inspector checking gutters of house

Home Inspection Cost: Here’s What You Can Expect

Erica Gellerman4-Minute Read
September 13, 2021

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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.

What Is A Home Inspection?

A home inspection is an important step in the process of buying a house. During a home inspection, certified home inspectorsfrom the American Society of Home Inspectors conduct a visual check of the property to determine any potential problems. A home inspection can cover things like plumbing, foundation, roof, electrical systems, HVAC and chimney.

How Much Is A House Inspection?

For a professional home inspection, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $600 and up. Though the 2021 national average home inspection cost ranges from $279 to $399, an inspection report can ultimately save you thousands of dollars in repair costs.

It’s a good idea to hire a home inspector, especially when you’re already spending a lot of money 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

Just like so many other things in life, the cost of a home inspection varies depending on the location of the 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:

Boston, Massachusetts

Average inspection cost: $405

Boston Housing Market Report

Hartford, Connecticut

Average inspection cost: $480

Hartford Housing Market Report

Houston, Texas

Average inspection cost: $340

Houston Housing Market Report

Baltimore, Maryland

Average inspection cost: $325

Baltimore Housing Market Report

Los Angeles, California

Average inspection cost: $310

Los Angeles Housing Market Report

Chicago, Illinois

Average inspection cost: $310

Chicago Housing Market Report

Detroit, Michigan

Average inspection cost: $290

Detroit Housing Market Report

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 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:

Square Footage

Cost

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 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.


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 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. Possibly, 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 inspections 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:

$50 - $280

Asbestos testing:

$228 - $795

Mold testing:

$296 - $1004

Lead testing:

$224 - $420

Foundation inspection:

$350 - $1,000

Is the home inspection included in closing costs?

The home inspection is usually not included in closing costs, and are 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.