Home inspections can save homeowners thousands of dollars and that fact alone should encourage all current and future property owners to hire a home inspector before they purchase their next residence.
Think of a home inspection like running the Boston Marathon. You have to be prepared. You wouldn’t run the entire race without training, checking your shoes or altering your eating habits. The same goes for buying a home. You shouldn’t spend $200,000 or more without preparing yourself for the work that could or needs to be done.
No matter your budget, there are certain issues and costs homeowners need to know before they hire a home inspector for their next home.
How Much Does A Home Inspection Cost?
In most cases, a home inspection will run anywhere from $250-$500, with our average coming in at $297. In most cases, you will have to pay for your home inspection up front, but you could also negotiate with the seller to provide a free home inspection. Of course, you should be cautious allowing the seller to hire their own inspector. Generally, it’s recommended that the potential buyer pay and choose the inspector for the job.
This may seem like a lot of money, but discovering the issues before the sale could encourage the current homeowners to pay for the repairs. View our home inspection cost estimator to see the average price in your area.
What to Expect from A Home Inspection
Before you do anything, you need to know if the inspector is qualified for the job. To help you with the interview process, we came up with 10 questions to ask every home inspector.
After the hire, it’s time to get to business. In general, most home inspections take several hours to complete. Despite the timeframe, you should join the home inspector during their analysis. This way, you can ask follow up questions and see the damage for yourself.
During the inspection, they will go through a rigorous checklist of items, all of which I have outlined below:
Walls, Ceilings, Floors, Foundation and Roof
Homeowners will want to pay close attention to the structural elements of your potential home. Roof and foundation issues can crush home buying or improvement budgets. Ask the inspector to describe the condition of the roof and foundation in detail. You must have a clear picture of its present condition, a general idea of the remaining service life and the steps you should take to preserve your investment.
The home inspector will walk around the entire home to assess the condition inside and out. They will look at the landscaping, grading, drainage, driveways, fences, windows and sidewalks. These issues are not high on the priority list for new homeowners, but certain conditions can surely lighten your pockets.
Ventilation and Insulation
Whether it’s the windows, doors or the roof, you want to make sure your home keeps the outside elements where they’re supposed to be. Therefore, the inspector will look at the framing, ventilation and insulation throughout the home. Remember, anything related to the roof can get pricey. For more info, check out Roofing Tips: Roof Insulation.
If this past winter is not evidence enough, it’s imperative that you have a working HVAC system. Whether you have a furnace, boiler or heat pump, your home inspector should give it a thorough analysis. The same goes for the water heater, chimney and fireplace. Much like the roof, make sure this issue is taken care of, as it can be one of the more expensive items to repair.
Not sure what HVAC system you have? You’ll know after you read The Differences Between Boilers, Furnaces and Heat Pumps.
We often take water for granted, but with a new home, you want to make sure your plumbing and pipes are in tip-top shape. The home inspector will evaluate the drainage, toilets, showers, sinks, faucets and all plumbing-related pipes in the home.
Lights are a given in any home, but if your electric system is not working, another big invoice could be heading your way. Make sure your home inspector checks the circuit breakers, main panel, light fixtures, as well as any electrical wiring in the home.
There is nothing more frustrating than coming home to a stove or refrigerator that isn’t working. Therefore, if the home is furnished, make sure you and your inspector monitor all the appliances, including the smoke detectors.
Unless you plan to park on the street or in your driveway, you should have your inspector examine the garage, including the door, openers, lights, receptacles, roof and windows.
I understand that certain homeowners will have a hard time spending $300 on a home inspection for a house they may never buy. But, knowing future costs could deter your buying decision or better prepare you for future projects and expenses if you purchase the home.
What are your thoughts? Is a home inspection worth the investment? Has it helped you in the past? Share your experiences in the comment section below.