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Understanding Home Inspection Costs

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Real Estate

Understanding Home Inspection Costs

The house you would like to purchase looked perfect and pristine when you bought it. So, why do you need a home inspection?  The answer is simple:  There could be an underlying problem with the house you don’t know about, maybe because it is not apparent. There could be a major leak in the house, and fixing it may cost you a fortune.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a thorough and all-encompassing evaluation of a home’s condition. It is a relatively inexpensive means of discovering the overall condition of your home.  It is vital to get a home inspection to avoid costly mistakes that you may make by acquiring a house that needs major repairs.  Even if you are of the opinion that you have found your dream home, a home inspector is responsible for letting you know that this dream home might not be perfect.

Home Inspection Checklist

A home inspector will usually climb on your rooftop. They might also dig deep into your attic, along the base of your walls.  Their job is to locate any problems and issues with the house and to safeguard your investment. The issues could exist in the following areas of the house:

  • The roof
  • Electrical components
  • Plumbing
  • Ventilation
  • Appliances
  • Air conditioning and heating systems
  • The fireplace
  • Windows
  • Chimney
  • The foundation

After conducting the inspection, home inspectors provide an in-depth report. The report outlines any problems with the home along with recommended repairs. In case your purchase contract contains home inspection contingency and serious issues or problems come up during the inspection, you may have the option of:

  • Renegotiating the selling price
  • Reneging the offer
  • Demanding the seller to repair the house

Related: 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying Your First Home

Home Inspections: Average Costs and Fees

The average cost of a routine home inspection is about $315, with small homes and condos (less than 1,000 square feet) costing as low as under $200. However, larger houses (more than 2,000 square feet) will cost about $400 or more.  The American Society of Home Inspectors is a good place to find your home inspector.

Mold or Radon tests will cost you more. However, in case you get them with a home inspection, they will be cheaper. Here are a couple of things you should know before you pay for a home inspection:

  • There are no pre-defined standards for the calculation of an overall home inspection price, so discuss this with your home inspector up-front.
  • There are different methods for determining fee quotes. Some depend on the square footage of living area, while others on the amount of time expended on the inspection.
  • The age of a house can affect the fee too. Generally, it takes a couple of hours to inspect new homes while older houses tend to take at least four hours. This is because of repairs, maintenance and additions that have taken place over the years that need closer examination.
  • A home inspection report may take just an hour to complete or might take up to 8 hours, depending on the inspector and their process of compiling reports.
  • Similar to most things, paying the minimum amount for your home inspection is not necessarily in your best interest. The HUD does not regulate home inspectors, so they may cut corners if they are charging less.

Most people start by asking about expenses when selecting home inspectors. Although it is an important consideration when choosing a home inspector, you should not overlook the competence, qualifications and experience of the inspector and how they secure their business.

Types of Home Inspections

There are various types of home inspections you may like to carry out before purchasing a home. Some of these are discussed below.

Residential or General Inspection

First and foremost, you will require a residential inspection for your house.  A home inspector will inspect and examine the structure, roof, exterior, interior, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, ventilation and insulation.

On completion of the inspection, the professional will usually furnish a detailed report. The report will suggest any repairs or improvements that are necessary for bringing the house up to current standards. A general home inspection may uncover problems that could be costly to fix.  You can use this as leverage in selling price negotiations with the owner of the residence.

A buyer may be in a position to negotiate the price depending on the flaws the home inspector has discovered.  In case faults are found within the house, the buyer usually has more options during negotiations. These options may include:

  • Negotiating a credit arrangement with the seller
  • Having the seller pay repair costs before closing the deal
  • Buying the house in its present condition, or
  • Walking away, if the issues or flaws are too problematic.

Termite Destroying Inspection

This is another useful and common type of home inspection.

A certified home inspector will check the property for signs or indications of structural damage, which is caused by various wood boring insects. These insects tend to cause problems that usually magnify down the road.  A general inspector may conduct this inspection for an extra cost, or recommend a specialist.

Radon Inspection

This could be a crucial inspection when buying a house. Radon is a highly radioactive element, which is formed due to the breakdown of radium. This happens naturally, particularly in regions over granite surface, and is risky for health.

Radon gas accumulates in houses, mainly in confined parts like basements and attics. Radon levels usually fluctuate considerably. Therefore, it is important to test for high levels. In case a radon test indicates high levels of the element, you have some options. You can seal all the basement foundations, concrete slab floors and water drainage systems. This may be a pricey fix, which shows the importance of radon tests.

Other Home Inspections

There are several other inspections that can be performed depending on the nature and condition of the property. These are:

  • Oil tank testing
  • Well water testing
  • Septic tank testing

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