Home inspection costs can vary widely from state to state. An inspection for a house in New York, NY could cost much more or less than an inspection for a home in Portland, OR. Inspection costs can even vary by hundreds of dollars within the same city.
Here’s how much you can expect to pay:
How much does the average home inspection cost?
The average home inspection costs $336. Most inspections usually cost between $200 and $500.
The bigger the home, the more it may cost to inspect. You can typically add about $25 for every 500 square feet over 2,000. If a 2,000-square-foot condo in Austin, TX costs $400 to inspect, the 3,000-square-foot house down the road could cost closer to $450.
Since a home inspection is a professional service, each home inspector or inspection company sets their own fee. This is why costs can vary by several hundred dollars, even within the same neighborhood.
Your inspector may recommend additional tests if there are known environmental issues in your area. These tests will increase your overall home inspection cost.
For example, the inspector may need to order a radon test if the homes in your area tend to have high radon levels. This could add about $150 to your final bill. Depending on the age and condition of the house, your home inspector may recommend testing for:
- Other harmful substances
These substances can increase your risk of developing health problems when you’re exposed to them on a regular basis. Extra testing isn’t always required, and professional home inspectors usually only recommend them when they think they might find something.
If problems like these aren’t detected and fixed, it could significantly impact the future health of you or anyone else living in the home.
Should I skip my home inspection to save money?
Home inspections can be an important step in the home buying or selling process. Skipping your home inspection might save you a few hundred dollars, but there can be significant drawbacks.
What do home inspectors look for during their inspection? In addition to harmful substances inside the home, a home inspection can also reveal:
- Electrical problems
- Plumbing issues
- Heating and cooling problems
- Foundation damage
- Structural problems with siding, ceilings, walls, floors, and pavement
- Roof wear and tear
- Broken or malfunctioning appliances
To the untrained eye, these problems can be hard or impossible to find. Home inspectors are trained to sniff them out and add any issues to your home inspection report.
Many professional inspectors are certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), but certification isn’t required in every state. ASHI certification is one possible way to back up an inspector’s ability.
When available, ASHI certification shows that an inspector has invested in the necessary training and education to identify a range of repair issues. Many of these problems might go unnoticed by someone who wasn’t professionally trained.
As a buyer, you can choose to add an inspection contingency to your offer. If the inspector finds problems with the home, an inspection contingency gives you a chance to ask the seller to pay for repairs. If the seller doesn’t agree, you can back out of the sale without losing your earnest money. This can come in handy under the right circumstances.
In ultra-competitive markets, you might be tempted to skip the home inspection to make your offer more attractive to the home seller. You have the freedom to do this, but you’ll want to weigh your risks. Home inspectors usually find more issues in older homes, but no home is risk-free. In fact, even new construction homes need inspections.
How long does a home inspection take?
Most home inspections take two to three hours to complete. It may take longer if:
- The home is large
- The home is old
- The inspector finds a lot of problems
- The inspector finds issues that are complicated or serious
The home inspector will need to write up a detailed report after they visit the home. This inspection report is usually delivered within a few days, but more complex reports can take longer.
As a buyer, what should I know about home inspection costs?
Most of the time, the buyer pays for the inspection during the home buying process. Home inspection costs are usually paid before or at the time of service. They aren’t usually part of your closing costs.
It’s then up to the buyer to interpret the results and decide how they want to move forward with the seller. Learning as much about the home as possible helps a homebuyer minimize the risk of future surprises.
Mortgage lenders may require an inspection and home appraisal when you use a mortgage loan to cover part or all of the home purchase. Since home inspections reduce the likelihood of major repairs in the future, it helps the lender reduce their risk that the homeowner defaults on their mortgage payments.
The mortgage lender may require repairs if the inspector finds problems that greatly affect the safety or livability of the home. They won’t provide the funds to close on the house if the issues aren’t repaired.
If your lender doesn’t require an inspection or you’re paying for the home in cash, an inspection is usually still a good idea. It gives you a detailed glimpse into how well the home functions on its own, in addition to pointing out any defects that could threaten the home’s safety or functionality.
Once the inspection report is finished, the buyer and the seller will need to decide who’ll pay for the required repairs, if they haven’t already.
The purchase and sale agreement may state that the seller must fix any issues before the deal can move forward, but some contracts are more flexible. In that case, the buyer and seller can negotiate who handles which repairs.
Repairs for most issues identified during the inspection process will need to be finished or scheduled before the closing date. This gives the mortgage lender assurance the problem is fixed to their liking.
Home inspections can help sellers too
In some scenarios, paying for a home inspection before you list might be worth the cost. This may be more common during a buyer’s market, when homebuyers have more homes to choose from and tend to be pickier about their purchases.
Suppose you’ve lived in your house for a while. Are there maintenance issues you’ve either delayed or decided to live with? There may even be a new problem developing right now, without your knowledge.
You have total control over repairs when you own a home. But when you sell it, you might be at the mercy of a mortgage lender’s maintenance and safety requirements. It all depends on how the prospective buyer gets their funding.
When you hire a certified home inspector before you list, the luxuries of time and control are on your side. You get to decide:
- Who fixes each issue
- When each repair is scheduled
- How your asking price will be affected by completed or uncompleted repairs
Pre-listing inspections may have other perks too:
- Confidence in a higher asking price
- Shaves days or even weeks off your closing time
- Gives potential buyers peace of mind
- More overall interest in your home
- Greatly reduces the risk of a deal falling through due to repair contingencies
If you’re qualified, you may be able to handle some of the repairs yourself. And even if you’re not, a seller’s inspection gives you the freedom to familiarize yourself with building code requirements before you tackle a project.
Licensed professionals are usually recommended for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems repairs. Their code regulations change all the time, but reputable, licensed contractors will be up to date on the most current requirements.
Fixing safety and maintenance issues before you list gives the new homeowner confidence they won’t need to negotiate or pay for any repairs in the short term. It’s a great way to make your house move-in ready from day one.