The Cost of a Home Inspection

Personal Finance

A home inspection is most necessary when preparing to buy or sell a home; it can speed up the selling, or inform the wary buyer of what’s wrong before the purchase. In some instances you may just need an idea of what shape your house is in. Depending on exactly what you need to know can change the cost of a home inspection drastically.

Standard Inspections

A home inspection can take more than one form: while a general inspection isn’t too expensive, it is also a comparatively cursory examination. General home inspections for a standard house involve a noninvasive review of the exterior (gutters, what the foundation is made of, etc), the age and makeup of the roof, structural aspects of the house (i.e. what the floors and walls are covered with, presence of appliances, etc), as well as plumbing, electrical, heating and air, and insulation.

Most companies will provide a report detailing the materials used, any limitations to inspecting the different aspects of the home, and the state of each—including any repairs that may be necessary and when those repairs are likely to be needed. A general home inspection costs roughly $300-$500, although this may vary depending upon the area, the age of the house, and other particularities. Smaller homes including mobile homes and condominiums may run as low as $200.

Specialty Inspections

It is important to realize there are many things that can go wrong with a house, and most require a specialist to investigate. Among the more important things you might want inspected are pests, well water, chimneys, and radon gas—although this is a far from a complete list.

A termite inspection (which may also catch wood rot or other types of pests) costs around $150. These inspectors may also look into the structure of the home. For houses that use well water, it’s important to not only check the construction of the well but to also test the water for potability (drinkability). If the home includes a chimney, specialist inspection costs about $100 on average and will ensure the chimney has a flue liner, the integrity of the structure is sound, and that smoke is being dispersed appropriately.

Radon gas is the result of the deterioration of uranium. It builds up in enclosed spaces and can cause cancer. Federal agencies recommend all homes be tested for radon, which costs about $100-$250. Other health hazards you may wish to have your new home tested for include mold ($150 – over $1000), lead based paint ($100-$300), or asbestos ($80-$600). Soil can also be tested for dangerous chemicals, and usually costs an average of $1,000, although this also varies widely depending upon what you are looking for in the soil.

Other aspects of homes that new owners may wish to have inspected include pools (generally around $50-$250, although some companies will provide free inspection services), roof certifications ($75-$300), and foundations ($350 – over $1000). While the title to the home and lot generally includes the size of the property along with easements, you may wish to have a surveyor show you exactly where your lot ends and to check for encroachments. Depending on  your location and the size of the lot, surveyors cost an average of $500.

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