What to expect and how much to pay


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If you are buying a home, ordering a home inspection is a key step in the process. An inspection can help you uncover problems with a home before you buy it, saving you thousands of dollars in future repairs.

That’s probably why nearly 9 in 10 homebuyers order an inspection before closing a home, according to a survey by a real estate technology company. Porch.

Here is an overview of what to expect during a home inspection and how to find the right professional for the job:

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a visual assessment of a home’s condition, including its structural features, plumbing, and electrical systems. An inspector will walk through the entire home – including the basement, attic, and exterior structures, if applicable – and check for potential issues. Once the inspection is complete, the inspector provides a written report, along with photos and recommendations, for the potential buyer to review.

Point: Home inspections are different from evaluations in the sense that they are only interested in the state of the house. Once the lender begins the underwriting process, they will order an appraisal to determine the home’s value.

When should you get one?

Most homebuyers order inspection after their offer has been accepted but before buy the house. The inspection of the house itself is quick; they typically last two to four hours, depending on the size and condition of the home.

Point: Some times of the year are busier than others, so it can be difficult to find a quality inspector right away. Try to schedule a home inspection as soon as possible after the seller accepts your offer. This leaves plenty of time for inspection and negotiation with the seller if you wish to request repairs.

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How much do home inspections cost

Home inspections cost an average of $ 280 to $ 400, according to HomeAdvisor, but prices vary depending on your area and the size of the home. Some inspectors set a fixed price for any home in a certain square footage and increase the cost accordingly for larger homes.

This expense is not included in the closing costs. Instead, the inspector receives the payment right after completing the job. You’ll likely foot the bill, but in some cases the seller may offer to pay for the inspection to sweeten the deal.

You can use the inspection results to negotiate a lower sale price, request repairs, or even withdraw from the sale if your offer to purchase included an inspection. contingency.

Learn more: How much does it cost to buy a house?

How to find the right home inspector

There is no national certification process for home inspectors, but some states have licensing and certification requirements that inspectors must follow. For example, some states require inspectors to be members of a not-for-profit association of home inspectors, while others require training and examination.

Here’s how to find a qualified home inspector:

1. Do your own research

While the seller may recommend a certain inspector, you should do your own research. Start by checking to see if your lender requires an inspection as a condition of obtaining the loan. mortgage and research the standards in your state. You can also start a list of questions for your inspector.

2. Ask for recommendations and read reviews

Ask trusted friends, family, coworkers, and your real estate agent for recommendations. Gather a list of businesses and start checking out their websites and social media presence. Good inspection companies provide information on what to expect during a home inspection, their services and costs, customer testimonials, and contact details in case you have any questions.

You can also check review websites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google. Former customers can provide a lot of information about the performance of the business. Look for profiles of people who are happy with the inspection experience and customer service.

3. Find professional organizations

You can also search for certified inspectors through professional organizations, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI). These organizations maintain strict membership criteria requiring courses, exams and continuing education.

4. Reach out to potential candidates

Once you’ve checked your state’s standards, asked for recommendations, and read reviews, narrow your list of potential inspectors down to two or three. Call each business and ask questions, especially if they have experience with the type of home you are purchasing.

This step is especially important if you are buying a home that has unusual features, such as a historic property.

Keep reading: How long does it take to buy a house

What home inspectors are looking for

The inspector will make a methodical visit to the house and take notes and photos to write his report. You can attend the home inspection and ask questions as you go, giving you more information than just the report.

The inspector will examine:

  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing
  • Basement
  • Foundation
  • Floors
  • Walls
  • the Windows
  • Doors
  • Ceilings
  • Attic
  • Roof

Point: While the inspector can highlight potential problems and suggest a specialist to fix them, they usually cannot estimate the cost of repairs or advise on the selling price of the home. But using the report, you can figure out what needs to be fixed and use home improvement websites to calculate potential repair costs.

What are the red flags of home inspection?

Home inspections are rarely completely clean. According to the Porch report, 86% of respondents who had an inspection said their inspector had identified at least one problem.

A follow-up test with a separate report may be necessary if the following issues are detected:

  • Asbestos: Homes built around the 1950s or earlier may need to be tested for this substance, which was once used in household products such as insulation, drywall, and paint. Inhaling asbestos particles can lead to cancer and other health problems.
  • Lead-based paint: Homes built before 1978 should be tested for lead-based paint, which is poisonous if inhaled.
  • Mold: Since many types of mold can cause health problems or damage the structure of the house, you should test for mold if the inspector sees mold spores, notices a musty or damp smell, or discovers molds. wet areas of the house.
  • Radon: The Environmental Protection Agency says all homes should be tested below the third floor to make sure this colorless, odorless gas is below recommended safety levels. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
  • Pests: You may need to order tests if the inspector finds signs of termite damage and rodent infestations.

Depending on the housing and construction standards in your region, the inspector may suggest that you do a specialized inspection. They will add the cost of the normal inspection or perform a stand-alone test.

Here are some common types of specialized home inspections and their average costs, assuming they are conducted as stand-alone inspections:

Specialized inspection Typical range1
Asbestos control $ 225 to $ 808
Lead paint inspection $ 226 to $ 415
Mold inspection $ 294 to $ 1,011
Inspection for pests or termites $ 50 to $ 280
Radon control $ 146 to $ 743
1All price estimates are from HomeAdvisor.

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About the Author

Kim porter

Kim Porter is an expert in credit, mortgages, student loans and debt management. She has been featured in US News & World Report, Reviewed.com, Bankrate, Credit Karma, and more.

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