Buying a home is a big financial investment, so it only makes sense to have your dream house professionally inspected before signing on the dotted line.
Even if you’re a dedicated do-it-yourselfer who’s well versed in home improvement, a home inspection can find problems you might miss, and detect serious structural issues.
What’s Included in a Home Inspection
A thorough professional home inspector will examine:
- Heating and cooling system
- Plumbing and wiring
- Roof and gutters
- Basement or crawlspace
- Attic and insulation
- Walls and ceilings
- Doors and windows
- Siding and trim
- Decks, porches and railings
First-time homebuyers especially should look at these areas themselves:
How to Hire a Home Inspector
Before hiring a home inspector, find out:
- What the inspection will and won’t cover.
- How long the inspector has been in business.
- Whether the inspector primarily works on residential properties.
- Will the inspector provide you with references from other homeowners.
- Is the inspector a member of an organization, such as American Society of Home Inspectors?
- How long will the inspection take to complete the job (a thorough inspection should take 2-3 hours or more).
- How long will it take to receive a report (the report should usually be available in 24 hours).
- What will the report contain (the report should include a list of problems and an estimate of repair cost)
- How much will the inspection cost (the average cost for a home inspection is around $300-$400).
The cost of a home inspection can vary depending on where you live, the size of the house, and what the inspection covers.
Generally, a home inspection will cost from 14¢ to 20¢ per square foot of living space, or around $300 to $400 for a 2,000-square-foot home.
If possible, accompany the inspector, to make sure the inspection is thorough and you can see any areas of concern firsthand.
Do not hire the inspector to perform the needed repairs, since this could pose a conflict of interest that might influence the findings of the report.
How to Find a Home Inspector
To find home inspectors in your area:
- Ask for recommendations from your friends or real estate agent.
- Look in the phone book under “Home Inspection Services.”
- Search “home inspection” and your city on the Internet