In today’s hot real estate market, the temptation is to do whatever is necessary to get your family’s home. But one thing you don’t want to do is let the cost of the home inspection stop you from doing it, even if the seller suggests it.
Jennifer Meadows and her family viewed 37 homes in the Richmond, Virginia area and placed bids for five, with four lost to buyers willing to sweeten their offerings.
Several vendors asked Meadows not to do the home inspection. She refused.
“It looked like (the house) was in great shape, but we didn’t know,” Meadows said. “And it is these unknowns that can get very expensive, and we have not been willing to risk our financial well-being by skipping the inspection.”
The cost of a home inspection is small compared to the unexpected expenses that may arise later.
When the cost of the home inspection is really worth it
That skepticism was wise, said Home Inspector John Wanninger. He and his INSPECTIX team in Nebraska have inspected more than 30,000 homes.
It’s not just the potentially expensive repairs, he said. Some of the problems can be life threatening.
Wanninger has conducted inspections that have found a three-story deck that lacked major reinforcement; Carbon monoxide entering a house due to rusty pipes; Fireplaces with cracked chimneys and many other dangerous situations.
House inspection costs
A home inspection costs only a few hundred dollars.
Wanninger said the current cost range for a home inspection in his Nebraska area is $ 400 to $ 600, with the size of the home determining the cost, with the larger homes costing more because they take more time to complete.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the average home inspection costs anywhere from $ 300 to $ 500, depending on the size of the house, and takes about three hours.
Condo and townhouse inspections are usually cheaper than detached houses (more in the $ 250 range), and the age of the house isn’t really a factor for his team.
After a general inspection, your inspector may recommend a specialist to look at a few things in and around the house, including:
- Swimming pools
- Sewer and sewage treatment plants
- Environmental problems (including radon, mold, asbestos)
According to the Homeguide and Wanninger, these additional inspections cause additional costs.
- Radon tests cost an additional $ 100 to $ 200.
- Mold tests cost around $ 100 to $ 600.
- Asbestos inspections can cost anywhere from $ 250 to $ 800, but the removal could run into the thousands.
- Lead tests cost around $ 250 to $ 500.
“We recommend a sewer pipe for every inspection that we carry out with cast iron pipes,” said Wanninger. “It costs $ 200, but if that sewer is shot down after you pull in, it’ll be $ 8,000 to $ 10,000.”
What is a home inspection?
The general idea behind a home inspection is that it gives the buyer one last chance to find issues and potential issues before the purchase is completed and property transferred. It is also a way to learn about the specifics of the house.
It also gives the seller the option to address the issues or adjust the price.
“It could affect the price of the home if significant repairs are required,” said Nicole Deprez, residential real estate agent at NP Dodge in Omaha, Nebraska. “I think when it comes to inspections, I think most of the education part is that comes with it.”
Usually the buyer pays for the inspection, but sometimes a seller gets an inspection before putting their home on the market to reassure potential buyers.
Find a home inspector
The home inspection is only as good as the inspector you choose.
Real estate agent Deprez said she preferred to recommend inspectors who would take their time and educate buyers about their new homes without panicking them.
This is hard to know before working with an inspector, so recommendations from friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and real estate professionals may include suggestions for people to call you.
When choosing a house inspector:
- Ask questions: It’s okay to ask about your prospective inspector’s background, experience, job affiliation, etc.
- See regulations: If you live in a state that regulates home inspectors, check their licenses, credentials, and see if there are any complaints against them.
- Get paperwork: Ask for proof of insurance from an auditor and a sample inspection report to make sure it is complete.
- Read the contract: Make sure you understand what is and is not part of the inspection. Not all inspectors check for things like asbestos, lead paint, etc., or check swimming pools or sewage treatment plants.
What do home inspectors look out for?
When inspecting, the National Association of Home Inspectors suggests that its members examine approximately 1,600 items for signs of damage or other problems.
The inspector looks at these general things:
- Water damage
- Structural Integrity
- Possible security issues
- Roof damage
- Electrical systems
- Sanitary systems
- HVAC system
- Any possible insect or pest infestation
- The condition of the devices
The inspector only looks at things that are easily accessible. You won’t pull up carpets or drill holes in walls.
After the inspection, the buyer will receive a detailed report with everything the inspector has found.
If you have problems after closing it
Unfortunately, not all inspections capture everything that could be a problem with a home.
Some inspectors offer a guarantee on their work, which means their company will pay for repairs you may have to make to problems they should have discovered during the inspection. Check your contract to see if this type of protection is in place.
Wanninger says the limit of liability is usually the fee for the inspection.
“Most home inspectors have errors and omissions insurance to protect them from major damage, but we know that our ability to see and find things is limited to what we can see, and there are hundreds and Hundreds of things a house inspector has to look at. “
If they make a mistake, most home inspectors will refund the fee paid for the inspection.
Tiffani Sherman is a Florida-based freelance reporter with more than 25 years of experience writing on finance, health, travel, and other topics.