How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

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By Clever Real Estate Updated April 11, 2024


Average home inspection costs in 2021

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Metro area | Home size | Property type | Inspection type

The average cost for a home inspection in 2021 is $340, nationwide[1],with most people paying between $300 and $500.

Home inspection costs vary by market rates, square footage, and home type. Some properties may also require specialized inspections, which can increase costs significantly.

Home buyers typically pay for the home inspection out of pocket. For a relatively low upfront cost, a home inspection can give buyers leverage to negotiate a lower price for expensive repairs or walk away from a deal without losing their deposit.

Don't skip a home inspection! This step is essential for your home-buying due diligence. Be sure to shop around and compare options to get a quality inspector at a fair price. You can use free online tools to find inspectors or ask your realtor for recommendations.

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🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Most people will pay $300–500 for a home inspection — and the buyer usually foots the bill.
  • Extra, specialized inspections can double that cost.
  • Home inspections can give buyers leverage and help them spot a money pit.
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Average home inspection costs near you

Square footage

Many home inspectors charge primarily by square footage. Here's how a home inspector might charge at a rate of $50 per 200 square feet (not including other fees).[2]

Property type

  • Single-family homes are the most common. Because every home is different, inspection costs for these vary the most.
  • Condos are usually less expensive to inspect because the inspector is only going to look at what the buyer is responsible for — not the roof or anything else belonging to the HOA.
  • Multi-family homes are more expensive to inspect because they are larger and have more components, like extra air conditioning and heating units. Some inspectors might also charge by the unit.
  • Manufactured homes are typically smaller and simpler than site-built homes, and will usually cost less than single-family homes to inspect.

Specialized inspections add up

Specialized inspections may be a good idea if the inspector sees evidence of defects or hazards, or if the area has a history of certain issues.

Type Average cost
👃 Indoor air quality inspection $420
💧 Mold inspection $650
☝ Roof inspection $210
😷 Asbestos inspection $490
💩 Septic tank inspection $375
👷 Foundation inspection $650
⚡ Electrical inspection $185
🐛 Termite inspection $100
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An inspector might recommend a specialized inspection in instances such as:

  • Signs of mold, infestations, or outdated wiring
  • Visible, significant cracks in the foundation
  • Older homes with possible lead paint or asbestos
  • Buying in an area with high levels of radon (check the EPA's radon maps)

These specialized tests are usually optional, though some loans may require them — for example, in some states, VA loans require a termite inspection.

Some inspectors may offer multiple inspections in a package deal — such as for indoor air quality — while others may contract out an expert or recommend one to you.

What affects home inspection costs?

Many inspectors start with a base fee and add on job-specific costs. Pricing can vary, depending on these factors:

  • Time. Inspectors may charge by the hour or offer a range if they feel the job will take longer than expected.
  • Size and complexity of property. Larger homes take more time to inspect, as do those with unusual features.
  • Age. Older homes tend to take longer to inspect; inspectors can even bake the home's age into their fee.
  • Experience. Licensed or certified inspectors or those with years of experience may charge more.
  • Equipment. Use of high-tech equipment, like drones or thermal imaging, can increase the fee.
  • Cost of living. Inspections can cost more in areas with a higher cost of living (New York City costs more than in Wichita).
  • Distance traveled. Inspectors can charge mileage fees.
  • Specialized inspections. Some issues require an expert or more technology for further evaluation.

Other factors, like the busy season, can drive rates up or down. And some inspectors can charge extra for certain tasks, like examining a crawlspace.

Editor's noteSome states require home inspectors to be either licensed or certified — CA, CO, GA, HI, IA, ID, KS, ME, MI, MO, NE PA, SD, and UT do not. Licensed or certified home inspectors might charge more for their services depending on their credentials.
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Example home inspector bill

Every inspector has their own way of billing, but here's what a bill might look like for a simple 2,400 square-foot house.

For a mansion with a lot of extra features, the inspector might adjust the price for the additional time needed.

Who pays for the home inspection?

In most residential home sales, the buyer is expected to hire and pay for the home inspector. According to one survey, 79% of home inspections were paid for by the buyer[3]. A buyer can negotiate with the seller to pay for the inspection, but that only usually only works in a buyer's market.

Why home inspections are worth it

Home inspections are one of the most important tools that you have as a home buyer. They can:

  • Help you avoid a money pit — and save your earnest money deposit, if your offer has an inspection or repair contingency
  • Spot needed repairs and save you money in the long run
  • Give you negotiating power
  • Give you peace of mind — see the American Society of Home Inspectors' Standard of Practice guide for a thorough list of what home inspectors look for

Let's say the home inspector finds a wiring issue with a house you like and recommends an electrician. For an additional $200, the electrician discovers the home is partially wired with aluminum — a serious fire risk.

You could be on the hook for thousands of dollars in repairs after you bought the house — not to mention a major hazard. Equipped with this information from a home inspection, you now have options:

  • Ask the seller to rewire the home with copper before you close
  • Negotiate with credits to match the cost of the rewiring job
  • Walk away from the deal

If you have an inspection contingency written into your contract, and the home inspection uncovers something you don't like, you can back out of the purchase and keep your earnest money.

How do I save money on a home inspection?

You can shop around for home inspectors to compare rates and quotes. Make sure to give prospective home inspectors accurate information for pricing — type of home, square footage, age, location, etc., — and see if they have package deals for specialized inspections.

Ideally, your real estate agent will know of a reliable home inspector. Some agents have preferred inspectors, and they may be able to get you a discount.

Should I waive the home inspection?

In most cases, we don't recommend waiving the home inspection. However, it may make sense in some situations, like these:

  • You're buying a fixer-upper or heavily damaged property.
  • You're an investor and you've planned for major renovation expenses.
  • You're trying to make your offer more desirable within a very hot market. Waiving the inspection is still very risky, so talk with your agent before putting pen to paper.

Repair contingencies

Consider a repair contingency, which says you'll perform an inspection but you're only concerned about total repair costs above a certain threshold. This shows the seller you're a serious buyer and are only looking for big problems — you won't bail just because the house needs a new front door.

If you include, say, a $5,000 repair contingency in your purchase offer, that means all repairs that you request to be uncovered by the home inspection must tally to at least $5,000 for you to exit the sale without losing the earnest money.

The home inspector might be able to give estimates for repairs or recommend a contractor.

Even if you need additional specialized inspections, it's not worth skipping out on the cost. If you're looking to save money when buying a home, try Clever. Clever will connect you with a top-performing agent who can help you navigate the entire home-buying process — plus you can get cash back.

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How to find a home inspector near you

Your real estate agent will likely be able to recommend several home inspectors they've worked with in past transactions. Additionally, free online services like Angi or HomeAdvisor make it easy to find local home inspectors, read reviews, and request quotes.

You can also use these tools to find licensed or certified inspectors in your area:

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Frequently asked questions about home inspections

How much does a home inspection cost?

The average cost for a home inspection in the United States is $340; most people pay $300–500. Home inspectors typically set a base fee and then charge per hour, square foot, or other factor. Specialized inspections, like for mold, can add to the final bill.

When does a home inspection happen?

Buyers usually start a home inspection soon after their offer has been accepted but before the appraisal.

Is a home inspection the same as an appraisal?

No, a home inspection is strictly about the home's physical condition, not its value.

An appraisal is a professional estimate of how much a home is worth on the market.

Are home inspections required?

Home inspections are usually optional, but they are highly recommended before buying a house.

Some mortgage lenders may require an inspection if the appraiser spots a glaring issue, like a bad foundation. Some VA and FHA loans require a type of appraisal that includes some inspection aspects, but it's not a full home inspection.

Who pays for the home inspection?

The buyer is expected to pay for the home inspection. Sellers can hire their own inspector BEFORE listing to the market.

Can I back out of a purchase after the home inspection?

Yes, if you have an inspection or repair contingency, you can back out of the deal and keep your earnest money. Without that contingency, you can still back out of the deal, but you might lose that earnest money.

Article Sources

[1] HomeAdvisor – "How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?". Accessed October 7, 2021.
[2] Fixr – "How Much Does it Cost for a House Inspection?". Accessed October 7, 2021.
[3] Zillow – "Consumer Housing Trends Report 2018". Accessed October 7, 2021.

Authors & Editorial History

Our experts continually research, evaluate, and monitor real estate companies and industry trends. We update our articles when new information becomes available.

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