There are times that call for a professional inspection

Should I Get a Home Inspection

by Debra Karplus

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The National Association of Realtors states that 77% of home buyers pay for a home inspection before purchasing a house. There are perhaps three reasons to have a home inspection, reasons why it is definitely worth it to spend money on a home inspection. First, the potential buyers of a house are prudent to have the home inspected and can request that problems to be fixed before closing the deal on the house.

A second situation when a home inspection might be smart is when you are about to put your house on the market to sell. If you suspect some things with you house might become the deal breakers, or might cause offers to come in for thousands of dollars less than your asking price, it is probably money well spent for you, the seller, to have a home inspection and have some of the necessary repairs performed before a "For Sale" sign appears on your lawn.

A third reason for a home inspection is that a professional home inspection might help you to make affordable decisions about upgrades and maintenance in your current home to allow you to live there for many more happy years. If you have lived in your home for a long time with no immediate plans to move, you likely have never even thought about a home inspection. You probably didn't even have one when you bought your present home, 30 or so years ago. But staying in your current house and doing some repairs is almost always cheaper than moving to a different house. Maybe some of your electrical or plumbing are out of date and perhaps there are better options these days that are more energy efficient or eco-friendly.

Who should do your home inspection?

Certainly you have a scrutinizing eye for detail and you know your home and its maintenance history very well. Couldn't you inspect your own house? Maybe you have a relative who does construction and would come over and assess your house for free. Is that a reasonable option? The carpenter who repaired your wood soffit may have made some suggestions of some work that your house needed and could do an inspection. Why not?

Those are nice options, but if you are truly committed to having a proper and thorough home inspection, you should do it the correct way and hire a certified home inspector. The American Society of Home Inspectors trains and certifies experts to do home inspections in the same way that standards are set for plumbers and electricians. Take a look at their website to learn more about home inspections and the people who perform them.

A home inspection done properly will not address local code issues, but rather will visually assess your house from bottom to top and will produce measurements, drawings, photographs and a report. The inspector will look at your home's foundation and roof and everything in between, such as heating and air conditioning, plumbing and electric. To find a home inspector that you would like to work with, ask friends or neighbors for recommendations. Expect the inspection to take approximately one to two hours, depending on the size of the house and how thorough an inspection you request. And, plan to be at the house for the home inspector, not only to let them into the house, but to watch them do their work and to ask important questions.

What does a professional home inspection cost?

A woman preparing to sell her turn-of-the-century (1900s) home in Urbana, Illinois recently paid $400 to have an inspector recommend some work to be done on flaws that might interfere with the sale of the house. A man who just purchased an older home in Brattleboro, Vermont spent $450 for his home inspection. A couple who bought a townhouse in Culver City, California paid only $250 for their inspectors, a reduced price due to an online coupon that they used. All of these people stated that they were pleased with the home inspection process from the professionals that they hired.

There are several factors that influence price variations of home inspections.

Costs vary geographically. Age of the home is a factor as well. Also, larger homes cost more to inspect than smaller ones, which makes sense as there is more square footage to inspect. Home inspections that are more thorough will, of course, cost more money. If you want to have the home checked for radon levels, for example, expect to more for the inspection.

For less than $500, a home inspection may indeed be money well spent. Check it out!

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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