Monday, October 3, 2016

What are the costs involved in a home inspection?

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?
Excerpts from article published at Homeadvisor.com

*NOTE: This is a general information article. I will be happy to discuss my prices, policies and process as they apply to the items mentioned here. Terry - Your Commendable Home Inspector. 


Average Home Inspection Costs & Fees

The average home inspection costs around $315, with condos and small homes under 1,000 sq ft. costing as little as $200. Larger homes over 2,000 sq ft. will run $400 or more. Radon or mold testing will cost extra, but will typically cost less if you purchase them with a home inspection.
"How much do you charge?" is normally the first question asked of a home inspector. You should be asking about qualifications, experience, and how they get most of their business! Nonetheless, here is a breakdown of what you need to know so you can anticipate what you should expect to pay for a home inspection:
   There is no set standard for how the overall inspection price is calculated, so you should ask your inspector up front to find out how you will be charged.

   Inspectors quote inspection fees using different methods. Some charge a flat rate by the square footage of living area, square footage of area under the roof, or the amount of time spent on the inspection.

   If the inspector charges based on the amount of time spent, the larger your house is, the more you should expect to pay.

   The age of homes can affect the cost as well. Some newer homes can be inspected in 2 to 3 hours while older homes can take 4 or more hours. This is due to repairs, additions and simply how the house has developed eccentricities over the years that require a closer look.

   Some inspection reports might take an hour or two to complete, while others might take 4 hours or more. This varies by inspector and how they compile reports.

   As with most things, paying the lowest cost for a home inspection isn't always in your best interest. Inspectors aren't regulated by HUD (The U.S. Department of Housing and Development), so inspectors who charge the least might be cutting corners.

What All Should Be Included in a Home Inspection?

As stated above, all home inspectors are not created equal. They cover different areas in their inspection, so you should always find out ahead of time what exactly will be covered and what will not. At the end of the inspection, your inspector should present you with a report listing the problem areas that were found, including photos. Make sure the following areas are covered to avoid future hassles and maintenance repairs:
   Appliances
   Plumbing
   Foundation
   Roof
   Attic
   Electrical system
   HVAC system
   Fireplaces
   The general interior & exterior
Some additional areas that might be covered by your home inspector include:
   Termites
   Asbestos
   Radon

These additional areas generally require specialized certification, so if you want them checked out, you should call around to find a qualified inspector. They may come at an additional cost.

Home inspections should be non-invasive, meaning it should not include making holes in the walls, damaging fixtures, prying up shingles, or otherwise affecting the structure of the home. In some cases more invasive examinations are required, but they should be completed only with the written consent of the homeowner. Because of this, it is in your best interest to be present during the inspection.

A home inspection is not required, and some people decide to save themselves a few hundred dollars by trusting their own eyes. This often becomes a very costly mistake. Without the training and experience of a home inspector, or without knowledge of what certain problems can lead to, saving a few hundred dollars now can cost you several thousand dollars just a short time away.

Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

Here is a breakdown of major questions you need to ask your inspector before going through with the home inspection:

What exactly does the inspection cover?
The inspection should cover the items listed in section 2. In addition, your inspector should be able to prove the inspection and report will meet all applicable state guidelines along with complying with a standard code of ethics. You can request a copy of all the areas that will be included in the inspection upfront so that you can ask questions as well as identify any additional areas that you want covered.

What is your experience with home inspections?
No, it isn't rude to ask a home inspector to provide proof of his/her qualifications. In fact, it's just good practice. Your inspector should be able to provide you with references and/or proof of experience upon your asking.

Is your expertise in residential inspections?
Some people who have experience in construction or commercial inspection might claim that they can perform a home inspection, but it is best to choose an inspector who has been specifically trained to inspect residential spaces.

If the inspection shows that repairs are warranted, are you certified to perform the repairs?
Some state regulations and home inspector associations allow inspectors to perform repairs upon inspection, while others strictly forbid repairs due to a conflict of interest.

How long will the inspection take?
Larger homes (2,000 square feet or more) will take longer than smaller homes, but some inspectors just take longer than others no matter what size the home is. On average, you should anticipate the inspection to take 2-3 hours for a single-family home.

How much is this going to cost?
See section 1 for average cost information. This question is important because you should have an accurate quote up front and it is worthwhile to shop around and get a few quotes.

What does the report look like and how soon after the inspection will I see it?
Ask for samples of previous reports the inspector has done to get a feel for his/her reporting style and to make sure you can make sense out of the report itself. In general, you should expect to see the report no more than 24 hours after the inspection has been completed.

Can I attend the inspection?
If the inspector answers no to this question, it's probably time to move on to another inspector. It's a pretty big red flag not to allow the homebuyer to attend.

Which home inspector association are you a member of?
There are a few different home inspector associations in the country and, really, it doesn't matter which association the inspector belongs to as long as s/he belongs to one. An inspector who doesn't belong to a professional association likely doesn't take the job seriously and might not be as qualified as other available candidates.

How do you keep your expertise up to date?
It's important to stay on top of education and training in most fields, and home inspection is no exception. A reputable home inspector will take advantage of training courses to stay current and hone skills. This question is especially important for homebuyers who are interested in an older home that requires additional skills/expertise for specific problems.

Licensing & Regulation

(NOTE: The State of Florida Licenses and regulates inspectors in Florida - Associations merely provide training and community - slightly misstated below in the article) 

The two main associations that license and regulate home inspectors are NACHI (National Association of Certified Home Inspectors) and NAHI (National Association of Home Inspectors). These associations hold their members to a high standard of quality, and any home inspector who belongs to one of these will need to adhere to their guidelines. Inspectors need to pass an application process to be accepted, and anyone who veers from the guidelines will have his/her membership revoked. The associations' websites can provide a good starting point for finding a licensed inspector in your area.

A Final Note on Paying for a Home Inspection

Based on all the added expenses that you might end up paying without a home inspection such as fixing a broken water heater, plumbing issues, and foundation problems, the minimal cost of $200-$600 is definitely worth it. Homebuyers are often stressed out about money and think that they can save a few dollars by skipping a home inspection. In reality, an inspection can be the best investment you make in your home and it can give you peace of mind when you finally decide to buy.

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