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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Real Estate > Home Inspection

Home Inspection Cost


How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

 
average costMedium: Generally $100-$200 for a Basic Inspectionhigh costHigh: $200-$900 for a Thorough Inspection

A professional home inspector evaluates the current condition of a house. It is NOT an appraisal, which estimates the market value of a property. A home inspection report can be used by home sellers to indentify and make repairs before putting it on the market, or by potential home buyers to learn as much as possible about a particular house before buying it. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides an overview of why you need[1] a home inspection.

Typical costs:

  • With the recent housing market slump, some inspectors may offer a home inspection for a flat rate of $100-$200. These inspections usually take no more than 1-2 hours, involve a minimal amount of equipment (such as a $3-$10 outlet tester rather than a $300 circuit analyzer) and include a handwritten report -- and might miss important problems, according to an Idaho home inspector[2] .
  • The price for a more thorough home inspection (including a typewritten report and photos) varies considerably depending on the region and the home's square footage, sales price, age and number of rooms, but ranges from $200-$900. A typical home inspection averages $260-$280 in the Midwest and Southwest and $320-$360 elsewhere nationwide. The average home inspection will take 2-4 hours, but an extremely detailed evaluation can take 5-8 hours or more -- and will usually be billed at the higher end of the $200-$900 price range.
Related articles: Closing a Home, Mold Inspection, Termite Inspections

What should be included:
  • A professional home inspector should visually examine the home's exterior, foundation (including entering the crawlspace), walls, roof, flashing, gutters, attic, basement, insulation, garage, electrical system, visible plumbing, air conditioning and heating, and the general condition of the interior. Generally an inspector is looking for bad conditions or safety-related problems, and does not cover small or cosmetic items that are readily apparent. If possible, you should be present for the inspection, to see what the inspector sees and to ask questions about items that concern you. The National Association of Home Inspectors provides overviews of what to expect from a home inspection and what won't be included, as well as detailed standards of what a home inspector should do. The American Society of Home Inspectors provides a virtual tour[3] of the areas to be inspected in a home.
  • Experts recommend hiring an objective professional to do an inspection -- particularly if you're considering buying the home -- but it is possible to do some or all of the inspection yourself. ThisOldHouse.com lists what to look for[4] before the home inspector arrives, and an Ohio engineering firm provides a do-it-yourself checklist[5] for a basic walk-through evaluation -- although the checklist is not intended to replace a professional inspection.
Additional costs:
  • Home inspections do not cover absolutely everything. BankRate.com[6] suggests that in some circumstances a potential buyer may also want to schedule: a swimming pool inspection at $75-$125; an arborist's inspection of mature trees for $150-$350; an examination of septic systems built before 1980 for $350-$450 or a termite and pest report for $75-$120.
Shopping for a home inspection:
  • While many people hire a home inspector recommended by their real estate agent, some experts suggest finding an inspector on your own, to avoid any possible conflict of interest. Ask about: the inspector's training, experience and certification (only about 14 states require inspectors to be licensed); what will be included in the inspection; and how long it will take. HUD lists 10 questions[7] to ask a potential home inspector.
  • Lists of home inspectors are available from HUD and the National Association of Home Inspectors.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/housing/inspection/home.htm
  2.  www.merchantcircle.com/blogs/OxBow.Home.Inspections.and.Radon.Testing.208-781-0605...
  3.  www.ashi.org/customers/vhi_tour.asp
  4.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,477138,00.html
  5.  www.cmjengineering.com/images/DIY_Home_inspection.pdf
  6.  www.bankrate.com/brm/news/mtg/20010614a.asp
  7.  portal.hud.gov:80/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/insp/inspfaq
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