How Much Does A Home Inspection Cost?
When you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home, a home inspection is a small price to pay to ensure you’ll be living in a house that won’t fall apart after you move in. In other words, you don’t want your dream home to become a nightmare. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about a home inspection, the costs, and how to get a fair deal.
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Average Home Inspection Costs & Fees
The average home inspection costs $325, with smaller homes and condos under 1,500 square feet costing around $250. For homes larger than 2,500 sq ft. you can expect to pay $350 or more. If you include radon, mold, or asbestos testing, expect to pay $100 to $300 more.
|Home Size||Average Cost|
|Less than 1,500 square feet||$250|
|1,500 - 2,500 square feet||$325|
|2,500 - 3,000 square feet||$380|
|3,000 - 4,000 square feet||$420|
|More than 4,000 square feet||$500+|
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the cost of a home inspection normally ranges from $300 to $500. However, Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), says a home inspection can cost several thousand dollars if you run into serious problems.
Home Inspection Cost Factors
- The size, age, value and location of a home are the key factors in determining the cost of an inspection.
- Ask your inspector up-front how you will be charged and get it in writing.
- The price of inspection will go up if additional tests, such as those for pests, radon and water quality, are required.
- The larger the home, the longer the inspection report will take to complete, so the more you should expect to pay.
- Freestanding structures that are not attached to the home itself, such as a detached garage, workshop, or even a septic system may increase your final cost.
- Schedule an inspection far enough in advance so that you’re not facing extra charges for setting up a last-minute appointment.
- If an inspector needs to travel a significant distance, they may also charge travel costs. This may be a set fee, or they may charge per mile.
“A handyman who is just starting in the business might inspect the same house for $200 but not provide anywhere near the amount of useful information for the buyer,” says Jon Boyd, a real estate agent in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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What Is A Home Inspection?
The American Home Inspectors Training Institute describes a home inspection as “an all-encompassing examination of the condition of a home.” Home inspections are required by most lenders and most loan programs when buying or selling a home.
What Does A Home Inspection Consist Of?
In general, a home inspection involves checking the home’s structure, exterior, roof, electrical system, plumbing, HVAC system interior, and ventilation. An inspector then will write a report recommending improvements and repairs needed to make the sure home meets current standards. Your inspector should be able to prove their report complies with a standard code of ethics, and meets all applicable state guidelines.
Who Pays For Repairs After Home Inspection?
Home inspections may often reveal problems with a home that could be pricey to fix. This could be used as a great tool in purchasing negotiations with the seller. If flaws are discovered inside or outside the home, the buyer could work out a monetary credit with the seller, require the seller to pay for repairs, buy the house as it is or walk away from the deal.
It’s important to remember that a home inspector isn’t making any guarantees about a home’s condition or extending any warranties. Instead, the inspector is merely looking for problems.
What To Look For In A Home Inspection?
As you can imagine, not all home inspectors are created equal, and you will get what you pay for. Always find out ahead of time what will be included in the inspection and what will not be. After your inspection is complete, your inspector will send you an extensive report with photos listing any problem areas found with your home.
What Is Included In A Home Inspection?
Be sure the home inspector covers the following areas to avoid any future hassles:
- Electrical System
- HVAC System
- General Interior & Exterior
These other areas will require certified home inspectors with specialized experience so be sure to ask ahead of time because they may have additional costs:
- Mold and Mildew
Keep in mind that home inspections are non-invasive. This means your inspector should not be doing any damage to the walls, fixtures, roofing, or any other structure of your home. In some cases where you may have termites or asbestos, more invasive examinations will be required with the consent of the homeowner.
Jeff Miller, the co-founder of AE Home Group, a team of real estate agents in the Baltimore area, notes that experienced inspectors who are in high demand tend to charge higher fees than other inspectors. But, he adds, it’s “better to pay a higher price for a quality inspector than paying to fix an issue missed by a less experienced one.”
Common Repairs Needed After Home Inspection
Although a home inspection is not mandatory, it can be a costly mistake to skip. The money you save short-term could cost you thousands if not tens of thousands in the long run if problems develop. Although a house may look like it's in great shape, a damaged foundation or an unseen mold infestation could cost you. When you're viewing a home, keep the following in mind.
- General Upkeep – If the walls need repainting, or there is worn carpeting, or a cracked driveway, don't be shy to request a minor facelift here.
- Basement – Check for signs of leaking, dampness, or water damage. Also, make sure that the basement itself is legally up to code. If it's not, this could cost thousands of dollars.
- Attic & Crawlspace – Although mold can be found anywhere in a home, as it thrives in dark, damp places. Considering mold removal can cost anywhere between $300 and $4,000+, depending on the severity and location, this is something worth considering before you sign that dotted line.
- Foundation Repairs – Poor grading and drainage that goes unrecognize can cause a damaged foundation. Cracks in the foundation, sloping floors, or sticking doors or windows could be signs of significant foundation damage that can cost you upwards of $10,000+. Damage can occur from naturally occurring situations, water, and even shifting soil. Depending on the severity of the damage, the foundation itself may need to be replaced. At this point, you may be looking at costs that are anywhere between $20,000 and $100,000.
- Windows – Large windows are always a plus, as they let in plenty of natural sunlight. Although beautiful, windows are a major source of energy loss. For example, if a window does not sit properly in its frame or the water-stripping is out-of-date, you may end up paying hundreds more each winter to heat your home. That is why replacing the windows is recommended – but it comes at a significant cost. Depending on the circumstances and the size of the window, you could pay between $300 and $1000 for each window.
- Electrical – Old century homes, for instance, can be breathtaking, but if they are not brought up to code concerning their electrical capacity, this can cost thousands of dollars from faulty wiring. Remember, electrical work should only ever be done by a professional, as there are numerous dangers involved.
- Plumbing – A minor leak or clogged drain may seem trivial. However, this may result in unexpected water damage or other significant complications, such as damaged sewer lines (often caused by tree roots).
- HVAC – Also, be mindful of the air conditioner, furnace, and water heater. Check the maintenance stickers to ensure that there have not been numerous service calls in a short period. You should also be aware of how old these systems are, as they do have a lifespan. If you'll need to replace the furnace or A/C unit within the next year or so, you may want to take that into consideration.
- Roof – Unfortunately, roof issues are responsible for nearly 40 percent of homeowners insurance claims. The things to be mindful of is the roof's structure, brittle or curled shingles; broken or missing flashings that can affect water drainage. However, an inspector should be aware of roof vents, possible chimney damage, etc.
Additional Home Inspection Costs To Consider
Although the quote you initially receive will be reasonably accurate based on the anticipated scope of work, home inspections can result in unexpected costs. For example, an inspector may not have included additional structures in their original quote. This is why you should be upfront in regards to any freestanding structures that are not attached to the home itself, such as a detached garage, workshop, septic system, or even a swimming pool.
Inspectors tend to offer a base price which may be misleading if you have never worked with a home inspector before. A base price is essentially a starting rate and then based on key variables, that base price increases. That is why it's best to have a conversation before the actual inspection to discuss the size of the home, the home's age, and other key factors. Here are additional items that may add to your final cost, that are worth looking into:
Should I Get A Radon Test With My Home Inspection?
Since radon is tasteless, invisible, and odorless, it can cause serious health complications, and it's the leading cause of lung cancer amongst individuals who do not smoke. This radioactive gas occurs naturally when the uranium in rock and soil begins to break down.
Although a seller may insist that they had their own inspection done, a second opinion is always recommended. If issues are found which were overlooked during the first inspection, you may be able to request that these improvements be made or negotiate a price reduction. A professional inspector will know where to look when aiming to find the most accurate samples, so it is often worth the extra $100 to $200.
Should I Get A Mold Inspection?
If you find mold in your home, it can quickly become an expensive job. More importantly, mold can be incredibly hazardous to your health, especially if signs of Stachybotrys, Acremonium, or Aspergillus are found. Although it can cost you anywhere between $300 and $600 (for an average-sized home), this should be a priority, especially when purchasing older homes. However, any home that has experienced extended moisture exposure is at risk.
Do Home Inspections Check For Asbestos?
Newer homes do not typically need to be concerned about asbestos but houses that were built between 1930 and 1950 in particular, may have asbestos in the insulation. Since the EPA did not issue the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule until 1989, it is worth investigating even if the home was built in the 70s or 80s – especially if it has popcorn ceilings. Although this can cost between $300 and $800 for the initial inspection, the find and removal of asbestos could be life-altering.
When you first speak with your home inspector, let them know the age of your home and based on their experience, they may be able to give you a more accurate estimate in terms of the tests above, as well as lead testing (for homes built before 1978) and whether or not the sewer scope is recommended.
Not sure if you need these extra checks? Ask a home inspector before you begin.
Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector
How Long Does A Home Inspection Take?
On average, a home inspection takes 2 to 3 hours on-premise for a single-family home. Expect the inspection to last longer on older homes and larger homes that have more intricacies. After the inspection is complete, expect the final report to be delivered to you within 24 hours.
Who Pays For A Home Inspection?
Typically, the buyer is responsible for paying for the home inspection as well as the home appraisal. However, a seller may choose to cover these fees as an incentive to help speed up or finalize the transaction.
Should You Be Present For A Home Inspection?
Some inspectors charge less if the buyer accompanies them on the inspection, so the buyer should attend the inspection if possible. If you do go along on an inspection, take a notebook with you so you can jot down data and questions.
What Should I Expect From A Home Inspection Report?
Before hiring a home inspector, ask for samples their previous work therefore you know exactly what you are getting for the price. After the inspection is complete, expect the final report to be delivered to you within 24 hours.
Is Your Home Inspector Certified?
Home inspectors are not regulated by any federal agencies, according to the Better Business Bureau, and most states don’t require them to be licensed. However, it's recommended to find a home inspector in your area who’s certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).
Can I Negotiate The Price Of A Home Inspection?
Are you confident the inspector won’t cut back on the quality of the inspection if you try and negotiate? Most inspectors work from a set price list; however, some inspectors will offer discounts to people like military veterans, schoolteachers and first responders. Also, first-time homebuyers sometimes are eligible for price breaks.
What Should I Know Before Signing A Contract?
Review the entire contract that’s been drawn up by the home inspector before signing it and, later, studying the whole inspection report. Always request a scope of work from the inspector — a list of services that will be performed.
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