Home Inspectors

Parent Q&A

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  • Hello!

    We are hoping to have a very thorough and detailed home inspection completed on a house we are looking to purchase in Oakland. There has been some deferred maintenance on the property of interest which is why we are looking to have all the facts before we move forward. The last post I found about this was from several years ago so posting once more. 

    Would love to know if you have any recommendations for home/pest inspectors and/or inspectors to avoid.

    Thank you in advance!

    Hello. I believe its a good idea to get a home inspection on a prospective purchase, but I wondering why the sellers don't have an inspection report on record?

    We were told we needed to do this as sellers. On the recommendation of our relator, as we are selling (sold  -- in escrow) our 100-year old Berkeley house, we used John Crampton Home Inspector.  Email: john [at] your-home-inspector.com. He was very even and fair. For our 1420 SF home, we paid $485. Crampton Inspection Service
    PO Box 6043
    Moraga, CA  94570

    Phone: 925-376-7707  Web: http://your-home-inspector.com/

    He took about 3 hours and the report included photos.

    For the Termite report, again as recommended, we used GT Inspects.  GT Inspects, Inc.
    Oakland, CA
    (510) 530-0687  The Termite inspection took about 2 hours, including basement and crawl space and cost us $425. It take a few days to get the report.  Good luck!


  • I am looking for recommendations for an honest, detail-oriented home inspector, ideally with an eye for termites, dry rot, stucco, and plastering. What did the inspection cost you? The other posts look to be 10+ years old.

    As background: my partner and I purchased our 1400 sq ft, 2br/1ba home in West Berkeley a little over a year ago and waived contingencies. Since then we've identified some concerns about the house (some we expected for a 100 year old home, some are a little suspicious). Now we want to have a thorough inspection so that we can be clear on the scope of the problems before we begin to address them.

    Thank you!

    We used David Venable (Homewise Inspections). He was so very thorough with our house, and he also talked to me on the phone about how to prioritize the problems he saw. I think he was an electrician prior to doing inspections, so he has a lot of expertise in that in particular beyond maybe what other people have. Like a lot of inspectors, he divides things into 'improvements to consider' and 'things that need to be addressed sooner' in the report. I think we paid about $750, but it was a few years ago.

    I have used and recommended Matt Cantor for several clients. He used to write a regular column "About the House" for the Berkeley Daily Planet, so you can search for his columns. Very honest and helpful. 

  • Hello,

    We have a foundation inspection set up for our house through Bay Area Home Inspections.  We chose them because they appear to also be a licensed contractor rather than some random dude.  Did you use them? Were they thorough? Did you have repairs done through them as well? If we have a foundation problem (very likely) do you have any recommendations?

    Thank you!

    Suggest you call Alameda Structural Company to both inspect your foundation ( at no cost) and have them give you a quote for a repair or replacement. We have hired the company on several occasions for various projects. In July, they removed our 100 year old foundation and replaced it with a brand new one. The quality of the work was excellent and it was finished on time and at the agreed price.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

2009 Recommendations

March 2009

Matt Cantor writes a great column in the Daily Planet but I'd like to get a specific recommendation before hiring him as a Home Inspector. Does anyone have experience? anon

We had our 100-yr old house inspected by Matt Cantor a couple of years ago. He wrote a detailed report that was very useful in planning our current major seismic retrofit and renovation project. He is very familiar with building-related problems in Berkeley's older housing, and he explains his observations very clearly.

I recommend Matt very highly, not only for pre-purchase inspection, but also for construction oversight and guidance, independent of the contractor. (In the oversight role, his observations and recommendations are proving to be indispensable in working successfully with the low-bid contractor we hired for the seismic retrofit and renovation project.) Lara

I am a realtor, and I recommend Matt to my clients all the time because he is very thorough, experienced, knowledgeable, professional (certified by ASHI the American Society of Home Inspectors) AND he has excellent communication skills and takes the time to make sure you understand any issues that come up, how much they will cost to remedy, what it will take to maintain your house over time, etc. Good luck. Heidi
We've used Matt Cantor twice (or maybe three times) for home inspection. He is very thorough, gives good advice and it can be fascinating to hear his analysis. home owner
We used Matt to inspect a new home purchase. He was highly recommended by friends who use him regularly. He did a fabulous job. All I can say is, I have never has an inspector at a home for 6 hrs and explain all of the details. With such a large investment, he was worth the extra dollars for an experienced, credible, independent opinion. New Home Buyer
I highly recommend Matt. He is extremely knowledgeable and very thorough in his inspection and in his discussion of his findings with potential buyers. His fee is more than most, but we felt that it was worth the investment. margie
Matt Cantor inspected the house that we bought last year. While it took him 5 hours to complete, it was worth every minute and every cent. We enjoyed walking the property with Matt, who pointed out different things to watch out for immediately, down the road, etc. He talked to us about maintenance, tools, future projects -- all topics that went beyond the general contents of a home inspection but were infinitely helpful. We still contact Matt to tap into his breadth and depth of contacts for all home- related projects, like vendors, contractors, electricians, etc. He really knows what he is talking about, takes his time, and knows good people. anon
Matt is an outstanding home inspector. He is extremely thorough and detail-oriented; he's not at all a ''let me take a quick look and check the box so I can be on my way'' inspector (of which there are many.) Matt takes the time to do the inspection right, and to make sure that his client is not only satisfied but also that the client really understands what it is that he is seeing.

Matt is more than happy to take questions along the way, and I learned a tremendous amount about my house, and fixing my house, as we talked through the inspection. I have referred to his written inspection report numerous times since the inspection, because it has so much detail. Matt is also very helpful after the inspection is complete (even months afterwards.) He responded very quickly when I've asked him to recommended contractors and when I've had home maintenance questions. Regardless of if you're a buyer or seller, I'd strongly recommend Matt. PS

I have known Matt as a neighbor, fellow citizen and also professionally. I wish I hired Matt to inspect my house when i bought it!! He is meticulous, very knowledgeable and worth the money. I speak as a skilled carpenter and handyman. He stays up to date on the latest material sciences for building, which I really appreciate. He is also creative and helpful. When I come across a perplexing building issue that I need a second opinion on, he is the man. BTW, he is my first choice for home inspectors. oren
Just want everyone to know that if you are looking for a solid, honest, worth your time and money home inspector, I highly recommend Matt Cantor. He inspected 2 homes for us when we were in contract and I can't praise his services enough. I never once felt like just a money maker to him. He took his time and answered all questions honestly. He even invited us along during his inspections. So if you are looking for someone that you feel you can trust to look into all the nooks and crannies of your house, I can't say enough nice things about this guy! Good Luck! Lesley
Matt Cantor recently did a top-to-bottom inspection of our house that was built in 1920. We hadn't had an inspection for 25 years. I cannot overstate how thorough and knowledgeable he is. He also made a priority list for what we needed to do, from safety to energy saving to the just plain health of our home. There are a lot of detailed excellent reviews of his work on Yelp as well. We recommend him with 5 stars. Near Arlington Circle
Home inspector Matt Cantor is smart, thorough, patient, and fun. What a great combination of qualities. I recommend Matt Cantor absolutely. He gave my wife and me a booklet of information about our house and all the things that need work. We have begun to make the improvements he suggested on our house. Mr. Cantor is especially clear about safety issues and how they should be approached. Alan

2005 Recommendations

May 2005

The PG guy was here and told me, if he were me, he'd have a certain tree removed before it hurt the foundation. Reading all the different situations that can develop in a house, from mold to roof rats, I'm wondering if anyone ever has the whole house inspected, as if for a sale, just to make sure that everything is OK? And who would you recommend? The latest listing in the website is from 2002. And if not a whole house inspection, who could tell me about the tree and the foundation? Ann

We just hired Star Inspection Group in Oakland to inspect a house that we put an offer on with a 7 day inspection contingency. Because of the short contingency period we were forced to get the shorter on-site inspection report instead of the more expensive narrative report (which takes over a week to generate). I was not impressed with the short report and I was shocked at the cost. We were charged $650. for a 1500 square foot home. The report consists of a form, where the inspector checked boxes and provided a few written words here and there. It is hard to believe we paid $162./hour for this service. My advice to anyone going through this process - make sure you are with the inspector during the inspection and take lots of notes because your actual report will be meaningless to anyone other than you. Disappointed
I saw two messages last week about home inspection. One was looking for a home inspector, and the other was panning a lousy one. That said, I'd like to recommend an inspector who looked at a house on which we close today. Jay Marlette (jaymarlette [at] sbcglobal.net) was thorough, friendly, answered all our questions, called it straight on what was important vs. what was merely inoptimal, and was great about suggesting multiple solutions to problems, as our budget is limited. His report came in that afternoon, and was quite extensive. (Though the cures suggested were less extensive than in person; be sure to do the walkthrough with him.) While it is true that this is the first inspector I've dealt with, so I haven't much to contrast to, the experience was a positive and informative one. For me, as someone who used to do construction, to be impressed with someone like this is no small feat! I feel I can recommend Jay in good conscience. Give him a call. -Betsy

2004 Recommendations

Jan 2004

Hi-- We are looking at purchasing a home For Sale By Owner without a realtor, and need to hire a home inspector for a general inspection. Any recommendations for well priced and thorough inspectors are greatly appreciated. Thanks! Jen

We were very pleased with the Star Inspection Group of Oakland. The inspector was David Venable. In 1998 it was about $450, but it is money well-spent. If the seller has not provided one, be sure to get a termite (structural pest) inspection as well. David in Berkeley
For a housing inspector, I highly recommend Jim Koeppel, with Friendly Building Inspections. He spent over four hours thoroughly inspecting our 1200 square foot home, clearly explaining any issues we needed to address and why. He also gave us a 30 page inspection report that we refer to frequently which highlighted items which were significant. Furthermore, he was happy to take a call from us over a year later to answer a question we had, and said to call anytime with questions. Very nice guy and extremely thorough. His web site is: http://www.friendlybuildinginspections.com/ and his phone number is: 925-687-9087. Heather
Star Inspections in Oakland is really wonderful - the inspector sent out to my house was thorough, friendly, and patient. I knew nothing at all about almost everything he inspected, but I know a lot more now! The price is reasonable, and the report is easy to understand. Kathleen

2002 Recommendations

June 2002

We are looking for a house inspector who is familiar with the LaMorinda or Albany geology as well as being meticulous in looking for structural problems, etc... Has anyone had a great experience with a house inspector who is very thorough? On the other hand, could you warn us of inexperienced or somehow dissapointing inspectors we should avoid? We made the error in using an inspector recommended by our real estate agent in purchasing our first home. He was brief and it showed... it cost us since we had to make all the repairs later ourselves. Thanks in advance! Susan junfish

I highly recommend Star Inspectors in Oakland. They do a very thorough job, and will issue one of two kinds of reports -- a verbal/checklist type report if you are willing to spend the 4 hours to go through the house as with them as they inspect, and a more narative type report (essay form). We pulled out of one house based on their findings, they inspected the next house we eventually purchased, and have not been unpleasantly surprised as yet (4 years later), and they have inspected a house for us in the Lamorinda area, and found some startling things that prompted us to get structural and roofing experts to delve deeper. The inspection takes 3-4 hours or so. They also often take pictures (digital) so that you can call them after the fact and ask them what they meant by certain things. We paid ~ $450 for the checklist report recently. Contact info: Star Inspection Group - 800-698- 0292, www.stargroup.com. The pictures of ''the worst roof'' etc are kind of fun to see. Shahana