Buying a new property can come with its fair share of challenges. This process involves checking out houses with different agents before finding the one you love, which can be tedious. Now, contemplating paying for a home inspection or paying for the property outright may leave you scratching your head.
But what if we told you that this upfront cost could be your ticket to saving big in the long run.
We highly recommend that you have that property inspected. The price tag attached to a property inspection is a mere fraction of the inconveniences and expenses you might face without one.
So, how much should you set aside for this crucial step? What does the home inspection cost generally cover, and what factors influence it?
These and many more are the questions we will be answering as we help you budget and plan effectively for your potential new home. Let’s break down the cost of peace of mind in your home-buying journey.
How much does a home inspection cost?
Many factors influence the cost of a home inspection. The inspector’s experience, location, size, and condition of the property are common elements that can determine the price you are paying to inspect your property. On a nationwide average, you’re looking at a price tag of around $341, falling in the range of $300 to $500. This estimation doesn’t mean that there are no cases where the price of a home inspection is lower or higher. It all boils down to the factors already mentioned and whether the home inspection requires additional services.
Buying your first house will leave you asking who pays for the home inspection. Typically, the responsibilities and expenses of home inspection are shared between both the buyer and seller. Here is how that plays out: while the buyer often covers the upfront cost of the home inspection, the cost of rectifying the issues unveiled during the inspection falls on the seller.
There are other cases where the roles of who pays for the home inspection are reversed. The home seller may decide to have an inspection done to identify potential issues and address them before putting up the property for sale. Even if this is the case, buyers might still opt for an independent inspection to ensure unbiased evaluation.
What influences the cost of a home inspection?
The cost of home inspection is not often fixed. It could fluctuate based on a couple of influencing factors, which are explained below.
The geographic location is the first factor that you should look at to impact the price you will pay to inspect a property. Similarly, the health of the real estate market in an area can determine inspection costs. The cost to inspect a condo in New York is most likely different in New Mexico.
Areas with high cost of living, special real estate market conditions, and dense urban structures contribute to varying price tags for property inspections. Metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, and San Francisco are typical of this category, with home buyers expected to pay between $400 and $600 for a standard inspection.
On the other hand, if you live in more suburban areas where the cost of living is lower than in the cities mentioned earlier, you might expect more moderate home inspection rates. On average, homebuyers in suburban regions could anticipate paying between $350 and $500 for a similar property.
2. Square footage
The bigger your property, the higher you would be charged for a home inspection. Home inspectors commonly base their charges on the property size, measured in square footage. The reason is that the size of a house usually dictates the time required for inspection and the thoroughness of their evaluation.
So, what is the size of your house? If your property is a small home or condo sitting on less than 1000 square feet, the home inspector would spend less time on your property and likely charge you between $250 – $350. If your house is a medium-sized family home spanning between 1000 and 2500 square feet, you could be paying anywhere from $350 to $500. Properties above 2500 square feet can attract inspection fees ranging from $700 and more.
Regardless of your property location and size, home inspections don’t come at flat rates. While you can predict the range using these factors, it is important to consider the expertise of the inspector who would be doing the job. Naturally, you want a professional home inspector capable of carrying out a thorough inspection and giving you a detailed report, but proficient inspectors do not come cheap.
If the inspector you are choosing also has certain qualifications and certifications, it is also most likely that they would charge more. Other inspectors who offer additional services, such as radon testing and termite or mold inspection, may also set their pricing based on the services requested.
Additionally, the employment status of home inspectors, whether independent or employed by larger inspection firms, influences prices. The independent home inspector will set their rates. In contrast, the employed home inspector may work on salary and will adhere to the prices set by the company.
What does a home inspection cover?
An all-inclusive home inspection covers a detailed and comprehensive evaluation of the components and systems within a property to ensure the property is in good condition. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has outlined the Code of Ethics and Standard of Practice that a home inspection report should include. The standard home inspector’s report will cover the following:
- HVAC systems, assessing the condition of the home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
- Structural components include framing, basement, foundation, floors, walls, ceilings, and roof.
- Home exteriors such as wall coverings, flashing, trim and exterior doors, decks, balconies, and porches.
- Home Interior inspection of doors, railings, installed cabinets, and appliances.
- Fireplace and fuel-burning appliances, which can contain stoves, inserts, chimneys, and vent systems.
- Plumbing system, examining water supply and distribution systems and interior drain and waste systems.
- Electrical systems and components like service panels, service grounding, and conductors.
- Roofing, drainage system, flashing, attic, and visible insulation.
Note that all home inspections are not the same, and others will require further specialized inspections for pests, mold, and radon, often recommended upon the conclusion of the initial assessment.
What’s included in a home inspection report?
After a home inspection is complete, the inspector generates a report, which is a comprehensive document about the condition of the home, and presents it to the buyer. This report outlines the repairs the seller may need to address and determines whether or not the buyer goes on with the transaction.
Summarily, the home inspection report will contain all the necessary details about the condition of the house regarding aspects mentioned in the section above. It will contain details like photographs, findings, safety concerns, recommendations, an estimated cost of repairs, and likely future considerations. For what to expect, you can read some sample home inspection reports.
What is a special home inspection?
Special or specialized home inspections are done in cases where a property needs special attention beyond the scope of traditional inspection. The traditional home inspection focuses on examining a property based on the areas already outlined.
The special inspection, on the other hand, may come up or be recommended by the home inspector when certain irregularities are noticed. The home inspector can do these special inspections if he has qualifications or by another person specialized in the field. Some of these special inspections are:
- Radon inspection
- Mold inspection
- Termite and pest inspection
- Lead paint inspection
- Energy audit inspection
- Septic system inspection
- Asbestos inspection.
How much does a special home inspection cost?
The cost of special home inspections varies primarily based on the type of inspection conducted. Factors like size, location, and the inspector can influence the cost of a special inspection. Here’s a breakdown of the price ranges of some common special home inspections:
|Special Inspection||Average Cost|
|Energy Audit Inspection||$100 to $600|
|Mold Inspection||$250 to $1,100|
|Roof Inspection||$75 to $600|
|Termite and pest inspection||$100 and $300|
|Lead paint inspection||$250 – $700|
How to choose the right home inspector
When you are purchasing your home get the best expert advice from a reliable home inspector. Choosing the right home inspector requires careful consideration. The ideal home inspector often strikes a balance between experience and affordability. We recommend looking out for the following factors before making your decision:
- Proof of state certification or membership in industry groups. ASHI, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), or the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI).
- Years of experience with a high number of completed home inspections.
- Reviews and references from Google, Yelp or their home inspection website.
- Samples of inspection reports to see what they are likely to cover in your home inspection
Wrapping Up Our Guide to Home Inspection Cost
The whole process and stress of landing that dream property can almost make you want to skip a home inspection altogether. Yet, appearances can be deceiving, and even the most well-put-together homes can harbor hidden issues. A thorough home inspection will reveal issues that would likely impact your purchase decision or help you renegotiate the price of the property.
As we have uncovered in this article, the cost of a home inspection is a small sacrifice compared to the cost of fixing damaged home components such as the electrical system or something more serious like the foundation. Take it a step further by considering additional specialized inspections, and you could find yourself saving a small fortune.
Are you a first-time home buyer or a seller? You can empower yourself with the right tools and knowledge about home inspections to take you steps ahead in any transaction. Investing in a quality home inspection is an excellent step to secure the well-being of your property, and we encourage you to do so. Many home inspectors are using EZ Home Inspection Software to streamline the home inspection process and give home buyers detailed reports on their property’s condition. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Who pays for a home inspection?
Typically, buyers pay for the home inspection. The home’s seller takes care of fixing the issues identified by the home inspector.
Can I choose my home inspector?
Yes, in most real estate transactions, you have the freedom to choose your home inspector. While your real estate agent may recommend some home inspectors they have worked with in the past. However, you are not obligated to choose them.
How long does it take to complete a home inspection?
A home inspection should last anywhere from two to four hours. It also depends on a lot of factors. Property size, age, and the components can determine how long an inspector will spend examining a house. Preparing the reports, on the other hand, can take more than a day.
Is a home inspection worth it?
Home inspections may not be mandatory when purchasing a home, but they are highly recommended. A home inspection can uncover underlying issues with the property, saving you extra repair costs. In other cases, a home inspection report can help reduce the cost of a property or dissuade you from purchasing.