How Much Will a Home Inspection Cost You?

How Much Will a Home Inspection Cost You?

August 22, 2022
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door

A home inspection is an important part of the home buying or selling process. If you're a homebuyer, a home inspection will protect you against buying a house with significant defects, like a bad foundation or leaky roof. As a home seller, a pre-listing home inspection will help you see all the repairs you'll need to make before you put it on the market, which helps with a smoother closing and faster sale. For instance, you may find that you need to replace drafty windows to improve the home value. In that case, finding the right professionals for window installation in San Diego is imperative. And this goes for other important home improvement projects. Read on to find out more about home inspections. 

What is a Home Inspection? 

A certified home inspector will take a close look at all functional aspects of the house to determine its safety as a dwelling. The home inspector will test the operational status of all major systems – plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling – and check the roof, the foundation, and the home's exterior. The inspector's job is not to fix or warn you about potential issues but to take note of the house's current condition at that point in time and any safety or repair concerns.

Do You Need a Home Inspection? 

Having an inspection could save you from investing in a home with expensive surprises such as hidden damages and structural flaws. The home-buying and selling process is long and arduous. An important part of the process is the home inspection, where a professional makes sure everything in the house is functioning properly and identifies needed repairs. Here are some problems found in a home inspection: 


One of the most common problems found in a home inspection is the foundation or other structural problems. These can be huge red flags when purchasing a home because the last thing you want to be stuck with after handing over your cash is a house that was not built well.


Another costly repair that could damage your budget if not found ahead of time is a roof leak. Replacing a roof can cost you $10,000 or more, depending on the problem. With an inspection, a specialist can identify the age of the roof and any existing problems.

new-home-home in san diego


A home inspector will also check the electrical systems and any other potential safety hazards that could harm you and your family. A radon test will identify the odorless gas, which can cause lung disease. This allows you to approach your seller with a solution like a system to eliminate any radon.


Most inspections will include a deferred maintenance list. These typically include pending replacements that would be needed in the next five years. This gives you a good head start to budget some savings, so you aren't shocked when something stops working properly or needs fixing.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost? 

While the prices may vary from one location to another, as well as the age and size of the home, a home inspection will cost between $300 and $450 on average. This may seem like an unnecessary expense, but a thorough home inspection can save you from an unwise purchase and possibly costly repairs in the future. Put another way; the home inspection fee is an investment in peace of mind. Buying a new home is stressful enough, so you can take comfort in the knowledge that the roof or furnace is not likely to present you with any costly surprises in the short term. 

Who Pays for the Home Inspection? 

The home inspection is paid for by the home buyer in most cases. They will hire a professional home inspector to look at the entire home, from the roof to the foundation.

buying a new house

Some sellers will pay to have a home inspection performed before they list their home for sale. This step is a smart move when selling your home. It reveals repair issues that can be taken care of before ever going under contract.

Most sellers do not hire a home inspector, though. The home inspection part of the selling process is typically the buyer's sole responsibility.

If you're purchasing a home where the seller recently had an inspection performed, you still benefit from paying for your own inspection. It's risky to trust a report coming from an opposing party whose interest is to sell their property. This point is one of the main reasons why most sellers do not hire an inspector before listing. They leave it up to the buyer to perform their own due diligence.

How Long Does a Home Inspection Take? 

A house inspection will typically take around three to four hours. This varies depending on the size of the property, age, accessibility, and scope of the inspection. The inspection may take longer if you request additional services such as an energy audit, radon test, and lead-based paint testing. 

Often a buyer has 7-14 days after the purchase agreement or sales contract has been accepted to conduct the inspection. You should expect to receive your inspection report within 24 hours of the inspection.

Factors that can Determine the Duration of a Home Inspection 

The answer to the question "How does a house inspection take?" depends on a number of variables. While the average home inspection takes about 2-3 hours, this may change 

depending on the following factors:

The Size of the House

There will be more elements to evaluate in larger homes. Therefore, inspecting them may take a relatively long time.

House Age and Condition

Older homes are more likely to have obsolete roofing, electrical, and plumbing systems. They may also have experienced previous damage. There are potentially more issues to look for, and thus, the inspection is likely to take longer. Inspectors have fewer issues to analyze and record in homes that are newer and still in excellent shape.

House Design and Systems

The design of the house also influences how long the home inspection takes as it affects accessibility. Inspecting a house with a yard, basement, and other features that make the process harder will definitely take longer.

luxury home design with large glass door

State legislation

To answer the question "How long does a home inspection take?" you must also consider the legislation in the state. Although there is no federal legislation requiring a home inspection, states frequently have inspection regulations.

What goes into an inspection report varies by state, especially when it comes to inspection of homes in older neighborhoods with more probable outdated systems. This might affect how long the home inspection takes.

Home Inspector's Experience

When trying to figure out "how long should a home inspection take?" the inspector's experience is also important. An experienced home inspector will be familiar with the area, know what to look for in houses depending on how old they are, and know how to access systems that are more difficult to reach. If the home inspector is new to the job, he or she may take longer to complete the task.

The Weather Conditions During the Inspection

When it's snowing, raining, or extremely windy, this becomes much more difficult for inspectors to do their job. Adverse weather conditions may delay the inspection process or cause it to be postponed.

When Does the Home Inspection Occur During the Buying Process? 

When the seller accepts your offer to purchase the home, the agreement becomes a pending sale. During the next couple of weeks, your lender will want to verify the value and condition of the house. This is when the lender orders an appraisal and, in some cases, an inspection – or you may choose to hire a home inspector yourself if the bank does not require an inspection.

If you're buying a home in a competitive housing market and are up against multiple offers, you may be tempted to waive the home inspection to make your offer stronger. However, this is almost never a good idea. While the house may look in fine condition to you, it's what's beyond the surface or factors that you don't know are problems that can cause the biggest issues.

What Does a Home Inspection Include? 

The home inspector looks for defects in the home that would affect the integrity of the structure or the safety of the house. This is strictly a visual examination, informed by training and experience. The inspector will not look inside the plumbing, sewer system, or behind walls and won't move items away from the foundation. Home inspectors report on what can be seen, not what can be found.

Home inspectors often follow a checklist of items to inspect, starting at the roof and moving down to the foundation. A home inspector will perform a comprehensive visual examination of the property's systems and structures, such as: 

  • Air conditioning system
  • Heating system
  • Electrical system
  • Foundation
  • Floors
  • Ceilings
  • Plumbing
  • Walls
  • Roof
  • Attic
  • Visible insulation
  • Basement 
  • Structural components

Are Home Inspections Required? 

When buying a house, you will have an opportunity to have the home inspected before signing all of the paperwork at closing to take ownership of the property. This inspection is entirely for the home buyer's benefit. It is designed to give you a clear picture of the property's condition, including any items that might need repair. Home inspections can also help you identify potential hazards, such as faulty wiring within an electrical panel and similar issues. But home inspections usually are not required by mortgage lenders. It's an optional procedure that you can decide on for yourself.

How to Find a Good Home Inspector 

Home buyers often ask me this because they're trying to find the inspector that offers the best deal. When buyers are only concerned with the price of a home inspection, they have already made an assumption that all home inspectors offer the same thing, and they assume they're comparing apples to apples. This just isn't true.

finding a home inspector

Here are a few key things to research before deciding on a home inspector and to help make sure you're making a fair comparison when it comes down to price. This is all information that home inspectors typically list on their website. 

  • Find out how long they've been in business.
  • Read client testimonials. Are they from clients or real estate agents? Do they have testimonials from three delighted clients or thirty?
  • Read about their qualifications and experience. Look out for clever wording like "10 years of industry experience." This doesn't equate to 10 years of "Home Inspection" experience.
  • Most importantly, view a sample inspection report. If there isn't one available, or you need to send the inspector an email to request one, it's probably for good reason. Home Inspectors that are proud of their reports practically want to push the report into your lap. 

Common Issues With Windows Found in Home Inspections 

Neglected windows can make a house look old and dreary, while new or repainted windows can entirely change the look of a house. Believe it or not, there are some common issues that many home inspectors find with windows. 

First, the easiest to notice are failed seals, leaks, and cracked panes. A failed window seal is easy to spot due to the condensation between the glass panes on double-paned windows. The seals keep an air pocket between the two glass panes that provide a thermal barrier that helps with energy efficiency. When a seal fails, moisture can get between the panes and then condenses with changes in temperature. Leaks are evidenced by air movement from window edges or even moisture stains around window framing or trim. Leaks can be caused by failed caulking or damaged windows or window trim. A cracked window pane presents a safety hazard. Broken glass is dangerous. A qualified window contractor should be consulted for repairs or replacement.

Other issues are not evident until windows are operated. One safety feature we find lacking is safety latches. These devices prevent windows from opening more than what would allow a small child to climb through. They are important on windows that are high above the ground to help prevent falls. 

Often windows are stuck or are hard to open. Repainted windows will be stuck and need to have the paint freed along adjoining sections. Wood windows can swell due to changes in temperature, moisture intrusion, and humidity. Many windows are seldom opened and are difficult due to not being used. Others can have damaged hardware that causes it to be stuck. 

new home with small kitchen windows

Another issue is the tilt feature present on man windows. Tilt windows are operated by small tabs that allow the window to tilt into the home. This allows easier cleaning of the exterior sides of the glass. These tilt features can have broken release tabs, panes that are stuck, or tilt mechanisms that are broken and do not hold the window in place as designed when the tilt is operated. Either of these issues can lead to further window damage.

As important as windows are to a home, it is necessary to maintain them and repair them when needed. Homebuyers will often request windows be repaired as part of the final negotiations. Better to correct these issues before a sale or, as a homeowner, as the window issues first show. A window contractor should be consulted for any of these jobs.

Choose US Window and Door for Your Window Replacement 

Your home is likely your largest investment over your lifetime, so it's only natural to want your home improvement projects to increase the value. As a homeowner, you probably know that upgrades to your home's exterior can potentially drive up your resale value should you ever decide to move. Premium replacement windows are a great way to improve your home's appearance and value without a significant construction project. Schedule a free in-home estimate* and let us help you install high-quality energy-efficient windows that boost curb appeal and improve home value.