You did it! You found the perfect home. You’ve made an offer. It’s been accepted. All the pieces are falling into place! Before you go and buy new paint for every room, pick out the new furniture, and begin introducing yourself to the neighbors, there is still the matter of the home inspection to get through.
Buying a home can be one of the most exciting and simultaneously terrifying moments of a person’s life. For most of us, it’s the most expensive purchase you’re likely to make. You want to make sure you’re doing the right thing and unless you or your significant other have home building, electrical, plumbing, and general contracting work on your resume, then you’re going to want to have a home inspection before you sign on the dotted line.
Since the 1970s, home purchasers have been looking to home inspections to give them much needed and extremely valuable insight into the purchase they are about to make. Every home has its unique issues—if you know about them going into the purchase this can significantly help your negotiations with the seller as well as help you plan and budget for needed renovations. Some opt to skip this step but it’s not a move I would advise.
I often get asked a lot of questions in regards to home inspections. In this post, I’m covering the top 5 questions that I’m asked time and time again.
Here are the answers to your top 5 home inspection questions:
1. How much does a home inspection cost and who pays for it?
There’s not one answer to this question but there is a range that you can expect. According to Homeadvisor.com and my experience, most inspections will cost between $250-$350. With more home, of course, there can be more cost. Small homes (1,000 square feet or under) will cost less to inspect than those that are much larger home. Don’t be afraid to ask you inspector upfront what their rate is for inspection. Some charge a flat rate, by the square footage, or by amount of time spent on the process. Expect a longer process the older your home is as it may have parts that need more attention than a newer construction.
As the home buyer, you are the one who is paying for the inspection typically unless you’ve made other arrangements before signing your purchase agreement.
2. What’s included in a home inspection?
What is included in your inspection should be discussed with the inspector BEFORE your inspection is scheduled. At the end of it all, your inspector should provide you with a detailed report listing any problem areas that they found. This should include photos too. Main areas you should absolutely make sure are covered in your inspection include:
- Electrical system
- Fireplaces (if your have them)
- General interior and exterior condition
Some additional requests can be made to include termites, asbestos, and radon.
3. What’s not included or inspected during a home inspection?
A home inspection is a non-invasive process so there shouldn’t be any holes or damage made to the home during the inspection. Unless there is written consent from the homeowner, everything should be left the way it was when the inspector arrived. Some inspectors will not include radon, asbestos, mold, lead, or sewer scope. These could be added on in most cases for additional cost. Buying a home is expensive and you may be tempted to cut corners but your inspection is not the place. Mold alone could cost over $2,000 to remove professionally if needed!
4. What should I look for when choosing an inspector?
There are many questions you can ask your inspector. One of the most important and first should be about their credentials. Find out if they are a member of any professional inspection association like the National Association of Home Inspectors or the American Society of Home Inspectors.
Ask about their experience. Have they inspected many older homes or do they mostly deal with new constructions? Especially if you’re looking to purchase a fixer-upper, this will be very important so you can get a full scope of what you’ll be dealing with down the line.
Before you say, “You’re hired!”, do your research. Ask them for a list of references, go online and see if you can find reviews from past customers about their work, and see what you can find out. You’re trusting this person to give you their honest and professional opinion on one of the biggest decisions you could make. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask if you can attend the inspection in person.
5. Should I, as the buyer, attend the home inspection?
This brings us to our last piece of advice. Should you attend the inspection? In my opinion, I would strongly recommend that you do attend your home inspection. If you ask your inspector if you can tag along and they answer no, it may be time to find a new inspector. That is a red flag. Your inspection should take about 2-3 hours on average and you’ll learn so much more about your new home than you would just reading a report. Just keep in mind that you want to give your inspector enough space to do their job without a ton of interruptions.
I hope this helps you as you proceed in your home buying process. A home inspection can be stressful but if you follow these tips, you should be off to a great start.
Here are some related resources you may find helpful:
Top Reasons to Have a Home Inspection When Buying a Home by Kyle Hiscock
Home Inspection Problems the Inspector May Not Find by Bill Gassett
Inspect Your Home a Little Closer, Before Selling by Lynn Pineda
6 Smart Steps for Hiring a Contractor by David Cronnin