Nicki & Karen

Home Inspections: Costs and Why You Need One

Nicki & Karen » September 28, 2020

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Whether you’re in the midst of buying or selling a home, a home inspection is among the most important components of these transactions. The average cost of obtaining a home inspection in the U.S. is right around $358. Keep in mind that these costs can increase or decrease based on a variety of factors as well as the region where you live. For those who live in California, a home inspection typically ranges from $400-$450. Home inspections are designed to identify the current condition of your home or the home that you’re interested in. These inspections take a look at every component of the home, which includes the:

  • Roof
  • Basement and foundation
  • Windows, doors, and interior of home
  • Plumbing system
  • Electrical system
  • Insulation, ventilation, and attic
  • Fireplace
  • Heating and cooling systems

There are many variables that dictate how much a home inspection will cost. Along with the region that you live in, the size and age of your home will also play a part in how much you will need to pay for a home inspection. Keep in mind that the buyer will typically pay for the home inspection for the purpose of learning more about the condition of the home that they’re investing in. However, some sellers will pay for an inspection before placing their home on the market to expedite the closing process and provide potential buyers with more confidence in their decision to make an offer on the home.

For potential buyers, home inspections will allow these individuals to understand if the investment they want to make is worth it. It’s also important to understand that visually touring a home may not be enough to spot all of the issues with the property in question. For instance, electrical problems and plumbing issues may only be detected when an official home inspection takes place. This article takes a closer look at the costs of home inspections as well as the reasons why these inspections are necessary.

Key Takeaways:

  • Home inspections occur when you are looking to put your home on the market and must consider any damages or other issues with the property when doing so.
  • The inspection costs depend on size, location, age, travel time, and other factors of the home.
  • Home inspections are considered invaluable toward the purchasing process because many purchasing agreements depend on the outcome of the home inspection.

What Variables Affect the Home Inspection Costs?

As touched upon previously, there are many variables that affect the costs of a home inspection. These variables mainly include:

  • The region, location, and travel time of the home
  • The age and size of the home
  • The current health of your local real estate market
  • The inclusion of extra services like radon testing and mold inspections
  • How busy local inspectors currently are

With these factors in mind, you should have a better understanding of what a home inspection will cost. For instance, an inspection for a two-story home at 2,500 square feet will be significantly more expensive than an inspection for a single-story home at 1,200 square feet. However, you should still keep the national average for home inspection costs in mind. Since the national average is around $358, you likely shouldn’t pay $800 for an inspection if you live in a smaller home of around 1,200 square feet.

What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

Home inspectors look for a wide range of issues when performing an inspection. In California, inspectors aren’t required to obtain certification in order to inspect a home. However, the inspections are regulated by the California Unfair Practices Act. A home inspector will mainly look for major issues in and around the property that could pose threats to the safety and function of the home. Keep in mind that any structural or mechanical problems in the home can make buyers wary of continuing with the purchase. They can also be expensive to fix, which you should take into account when placing your home on the market. To account for these issues, you may want to complete an early inspection before listing the property, which will allow you to identify and repair any issues before a buyer has made an offer on your property.

The most serious problems that could be found during a home inspection include water damage, structural damage, roof damage, electrical issues, pest infestation, and HVAC problems. In the event that termites are found in your home, they might have caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage. If the inspection finds that your roof is in disrepair, it may need to be replaced entirely, which can cost anywhere from $5,000-$10,000. By maintaining your home now, you should be able to avoid these issues when you eventually place your home on the market.

When a home inspector looks at the grounds of a property, they will search for potential septic and water problems. The structure of the property will also be inspected to ensure that there are no window, door, or foundation issues. As for the exterior of the home, inspectors look for decay, excavation, and rot issues. When looking specifically at the interiors of the home, the inspector will search for electrical, insulation, plumbing, HVAC, or framing issues. They will also inspect the kitchen to make sure that the cabinets operate properly and that electrical code compliance is met.

How Long Will a Home Inspection Take?

The amount of time it takes to complete a home inspection depends on the size of the home as well as the number of issues that are identified. When an issue is caught by the inspector, they may need to perform a more thorough examination to determine the extent of the issue. A standard home inspection usually takes around 2-3 hours to complete. However, the inspection can take longer to finish if you also order radon testing and mold inspections to be completed.

If you have a larger home that’s outfitted with multiple HVAC systems, the inspection may take upwards of 4-6 hours. With larger homes, the number of areas that need to be inspected can increase substantially, which is why it’s important that you obtain an estimate of how long the inspection will take before you request one. With the standard fee that you pay for the inspection, you should receive a written inspection report as well as photos that were taken by the inspector. These components should always be included with the basic fee. If the inspector attempts to charge extra for a written report, you should look for someone else.

What Should You Make of a Home Inspection?

If you’re currently buying a home, a home inspection can be invaluable towards the purchasing process. This inspection gives you proof of any problems with the property that are found during the inspection. Any issue that was identified by the inspector will be included in their written report. The majority of purchasing agreements depend on the outcome of a home inspection. In the event that major problems are found during the inspection, the issues can be addressed in several ways.

There are three steps that you can take if the inspection identifies major problems with the home that you’re interested in buying.

The first and most common step is to request that the seller corrects all the problems before you close on the sale of the home. However, it’s also possible to negotiate with the seller to lower the actual cost of the home, which will take repair expenses into account. With the savings that you obtain, you can make the necessary repairs once you move in. This method is commonly used by individuals or families who need to move in by a certain date.

Your third option is to simply back out of the deal that you made. If significant problems were found, you can back out of the deal without losing the earnest money that you’ve put in. It’s particularly important that you know about any radon issues or termite problems that are present in the home before you make your purchase. In the long run, home inspections can help you save thousands of dollars on the purchase of a home. If the problems with the property are too significant, you can back out of the deal without issues.

At the very least, catching these issues beforehand will allow the current owner of the home to take on the cost of repairs. It’s essential that you don’t make such a large investment only to be saddled with substantial repair costs in your first year of owning the home. By thinking about this inspection on a long-term basis, you will better understand how much savings you receive from having a home inspection done on the property that you’re interested in.

Now that you know how much home inspections typically cost and why you might need one, you should be confident about ordering one after you have made an offer on the home that you’re interested in. These inspections should be completed relatively quickly, which will allow you to identify potential issues before going ahead with a purchase of the property. In the event that major problems are identified, you will have complete control over what happens next.

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