The True Cost of Home Inspections
One of the first questions and probably most asked questions I get when speaking to a home buyer is how much does the inspection cost. Respectfully, that questions is usually asked before I have the address of the home, square footage or multiple other details important to giving an accurate price quote. The short answer is $300-$750. Many factors play a roll in the cost of a home inspection and we'll cover those in this article.
As mentioned above some of the factors included in coming up with our cost for performing a home inspection include the square footage of the home, amount of bedrooms and bathrooms, amount of kitchens, types of foundations, type of roof and the age of the home. Some of these factors may seem obvious as to how it would relate in home inspection fee's. However, some items like types of foundations, may seem out of the ordinary to some people.
To elaborate further we will focus specifically on types of foundations. A home built on a slab will take substantially less time to inspect than a home built on a crawlspace simply because there are more components to inspect with a crawlspace. Inspecting a crawlspace also requires additional tools and supplies for an inspector and some conditions can make it hazardous to inspect a crawlspace. I have seen numerous circumstances that could jeopardize a home inspectors safety while inspecting crawlspaces. I have seen everything from broken sewer lines with raw sewage leaking into a crawlspace, to mold covered crawlspaces that make it seem hard to breath even with personal safety equipment. Home Inspectors use suits, respirators and gloves for personal safety. At ICOR Home Inspections, we use disposable gloves and suits. The reason for disposable equipment is to prevent cross contamination. Using a non-disposable crawlspace suit in a crawlspace covered in raw sewage or mold, then wearing that same suit in another crawlspace could easily cross contaminate someonelses home. Of course using disposable gear has added cost but our main focus is to protect our clients.
The first thing I tell potential clients that call and ask "how much does a home inspection cost", is typically something along the lines of "I completely respect your concern for the financial investment of a home inspection, however a better question would be how much does a cheap home inspection cost". The answer could be thousands of dollars. Just like many things in this world, you get what you pay for. We take home inspections and client commitment seriously at ICOR Home Inspections and the last thing we would want is our client to purchase a property with thousands of dollars in unforeseen repairs and maintenance.
Experience is another important factor in highering a home inspector and the cost related to the home inspection. Just like most industries a new home inspector probably has lower overhead and is less busy than an experienced home inspector. Therefor they can charge less. This isn't to say that a home inspector that is relatively new to the industry can't do a good job inspecting a house though. Training, mandatory continuing education and previous work experience play a big roll. Myself, like many home inspectors had 15 plus years in the residential remodeling industry before becoming a licensed home inspector and have a nationally accredited general contractors license. In addition I had to complete close to 100 hours of approved training and pass a rigorous exam. Most of my career spent as a general contractor included consulting with engineers, electricians, Plumbers, HVAC tech's, building officials, etc. Your Inspectors experience does matter.
Another factor that can play a big part in a home inspection cost are additional services. For example you may want the water quality tested or perhaps your looking at a home and have concerns for radon or mold. These are all services that will add to the cost of your home inspection. For perspective purposes I'd also like to highlight that Zillow has the national median home price of homes sold in the United States listed as $236,100. If you compare that to, let's say a $475 home inspection fee, that's around a .002% cost. And lets keep in mind real estate fee's are going to be about 5% to 6% and closing cost on a mortgage is typically about 2% to 5% of the purchase price.
A thorough home inspection can also save thousands in unexpected repairs and can often result in thousands worth of savings. Let's say the buyer chooses to have a radon test done prior to purchasing the home they are under contract to buy and the test results indicate that a mitigation system may be needed. The buyer has the opportunity to negotiate those mitigation costs and the seller could potentially be willing to absorb all the cost of installing a radon mitigation system. On the other hand, if the seller had thorough pre-listing inspections performed they may have found out about the mitigation system and could have collected their own quotes without a sense of urgency. This could have saved the seller money, time and stress. Additionally, the seller could have budgeted for their expenses and negotiated a better deal.
In summary, the cost of a home inspection should be on your list of concerns when purchasing a home. As should the cost of a poorly performed home inspection. Interview your potential home inspectors and ask them how long they have been performing home inspection services, what services they offer and what their previous experience was. Perhaps most importantly, make sure you feel comfortable working with them.