Home inspection cost | Home inspection cost factors | Types of inspections | How long does an inspection take? | Who pays? | Pre-inspections | Who should attend? | How to choose an inspector | Inspector licenses | Inspection gone wrong? | FAQs
Home inspection costs can range anywhere from $300–500, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Is this expense really worth it for homebuyers when buying a home already involves so many additional costs?
Let’s break down the home inspection process and find out.
- A home inspection usually costs between $300–500, but can run as high as $600–800 for a larger home.
- Buyers typically pay for home inspections and schedule them after their offer is accepted.
- Home inspections aren’t mandatory, but they’re the best way for you to be informed about the condition of your potential new home.
- If a purchasing contract includes an inspection contingency, the results of a home inspection can allow the buyer to negotiate with the seller or back out of the deal.
What is the average cost of a home inspection?
The average cost of a home inspection is $338 according to data from HomeAdvisor, and generally ranges from $300–500.
The exact amount you’ll pay can fluctuate based on different factors, and it’s not unheard of for the cost of inspection services to run as high as $600–800 for larger homes or additional specialized inspections.
To help you better anticipate your home inspection cost, let’s look at some of the variables that might influence the price.
Factors that influence the cost of a home inspection
Size and age of the home
Inspectors typically base their price on the square footage of the home being inspected. More home to inspect means they’ll need more time to do a thorough walk-through, and that usually translates into a higher cost for you.
Here are potential home inspection costs based on the size of a home:
|Size of home||Cost|
|800 square feet||$200–250|
|1,000 square feet||$250–300|
|1,200 square feet||$300–350|
|1,400 square feet||$350–400|
|1,600 square feet||$400–450|
|1,800 square feet||$450–500|
|2,000 square feet||$500–550|
|2,200 square feet||$550–600|
Older homes may also cost more to inspect because the inspector may need to spend more time investigating a home that has a higher risk of hazards or defects due to age.
Just as real estate markets vary by state or neighborhood, so do inspection prices.
Climate or geography can influence price, as can competition and demand.
For example, many people in Fort Lauderdale, FL either reside within or close to a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Because of the potential for water intrusion, a house there might take longer to inspect than a house in a city where looking for water damage isn’t often part of the general inspection process.
To get an idea of what you might pay, here are estimated inspection costs in several major markets:
The expertise of the inspector you hire can also influence how much they charge for their services.
An inspector might charge more if they’re a general inspector but also have special certifications. Inspectors with 20 years of experience might charge more than someone with five years of experience.
Since home inspection costs can vary based on so many factors, it’s a good idea to compare rates among inspectors in your area to get an idea of a fair price based on your needs.
What is included in a home inspection?
Home inspections objectively assess the condition of the home, not its value. So a home can’t pass or fail an inspection.
Inspectors will let you know what may need repairs or what should be further evaluated by a specialist. A home inspector won’t, and shouldn’t, advise you regarding purchasing the home — that’s your decision.
Home inspections come in two types: general and specialized.
General home inspections
A general inspection evaluates the home’s overall condition and helps you identify any current or potential problem areas.
The American Society of Home Inspectors states that a standard home inspection should include evaluations of:
- Heating and air conditioning systems
- Interior plumbing
- Electrical systems
- Roof, attic, and insulation
- Doors, windows, floors, and ceilings
- Structural components, including foundation and basement
If you’d like your inspector to take an extra careful look at one or several of these elements, tell them upfront. That way the inspector can be prepared to be as thorough as possible or can refer a specialist to you.
Specialized home inspections
Specialized inspections address specific potential problems or specific areas of a home, like insulation, radon levels, or mold.
A general inspector might recommend you consult a specialist if they notice any symptoms or problems they’re not certified to inspect in more detail.
If you’re concerned about a particular part of a home you’re bidding on, it’s a great idea to hire a specialized home inspector after you get a general inspector’s opinion.
Some common special inspections:
|Inspection type||Average cost*|
Some real estate agents or home inspectors might also recommend a specialist for components of your home that are common concerns in your area.
In fact, when you interview your inspector, ask what kinds of special inspections are common in the neighborhood or city you’re buying in.
Some other targeted special inspections include:
|Inspection type||Average cost*|
Never assume these kinds of issues are taken care of. Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you can make, and you want to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can during the process.
An experienced realtor will have direct connections with reputable inspectors in your area and can advise you on how to use information from your inspection when negotiating with sellers. Find a great agent in your area with our friends at Clever!
How long does a home inspection take?
A general home inspection typically takes 3–4 hours.
After completing an inspection, your inspector will provide an inspection report, usually within 24–48 hours. The inspection report will document their findings in detail and may include photographs.
Your inspector will provide either a printed-out report or a digital copy.
If you’re curious about what you can expect in a report, ask your inspector for a sample report beforehand. Some providers might also post sample reports on their websites.
Who pays for a home inspection?
The buyer typically pays for the inspection, usually after an offer is accepted but before they close on the home.
Buyers shoulder the home inspection cost because it’s the buyer’s responsibility to do their due diligence to make an informed purchase.
Inspection contingencies, which make the purchase contingent on the condition of the house, are among the most common contingencies in purchasing contracts. If the inspection returns issues that you’d like the seller to pay for or repair, or that you think devalue the home, you can negotiate with information from the inspection at your back.
After signing a purchasing contract, you’ll enter into the “option period.” In other words, you’ll have a window of time where you can back out of the sale based on any existing contingencies.
If these contingencies include inspections, it’s crucial to schedule a home inspection as soon as you can after signing a purchasing contract so you can get an inspection report back before the option period ends.
What is a pre-inspection?
Sellers sometimes conduct pre-inspections before placing their homes on the market.
If you’re selling your home, pre-inspections can help you decide if you want to make any repairs before listing or offer a higher level of transparency at the negotiating table with potential buyers.
It’s never a bad idea to have your home inspected before you list it. In a buyer’s market, when the number of homes for sale exceeds the number of people looking to buy, having a pre-inspection done might help speed up the sale process.
You can offer to share your pre-inspection report with a potential buyer as a roadmap of concern areas for their own inspection process.
Your listing agent can discuss options with you and likely connect you with the right inspector for your needs.
Who should attend a home inspection?
The buyer and their agent are encouraged to attend the inspection. A buyer’s agent will coordinate with the seller to schedule a time for the inspector to do their work.
Afterward, a good inspector will answer any questions you have and go over any areas of concern.
If you’re a seller, it can be tempting to attend the inspection (it’s your home after all). However, if you do, buyers could suspect you’re worried about what the inspection might reveal.
Ultimately, sellers should be absent from the home inspection process unless they’re conducting a pre-inspection.
How do you choose a home inspector?
First, ask your agent to recommend local inspectors. Experienced agents in your area will usually have connections with reputable inspectors that they’ve worked with before.
Top agents will also know about common issues in the area you’re shopping in — for instance, if other houses have had problems with termites or if the home is in a floodplain. Agents can support you in finding an inspector with an awareness of common local concerns.
Like most things in real estate, it’s important to compare price points with comparable services in the same area. Some local inspectors publish their rates online, and you can compare them to those of other service providers.
However, it’s a good idea to contact and interview your local inspectors, too. Ask them about their credentials and experience. Ask if they’re part of reputable trade organizations, such as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors or the American Society of Home Inspectors.
You can also ask to see sample reports created by the service provider (some may have sample reports already accessible on their website). These reports usually show what you can expect to receive at the end of an inspection, and you can compare providers’ sample reports to determine the best inspector for your needs.
Should your home inspector be licensed?
Not every state requires that inspectors be licensed, so you should check your state’s guidelines. If you live in a state that doesn’t have licensing requirements for inspectors, consulting your agent for their recommendation will be the best way to start looking for a trusted inspector.
What if the inspector misses something?
If you move into your new house and notice something that wasn’t covered in the inspection report or wasn’t disclosed to you by the seller, contact your inspector.
Good inspectors will have errors and omissions insurance that might cover the cost of the concern or damage. Note that you’ll need to provide proof that the problem existed before you moved in.
However, if you use a home inspection report from an inspector that you didn’t hire and pay for yourself, you won’t be entitled to that inspector’s liability. Their liability will be to whoever paid to conduct the inspection.
If you’re a buyer, this means it’s imperative for you to pay for your own inspection (even if the seller had a pre-inspection done) if you want to protect your purchase.
So, is a home inspection really worth it?
If you’re a home buyer, getting an inspection is a must.
It’s important to understand what kind of upfront and potential costs your home will be generating down the road. Paying the $300–500 for an inspection early on can potentially save you thousands in repairs later.
A top local real estate agent will have key connections to reputable home inspectors in your area. Our friends at Clever can help you compare those top agents, and save you thousands!
Home inspection FAQs
Who pays for a home inspection?
The buyer pays for a home inspection. Home inspections aren't required by lenders or by sellers, but they are part of a buyer's due diligence on their purchase. So, the ultimate responsibility falls on buyers if they want an inspection done.
What fixes are mandatory after a home inspection?
Sellers aren't required to make any specific repairs after the results of a home inspection, but some lenders may require things such as building code violations or safety concerns to be addressed before they finance a buyer’s purchase.
If a seller is selling a home as is, they typically won’t make any repairs.
Each state also has its own mandates on what systems a home must have in working condition, so it's best to check your state's requirements.
Is the cost of a home inspection included in closing costs?
No, the cost of an inspection isn't part of the closing costs for buyers or sellers. Inspections are an optional step a home buyer takes during the home buying process, so the buyer pays for an inspection out-of-pocket.
Can I negotiate with a seller after a home inspection is done?
Yes. One of the most common contingencies in a purchasing contract is the home inspection contingency. If a contract has a home inspection contingency, negotiations are especially possible.
Your real estate agent will be able to advise you on how to include these contingencies in the contract and will be able to negotiate on your behalf.
Can I get a home inspection reimbursement from the seller?
No, home buyers are responsible for getting an inspection done on the home they want to purchase. The buyer must vet their own investment.
If the inspection reveals major issues and a buyer withdraws their offer, they’re still not entitled to reimbursement for the inspection from the seller.
If you want to learn more about buying or selling a home, these articles might help:
Who Pays for a Home Inspection? In the swarm of costs associated with buying or selling a home, it can be difficult to discern who pays for what. Learn more about when a home inspection happens in the buying or selling process, and who pays for it.
How to Negotiate After a Home Inspection and Win: It’s common for buyers and sellers to include inspection contingencies in a purchasing contract. Learn some tips and tricks to successfully navigating post-inspection negotiations.
Honestly, What’s a Real Estate Agent? (Are They Worth It?): If you’re thinking about buying a new home or selling yours, you might be considering finding an agent. Learn about how real estate agents help buyers and sellers, the difference between an agent and a realtor, and more.
20 Ways to Save Money When Buying a Home: Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases someone can make in their lifetime. Learn about the various ways you can save money during the home-buying process.