How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?
One of the most important things you want to do before buying a home is to order a home inspection. Home inspections are almost always optional, but there are risks to not having a professional inspector examine the house before you commit to buying. All you need to do is read a few horror stories from buyers who waived the home inspection to know what’s at stake.
But what exactly is a home inspection, and how much does it cost? After all, buying a home is already expensive when you factor in the downpayment, moving, and closing costs.
What Is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an examination of a home’s structural integrity. This includes an assessment of the roof, foundation, HVAC, plumbing, electrical systems, and more. Home inspections are usually conducted as part of a purchase transaction.
Prospective homebuyers should always request a home inspection as a condition of purchasing the home. A house is a considerable investment, so it’s important to identify any current or future problems before finalizing the purchase.
How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?
You’ll pay between $300 and $500 for a typical home inspection. However, the amount is often higher for homes in remote or rural areas.
Who Pays for the Home Inspection?
The prospective homebuyer is responsible for paying for the home inspection. They can order one themselves, but the real estate agent often makes the arrangements.
Who Can Perform a Home Inspection?
In British Columbia, individuals must follow a six-step process to become licensed home inspectors. This includes 150 hours of formal education, writing a designated exam, and on-the-job training. Inspectors must also obtain insurance coverage.
Some provinces, such as Ontario, don’t have formal licensing requirements for home inspectors. That said, realtors and homebuyers will want to ensure they are dealing with a qualified home inspector, so having some type of formal certification or education is helpful. There are various programs available for this purpose.
What Are the Most Common Issues Identified in Home Inspections?
Home inspectors will look for significant issues that may derail a real estate purchase but will also note more minor issues that the homebuyer will want to know about. Here are some more common and potentially severe problems identified in home inspections.
Faulty Foundation: Home inspectors will look for signs that a foundation may need repair. These include cracks and evidence of mould or water damage from a leaking foundation. Bad foundations can be problematic because of how expensive they can be to fix.
Roof Issues: Home inspectors will note the condition of the roof shingles. They’ll look for missing or curling shingles to get an indication of when you may need to replace them in the future. Shingles can last up to 20 years.
Evidence of Insect/Rodent Infestations:
Pest infestations can be challenging (and costly) problems to solve. If a home inspector finds evidence of termites or rodents, the buyer may be wary of proceeding with the home purchase.
Old HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and cooling. Home inspectors will check the condition of the furnace, ducts, and air conditioning. If they’re nearing end-of-life, they’ll note it in the report. HVAC systems cost thousands of dollars to replace, so the homebuyer needs to have this information.
Wiring: Housing and property inspectors will look for evidence of faulty or damaged wiring. Older homes may have aluminum wiring, which does not meet current standards. Other problems, such as bad circuit breakers or damaged junction boxes, will be noted in their report.
Plumbing: A professional home inspector will look closely for pipes that are damaged or not up to current standards. They’ll let you know if you should consider any repairs or upgrades.
Structural Damage: While structural damage can include a faulty foundation, there are other structural issues home inspectors will look for, like cracked siding or stucco on the home’s exterior, sagging floors or beams, or doors and windows that stick. All of these items can be indicators of a more serious problem with the building’s structural integrity.
What Does a Home Inspection Not Cover?
A home inspection report will not cover the following areas:
- The septic system
- cracked paint
- Swimming pool
- The 70’s shag carpet
It’s important to note that while the inspector will look at many areas of the home, they won’t conduct a detailed inspection of places they can’t easily reach. For example, they won’t usually climb up on the roof or crawl into an attic.
What Can I Do with the Information on the Property Inspection Report?
Once you receive the completed home inspection report, you’ll have to decide whether you still want to continue with the home purchase or pull out of the deal based on the results. If the home inspector identifies major deficiencies, it may be too risky to proceed with the purchase. That said, most home inspections will identify some minor issues, which is normal.
Is a Home Inspection Worth It?
It goes without saying that a home inspection is worth the $300-$500 cost. There’s simply too much at stake when you’re buying a house to waive the home inspection. Unfortunately, in certain real estate markets, homebuyers are pressured to bypass the home inspection if they want their offer accepted. If you lose out on a house because you weren’t willing to waive the inspection, it wasn’t for you. The risks of not having a home inspection done are simply too high.