Home Inspection Checklist, Cost, & Requirements


home inspection cost checklist

When you sign a purchase agreement on a house, you should get a home inspection before closing.

While a home inspection is optional in most cases, it’s highly recommended by experts so you can be aware of the home’s condition and potential problems.

One of the most common pitfalls new home buyers experience is the home they didn’t know about but could have been fixed before closing.

This article will explain what to expect inspection before buying a house and provide a home inspection checklist.

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How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

According to Angie’s List, the average home inspection costs around $315. If you have a home with more than 2,000 sq feet, the home inspection fee can be as much as $500+ depending on the size. Smaller Condos and townhomes with less than 1,000 square feet could cost as little as $200.

This is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that a major problem isn’t waiting for you after closing.

9 Most Common Problems found during a Home Inspection

  • Faulty wiring. Outdated and worn-out electrical systems are the most common problem, especially in older homes.
  • Roof problems. A common issue is worn-out roofs that need to be replaced.
  • Plumbing issues. Worn out pipes and repairs needed to toilets.
  • Small items were not replaced by the previous owner that could mean big problems in the future.
  • Air Conditioning and Heating Systems. Systems that were not installed correctly or not maintained are another problem you need to watch out for.
  • Minor Structural issues. Drainage. The gutter system does not drain water away from the foundation.
  • Gaps in the windows that can air and water leaks.
  • Attics with poor insulation and ventilation
  • Damaged water heater

How to Find a Home Inspector

The state requirements for home inspectors varies depending on the state. In most states, inspectors are required to be licensed; however, in some states, such as California, a license is not required.

You will likely get a referral to home inspectors from your real estate agent. It would be best if you did your own research and ask friends and family for recommendations. Ideally, a home inspector would be licensed and have extensive experience.

Refer to the American Society of Home Inspectors to find certified home inspectors in your area.

Home Inspection Checklist

Most home inspectors check many of the same possible issues. However, there is not a universal home inspection checklist that every company uses. Make sure that your report at least includes the following.

Foundation – Make sure there are no obvious cracks in the foundation by looking around the walls and ceilings. Do the same to the home’s exterior, looking for cracked bricks and trees planted close to the home.

Drainage – Check the gutters and ensure water will flow away from the foundation.

Roof – Do the singles need to be replaced? Asphalt shingles have a lifespan of 15-40 years.

Exterior – Go over the entire exterior of the home. Are there any broken fixtures, does it need repainting, is there rotting wood or exposed wiring.

Interior – Check the walls, ceilings, doors, and baseboards. Is everything in acceptable order for you

Electrical– Test the outlets to make sure they work, do the same with the lights.

Water sprinklers – If the home has water sprinklers installed, run the system to ensure all zones are functioning correctly.

Air conditioning and heater – Check the air condition and heating systems to ensure they are working properly and need no repairs.

Appliances – Do all the appliances work, feel free to test the microwave, dishwasher, oven, and stove.

Odor – If the home smells, people assume it was the previous owners, not the smell of the house itself. Make sure all areas of the home are dry, and nothing is leaking. Wet areas can cause musty smells.

Termite Inspection – Check interior attic and exterior of the home for termites and existing termite treatment systems currently installed and other insect inspection.

Mold Inspection – Check the home for mold.

Water Heater – Ensure the heater unit is fully functional.

Home Inspection Report

A home inspector will give you a written report of their home condition findings, including the inspection checklist.

The report should be very detailed; a professional home inspector will take pictures as well. If your home inspector does not give you a report, you should demand it. A home inspection company is required by law to give you a copy of their report.

Consider the problems that were found and decide if you want to ask the seller to repair certain items before closing. Suppose some of the house issues are not a major issue for you or can fix yourself. You can use the home inspection report to help you negotiate the home’s cost down with the seller.

The Bottom Line

A home inspection is not required to buy a home in most cases; it’s an option a homebuyer can have done before closing.

The cost of a home inspection from a certified inspector will largely depend on the square footage of the home you’re purchasing. You can expect to pay anywhere between $250-$500.

When you buy a house, we highly recommend you get a home inspection; many potential issues can you won’t even notice until after living in the home; the same is true for a new build home.

To avoid costly repairs such as a new roof, plumbing, or electrical issues, you must have a thorough home inspection done by a third-party licensed inspector.

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