Home inspections are optional, but a credible & diligent home inspector will reveal significant flaws in the property before you close on it. In this blog, we’re assessing and ranking the best home inspectors in Hawaii.
Reviews: 3 Best Home Inspectors in Hawaii
1. Top Notch Home Inspections
500+ 5-STAR REVIEWS
Top Notch Home Inspections conducts inspections to check the function, condition & safety of the house and its systems. All house inspectors are ASHI Certified and have passed the National Home Inspection Exam. They provide the below home inspection services in Maui & Big Island areas:
- General Home Inspection: Top Notch inspects the roof, exterior, foundation & structure, attic, ventilation, plumbing, electrical, fireplaces, heating & cooling systems, garage doors, interior walls, floors, windows, and built-in appliances. The pricing for condos is between $365 to $525, based on the sq. ft. For single-family homes, the home inspection fee is between $475 to $725, starting at 1,000 sq. ft.
- Specialized Inspections: Top Notch also offers specialty inspections like asbestos, mold, termites, and sewer scope inspections. Home inspection costs vary based on the property size and complexity.
👉 Our Take: Top Notch is the best inspector firm in Hawaii, but the pricing is subject to change based on the complexity of the property. Even transportation fees may apply for properties south of Kona & Hilo. We recommend you inquire before scheduling an appointment.
What You Need to Know about Top Notch Home Inspections LLC:
- How to Schedule an Inspection: You can schedule online via hawaiitopnotch.com or fill out a contact form to get in touch with an inspector
- Home Inspection Time: 2 to 3 hours; that’s how long a home inspection takes
- How Long Does it Take to Get My Home Inspection Report: Up to a few hours after the home inspection is complete. The company uses Spectora for generating reports.
» Home Inspection Report: What is a home inspection report and how to read it?
Top Notch Home Inspections has a stellar rating of 5 out of 5 stars on Google.
Wide Coverage in Hawaii: TopNotch inspects condos and single-family homes in Waimea, Waikoloa, Hawi, Honokaa, Paauilo, Kawaihae, Kona, Hilo & all of the Big Island, along with Kahului, Kihei, Paia, Wailuki, Makawao, Lahaina, Haiku, Waikapu, Kapalua & all of Maui.
2. The Jar Team, Pillar to Post Home Inspectors
Past home buyers have lauded the Jar Team’s Kenji for his thorough and professional home inspections. The home inspection reports are also comprehensive with floor plans, 360 tour and digital monitoring.
🔗 A “Pillar To Post Home Inspectors™” Franchise: All home inspector companies of Pillar To Post undergo rigorous training, follow procedural guidelines, and offer bespoke packages, as follows:
- “Plus” Package: General home inspections for existing and new homes. This inspection covers all the major areas in the interior and exterior of the home. Fees depend on the size and age of the property.
- “Premium” Package: Includes everything in the Plus package with an infrared scan, a digital owners’ manual, rodent inspection, a 15 percent discount on added inspection services, and a lifetime maintenance advisory service.
- “Prestige” Package: Includes everything in the previous tiers, Healthy Home Package, and 30 percent off added inspection services.
- Specialized Inspections: Your local Pillar To Post franchise may offer other specialized inspections like radon, mold, infrared, sewer and septic systems, roof, foundation, stucco, pool and spa & more.
👉 Our Take: Past home buyers laud Kenji for his detailed inspection reports and reliable support. However, these specialized home inspections aren’t available in all areas, so we recommend you inquire before scheduling an appointment.
What You Need to Know about This PillarToPost Franchise:
- How to Schedule an Inspection: You can schedule online via jarteam.pillartopost.com
- How Long Does it Take to Get My Home Inspection Report: Up to a few hours after the home inspection is complete. Typically, a general home inspection requires two to three hours. The Pillar To Post inspection report is available online within minutes if you didn’t do a specialized house inspection for your property
» Home Inspection Report: What is a home inspection report and how to read it?
The Jar Team has 5 out of 5 stars on Google.
Limited Coverage in Hawaii: The Jar Team offers home inspection services in limited locations of Hawaii – Maui, Hi Lo & Big Island.
3. HouseMaster – Hilo, HI
BUYER BENEFITS PROGRAM
HouseMaster is a home inspection company founded in 1971 by Ken Austin, the co-founder of ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors), which is the industry’s first association to set standards for home inspections.
HouseMaster has partnered with home utility brands like Sherwin-Williams, ADT, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and Empire Today. With its Buyer Benefits Program, HouseMaster enables home buyers to curtail some expenses associated with buying a new home. There is no extra fee because these benefits are included in the home inspection costs.
- General Home Inspection – $300 to $600: General home inspections for existing homes and new construction inspections. The fee varies regionally and can be higher for older properties.
- Specialized Inspections: Your local HouseMaster franchise will offer specialized inspections like radon, mold, infrared, sewer and septic systems, roof, foundations, stucco, pool and spa & more. Prices vary regionally.
👉 Our Take: While HouseMaster is a prolific brand, you should always check the reviews of your local HouseMaster franchise. Note that HouseMaster’s Buyer Benefits Program is only available in limited locations.
HouseMaster Home Inspection Scheduling & Inspection Report:
- How to Schedule an Inspection via HouseMaster.com: You can schedule online on housemaster.com
- How Long Does it Take to Get My Inspection Report: This depends on your home inspector. A general home inspection requires two to three hours, and it may take up to a week or so for the inspector to compile the inspection report.
- Your Experience May Vary: HouseMaster is available in 49 states, and you will be connected with the local franchise’s inspector. With HouseMaster’s “Inspection Guarantee,” you can also avail of a limited repairs reimbursement!
- Digitized Platform – HouseMaster Cloud: In 2017, the company upgraded its platform and created an online dashboard. Since then, home buyers can access all the property information at their fingertips.
- Pre-Listing Home Inspections: An idea brought to fruition by HouseMasters that has helped thousands of consumers sell their homes quickly.
HouseMaster has 5 out of 5 stars on Google for its Fayetteville office. The reviews of HouseMaster franchisees are positive nationwide.
Near-Nationwide Coverage: HouseMaster has franchisees offering home inspection services in 49 states.
What are Home Inspections?
Inspections are non-invasive visual examinations of homes. Home inspections can reveal significant defects in the property that a homebuyer may miss.
A home inspector performs a home inspection, and the inspection report carries an inspector’s objective assessment of the house.
A thorough home inspection can uncover issues like mold infestation or faulty electrical systems. Inspections also give home buyers an estimate of the maintenance required on the property.
Usually, the buyer or the buyer agent schedules a home inspection.
🤌 Hawaii Home Inspection: Everything you need to know about home inspections in Hawaii
What are Home Inspectors?
Home inspectors conduct home inspections, which makes them important stakeholders in real estate transactions.
A home inspector will assess the property and prepare a detailed report that documents the property’s structures, design, and fixtures.
Qualified home inspectors will highlight material defects that could pose a significant financial or physical injury risk to the next homeowner.
👉 A good home inspector will uncover “hidden” issues of the property and save you from buying a poorly maintained house.
What do Home Inspectors Look for in Hawaii?
Home inspectors look for visual cues of major flaws that could compromise safety. Appearances can be deceptive. No matter how great the curb appeal is, you don’t want to get stuck with a damaged house.
Usually, a home inspector performs a general home inspection.
Depending on the property, the home inspector may recommend specialty inspections like radon, asbestos, and termite inspections.
1. General Home Inspection
In a general home inspection, a home inspector will examine all the mechanical systems and physical structures of the property. Inspectors assess the interior parts of a house and the exterior grounds to find flaws.
Here’s what a home inspector does during a general home inspection:
- Foundation Inspection: Inspection of the house perimeter to check for large cracks in walls, uneven flooring structure, sink holes, loosened or cracked windows, etc.
- Garage: Inspector will check if garage doors open and close as expected, whether the garage is ventilated enough, and if the garage framing is visible.
- Exterior Walls: Inspector inspects the walls of the property to check the damage caused by wood-loving organisms, a possible infestation of termites, etc.
- Roof Inspection: Home inspector will check for loose or improperly secured shingles on the roof, signs of water damage, and the condition of the gutters.
- Grading: House inspector will inspect property to check grading around the structure of the house to verify if the level of the ground around the home is positive, as in, water flows away from the house.
- Electrical Inspection: Inspector will examine the electrical connections and wiring of the house to find potential shock points or possible surges.
- HVAC Inspection: Done by a home inspector to assess the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems of the house.
- Plumbing Inspection: Thorough examination of the plumbing system, including sewers, supply and sewage lines, etc., done by an inspector.
- Kitchen Appliances: Inspector will inspect household appliances like installed ovens, dishwashing machines, grinders, blenders, surface cooking appliances, etc.
2. Specialized Inspections
A home inspector may recommend an additional inspection for a house, depending on their initial assessment.
In specialized home inspections or ancillary inspections, a trained real estate professional will evaluate a specific aspect of the property.
In a specialty home inspection, this real estate professional will re-assess the areas flagged as “potential threats.” After this exhaustive reexamination, you get a complete view of that aspect of the property.
- Asbestos Inspection: House inspector will assess the property for the suspected presence of ACM (Asbestos-containing material), which is a carcinogenic
- Radon Inspection: Radon gas is a highly toxic material, and homes should be devoid of its presence
- Lead-based Paint Inspection: Required for homes built before 1978 to check the type of paint used
- Termites Inspection: Check the house for wood-destroying organisms like termites, pests, rodents, etc.
- Mold Inspection: Mold or moisture can destroy the structure of the property & needs to be under control
- Chimney Inspection: Evaluation of the chimney to determine if the fireplace & chimney is usable or not
- Septic Tank Inspection: Inspector will examine the disposal system of the septic tank
👉 Avoid Buying a Toxic and Insecure Property: Certain areas of the property may require special attention, and we recommend inspecting your new home for termite infestation even if a home inspector doesn’t recommend it.
What are Home Inspectors Not Allowed to Do?
A good home inspector will limit their work to the scope of the inspection.
Some examples of what home inspectors will refrain from doing are:
- Risk the Safety of Residents While Inspecting the House: Honoring their “duty to warn,” an inspector should never neglect the safety of the residents and themselves. Disclosing all imminent threats in the inspection report is ideal, and if an issue could escalate, then the inspection should be stopped.
- Diagnose and Draw Inferences of Symptoms That Need Further Testing: If a home inspector finds evidence of lead paint or mold, they shouldn’t draw conclusions without doing the specific tests.
- Repairing the Home They’ve Inspected: This is directly from the Inspector’s Code of Ethics! No home inspector can renovate or fix the house that they have inspected.
- Cross-sell or Upsell Other Real Estate Services: Inspectors shouldn’t sell any other services like repairs, handyman, contractors, etc., especially for the repairs identified during the home inspection.
- Move Items Around or Damage the House: The house inspector cannot move items around the house. They are also not entitled to make a hole in the wall to find out if the foundation is weak.
- Outline Encroachments: An inspector’s role is limited to examining the property, not estimating the exact size of the property or highlighting encroachments like a surveyor.
How Much do Home Inspectors Charge in Hawaii?
A Hawaii home inspector will charge anywhere between $400-$700. The average home inspection cost is $550.
Several factors, such as the size, condition, age, and location of your property, will contribute to this cost.
🤌 Average Cost of Home Inspection in Hawaii: Get the breakdown of home inspector costs in Hawaii
Who Pays the Home Inspector in Hawaii?
The home buyer pays the home inspector.
Even though the buyer pays the home inspector’s fees, these expenses aren’t included in the buyer’s closing costs.
» How Much are Closing Costs in Hawaii for Buyer: Breakdown of all costs you pay as a home buyer
How to Find a Good Home Inspector in Hawaii?
To find a good home inspector, you need to be thorough in your research.
Consider all the parameters to look for in a home inspector. The most important ones are customer reviews and the comprehensiveness of the home inspection reports.
The inspection report’s level of detail and thoroughness indicates how observant and meticulous the home inspector is.
Home Inspection Report
The home inspector documents their findings in a house inspection report or a property inspection report. These reports contain home inspection pictures and observations made by the home inspector.
Detailed inspection reports summarize the home inspection process succinctly and expose the true condition of the property.
Such a comprehensive report helps home buyers make an informed decision about the house.
» Home Inspection Report Example: Check out this sample inspection report for the house & how to read it
How Long Does a Home Inspection Report Take?
The time to get back the inspection report depends on the thoroughness and meticulousness of the home inspector.
Typically, a home inspection report is available within 24 to 48 hours. An ancillary inspection report may take a few more days, depending on the severity.
Are Sellers Required to Repair Items HI Home Inspectors Find Faulty?
Not really. However, the sale may not happen if you don’t even consider making the mandatory repairs.
During a home inspection, a Hawaii house inspector will look for anomalies in the property. Repairs identified by a home inspector can either be mandatory or non-essential.
|Mandatory Repairs||Non-Essential Repairs|
|1. Meaning||Safety and health-related defects that aren’t negotiable.||Cosmetic issues that don’t compromise the safety of the residents who shall occupy the house.|
|2. Example||Leaking roofs, outdated electrical systems, or rodent infestations||Poor aesthetics, damaged countertops, or tiny cracks in the bathroom floor|
|3. Can You Skip These Repairs?||No. Several U.S. states will require the sellers to make amends before closing. Even lenders financing the home buyer’s transaction will expect the house to be devoid of these issues.||Yes, partially. You can negotiate these minor repairs with the home buyer. This entails either splitting the repair costs or reducing the sale price.|
💰 Sell Your House Without Repairs: If the mandatory repairs cost more than the profit you’ll make from selling the property, you can sell your house as-is to companies that buy houses in Hawaii.
» Selling a Home As Is in Hawaii: Check out our guide to selling a house as is in HI
Can You Sell a House As Is in Hawaii Without Inspection?
Yes! You can sell your home as-is without a house inspection.
House flippers in Hawaii and cash home buyers always scour for distressed properties on the MLS. You can market your property to such investors with a Flat Fee MLS listing on Houzeo.com.
👉 Home sellers who listed properties on Houzeo.com have received cash offers from iBuyers like Opendoor & cash buyer companies like We Buy Ugly Houses.
» Flat Fee MLS Hawaii: Unload your property without spending a dime on repairs
What to Look For in a Home Inspector in Hawaii?
Hiring a credible home inspector is critical because their home inspection report elaborates on the true condition of the property. Before scheduling a home inspection, you should check out:
- Customer Reviews: Review the home inspector’s reviews on popular review sites like Google & TrustPilot. National home inspection companies like Pillar To Post Home Inspectors have reviews for every franchise office. The past clientele review can help you understand the quality of inspection your house will get.
- Home Inspector’s Credentials: Review the license of the home inspector. Are they members of ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) or NACHI (National Association of Certified Home Inspectors)?
- Training and Experience: How many certifications have they done? How many homes were inspected in their tenure? Do they perform specialized home inspections?
- Pricing: Verify if the home inspector is charging as per the average house inspection costs in your area. It is likely that an experienced inspector may charge more for inspections.
- Quality of Home Inspection Reports: Is the inspection report detailed and specific? How meticulously has the home been inspected? Did they cover all the crawl spaces and concealed attics? Are there enough photographs?
- Access to Technology Tools: An inspector with new-age home inspection tools and drones will have a higher chance of detecting issues hidden in plain sight.
- Check if the Home Inspector is E&O Insured: E&O Insurance is a liability insurance that covers legal costs for a home inspector if they are at fault. This typically happens when the house inspector fails to identify flaws in a property.
Can Home Inspectors be Held Liable for Missed Items?
Yes, home inspectors are liable for missed items, especially if they could pose a huge risk to public safety.
In this case, if the inspector fails to examine the faulty wiring and the house catches fire, then whether the inmates live or die, the home inspector is liable. To proceed, though, you need to have a claim.
This can be either some specific inspection that was promised but never happened or an area the inspector forgot to examine.
Home inspectors can be sued for negligence, but proving it can be tricky.
Can I Sue My Hawaii Home Inspector?
Yes, you can sue your home inspector. However, there is limited benefit from that drivel. You will have to prove your claim that the home inspector was irresponsible and negligent, which isn’t a cakewalk, really.
If exculpatory clauses like the “Limitation of Liability Clause” were included in your home inspection contract, then you might as well not sue anybody and save yourself the hassle of lawsuits.
According to this clause, even if the home inspector or the company misses something, they are not liable to pay for the damage. The negligence may have cost $20,000 in house repairs, but you won’t get a dime more than what you paid for the home inspection, $350.
ASHI and InterNACHI suggest home inspectors be E&O insured. That way, if a buyer wins the claim, the inspector’s insurance company can cover half the costs.
👉 Proving a negligence claim can be complicated, so we suggest you consider legal actions:
- Against the Home Builder: Only an option if the property is a new construction. It is not uncommon for home builders or subcontractors to subsidize and use cheap materials to decrease the cost to build a house in Hawaii. You will need to prove this with factual data in a legal setting though.
- Against the Home Seller: Say the home seller didn’t reveal the prominent defects in the seller disclosure, then you can sue the seller. Filling in the seller disclosure honestly is required by Hawaii laws, and the legal consequences can be severe.
» Hawaii Real Estate Disclosure Laws: Check out how to read a disclosure statement and learn about the issues of the property
Home Inspector vs Home Appraiser
A home inspector is often confused with a home appraiser, but the two are quite distinct.
What is a Home Inspector?
- A home inspector has zero concern with the market value of the property and takes an interest in its physical condition.
- Home inspectors will examine all the systems of the house with scrutiny and identify flaws in the different areas of the house.
- Home inspections are scheduled by home buyers generally. A pre-listing inspection is the only case when home sellers schedule an inspection.
A seller typically schedules a pre-sale or seller’s inspection before they list on MLS. The primary motivation is to find flaws in the house early on. The inspection report can also be used as a home improvement guide for enhancing the property.
Sellers don’t have to worry about the home inspector’s visit when a buyer is interested in their property. A pre-listing inspection may help you sell your house quickly without bargaining the home sale price.
» Sell My House Fast in Hawaii: Here’s a guide to help you sell your Hawaii house fast
What is a Home Appraiser?
- A home appraiser looks at the property to determine the fair market value of a property.
- Appraisers will check local home sale trends to compare similar properties & evaluate a home’s appraised value.
- Mortgage lenders will hire a home appraiser if you get a property mortgage. Even if you don’t need a mortgage to buy a house, you should still hire a home appraiser and verify the market value so you don’t overpay.
» How Much Does an Appraisal Cost in Hawaii: Find out how much a home appraiser services cost
Do I Need a Home Inspection in Hawaii?
Yes, you need to do a home inspection because it reveals potentially life-threatening issues in a house.
Buying a home is probably something that happens once in one’s lifetime. You don’t want to end up with a property that costs thousands in extended repairs!
You can also leverage the result of the home inspection & negotiate with the seller to fix the issues in the home inspection report. Or you could request them to reduce the home sale price or give you some financial concessions.
If only a few cosmetic issues are found in the house inspection, you can review this repair cost guide and estimate the expenses.
When done by a diligent home inspector, home inspections can save you from overpaying for a property or buying a property that’s a money pit!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What does a home inspector do?
A home inspector examines and assesses the property to identify potential cosmetic or life-endangering flaws. During a home inspection, the inspector will note down their observations & prepare a detailed report that documents the property's structures, design, and fixtures.
2. Can you be a home inspector and appraiser?
Yes, home inspectors & home appraisers can be the same. There is no law stating otherwise. However, having the same person do the inspection and the home appraisal can cause a conflict of interest. An inspection is done to find flaws and negotiate the sales price to cover the cost of repairs. On the other hand, an appraisal is done for Hawaii lenders, and an appraiser aims to find the property's market value and determine whether it's overpriced or underpriced.
3. Can a home inspector condemn a house?
No, a home inspector cannot condemn a house. Only a legally appointed building or city inspector can condemn a house and declare it uninhabitable.
4. Can you sue a home inspector for false information?
Yes, you can sue a home inspector that gives you false information. The legal action depends on whether an individual home inspector is sued or the company where they work at. If you can prove that the home inspector was negligent, you may be able to recover some attorney fees.
5. Can a realtor be a home inspector?
Yes! A realtor can be a home inspector, and there is no law forbidding them from the same. However, this arrangement can be counterintuitive. A home inspector's primary motivation is to find faults in the house. A house that fails the inspection will not be closed, and that's where the realtor loses the entire sale. Your realtor could be motivated to wilfully ignore cosmetic issues so that the sale happens.
6. Do Hawaii real estate agents hire home inspectors?
Yes, a real estate agent in Hawaii can hire a home inspector on behalf of the home buyer & schedule an inspection. A good real estate agent will help you buy the best house & can support you in negotiations involved after the inspection.
» Real Estate Agents Hawaii : Check out our rankings of the top real estate agents in Hawaii.
7. Do home inspectors in Hawaii require a license?
No, Hawaii home inspectors do not require a license to perform a home inspection.
8. Can a general contractor do home inspections in Hawaii?
Yes, a general contractor certified in Hawaii can do home inspections as long as they don't call themselves "Home Inspector" & mislead the buyer. You should know that a general contractor isn't expected to adhere to the ethical prohibitions of home inspections. We recommend you work with a certified Hawaii home inspector to avoid peril.
Eager to Know How Houzeo Works?
We’ve got you covered. Check out the following video to understand how Houzeo works and why it is one of the best For Sale By Owner websites in the U.S.
What is Houzeo?
An overview of what the platform is all about
» NEED MORE CLARITY? Read these exclusive Houzeo.com reviews and learn why it is one of the best FSBO sites in America.
- Things That Fail a Home Inspection: What are the things that can lead to a bad home inspection?
- How Long Does a Home Inspection Take: Inspections reveal defects, but how much time does it take?
- Home Inspection Checklist for Buyers: Inspectors will look at these areas to find flaws. Check out the full home inspection checklist
- Estimated Closing Costs Calculator for Buyer in Hawaii: Find out the total closing costs you pay when you buy a Hawaii property.
- Cash Offer for My Home Hawaii: Read to find out what a cash offer for your house means in HI
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- Buy House in Hawaii: Check out our guide to buying a house in Hawaii
- Real Estate Agents Low Commission: Work with Hawaii‘s best low commission real estate agents & companies
- Forsalebyowner Hawaii: Find your dream home on Houzeo Marketplace
- Is the Housing Market Going to Crash in Hawaii: Find out what’s the state of Hawaii‘s housing market
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