Buying a home can be an exciting time, what with the promise of new beginnings and the pride of being new homeowners. A home purchase is also one of the most expensive purchases anyone is likely to make in their lifetime, which is why a pre-sale home inspection is essential to make sure everything’s shipshape with the home before signing on the dotted line. We’re breaking down home inspection costs and procedures for the benefit of first-time homebuyers who may not fully appreciate why it is so important.

Why are home inspections important?

home inspection tips

If you’ve ever bought a pre-used car, you’ll know that the cost of the car depends on the mileage, making, condition of the various moving parts, and other factors. Similarly, the cost of a home is affected by the age of the building, the state of the roof, plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems, the presence of pests, and other factors.

While a home may look absolutely fine to the untrained eye, a thorough home inspection often turns up structural and safety issues that the sellers themselves may not be aware of. And not all home inspections are the same.

For example, if you live in a hot and humid place, the home inspector will spend more time making sure your HVAC system is functioning optimally. Similarly, if you live in a cold place, the inspector is likely to spend a lot more time making sure there is no snow and ice damage to the roof.

The home inspection report is delivered to the buyer in the form of a PDF file, printouts in a folder, or maybe even a recorded video and photos. This report is the buyer’s friend because if there are major issues found, the buyer can use these to negotiate the terms of the sale in their favor. The buyer can either ask the seller to get all the issues fixed before closing the sale, to reduce the final sale price, to handle a larger chunk of the closing costs, or can even walk away from the sale altogether.

Read more: Checklist to make home improvement

What the process involves

A regular home inspection will involve a check of the home’s plumbing, roofing, electrical systems as well as the structural integrity of the home and the foundation. The average home inspection checklist has around 1,600 features that need to be checked.

It will involve a thorough check of the home as well as the grounds for water seepage, plumbing issues, and signs of water damage. For example, while water damage caused by flooding or a storm may be easily visible to everyone, a slow leak in the roof of a home can take years before it is noticeable. Inspectors can also let buyers know if there has been any water damage in the past that may have been addressed.

The inspection will also check the integrity of all the components of the home’s roof.

While checking the electrical systems of the home, inspectors will check the HVAC system, the roof, attic, ceilings, floors, and walls for any circuitry problems.

They will also inspect the structural integrity of the foundation, the basement, and other structural components. 

The doors and windows of the home will also be inspected.

Should the need arise, inspectors may advise buyers to invest in additional inspections if they find anything out of place. Common additional inspections include septic, Radon, mold, and asbestos. 

Read more: Septic tank pumping

What home inspections cost?

home inspection costs

The national average cost of a home inspection carried out by a certified home inspector from the ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) is pegged at between $300 and $450. While where the home is located makes a difference, the average cost of inspecting a 2000 square foot home is around $400. 

Expect to pay upwards of $600 for larger homes. On average, $25 is added on for every extra 500 square feet. So the more square footage, the more the inspection will cost you.

You will also need to pay extra if you need additional inspections to be made. For example, additional lead testing will cost you between $250-$300 extra. Termite and mold testing could cost between $600-$800. Radon testing is cheaper, costing between $90-$200. A sewer scope could cost between $75 and $200 while asbestos testing, essential for older homes, could cost anywhere between $250 to $800.

The age of the home is also liable to affect how much your inspection costs you. For example, older homes are more likely to have structural damage as well as plumbing and electrical issues than newer constructions are. This means the inspector has to spend more time investigating those issues, and will therefore charge more.

Read more: Cost of building your own home

How long do inspections take?

Expect the home inspection to take around three to four hours on average. The best time to hire a home inspector is immediately after signing the purchase contract. That way, you can be sure to have the report before the termination date of the contract, giving you ample room for negotiations.

As a buyer, it would also be prudent for you to be present during the inspection process. Not only will you know more about the home you’re going to buy, but it will also give you a chance to ask questions and clear any doubts you may have with the inspector.

You can expect the home inspector to revert with a report in around a day or two.

Read more: Mistakes homebuyers make

Breaking down home inspection costs and procedures was last modified: May 19th, 2023 by Narayan Shrouthy
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Always be aware of buying a home without a previous inspection, no matter how cheap it can be. I have friends who bought poor properties which was only a piece of land.