inspector checking gutters of house

Home Inspection Cost: Here’s What You Can Expect

Erica Gellerman4-Minute Read
January 27, 2022

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When you’re buying your dream home, it can feel like everything costs money. With the down payment, closing costs and, now, a home inspection, you may be wondering how to budget.

While it may seem like an unnecessary additional expense, a home inspection is a crucial step in the home buying process. And while you may not be excited to pay home inspection costs, they can save you money in the long run.

Why Do You Need A Home Inspection?

A home inspection is an essential step in the process of buying a house because it gives the potential homeowner an opportunity to discover potential future issues within the home before closing.

That’s why many buyers include a home inspection contingency in their purchase agreement. In case any serious concerns arise, they can cancel their contract to purchase the property and avoid paying for expensive repairs later on.

Your mortgage lender may even encourage you to have an inspection completed by an American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) certified professional. They will assess different parts of the house like the plumbing, foundation, roof, electrical systems, HVAC and chimney. Once they finish, they will submit a home inspection report to you and your real estate agent.

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How Much Does A Home Inspection Cost?

For a professional home inspection, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 – $450 and up. Though the 2021 national average home inspection cost ranges from $280 – $400, an inspection report can ultimately save you thousands of dollars in repair costs.

It’s a good idea to hire an inspector, even though you’re already paying a lot of fees while buying a home. Any qualified real estate agent will emphasize the importance of a home inspection, especially in older homes. While your home might look good to your untrained eye, a professional can find problems that are difficult to spot.

With a quality home inspection, you’ll have confidence in knowing that the home you’re purchasing is in good shape.

What Factors Determine Home Inspection Cost?

Home inspections don’t all cost the same amount. The price you pay for a home inspection will depend on three factors: location, square footage and provider.

Location

Like so many other things in life, the cost of a home inspection varies depending on the location of the new home. While the home inspection costs don’t fluctuate a ton from city to city, there are differences. Here are some examples of how much an average home inspection costs in different markets according to HomeAdvisor:

Square Footage

The bigger the home, the more a home inspector has to check. So the cost of a home inspection will be more expensive for larger homes than it is for smaller homes. Note that since a home inspector checks basements and attics, that may be included in the square footage they use to calculate their rate. For example, if your single-family house is 1,700 square feet with a 600-square-foot basement, the inspector may price your job as if they were inspecting a 2,300 square foot home.

The average cost of a home inspection, depending on the size of the home, is as follows:

Square Footage

Inspection Fee

1,000 – 1,500

$280

1,501 – 2,000

$290

2,001 – 2,500

$307

2,501 – 3,000

$323

Source: Thumbtack

Provider

Pricing also depends on the service provider. When you call inspectors in your area, you may find that they quote you different prices. They may charge more because of their experience or the depth of the inspection they can perform.

When deciding on a home inspector, you shouldn’t necessarily choose the inspector with the lowest prices. Be sure to ask about their experience and any certifications that they hold. Ask how long your inspection will take, whether you can be present during the inspection and what type of report format they use. You’ll also want to ask how long it will take to receive the report because you’re likely working on a tight timeline.


Home Inspection Cost FAQs

What are special home inspections?

Any home inspector that you hire is likely to be a generalist. They can inspect most things in the home, but they may suggest that a specialized home inspector come in for anything they can’t assess or don’t cover.

Some additional home inspections that might not be covered in a general assessment include a pest inspection, which checks for termite damage, radon testing, a foundation inspection and a roof inspection (if the general inspector can’t access parts of the roof).

Your general inspector may also recommend specific inspections based on their findings. For example, they may recommend that a chimney inspector come out to look at a chimney that they aren’t able to access. Possibly, they may recommend that a structural engineer visit the house to look for possible foundation issues if they find cracks in the basement or crawlspace.

How much do special home inspections cost?

After paying all the different house buying fees, you might not want to spend more for an additional test or specialized inspection. While special home inspections vary in cost as well, depending on location, scope and individual provider, it can still be worth the expense to have an expert’s opinion.

To get an idea of how much you can expect to spend, we’ve included some average costs:

Additional Inspections

Prices

Termite inspection

$50 – $280

Asbestos testing

$228 – $794

Mold testing

$250 – $300

Lead testing

$350 – $500

Foundation inspection

$300 – $1,000

Septic tank inspection

$100 – $250

Sewer scope

$250 – $1,255

Radon Testing

$144 – $715

Is the home inspection included in closing costs?

The home inspection is usually not included in closing costs and is the optional expense of the home buyer. While a home appraisal issued by your lender is covered in your closing costs, the goal of the inspection is to uncover the home’s value, not to produce a comprehensive list of required repairs.

Again, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of hiring a professional home inspector. The results could change your mind about the purchase or help set up a repair budget.

The Bottom Line: Home Inspection Costs Are Often Worth It

First-time home buyers may be eager to skip a home inspection due to cost. It’s important to think of a home inspection expense as an investment in financial security. With a home inspection, you’re unlikely to have any expensive surprises pop up after closing.

As you begin to make offers, make sure you’re protecting yourself by including a home inspection contingency, which legally allows you to walk away or renegotiate your offer based on the findings of the report.

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Erica Gellerman

Erica Gellerman is a CPA, MBA, personal finance writer, and founder of The Worth Project. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Money, Business Insider, The Everygirl, The Everymom and more.