Updated November 1st, 2014

Home Inspection

Inspection Types
A standard pre-purchase inspection covers a home's major mechanical systems -- electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling - and its construction from roof to foundation, exterior and interior. Overall inspections do not cover soil, pools, wells, septic systems, building code violations or environmental hazards such as lead. The inspection contingency in your purchase contract should allow you up to two weeks to conduct an overall inspection plus any specialized inspections you (or your lender) require. Most inspections cost several hundred dollars. Specialized inspections usually involve an expert and can cost more. Remember, repairs or remedies are negotiable; they also can derail a deal.

Type of inspection What it covers Cost/who pays Remedies
Standard pre-purchase Overall home construction and condition, including major mechanical systems $200-$500; buyer Conduct further specialized inspections; repair
Wood damage
(required by many lenders; check with yours)
All wood portions of home (interior and exterior) $75-$200; negotiable Repair or replace damaged wood; treat for wood-destroying insects or organisms
Lead
(disclosure required on all homes built before 1978)
Presence of lead in paint, plumbing or other areas $400 for basic survey; negotiable Repair or replace affected areas
Radon
(disclosure of known elevated levels required)
Presence of naturally occurring radioactive gas $150 for basic survey; negotiable Seal foundation cracks, install a sump pump; ventilate basement or crawl space
Environmental hazards
(asbestos, formaldehyde, petroleum, toxic chemicals)
Presence of any substance in building material, soil, water or air that poses a health risk Price varies; negotiable Remove hazardous material, such as asbestos, or source of danger, such as a buried oil tank
Soil Condition of soil under and around foundation and retaining walls $300 to $2,000; negotiable Repair or treat problem