Tips & AdviceHow Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

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A home inspection provides buyers with essential information about the property they intend to purchase. When buyers acquire a home inspection, a certified home inspector walks through the property to highlight any potential issues that the buyer and seller should discuss before they finalize the sale. Buyers can also take satisfaction in a home inspection that does not present any challenges. If you’re considering purchasing a property, you may want to include a home inspection to guarantee that you’re getting a home free of damages.

What is a home inspection?

A general home inspection includes a broad look at the property’s structure and systems to identify potential issues and areas that need repairs. The inspection allows buyers to check that the home they’re purchasing is in livable condition or come back to the table to negotiate the next steps with the seller. During a home inspection, a certified inspector looks through the property to provide a detailed analysis of the home’s current state.

In addition to a general inspection, buyers may choose to perform additional testing, such as a mold test or a termite inspection, to give them additional comfort about the house’s condition.

Learn more: The Importance of a Home Inspection

When does the inspection occur?

Once the seller accepts a buyer’s offer and both parties sign the home purchase agreement, the buyer should arrange for a home inspection. Typically, buyers complete their inspections within a set period. After the home inspection, the purchase agreement should allow the buyers another set period to review the inspector’s report and renegotiate with the seller, if needed, before moving forward with the purchase.

How much does a home inspection cost?

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the cost of a housing inspection averages between $300 to $500, although this range can vary. Compared to the high price tag of a new home, the relatively small cost of an inspection can yield important information. Material defects that come to light could affect your purchase price or your willingness to move forward with the sale.

Who pays for a home inspection?

Typically, the buyer contracts and pays for the home inspection cost. Sellers may offer their reports or disclosures about known issues, but the buyer should still strive to obtain an independent opinion from a certified inspector. To ensure the quality of services in New York, home inspectors must follow state regulations and have a license to perform an inspection. Since home inspections occur before closing, buyers usually pay for this step out-of-pocket and do not consider it part of their closing costs.

What is a Home Inspection Contingency?

Buyers can add a home inspection contingency to their purchase agreement to guarantee they receive an inspection before closing. The contingency protects buyers in case the inspector finds considerable damage, allowing them to potentially walk away from the deal and keep their earnest money. Buyers and sellers must agree to the contingencies’ terms before signing the agreement.

Home inspections are one of the most common contingencies related to a home sale. The buyer may make their purchase contingent upon the results of a home inspection. After reviewing the inspector’s report, the buyer may request the option to further negotiate with the seller regarding any defects uncovered. The seller may want to compensate the buyer for certain repairs, or they may agree to fix the items before settlement.

How long does a home inspection take?

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, the average home inspection can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete, based on the property’s size and condition. Buyers should plan to attend the home inspection, if possible. If you have specific concerns, such as the need to replace the roof or signs of a leak you noticed when touring the home, you may want to bring them to the inspector’s attention.

While at the property, the inspector visually inspects the home. If a certain room or area, such as the attic, is not reachable or available, they will note this in their inspection report. Examples of the items on a home inspector’s checklist include the following:

Roof

Check for loose shingles or signs of wear that may indicate the need for repair. If needed, a roof replacement averages around $7,000, according to Home Guide ($350 – $500 per hundred square feet). Many buyers may want to know about the roof’s condition before purchasing their home.

Electrical

Check the home’s wiring and electrical panel. The inspector may also test electrical switches and GFI outlets.

Exterior and Structure

Examine the outside of the home and search for noticeable issues with the structure, such as loose gutters, issues with siding or stucco, and cracks in the foundation. Inspectors may also check the yard grading around the home to ensure there are no issues with water infiltration or flooding.

Heating and Cooling

Determine the age and condition of the heating and cooling systems, their relative efficiency, and any possible need for repairs.

Plumbing

Inspection procedures may include searching for signs of leaks to uncover plumbing issues throughout the house. Inspectors will also check that fixtures such as faucets, showers, and toilets operate correctly. Keep in mind replacing a toilet could cost a homeowner between $224 – $532 on average, close to the average price for the entire home inspection.

Fireplace

If the home has a fireplace, the inspection will check to see if it is clean and safe. Those who decided to purchase older homes with ornate fireplaces, like Victorian-style houses, should ensure that their inspector looks at this structure. On the high end, replacing or repairing a fireplace can cost up to $4,000.

Doors, windows, the interior of the home

Smoke detectors and other safety features should be present. Check for signs of dampness in the basement, attic, and any crawlspaces. Overall, does the house have proper insulation and ventilation? Are windows or doors in need of replacement? Test built-in appliances, such as ovens, garbage disposal, and dishwasher.

Home Inspection Findings

After the inspection, buyers receive a detailed written report. The home inspection report details any potential issues, concerns, or defects noted by the inspector. Some issues found may include signs of past water leaks, roof issues, problems with the electrical wiring, or structural damage. It’s up to the buyer to decide how they would like to proceed. They may ask the seller for permission to bring in a specialized contractor, such as a plumber, to further evaluate the signs of past water leaks. Buyers also have the option to return to the seller and ask them to make repairs or negotiate for some form of monetary compensation to cover the costs of repairs.

Home Inspection vs. Home Appraisal

While a home inspection provides an overview of the home’s current condition, your mortgage lender will order a home appraisal to place a value on the house. A licensed home appraiser will visit the home for a walk-through, take photos, and note certain features. Appraisers also use the sales prices of comparable homes to value the property.

Mortgage lenders use appraisals to ensure that the sales price and the amount of the loan requested make sense, given the value assessed by an independent appraiser. An appraiser will spend less time looking at the home’s condition or the need to make repairs. Their goal is to place a monetary value on the property, while the home inspector’s goal is to detect potential maintenance and repair issues.

No-inspection home sales

No-inspection home sales may occur in certain situations, such as in a highly competitive market where a buyer wants to edge out competing bids. No-inspection sales may also occur with estate sales, sheriff’s sales, or foreclosures where the property sells “as is.” In these situations, buyers should budget for potential repairs before making an offer to buy the home.

Competition may tempt buyers to forgo inspections to secure a home in hot real estate markets. However, without a home inspection, buyers may open themselves up to substantial problems down the line that the inspection could have spotted. Buyers may experience regret if they do not acquire a home inspection and must spend copious amounts of time and money repairing an avoidable issue. If you want to purchase in a competitive seller’s market and still want a home inspection, communicate with your real estate agent to develop other negotiating tactics.

Conclusion

Buyers will find that a home inspection adds significant value to the home purchase process. Trained inspectors can spot any needed repairs or potential issues and bring them to the buyer’s attention before the final purchase occurs. A home inspection can also give buyers a realistic picture of their new home and helps to prioritize their future home repair and maintenance budget.

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