The Pre-Drywall inspection: How to choose a home inspection company.

A pre-drywall inspection, in my opinion, is the MOST important inspection you can get. I wrote a short blog about it back in 2016.  This blog doesn’t answer the very important question of, “How do I find a top-of-the-line inspection company for my pre-drywall inspection,” though.

Here are some good questions to ask the home inspection company when you’re calling around:

  1. Do you perform pre-drywall inspections? Not everyone does, so save yourself some time and ask this first.
    • If they don’t, ask if they know a company in the area that does.
  2. Does the inspector that is going to perform my pre-drywall inspection have a residential construction background? This is important. Home inspectors can be trained, but having years of actually doing it really does make a difference. If you absolutely can’t find someone that meets these qualifications, pick the inspector that has been inspecting the longest (while performing pre-drywall inspections).
  3. Ask for them to send you a pre-drywall inspection that they performed recently as an example of what you’ll be receiving. View a sample Pre-Drywall Inspection Report
  4. Do they review the building plans (if they’re left on site)? I often find that studs are missing from key load-bearing points around the home. Your code enforcement official usually doesn’t look at the plans. Be sure to request that your builder leave the plans on site for your home inspector.
  5. Do they check for bowed studs and walls out of plumb/out of square? You won’t get the walls perfectly flat, but you’ll be much better off! The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) says that no wall should bow more than 1/2″ in 32″ and no wall should be out of plumb more than 3/8″ in 32.” I use a 4′ level to check walls. If they say they check for bowed studs, ask them what they use to check them.
  6. Does the inspector walk the trusses? You can’t see everything from the ground! It’s dangerous, but so is potentially missing broken trusses (or I sometimes find that sections are completely missing).
  7. Do they offer a discount if you hire them to do the pre-closing inspection as well? I knock off $100.
  8. How long does their inspection take? If they’re finished in 1-2 hours, they’re probably not as thorough as you want them to be. I book a minimum of 3 hours and go up from there depending on size.
  9. Does the inspector work with the builder in the case of a dispute? Sometimes you’ll get a builder who will try to buck the report and pawn it off on something like, “well we already passed the inspection from the county, so we don’t have to do anything.” In cases like this, I step in and help push the more serious defects to get them corrected. Up to an including getting the job put on hold by the county.
  10. End with price. You’ll need any number of different metrics to get a good quote. I personally use square feet and type of foundation (slab, crawlspace, basement). If the quote comes back for, let’s say $275, for a pre-drywall inspection, you’re wasting your money. If you’ve asked all of these questions above, and you’ve gotten to the price part, you’re likely going to see it reflect accurately. If there is a discrepancy with the price and the other items, something isn’t lining up and I would find out where the discrepancy is or walk away. As is the case with most things, you get what you pay for. Expect to pay about the same, if not the same, for a pre-drywall inspection as you would for a home inspection if the home were completed.
    • Why?
      • Liability. A home inspector that opens themselves up to inspect your home when literally everything is visible needs to be compensated for that.
      • Time. It should take a long time to do this if they’re thorough.
      • Knowledge. Home inspectors are trained to inspect homes that are finished. Inspecting a home that is at framing stages takes experience and first-hand knowledge of how to put a home together.

Hope these things help!

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