flooring that was already misshapen and bubbling up in weird places.

      I know that they’re affordable and love to see the units coming onto the neighborhood (we’re across the street), but why couldn’t they have done a slightly better job?!

  • Lou Sabatini with Homechek Service (703-534-2200). Very thorough inspection with a LOT of attention to detail. Price was reasonable for the level of work done.

  • Ed Donofrio. Very thorough, very informative.

    • Would strongly advise AGAINST Donofrio. He missed some very obvious issues when we purchased our place. He literally cost us $20k (which we could have asked for at closing if he had done a complete inspection).

  • Bill Walker at Claxton Walker. It’s the oldest home inspection company in DC. Bill did an awesome job for me. Spent over 3 hours at my house and even got up on my roof twice to double check something. Amazing report that I still reference today.

    When I’ve mentioned Bill to other people in the construction/real estate industry they always tell me he’s the best.

    • +1. We used Claxton Walker on recommendation from a contractor friend. He said they basically established the home inspection business. So far we haven’t had any problems that the inspector hadn’t foreseen.

  • dave kempton

    he was great! he inspected our townhouse and showed us a lot of important things and we got a lot from the sellers before closing to fix those issues.

  • Jim Delgado!

    We had three different inspectors come through our house before we purchased it and none of them caught a major structural flaw and a potentially dangerous and ungrounded electrical system with 20 feet of unfused cables. Jim did.

    We hired Jim after living in our house for several months and encountering a handful of major problems. We were contemplating legal action against the developers/sellers of our house and our attorney referred us to Jim for a thorough inspection. Jim was the only one who uncovered a partially crumbled foundation and a structural failure in our two-story addition, both of which were later confirmed by structural engineers.

    Jim’s not cheap and may want to cut holes in drywall, but he will save you money in the long run. Paying his fee is much cheaper than hiring an attorney.

  • It’s Christmas: each year I grant one wish and maybe you’re it. Pay what you can.

    Gary Mummert is an excellent inspector should we not be able to meet due to prescheduled events and your timing.

    As an side, checking out a roof with binoculars may be the only alternative given adverse field conditions. Sometimes a roof cannot be climbed; safely.

    Does the building have a certificate of occupancy? Off street parking?

    I’d like access to all part/common areas of the building; condo inspections is more than inspecting the unit; you are part owner of the whole building.

    Home inspections should be more than noting building conditions. Code adherence is just as important and I’m astonished on how many inspectors shy away from code comments; it’s sometimes awful. There should be a candid discussions about home inspectors folk!

    email me if I can be of service this Christmas to you in honor of your friend’s dad passing.

  • I used Dale from Thorospec and ended up buying a house with a leaky roof and broken floor joists. On top of the pricey bill for inspection ($450 for an 800 sq ft rowhouse) he cost me a small fortune.

  • I absolutely recommend Alan Beal of Mid Atlantic Inspections! He’s thorough and fairly priced.

Comments are closed.