How Much Does A Home Inspection Cost?
Finding your dream home and having the seller accept your offer is exhilarating. However, you still have a couple of hurdles to clear, including the inspection. While this step to buying a home isn’t mandatory and may seem unnecessary from a visual standpoint, a professional review of the home’s structure and systems can ensure the home is as wonderful as it seems. This way, you have peace of mind and know that the price reflects the home’s value.
What’s The Average Home Inspection Cost?
A home inspection costs anywhere from $300 to $500, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The national average for a home inspection is $341, but the cost may vary based on your location, the size of the home and the inspector’s experience.
For example, the house’s square footage will affect the home inspection cost. Specifically, houses with 1,000 square feet or less usually cost about $200 to inspect. On the other hand, square footage between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet results in a fee of around $315. Finally, inspections for houses over 2,000 square feet generally cost $400 or more.
Your circumstances influence the home inspection cost. While the average price hovers around $341, you’ll experience different prices based on the factors in your situation.
Do You Need A Home Inspection?
Typically, lenders don’t require a home inspection to provide you with a mortgage. While you’ll need to pay for a home appraisal, the inspection is up to you. That said, it’s recommended to get a home inspection for the following reasons:
- Uncover hidden issues: A professional home inspection can reveal hidden problems or defects that may not be apparent during a casual viewing. Inspectors thoroughly assess the property's structural elements, systems and components, identifying issues such as plumbing or electrical problems, faulty HVAC systems, roof damage, foundation issues, pest infestations or mold. Discovering these problems early on will give you an accurate assessment of the house’s safety and habitability.
- Assess potential repair and maintenance costs: A home inspection gives insight into the potential repair and maintenance costs associated with the property. The inspector can provide estimates for fixing any identified issues, allowing you to plan and budget accordingly. This knowledge helps you evaluate the property's value and prevents you from overpaying.
- Negotiating power: If the home inspection uncovers significant issues, you can use the findings to negotiate with the seller. You may request repairs or a price reduction to compensate for the repair costs. Remember, a professional assessment of the property's condition helps you make an informed decision and strengthens your position during negotiations.
- Peace of mind: Buying a home is a colossal investment, and a home inspection provides peace of mind by offering a comprehensive assessment of the property's condition. It helps you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the house, allowing you to make an educated decision. In other words, knowing that a professional has thoroughly examined the property can alleviate concerns and minimize surprises after moving in.
What’s Included In A Home Inspection?
A home inspection covers several crucial elements of the home. Although certain factors, such as pest damage or a septic system, require their own separate inspections, the average home inspection checklist will provide information on the following:
- Electrical system: The inspector will review the home’s wiring, conductors, lighting fixtures and switches. This way, you’ll understand if there are any safety hazards in the electrical system and if any repairs are necessary or recommended for the home’s electricity.
- Plumbing system: Water piping, heating and drainage are essential for a habitable home. Furthermore, the inspection will give insight into the condition of every faucet in the house.
- HVAC system: HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Therefore, you’ll have an accurate idea of the house’s temperature controls and airflow before purchasing.
- Foundation: Structural integrity is essential for a home’s safety and habitability. In addition, the inspector will report the condition of the walls and floors of the home.
- Roof: Roof leaks and faulty drainage paths aren’t always evident at a glance. Your inspector will get up on top of the house to check for faults and ensure the next rainstorm won’t result in water damage or runoff into the wrong spot.
- Exterior surfaces: Checking the exterior surfaces ensure there is sufficient clearance between the ground and siding material, check the condition of exterior paint or siding, and verify the proper functioning of lights and electrical outlets.
- Heating and cooling systems: Examining the condition of the furnace, air conditioning (if weather allows), water heater chimney, and fireplace lets the inspector know if the heating and cooling systems are working properly.
- Insulation and ventilation: Evaluating the insulation in the unfinished attic and foundation areas, as well as the kitchen, bathroom and laundry venting systems, ensures no ventilation issues can lead to safety hazards. The inspector will also check for the presence and functionality of ventilation fans.
- Appliances: The inspector will ensure all built-in and free-standing appliances, including the stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, washer, dryer and other appliances, are working properly.
- Safety: Inspectors also verify the functionality of fire and carbon monoxide alarms and fire sprinklers, and ensure the good condition of stairs, handrails, guardrails and garage door openers.
- Garage: The inspector will look for a solid garage foundation and assess the condition of the windows, ceiling, framing and roof. They’ll also ensure the garage door opener is working correctly, verify that the electrical system is up to code and test the functionality of all outlets.
- Grounds: Any leaks from the septic tank or drainage system issues can be a significant concern. The inspector will also evaluate the condition of the house's driveways, fences and sidewalks.
Average Home Inspection Cost Breakdown By Location
Remember, location plays a role in the cost of a home inspection. This list of popular cities reflects the spectrum of home inspection costs:
- New York, New York: $350
- Charleston, South Carolina: $392
- Los Angeles, California: $322
- Boston, Massachusetts: $410
- Houston, Texas: $346
Special Home Inspection
A typical home inspection covers several areas, as outlined above. However, numerous facets of the home are left out, meaning a special home inspection may be necessary. Here are several types of special home inspections, their average pricing and when you may need one.
- Asbestos testing: Asbestos was a popular insulation material decades ago and can cause severe lung diseases, including cancer. Therefore, if you’re buying an older house, having an asbestos inspection is crucial. You can expect to pay around $480 for an inspection, although costs vary by location.
- Radon testing: Radium is a naturally occurring chemical in soil, rocks, water and natural gas. When it breaks down, it releases radon, a colorless, odorless gas that can cause lung cancer. A test costs about $420 and will let you know if radon levels in your home are beneath Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits.
- Pest inspection: Termites, cockroaches and rodents can damage a home and introduce diseases to its inhabitants. In addition, the presence of pests may not be obvious, necessitating an inspection to ensure your safety. A pest inspection costs an average of $100.
- Mold inspection: Mold can grow where moisture persists in the home, especially behind walls. A profusion of mold means more spores in the air, which causes health problems. You’ll pay about $656 for a mold inspection.
- Septic system inspection: If the home uses a septic tank for water disposal, its functionality is essential. Experts recommend inspecting the system every 3 years to ensure it operates correctly. Otherwise, misdirected water can cause damage to the foundation or introduce pathogens into your soil. So, it’s well worth it to pay around $550 per septic inspection.
Home Inspection Cost FAQs
Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about home inspections to aid you in your homebuying journey.
Who pays for a home inspection?
Typically, the buyer pays for a home inspection to certify that it doesn’t have significant issues. However, in a buyer’s market, it’s possible to negotiate for the owner to pay for the home inspection if they are having trouble selling the home.
Is a home inspection part of the closing costs?
A home inspection isn’t part of the closing costs because it’s not a mandatory fee. Therefore, buyers must intentionally include the inspection cost in their budget since the usual closing cost list doesn’t include it.
What is an inspection contingency?
An inspection contingency states the specific findings of a home inspection that could alter the deal. For example, a faulty foundation would trigger the inspection contingency, allowing the buyer to back out or renegotiate the offer.
The Bottom Line: The Cost Of A Home Inspection Could Save You Money
Paying hundreds of dollars when you don’t have to can seem excessive, especially when buying a home is already expensive. However, because inspections can reveal severe issues, such as a cracked foundation or pest infestations, it’s best to cover your bases before purchasing the home.
An inspection helps you verify that the home is in as good of a condition as it appears. Remember, you’re responsible for the home after closing, and an inspection allows you to identify and tackle problems before signing the dotted line.
If you’re starting your journey toward homeownership, the inspection is a few steps away. First, you can get approved for a mortgage today and start house hunting with solid financing.