Why is there a FEE for a foundation inspection for a home in escrow?

Real Estate transactions happen a lot in Southern California and Arizona.  If you have ever gone through the process of buying or selling a home, you know there is an inspection phase in the escrow process.  Typically this includes the visual inspection of you and your realtor as well as a home inspector to conduct a whole home inspection on the property.  

Sometimes the home inspector will call out to have the foundation of the home to be inspected by a foundation specialist.  That is where we come in to play.

Real Estate foundation inspections are a little bit different from our foundation inspections that we perform for homeowners.  There are a few more steps within the process that we have to do to supply all of the pertinent data and reporting to the party that requested the inspection.  

The data will include a floor elevation survey on the property as well as a report of the home or structure’s foundation.  The report will reference various areas of the home’s foundation and areas that were noted in the home inspection report.  

Once our foundation inspector has finished, they will then review to give the foundation a clean bill of health or supply an estimate for the repairs that are needed to be performed to bring the home up to a good bill of health.

During the real estate inspection we have to coordinate with the seller’s realtor, the seller, the homeowner’s realtor, and the seller to gain access to the home.  If the home is vacant, we are able to utilize lockboxes to gain access to perform our inspections.  We are able to perform the inspection with any of the scenarios.

If the home inspector has called out areas to inspect the foundation in their home inspection report, we will request a copy of it to be sent over to our offices prior to the inspection so we can review it and make the best use of everyone’s time.  The report helps to bring clarity to make sure all aspects are covered in the report as well as any additional findings that we may discover.

Timing. This is a big one. Usually, by the time a home inspection report is produced and provided to the parties, it is close to the middle or getting to the end of the contingency period. We understand this and realize that the inspection typically needs to be performed within a week from discovering that the home inspector has called out for the additional foundation inspection.

We work with many real estate agents and agencies throughout Southern California and Arizona. We also have bought and sold over 30 houses that have had a foundation issue, that we repaired and sold. So we understand the importance of getting the report and any possible work completed in a timely manner.

If you are an investor or investment firm, we also understand the need to have a quick turnaround time. No one wants to have additional unforeseen carrying costs on an investment property.

We charge any where from $400 to $600 for the foundation inspection for home’s that are in the escrow process. The reason for the range in price is dependent on the amount of travel time that it takes to get to the property.

The reason that we have to charge for the inspection is because of the amount of additional time that is allotted to a real estate transaction. We also know that typically, if repairs are needed, that our report and proposal is used as a negotiating tool. We only repair 7% of the homes that we inspect that are in escrow.

Most of the time once a home has completed the escrow process the new buyers just want to start living in their home and the last thing they want to do is start a foundation repair project. And, we don’t blame them.

Just like every home inspector charges for their inspection we also charge for our foundation inspections. The one great thing about our cost is that if there is an issue and you do want to move forward with the repairs, we will supply a credit for the inspection fee.


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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