Home Inspection Cost: Here’s What You Can Expect
Erica Gellerman4-Minute Read
November 18, 2020
When you’re buying a house, it feels like everything costs money. First, you’re paying the down payment, then closing costs to the bank. And now you’ve just learned that you’ll need to pay for a home inspection.
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.
What Is A Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an important step in the process of buying a house. During a home inspection a professional inspector conducts a visual check of the property to determine any potential problems. A home inspection can cover things like plumbing, foundation, roof, electrical, HVAC, and chimney.
How Much Do Home Inspections Cost?
Home inspections can range anywhere from $200 – $600-plus, but the national average cost for a general inspection is $330.
When you’re spending a lot of money already on a home, it might feel like an unnecessary added expense to pay for a home inspection. But a home inspection can save you a lot of money and headaches if it uncovers unexpected problems. 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.
Just like so many other things in life, the cost of a home inspection varies depending on where the home is. While the costs don’t fluctuate a ton — and in no city do they cost enough to not warrant having a home inspection completed — there are differences. Here are some examples of how much an average home inspection costs in different markets. Note, these averages are from HomeAdvisor.
Average inspection cost: $405
Average inspection cost: $480
Average inspection cost: $340
Average inspection cost: $325
Los Angeles, California
Average inspection cost: $310
Average inspection cost: $310
Average inspection cost: $290
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 home 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 national average home inspection cost, based on square footage is as follows:
1,000 – 1,500 square feet: $280
1,501 – 2,000 square feet: $290
2,001 – 2,500 square feet: $307
2,501 – 3,000 square feet: $323
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 are able to perform.
When deciding one 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.
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 inspection 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 inspect a chimney that they aren’t able to access. Or they may recommend that a structural engineer inspect a retaining wall or foundation that they aren’t able to properly assess.
How Much Do Special Home Inspections Cost?
Special home inspection vary in cost as well depending on location, scope, and individual provider. To get an idea of how much you can expect to spend, we’ve included some average costs:
Termite inspection: $100
Asbestos testing: $495
Mold testing: $648
Lead testing: $321
Foundation inspection: $350 - $1,000
The Bottom Line On Home Inspection Cost
Getting an inspection is an expense and might be one that home buyers are eager to skip. But it’s important to know exactly what you’re buying, so you don’t have any expensive surprises pop up after closing. If you’re considering purchasing a home, visit our Home Buyer’s Guide for more practical information and tips.
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