Home Inspection Cost

The average cost of hiring a home inspector is $500 - $700.

In this guide

Home inspection standards and exclusions
What to ask
Home inspection contingency
Inspection process
Types of inspections
What to do after the inspection
Top ways to speed a home inspection
Labor
Home inspection vs appraisal
Home maintenance checklist
Repairs
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to hire a home inspector?

A home inspection involves a professional and systematic evaluation of the condition of a residential property. It is a thorough physical exam of the house and includes the general functionality, overall safety, and integrity of a home and its components. The purpose of a home inspection is to ensure that a home buyer knows the status of the house being purchased before completing the transaction.

The price of a home inspection can range from $200 to $1,000. This range depends on the size and the type of home, and the location. Larger homes in neighborhood areas will be on the higher end of the spectrum. A home inspection will require anywhere from two to six hours to complete.

Home inspection standards and exclusions

There are two major organizations which provide credentials for home inspectors: InterNACHI and ASHI. Both of these organizations define home inspection standards and exclusions but differ in their missions and methods for providing home inspector memberships.

InterNACHI stands for International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. This organization, founded in 1990, has a stated mission to provide its members with certification and continuing education and improvement in their trade.They provide free online training, certificate programs all over the world, business training, software products, student services, and more. To maintain their membership with InterNACHI and enjoy the many benefits, especially heightened visibility with discerning homeowners, inspectors  have to:

  • Pass the free online exam.
  • Complete the InterNACHI Code of Ethics and Residential SOP online courses and pass.
  • Submit mock inspection reports.

ASHI is different in that it is an American, rather than international, organization. ASHI stands for American Society of Home Inspectors. ASHI was developed with a mission of enhancing professionalism and excellence in the home inspection field. They want to help to promote standards for inspections and provide educational programs and learning experiences to enhance excellence in their profession for all members. To get the highest designation by ASHI, ASHI Certified Inspector, a home inspector has to:

  • Pass the proctored National Home Inspector Exam consisting of 200 questions in 4 hours’ time.
  • Complete Code of Ethics and ASHI SOP online training courses.
  • Complete a minimum of 250 fee-paid home inspections with reports, and much more.

What to ask

If you are looking to get the most out of your home inspection, then it is an important idea to  start by asking questions. If you are unsure of what questions to ask or where to start, then consider this list of possible questions:

  • What does your home inspection cover?
  • How long have you been in the home inspection field and how many homes have you inspected previously?
  • Do you have experience in residential inspection?
  • Do you complete any repairs or improvements based on the inspection results?
  • What is the estimated time that the inspection will take?
  • What is the cost of the inspection?
  • What type of inspection report do you provide and how long will I have to wait to receive it?
  • Can I be present for the inspection?
  • Are you a part of a professional home inspector association?
  • Are you involved in any education programs that help keep your knowledge up to date?

Home inspection contingency

A home inspection contingency is also known as a due diligence contingency. The purpose of a home inspection contingency is to give the buyer a right to have the home inspected within a specific time period. This helps to protect the buyer and gives them the option to cancel the contract or re-negotiate to have the seller complete repairs based on the findings of the home inspection. Adding contingencies into a home sales contract will have no impact on the cost of the home inspection.

Inspection process

During a home inspection, the home inspector's main job is to evaluate the home. They will evaluate a bunch of different areas within the home including roofing, framing, the foundation, attic, drainage, plumbing, electrical systems, heating, pavement, fireplaces, stairs, doors, patios, decks, walls, ceilings, floors, appliances, and a number of other fixtures and components. By evaluating these different things, they look for any issues or repairs that may be necessary.

During the inspection the home inspector will make notes on all pertinent findings and will create a detailed written report for the buyer to review and reference. For those people who attend the inspection, the home inspector will verbally present the conditions and any issues they may have found. This information is very important as it enables a home buyer to make a decision about a home purchase and whether to go about completing the transaction or not. It also gives buyers the information to determine how much in repair and renovations will need to be done after taking possession of the house.

During the inspection process it is important to:

  • Be present at the inspection.
  • Be sure the home inspector arrives fully equipped to do the inspection.
  • Obtain a repair items list.
  • Follow the inspector around the house and ask any questions you may have.
  • Be sure that all areas are evaluated and inspected.

Types of inspections

Standard home inspector's look for defects. If they see that something is wrong or unusual outside of their home inspection, they will recommend a more specialized inspection. Below is a chart illustrating some types of inspections and their average cost. All of these inspections are not necessary following a basic home inspection as long as there does not seem to be any noticeable problems.

       InspectionCost
Soil$30-$50
Roach$40-$75
Plumbing$50-$100
Bed bugs$50-$200
Sewer and septic$75
Electrical$75-$100
Radon 1$110
HVAC$75-$125
Mice$75-$125
Mold$75-$125
Pool and spa$125
Termite$250-$350
Lead$350-$500
Roof$488 to $746
Asbestos$400-$800
Foundation$500-$1000


What to do after the inspection

After the home inspection is complete, there are some things you should know and expect. After the home inspection you should be aware of:

  • The condition of the house you are purchasing. Including all of the negatives (repairs needed, inadequacies) and the positives.
  • Any unsafe conditions of the home.
  • The inspector should also provide you with the urgency and estimated costs of the repairs.

After a proper home inspection is complete you should expect to:

  • Receive a clearly written and detailed inspection report. The report should note any defects that the home inspector found and any repairs that may be needed. They should give you a realistic cost for repair. It should answer any questions or concerns you may have with the house.
  • Have all of your questions answered by the home inspector.
  • You should NOT expect the home inspector to offer to repair any of the noted issues for a fee. This could be a conflict of interest and actually add doubt to the inspector's findings.

Top ways to speed a home inspection

There are some things you can do that will help speed up your home inspection. A few of these are as follows:

  • Unlock or remove locks from any items that inspectors must access: gates in fences, attic access hatches or doors, electric service panels, special closets, crawl space hatches for pier-and-beam construction.
  • Repair or replace broken, damaged or missing items: door knobs, locks and latches, window locks and broken glass, window screens, anti siphon devices on exterior faucets, rain gutters and downspouts, chimney flue 2 caps.
  • Confirm gas, water and electricity are turned on and gas pilot lights are burning.
  • Trim tree limbs back from the roof and trim shrubs away from the house to allow access.
  • Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors 3. Replace batteries if needed.
  • Clean or replace dirty HVAC air filters. Verify filters fit and are properly secured.

Labor

Condos and smaller homes under 1000 sq.ft. will cost as little as $175, whereas larger homes over 2500 sq.ft. can be as high as $400 or more. Basically, the larger the home the higher the cost for inspection. Having a basement and crawlspace can cost you a little extra as can radon 1 and mold testing. All of these components can cost you an upwards of $50 or more added to the cost.

Typically depending on which company or home inspector you go with, they use different methods for determining fees. Some charge a flat rate based on square footage and living area where others charge based on the amount of time for the inspection. A home inspection can cost from $50-$75 per hour. If a home inspector charges based on time spent, the larger the house or living area, the more it will cost you.

The age of the home can also play a factor in the cost in a home inspection. Some newer homes can be inspected in around 2-3 hours, but older homes can take up to 4 hours or more. The reason for this is that older homes usually have more issues that need a closer look.

It is important to remember that cheaper isn’t always better in the case of home inspections. You want to make sure that the company is doing a good job, so make sure you do your research before making a decision.

Home inspection vs appraisal

Often, people confuse the terms home inspection and appraisal. A home inspection gives the details needed when buying or looking into buying a house. An inspection can indicate issues with the structure of the home but it does not provide a person with a market price for the property. A home inspection can range from $175 to $1,000 in price and will require anywhere from two to six hours to complete. An appraisal is the assessed market value of the home. Banks usually require appraisals when determining whether they will approve a loan. An appraisal gives the value of the home without a detailed assessment on the condition of the home or what needs to be repaired. An appraisal by a licensed professional averages from $300-$400 in price and requires roughly two hours to complete.

Home maintenance checklist

It is always a good idea to follow a home maintenance checklist to ensure that there are no issues. Below are some tips and a maintenance checklist for you to follow for a good inspection:

  • Check downspouts/gutters: check the downspouts to be sure that they are discharging away from the foundation and that there are not any bends or holes in the spouts. They can cause leakage or basement flooding if not properly maintained.
  • Clean outside A/C unit: use a hose to spray out and eliminate any debris built up in the unit.
  • Check sump pump 4: make sure it is functioning properly.
  • Change the filter in the furnace: this should be done regularly to help move air freely.
  • Prune foliage: prune the foliage that touches the house to prevent insects and animals from having easy access.

Repairs

Illustrated in the chart are some possible repair projects that take place after a home inspection. The chart also illustrates the average price of the repair per project.

            RepairCost per Project
Window frame$170-$600
Floor$140-$1,900
Foundation$5,000-$7,000
Heat pump$15-$17,000
Tree root problems (plumbing)$100-$14,000
Water heating/air conditioning (plumbing)$100-$14,000
Electrical up-to-date$1,200-$18,000
Mold remediation$500-$30,000
Basement remodeling$25,000-$55,000


Enhancement and improvement costs

Speciality inspection

Specialty inspections can also be conducted on a house. These are not typically part of a standard home inspection. These specialty inspections are carried out by specialists in their fields and can cost extra. Below are some common specialty inspections.

Termite

Termites are insects that eat wood and come in large groups. In homes, termites can enter and eat the structure of a property, causing issues with the stability of a home. They will also eat anything wood inside of the house such as furniture. A termite inspection is a specialty inspection that is a good idea to have done if you are worried about termites. Some states and/or lenders require a termite inspection. A typical cost for a termite inspection runs from $250-$350 depending on the size of the house and yard.

Earthquake strappings

Earthquakes are natural disasters that can cause rupture to all sorts of structures, especially a house. Retrofitting a home for an earthquake is important to be prepared if ever an earthquake was to occur. One part of retrofitting your house for an earthquake includes earthquake strappings. These can help to restrain items from falling or damaging pipes during an earthquake. Earthquake strappings can be installed by a contractor and can cost an average of $75-$115 per strapping. Adding an inspection to check for other retrofitting techniques for your home can cost an average of $200-$400.

Safe-room

More and more houses these days are designing safe rooms, also known as panic rooms. These are rooms that are installed in a residence home to provide a safe shelter or hiding place in the event of a tornado, terror attack, hurricane, home invasion or other threat were to occur. Inspecting a safe room requires some extra time for a home inspector. They need to check the walls, locks, and many other areas of the rooms to make sure they are very secure. An inspection of a safe room in your home can cost an additional $150-$400.

Mobile home

Mobile homes are actually more common than people think. More than 21 million people in the US live in mobile homes. It is as important to have a home inspection for a mobile home as it is for a regular home. A mobile home inspection, for the most part, is just like a regular home inspection. Mobile homes do, however, have some unique features that are different and require special examination. Many things are looked during a mobile home inspection, including electrical wiring, a/c systems, plumbing, roof, switches and faucets, foundation, and so on. The inspection of a mobile home varies from $250-$400 with mobile homes in urban and resort areas on the higher end of the range.

Annual checkup

There is also the option of an annual home inspection checkup. Many people suggest doing this so that if there are any repairs necessary, they can be completed right away. For older homes, annual checkups are a good idea in case of possible mold growth, asbestos 5, foundation issues, etc. During an annual checkup, the same procedure and inspections will take place. A report will be completed and provided to the homeowner. An annual checkup averages $175.

Additional considerations and costs

  • There are 14 states that have standards about licensing or training for home inspectors.
  • In many states and provinces, home inspectors are required to be licensed.
  • A home inspector should only enter a property with the written consent of the homeowner. They should not make holes in the walls or pry shingles 6; they may recommend that more invasive examinations are required.
  • An inspector must prepare and deliver the client a written report of the findings soon after the inspection.
  • It is important to request a list of all the home inspectors in your area. Do not just use the ones that a real estate agent may recommend. Get some different quotes.
  • A home inspection should last for at least 2 hours.
  • Ask a company for a sampler report before hiring them for the inspection. This is important to make sure the information is presented in a format that is clear and easy to understand.
  • A brand new home should always be inspected, too. Sometimes there can be gaps in the construction, so it is a good idea to have a home inspection regardless of the age of the home. It is better to detect any issues that could possibly arise in the future early so they can be fixed before they become even bigger problems.
  • A homebuyer makes a huge investment when putting an offer in on a home and ordering a home inspection so they should always be present while the inspector is doing his or her job. Not only should you be there to witness them doing the job, but also to ask questions and learn some things about the house. Dogs and children should not be present sothe job can be completed without anyone getting in the way.
  • The seller has no obligation to repair anything, the buyer will have to make the decision following the inspection whether they want to buy or not. A buyer can certainly try to negotiate with the seller based on the repairs needed according to the inspector’s report. They could negotiate a credit for the work to be done or drop the offered purchase price for the house. That way, it is not costing them a lot of extra money for repairs after purchasing the home.
  • The standards for home inspectors are set by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and, in the United States, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
  • Other inspections such as for radon 1, septic tanks, wood destroying insects, water quality, mold, and private wells can sometimes be part of a home inspector’s qualified duties.
  • Ask the seller or property insurer for a copy of the home’s CLUE report. CLUE stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. This is a report that lists insurance claims for that property in the previous five years.  The report lists insurance companies involved, dates of claims, types of policy, what the loss was related to (tornado, etc.), location of the loss, the amount paid, and cause of the loss. In a real estate transaction, this is important as it could provide information that may cause a homebuyer to reconsider purchasing a home. For example, if there was a loss paid due to water damage and mold, the buyer might pass on a deal as it could hurt them in getting insurance in the future.

FAQ

  • Is it required to have a home inspection?

In some situations a lender might require this as part of the mortgage application process and sometimes it may be unnecessary. In many states throughout the US, there is a “buyer beware” policy that means it is their responsibility to identify problems before signing the dotted line.

  • What is the purpose of a home inspection?

The purpose of a home inspection is to ensure that a home buyer knows the status of a house before purchasing and completing the transaction. This will give the buyer detailed knowledge of the condition of a residential property including: the general functionality, overall safety, and integrity of a home and its components.

  • What is covered in a home inspection?

During a home inspection, the home inspector will cover many areas of the home. They will evaluate a bunch of different areas within the home including roofing, framing, the foundation, attic, drainage, plumbing, electrical systems, heating, pavement, fireplaces, stairs, doors, patios, decks, walls, ceilings, floors, appliances, and a number of other fixtures and components.

  • How do you become a home inspector?

There are some programs and organizations that you can look into if you are interested in becoming a home inspector. Two of these include the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and, in the United States, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Both of these organizations involve online training courses and final exams.

  • How much does it cost to have a septic system inspected?

A septic dye test 7 is a non-invasive procedure that is used to determine the condition and effectiveness of a home’s sewage and septic system. This test costs approximately $75 to complete.

  • How much does it cost to become a home inspector?

A high school diploma or GED is required to apply for a home inspector training course. The training course costs around $1500. After your course you will need to pass a certification exam in the state you are in.

  • How much does it cost to have a termite inspection?

Some professionals offer a free termite inspection and others charge for it. It is very important to find a pest control company that you can trust to do the inspection. An average cost for a termite inspection is from $250-$350 depending on the size of the house and yard.

  • What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a non-invasive consulting service of a home. It is a thorough visual examination and assessment of a home to ensure that a homebuyer can make an informed decision when purchasing a home. A home inspection is conducted by a home inspector that has proper certification and training for inspections.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Radon: A colorless, odorless, cancer-causing, radioactive gas
2 Flue: A duct or pipe through which exhaust gases from a fireplace, stove or boiler are released to the outdoors
3 Detectors: Device that responds to a physical event or change in the environment by emitting an output signal
4 Sump pump: A mechanical device used to remove water from wet areas such as basements and crawlspaces in order to help prevent flooding
5 Asbestos: A group of fire-resistant silicate minerals found in construction materials including paint, particularly in older homes. When the asbestos deteriorates, particles can become airborne and this is a serious health hazard.
6 Shingles: A smooth, uniform, flat piece of construction material, available in a wide variety of materials and laid in a series of overlapping rows, used to cover the outside of roofs or walls to protect against weather damage and leaks.
7 Septic dye test: Non-invasive procedure used to determine the condition of a home's sewage treatment system

Cost to hire a home inspector varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Alton, IL
0%
Athens, GA
-9%
Beaumont, TX
+10%
Beckley, WV
-21%
Chesterton, IN
+4%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Corpus Christi, TX
+4%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Franklin, OH
-18%
Fredericksburg, VA
-5%
Graceville, FL
-51%
Hackensack, NJ
+26%
Hephzibah, GA
-20%
Honolulu, HI
+35%
Jasper, AL
-38%
Las Cruces, NM
-43%
Lawrenceville, GA
+16%
Lorain, OH
-21%
Lucedale, MS
-16%
Manchester, GA
-29%
Mansfield, TX
+5%
Milton, FL
+97%
Montgomery, AL
-10%
Moses Lake, WA
-38%
Newport, IN
-22%
Newport, OR
-19%
Oak Park, CA
+4%
Ontario, CA
+19%
Plainwell, MI
-1%
Portland, OR
+11%
Powhatan, VA
-13%
Reading, PA
+4%
Salt Lake City, UT
-6%
San Diego, CA
+11%
Scottsdale, AZ
-1%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Stamford, CT
+47%
Villas, NJ
-5%
Waldorf, MD
0%
Waterford, CT
+6%
West Palm Beach, FL
-2%
Yuma, AZ
-39%

Labor cost in your zip code

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