How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

Nick Polyushkin / 7 minutes read / Oct 07, 2022
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Several essential steps must be taken when you’re going through the process of buying a home. A home inspection is an important step in buying a home, and it’s one that you should never skip. In most cases, before a mortgage lender approves your loan, they will require the house to be inspected by a home inspector. The cost of home inspection can vary, as inspectors are often self-employed and, therefore, can set their own prices. Several factors will determine the cost of your home inspection. While it may seem like an unnecessary step once you’ve found your “dream home,” home inspections can help save money in the long run

Why Do You Need a Home Inspection?

A home inspection can be a valuable tool when buying a new or pre-owned property, and there are many reasons why. First and foremost, it can help to identify any problems with the property early on in the process. This allows you to make informed decisions about whether to proceed with purchasing the house, deal with potential repairs/updates before they become major issues, or walk away from the purchase altogether.

A home inspection also helps protect you financially by identifying any major defects that may need repair (or replacement). Home inspectors typically require buyers to sign a disclosure form acknowledging this fact, so you’re always aware of your legal rights and responsibilities. Finally, if something does go wrong after you’ve moved into the house – like damage inflicted during routine wear and tear – an inspector is usually able to point out which parts of the property suffered damage first! This information can then be used as evidence in negotiating compensation for damages caused by someone else’s negligence.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

In 2021, the national average for home inspection costs fell between $280 and $400. We recommend that our clients expect to pay somewhere between $300 and $450 for a home inspection, allowing for a little wiggle room in their budget. While paying an extra few hundred dollars for an inspection may seem unnecessary, it’s important to understand that a home inspection can help save thousands of dollars in future repair costs.

What Factors Determine Home Inspection Cost?

Multiple factors will impact the cost of your home inspection, and understanding some of these factors can help you plan your budget more effectively. However, there are tools such as home inspection cost calculator that can help you to determine the average home inspection cost.

Location

As with everything in real estate, nothing matters more than location. However, this concept also impacts the cost of home inspections. For example, the average home inspection cost in Boston, Massachusetts, is $410, and conversely, the price for a home inspection in Detroit, Michigan, is only $293. And a cost home inspection in Florida can be between $200 and $1,000, depending on the type of inspection that is required. One of the biggest reasons for this discrepancy is the number of home inspectors in those areas. When an area has an abundance of licensed home inspectors, they have to charge less to remain competitive in the industry.

Square Footage

When inspectors inspect a larger home, they must spend more time reviewing the property; therefore, inspectors charge more depending on the home size. While real estate listings don’t always include basements and attics in the property’s square footage, home inspectors usually do. Therefore, if you’re buying a 1500-square-foot home with a 700-square-foot basement, the average cost of home inspection will be as for a 2200-square-foot inspection.

Home inspectors typically charge the same amount for homes within certain ranges. For instance, homes between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet usually incur inspection fees of around $280. Conversely, larger homes, such as those between 2,501 and 3,000 square feet, typically cost around $323 to inspect.

Different Inspectors, Different Prices

When you call around to find a home inspector, you may notice that different inspectors charge different prices. If it seems odd to you that different inspectors are charging different costs of a home inspection, it’s totally normal. Inspectors with decades of experience will routinely charge more than a newly licensed inspector just starting out. Don’t be afraid to ask inspectors how long they have been in the industry, exactly what their inspections consist of, and if they have any additional certifications. While choosing the cheapest home inspection is tempting, cheaper cost for home inspection doesn’t always equal better. Quality home inspectors know their worth, and their services are often worth spending a few extra dollars.

Different Inspectors, Different Prices

What do Home Inspectors Look for?

A home inspection can help to ensure that everything is as advertised, including any damage or issues with the roof, water lines, heating/cooling systems, electrical circuits and more. Home inspectors also use ultrasounds and other equipment to inspect walls for signs of moisture problems or structural weaknesses. Some of the other things your inspector may check during your inspection include: energy efficiency, foundation conditions (slab or crawl space), indoor air quality, structural integrity of exterior walls and trim/crown molding (if applicable), drainage system including trap placement and backflow prevention devices if needed, etc.

How Long Do Home Inspections Take?

The typical home inspection takes somewhere between two and three hours to complete. However, there are cases where the process can take longer. For instance, if you’re buying a larger home with multiple HVAC systems, you should expect the inspection to take a little longer. Homes with multiple stories, bathrooms, and other additional features will take longer for a home inspector to inspect thoroughly. Mobile homes and condos will obviously take less time than a typical home inspection. Generally speaking, you should set aside four to five hours for a home inspection.

How to Make the Most of a Home Inspection

One of the most effective ways to get the most out of your home inspection is to choose an inspector with multiple certifications and plenty of experience. Undoubtedly, there are new home inspectors who know how to do the job right, but it’s a good idea to work with an inspector who has seen a lot of different properties and can identify a host of issues. Additionally, make sure to take your home inspection report to your real estate agent. There will undoubtedly be some industry-specific terms in the report, and unless you have undergone training, you may not be familiar with what they all mean.

How to Make the Most of a Home Inspection

Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

There are plenty of questions that you should ask your chosen home inspector before and during the process. When shopping around for a home inspector, ask what certifications they have. You should also be sure to ask for a detailed list of what will be included in their inspection. 

Once the inspection is underway or completed, don’t be afraid to ask questions about everything you don’t understand in the report. When the inspector has marked certain issues in the report, be sure to ask if those issues are major or minor fixes. This will allow you to determine if you need to try to negotiate the repairs into the cost of the home, or if you should make them the responsibility of the seller, and more.

Finally, you should ask about the life expectancy of some of the more expensive parts of the home. Finding out how much life is left on the roof and the HVAC system can help you determine if you should buy the home or ask for discounts and concessions from the sellers.

FAQ

Questions & Answers

Who Pays for a Home Inspection?

In virtually every case, the buyer is responsible for paying home inspection costs in Florida, as well as in the other states. This process is considered part of doing due diligence on an investment. 

Should You Be Present for a Home Inspection?

If you're considering buying a home, you should absolutely be present for the home inspection. While this can occasionally be awkward if the sellers are also in the home at the time, you are the one paying for the inspection. Being there allows you to ask questions during the process and may allow you to learn about minor issues that don't show up in the final report. 

What Should I Expect From a Home Inspection Report?

A quality home inspection report will include a detailed written report about virtually every home part. There will also be checklists that indicate everything the inspector looked at. In most cases, home inspectors also provide photographs to prove the things they found. Your final home inspection report will include information about the home's foundation, the finishes inside, windows, doors, and appliances to be sold with the home, and information about the home's major systems (HVAC, electrical, plumbing). 

Is Your Home Inspector Certified?

The most important aspect of choosing the right home inspector is to find one that is certified. Unfortunately, anyone can set up a social media page and claim to be a home inspector. However, certified home inspectors have undergone extensive training and a licensure process that ensures they know exactly what they're doing. If a home inspector cannot provide proof of the certification, you should move on to someone who can. Home inspectors with multiple certifications may charge more, but their added abilities make the cost worth it. 

About the author:
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Nick Polyushkin

Nick is results-oriented leader with deep and broad experience in finance, marketing and real estate. Nick is a leader who has had significant success growing real estate businesses by building client-focused high performing teams, improving investment and operating performance, and increasing brand value and marketplace visibility.

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