How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

by Team eLocal
a young technician wearing a blue shirt and safety glasses atop his headt akes a look at a water heater before an inspection

If you are looking to buy a home, you likely have quite a few questions about home inspection costs — and maybe even home inspections in general. If you’re on the other side of things, looking to sell a home, a home inspection helps you identify problems that you can fix prior to putting your home on the market.

A necessary part of a real estate transaction, a home inspection is invaluable to both the would-be homeowner and home seller. Moreover, it’s usually a requirement by the mortgage lender. A closer look at home inspection costs can help lift the shroud of mystery surrounding this essential part of the buying and selling process.

What’s a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a thorough examination of a home’s interior and exterior condition, undertaken by a specially trained and licensed home inspector. A home inspection involves inspecting the home’s major systems, including its plumbing, electrical, roofing and HVAC systems. The inspector also looks at the home’s foundation. A home inspection can bring to light any issues with the home, including both major and minor defects and safety issues.

Typically, a potential buyer orders a home inspection as part of the homebuying process. The goal is to make sure that both major and minor parts of the home function as they should. Inspections can also identify any repairs the home needs to be suitable to the buyer or the mortgage lender.

Depending on the results of the home inspection, an offer submitted on a home might need to go through renegotiation. Buyers usually present an offer prior to arranging a home inspection. If the inspection reveals issues that will require expensive repairs, the buyer and seller may need to come to an agreement as to who will pay for the repairs. If the buyer is expected to repair the home, the seller may end up taking less for the home. The deal may be thrown out altogether if no agreement can be made. In fact, the third most common reason that home sales fall through, according to the National Association of Realtors, is failed negotiations after a home inspection.

What Does a Home Inspector Look For?

There are more than 1,600 items on the home inspector’s checklist, according to Realtor.com, including:

  • Exterior property and grounds. Water issues, landscaping, pathways, sheds, railings and retaining walls are examined closely, with inspectors looking for current problems and predictable issues in the future.
  • Foundation. Inspectors look to see that the foundation is solid, the home’s sides are straight, and its doorframes and window frames are square.
  • Roofing system. Problems with the roof can be a major deal-breaker because roofing repairs are expensive. Inspectors look for leaks, loose shingles, rot and other issues.
  • Plumbing system. A home inspection of plumbing evaluates drains, pipes, water pressure, water heaters and other system components.
  • Electrical system. Electrical panels and all visible wiring are inspected. HVAC systems are examined to ensure functionality.
  • Interior rooms. Inside, the inspector looks for signs of faulty framing, such as leaning walls. They will also look for stained ceilings that might indicate issues with the plumbing system.

Buyers should exercise their option to be present during the inspection so that they can see any problems firsthand. In addition, if a seller has disclosed issues, the buyer should also inform the inspector to pay special attention to the areas of concern.

It is important that buyers arrange a home inspection with their own inspector. Sometimes, sellers order inspections, too, but those inspections can be biased, for obvious reasons.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

The typical home inspection costs from $300 to $500, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Home inspection costs can vary widely depending on the size and age of the home, where it’s located and the scope of the inspector’s services. And while hundreds of dollars may seem like a waste if a home appears to be in great condition, the problems an inspection can reveal can help potential buyers save thousands of dollars on the price of the home (or the repairs).

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