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When to Have an Inspection Done

Holly Shuffett August 9, 2023

Congratulations! Your offer has been accepted and you’re well on your way to becoming a proud homeowner. But don’t get ahead of yourself with celebrating because now it’s time for the next step in the homebuying process: home inspections.

What Is A Home Inspection?

Simply put, home inspections are a visual assessment of your home’s structural integrity and mechanical systems. Home inspections are conducted by objective third-party professionals with vast knowledge on home conditions. Your home inspector will typically evaluate things like your home’s foundation, plumbing, electrical and occasionally your home’s exterior.

Do I Need A Home Inspection?

59956885 - view of house entrance with concrete walkway, stone column trim and double doors.

Although home inspections are usually optional, they are a highly recommended step in the homebuying process – and for good reason. Home inspections are a great way to learn all about a home’s performance and any potential work or repairs that need to be done.

While you can typically DIY a home inspection for any obvious issues – such as leaky pipes, cracked drywall, or a large tree too close to your foundation – it can be risky to forgo an official home inspection. They oftentimes reveal problem areas or parts of the home which will require some TLC. Additionally, home inspections can give you a better idea regarding the maintenance required for the property’s upkeep.

So, before you write off this step and fully commit to your dream home, keep in mind that home inspections will only help you make well-informed decisions about what could be the largest purchase of your life.

What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

Home inspections are usually purely visual – meaning, anything that isn’t readily accessible to your inspector probably won’t be evaluated during the inspection. Depending on your home, that can take attics, septic tanks, and some mechanical systems off the table.

Home inspectors also rarely comment on issues of aesthetic, unless they pose an immediate problem. For example, home inspectors won’t care about a water stain, unless that stain points to a larger issue with your home’s plumbing.

Other key things most home inspectors look at are:

  • Structural issues
  • Roofing damage
  • Electrical or plumbing problems
  • Pest infestation
  • HVAC issues
  • Water damage
  • General safety hazards

What you can expect to learn from home inspectors includes the lifespan of any major appliances or equipment, in addition to recommendations for any repairs or replacements that should be made.

How Much Do Home Inspections Cost?

Although the current market greatly influences the cost of having a home inspection done, the nationwide average for home inspections is $300 – $500. This figure is dependent on the size, location, and age of your home.

The cost of a home inspection also doesn’t include the price of any second opinions prompted by your inspector. For example, sometimes a home inspector will advise that you get a quote from a contractor or other home professional. Depending on who you contact, that quote could also cost you a bit more.

Who Pays For Home Inspections?

Generally, the buyer is responsible for bearing the cost of a home inspection. Buyers usually get professional inspections after there are under contract to buy a property and inspections open the door for further negotiations.

How Long Do Home Inspections Take?

Since it’s usually advised that you be present during the inspection process, it only makes sense to wonder how much of your day will be taken up by a home inspection. Home inspections typically last 2 – 3 hours as they are a head-to-toe inspection of your home.

But before the time commitment turns you off, home inspections are usually very hands-on and engaging. You should accompany your inspector throughout the walk-through assessment, and a good inspector will explain their observations to you in addition to answering your questions or concerns.

How Should I Choose A Home Inspector?

As in any other job field, home inspectors aren’t all created equally. In order to find a good inspector, consider checking out your local Better Business Bureau or utilize the American Society of Home Inspectors’ Find An Inspector resource.

The Bottom Line

Home inspections are an important part of the home buying and selling process. They can help you get to know a home better before buying, or help you learn more about the value of your home.

For more FSBO tips, check out our blog here.