How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost in 2021?

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A home inspection is a critical step in the home buying process. It is a visual, non-invasive examination of the condition of a property. A home inspection ensures that the buyer is aware of all the possible flaws in a house before closing the deal and putting most of his life savings on the line. Therefore, before rushing into purchasing your dream home, first, you need to make sure that you know what you are signing up for so you can enjoy this home in the long run. Home inspections provide a full picture of the house which makes them a worthwhile expense.

What You Should Know

  • A home inspection is a visual, non-invasive examination of a property’s condition
  • The cost of a home inspection mainly depends on the size and age of the house, location, property type, and inspector’s expertise
  • The main areas covered by a home inspection include roofing, water damages, structural damages, electrical system, plumbing, and HVAC
  • Special home inspections come at a higher cost depending on the extra areas that they cover and whether special equipment and lab testing is required
  • There are several reputable companies that specialize in home inspections

Do You Need a Home Inspection?

Real estate agents recommend that you get a home inspection before buying a house because of the trouble that it saves you from in the long run. A home inspection helps uncover potential problems with the house or areas of concern that the sellers themselves might have tried to hide. As with any other purchase, you will feel more comfortable and protected if you know the issues with the house prior to making a decision. That way you can either negotiate for a lower price, make an estimation of how much the potential problems will cost to fix or walk out of the deal altogether. While another cost on top of your mortgage payments, interest, and other costs might be the last thing you want to hear, a home inspection can give you the upper hand in negotiating a final price.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

The average cost of a home inspection will be between $300 and $500 according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Usually, the cost of home inspections is based on a flat fee of $400 for the first 2000 square feet and an extra charge of $25 for every additional 500 square feet.

The cost of home inspections will depend on several factors:

  • Size of the house - The larger a house, the more expensive the home inspection will be

  • Age of the house - An older house will cost more to inspect since the inspector will need to spend more time on the property as potential problems are more probable

  • Location - Different states have different average home inspection costs, so depending on where you live, the home inspection can cost more or less than the national average of $338

  • Type of property - This is related to the size. For example, condominiums would cost less than a single-family house because of their smaller size and fewer areas of inspection

    Property TypeAverage Inspection Cost
    House$300 - $500
    Condo$200 for an area < 1000 sq.feet
    Mobile Home$250
    New construction home$400
  • Distance from inspector - If the inspector has to travel a long way to get to the house, the cost of the home inspection will be higher to reflect that

  • Inspector’s experience - A more experienced inspector may charge you more than a less experienced one

You may either have to pay for the cost of a home inspection at the time of service, or it can be included in your closing costs.

What to Look for in A Home Inspection?

Home inspectors have a very thorough checklist that they go through when inspecting a home. This checklist is designed to ensure that the home inspector goes through all the features of the house that might present a safety hazard or simply be damaged and costly to either repair or replace. The main areas that a home inspector looks at are the following:

  1. Water damage - Water leaking from anywhere in the house can cause mold to grow, which in large quantities can be a safety hazard for the people living in the house. Water leaking also causes wood to rot which would then have to be replaced. During a home inspection, inspectors not only look for water leakages but also for any signs of water leakages in the past so they can make the buyer aware. Water in any part of the house can be caused by a damaged roof, plumbing, or structural problems.

  2. Structural damages - These damages are caused by the contraction and expansion of the soil around the foundation walls of the house when water goes in them. When the soil shrinks after the water is removed, it causes structural damages such as cracks on basement walls, gaps between floors and walls, leaning floors, problems with the windows and doors. The average amount homeowners pay for these repairs is $4000. However, the price can exceed $10000 in very severe cases.

  3. Roof damages - The roof is a very important part of the house especially in places with colder weather. The condition of the roof can affect other parts of the house since the roof plays a big role in not letting water get inside. Signs of damages in the roof include loose, missing, or curled shingles, cracks on the roof, and moisture in the attic. Replacing a roof is quite expensive, so a home inspection is necessary to evaluate its condition.

  4. Electrical Issues - Problems in the electrical system of a home can pose a big safety threat to the people and the property. Simple fixes such as uninsulated wires can be the cause of house fires or electrocution. It is important that you get an inspector to identify all these damages around your house. After, a professional electrician can help decide which problems can be fixed easily and which ones require major investment such as rewiring a home completely.

  5. Plumbing Issues - Sometimes, hidden leaks can be a sign of much larger issues in your plumbing system. Plumbing problems can range from faucet leakages to damaged or rusted pipes. Identifying these problems can not only help you avoid huge water bills but also help you prevent other bigger structural damages as we mentioned earlier.

  6. HVAC System - The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is a crucial component of the house, especially if you live in hotter or colder areas. This system helps heat, cool, and ensure the airflow around your home.

  7. Insect and pest infestations - Ants and termites can be a huge problem for a house. These insects can destroy wood and cause severe damages to your home. Rodents present an even bigger issue because of their ability to reproduce fast and the possibility of carrying dangerous diseases. Rodents can damage the electrical system by corroding wires, which can potentially lead to a house fire. However, a termite inspection is usually not included in the basic home inspection, so one would need a special home inspection to check for this problem.

How Much Do Special Home Inspections Cost?

Special home inspections cover those areas of concern that are not part of the basic home inspection. These can include checking for termite infestation, any gas or other dangerous chemical elements in the house. The type of special home inspections offered also depends on where you live and whether that area is characterized by any severe weather conditions or if it is frequently hit by natural hazards. The cost of these inspections largely depends on the time the inspector has to spend in the house and whether any special equipment or lab testing is required to perform the inspection. Usually, the cost of special home inspections can be an extra $25 to $200.

How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?

Usually, a home inspection can take around 2 to 4 hours. Depending on the size of the house, it can take a bit longer or less. However, the whole process of researching for a home inspector, finding one, and having the inspector come to your house, generally takes several weeks depending on their availability. That is why it is important to book a home inspection as soon as you sign the buying agreement so that you can get the home inspection results before your termination option period ends. A special home inspection can take longer depending on when lab testing results arrive. The results of a home inspection come in the form of a written report and photos to support it.

What Happens if the Home Inspector Misses Something?

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do if the home inspector misses something. If what is missed consists of a major problem that would have made a difference in the decision of buying a house and the home seller did not reveal it to you or even tried to hide it, you could file a lawsuit against the home seller. However, if you want some more reassurance from your home inspection, you can look for a home inspector who offers a warranty. Just like mortgage insurance that protects the lender in the case the borrower defaults on his loan, a warranty on a home inspection provides insurance and protects the homebuyer in the case that the inspector misses something. This can cover the costs of repairing an item or any costs required if the homebuyer decides to sue the home seller. Often the warranty option increases the home inspection cost.

How do I Find a Home Inspector?

Getting an inspector who you trust is crucial in having peace of mind when it comes to buying a house. The first thing to look for in a home inspector is their license or certifications. Since unfortunately, a license is not required in 15 states, basically anyone can become a home inspector there. That is why you will want to check if a home inspector has certification from the two professional organizations:

InterNACHI - The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors

ASHI - The American Society of Home Inspectors

Another good indicator of the home inspector’s reputation is his experience. Usually, an inspector with several years of experience in the area who has conducted a good amount of home inspections is a positive sign of his capabilities.

States That Do Not Require A Home Inspection License

CaliforniaMichiganColorado MinnesotaGeorgiaMissouriHawaiiPennsylvaniaNebraskaIowaIdahoWyomingKansasMaineUtah

Home Inspection Companies

If you don’t want to go through the struggle and uncertainty of researching and finding a home inspector on your own, you can always turn to the most popular and highly ranked home inspection companies in the country.

National Property Inspection

With more than 230 locations in 42 states and Canada, National Property Inspection is one of the most popular home inspection companies in North America. National Property Inspection provides thoroughly trained and certified inspectors who use the latest methods and hold Errors & omissions insurance, which gives their clients more confidence in their home inspections. The reports generated by National Property Inspection are one of the most detailed ones, containing high-resolution digital photos and put in simple language for the users to understand.

Amerispec Inspection Services

Having performed over 1.5 million home inspections, AmeriSpec provides quality service and value in complementary products after the home inspection. The licensed inspectors of AmeriSpec undergo a customized training system designed by Carson Dunlop & Associate. The inspectors are licensed in 39 states and investigate over 400 points during their home inspections. What makes AmeriSpec unique is the products they offer on top of the home inspection, such as their long-term maintenance checklist, HomeBinder, and digital home repair manual to make for an overall exceptional customer experience.

HouseMaster

With over 370 offices and having performed over 2 million inspections across North America, HomeMaster is best known for providing clients with timely home inspection reports through Express Report. For customers who need their results as soon as possible, Express Report is given to them immediately after the physical inspection, which makes it pretty convenient for folks who have a deadline on their house offer. HomeMaster’s inspection reports contain detailed information from the needed repairs and their urgency to the cost it will take to fix them and the inspector’s own recommendations.

US Inspect

US Inspect is the go-to company if you are a sellerlooking to list your home, sell it faster and at a higher price. The company is specialized in its pre-listing services and data shows that sellers who work with US Inspect have a 20% faster closing time and sell at a 2.3% higher selling price than normally. US Inspect has offices in 20 states across the U.S. and has completed over 3 million home inspections. The company offers a thorough sample report online for customers to have a good idea of the value they are getting before working with US Inspect.

BrickKicker

What makes the BrickKicker one of the best home inspection companies is its dedication to a memorable customer service. With polite home inspectors certified in two prestigious programs and the BrickKicker University, the company provides for quality inspections in 21 states. The only downside is that BrickKicker operates in only 40 locations across the US, which might make its services inaccessible to a big portion of homeowners.

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