Home Inspection Cost: A Complete Breakdown

7 Min Read
Published Feb. 29, 2024
Man and two women standing in an empty house reviewing a paper document.
Written By Ashley Kilroy

Sometimes, touring several properties is necessary before you find one that feels like home. However, it’s vital to go on more than a hunch when purchasing a house; plumbing issues and a cracked foundation can lurk beneath gleaming surfaces and new appliances. As a result, a home inspection is the next step after finding a house that checks all the boxes. The home inspection cost is usually several hundred dollars and can vary depending on your location and home size. Here’s what you can expect to pay when you hire an inspector and how to interpret the inspection report.

Home Inspection Overview

A home inspection is a thorough assessment of a house’s condition conducted by a certified home inspector. It provides the potential buyer with a detailed report on the property’s overall condition, including its structural integrity, systems (such as plumbing and electrical), appliances and potential issues. 

Home inspections help buyers make informed decisions about the property and may uncover hidden problems that could affect its value or safety. Reasons for getting a home inspection before buying a home include:

1. Identifying issues: A home inspection can reveal any existing or potential problems with the property, such as leaky plumbing or a cracked foundation. These discoveries are essential for buyers to negotiate repairs or a lower price with the seller.

2. Safety concerns: Inspections can uncover safety hazards, such as faulty wiring or an infestation, which must be addressed to make the home safe.

3. Future maintenance planning: The inspection report provides valuable information about the home’s condition, helping buyers plan for future maintenance and repairs. For example, the roof might need replacing in 5 – 10 years. So, even if the inspection doesn’t uncover any emergencies, it can help you anticipate what the home will need in the coming years. 

While a home inspection reveals crucial information about the house, it’s not identical to an appraisal. Here are the differences between an inspection and an appraisal:

Home inspection:

  • Purpose: To assess the condition of the property and identify any potential issues.
  • Performed by: A professional, certified home inspector with expertise in evaluating residential properties.
  • Focus: Detailed examination of the structural components, systems and overall condition of the home.
  • Outcome: A comprehensive report highlighting existing problems and potential areas of concern.

Home appraisal:

  • Purpose: To determine the property’s fair market value, allowing the borrower to pass the lender’s requirements and secure a mortgage. 
  • Performed by: A licensed appraiser with expertise in property valuation.
  • Focus: Evaluation of the property’s features, recent sales of comparable properties and market conditions to determine its value.
  • Outcome: A property appraisal report providing an estimated value based on market analysis. This allows the lender to provide a loan to the home buyer.

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How Much Does A Home Inspection Cost?

Typically, a home inspection will cost around $280 – $400, according to HomeAdvisor. However, this dollar amount could be affected by a few factors. For instance, a smaller home may have a lower cost than a larger home, which may take more time to inspect.

What Factors Determine The Cost Of A Home Inspection?

The cost of a home inspection varies based on several factors. Here’s what influences the cost of a home inspection:

1. Location: Home inspection costs can vary by region and local market conditions. In areas with a higher cost of living, inspection prices are usually higher. For example, an inspection for house in Detroit, Michigan, costs about $300, on average. In the Boston, Massachusetts area, the price jumps to around $400.

2. Size of the home: The square footage of the property is a significant factor. Larger homes require more work to inspect, resulting in a higher cost.

3. Type of dwelling: The type of home, such as a single-family house, condominium, townhouse, or multifamily property, can impact the inspection cost. Different types of properties have different characteristics and requirements, changing the course of the inspection. 

4. Scope of inspection: Some inspection services may offer additional tests or services beyond a standard inspection, such as testing for radon or asbestos. These add-ons increase the overall cost.

5. Experience and qualifications of the inspector:  Experienced, certified inspectors may charge higher fees due to their expertise and reputation.

6. Time of year: Seasonal factors can influence demand for home inspections. In peak real estate seasons, inspectors may be busier, potentially affecting pricing.

What Does A Home Inspection Include?

Home inspections allow buyers to make informed decisions about the house they want to buy. Here’s what the home inspection tells you about: 

  • Plumbing: Plumbing lines and fixtures may have leaks, water pressure issues and drainage problems. The water heater and pipes should be in working condition.
  • Electrical systems: The inspector will test the outlets, switches, main service panel and fixtures for functionality. Doing so ensures compliance with safety standards and identifies hazards.
  • HVAC system: Assessment of the heating and cooling systems reveals the condition of the furnace, air conditioner and ventilation. These are crucial for temperature control during extreme weather.
  • Roof: The roof may have leaks and missing or damaged roofing materials. Additionally, the inspector will assess the condition of the gutters and downspouts, which are crucial to prevent flooding.
  • Foundation: It’s vital to check the foundation for cracks, shifts or other structural issues. These affect the stability and integrity of the house.
  • Appliances: The inspector will test the functionality of major appliances, such as the stove, oven and dishwasher. This way, the buyer can verify that appliances are properly connected and in working order.
  • Insulation/ventilation: The insulation in walls, ceilings and floors helps keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It affects the home’s overall energy efficiency.
  • Attic/basement: The inspector will check the attic space for insulation ventilation, and signs of leaks. Likewise, an examination of the basement or crawl space can reveal signs of water intrusion or structural issues.
  • Garage: Like the house, the garage should have a good foundation. The inspector will also check the garage door, windows, ceiling, framing and roof.

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Is A Home Inspection Required?

A home inspection isn’t typically a requirement to buy a home. However, it’s wise for a potential homeowner to uncover any issues before buying a home. Remember, while conventional mortgages don’t stipulate a home inspection, other loan types might. For example, FHA loans require an appraisal that has an inspection-like component to ensure minimum safety standards for the homebuyer.

Home Inspection Cost FAQs

The following frequently asked questions can clarify misunderstandings about how home inspections work.

What does the average home inspection cost?

The average home inspection costs between $280 and $400. The exact cost depends on your location, home size and the specific inspector’s fees.

Are home inspections part of the closing costs?

While a home inspection isn’t mandatory to purchase a house, it’s usually a part of the closing costs because it’s an out-of-pocket expense for the buyer. Therefore, it’s wise to budget for an inspection when estimating closing costs because it’s vital to understand the home’s condition before buying it.

Does the buyer or seller pay for the home inspection?

The buyer pays for the home inspection in most cases. The only exception would be a buyer’s market where the seller is desperate to attract buyers and offers to shoulder the inspection costs.

What’s the average price for a special home inspection?

The cost of a special home inspection depends on the type of test. For example, a chimney inspection can cost up to $5,000, according to HomeAdvisor, while a termite inspection might cost anywhere from $50 to $280.

The Bottom Line

A home inspection helps identify existing or potential issues with the property, enabling buyers to negotiate repairs or a lower price with the seller. It can also uncover safety concerns, such as faulty wiring or potential infestations, ensuring the home is safe for occupants.

Overall, a home inspection is a crucial step in the homebuying process, providing valuable insights that contribute to informed decision-making. If you’re ready to embark on your home-buying journey, inspection and all, you can now.

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