Boston area home inspections have become an important commodity in today’s real estate market. Home buying can be a fun adventure. However, it can also be worrisome, stressful and problematic. The last thing you want or need during the home buying process is to make your purchase, move in your newly-found home and discover there are problems that can only be repaired by lots of time, money and headaches. If only you were aware of the problems or repairs before you signed on the dotted line. Frankly, that’s exactly why Boston area home inspections are not just a good idea – they’re the best idea. Let’s take a closer look at why home inspections are important, what they cover, how much they cost and why they’re worth every penny.
Boston Area Home Inspections: Learning More
What should a good home inspection include?
There’s no “one size fits all” for Boston area home inspections. Every home is different, and home inspections, although they generally cover most all the main components of the house, may vary. The advice most real estate professionals give is to find out ahead of time what the inspection will cover and what it won’t. That way, there shouldn’t be surprises or disappointments. Upon completion of the inspection, the inspector will provide a written report with a list of problem areas discovered, including supporting photographs. These areas are covered in a normal home inspection:
• Electrical system
• Interior and exterior (general overview)
In addition, there are other areas that may require specialized certification in order to have them inspected and evaluated. An additional inspector will likely be needed and that inspection may cost additional. Here are some additional areas for which you may wish to hire a specialist to handle:
Home inspections should be non-invasive and non-intrusive – the inspector shouldn’t make holes in the drywall, damage fixtures or remove roofing shingles. If the inspector recommends more invasive procedures be made he should inform the homeowner. Those additional examinations should only be made with the written permission of the homeowner. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea to be present when the Boston area home inspection takes place.
What costs can I expect?
Some buyers try to save money by electing not to have an inspection performed. And while hiring an inspector is an additional expense, it will more than pay for itself if it helps you avoid problems, expensive repairs and buying a proverbial “lemon.”
Average home inspection costs are in the neighborhood of $300 to $400. Depending on the size of a smaller home (say, 1,000 square feet or less) or in the case of a condominium the cost could be closer to $200-$250. A larger home of 2,000 square feet or more would cost approximately $400-$500.
While price is important, a more important factor is the experience and qualifications of the home inspector or Boston area home inspections company. Consider this when contracting for a home inspection:
• Home inspection fees are calculated differently. Some inspectors charge a flat rate based on the square footage of the home, taking into consideration the living area, area under roof, or the amount of time it takes to perform the inspection. If you have a large house and the inspector is charging on the amount of time the inspection will take, expect to pay more.
• A home’s age will also have a bearing on the amount charged. Newer homes can usually be inspected in 2-3 hours, but older homes may take 4-5 hours. Remember, an older house has a longer history, and longer histories often mean more repairs, potential problems and a closer look.
• One last tip: As with most things, you get what you pay for. The lowest price doesn’t always equal the best results. Make sure your Boston area home inspections professional is certified and qualified.
What about extra costs?
A quote provided up front from a reputable home inspector will likely be pretty accurate. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to know about extra costs that you may incur. One example is a detached garage. Some home inspectors consider the garage as part of the house and include it in the price. Others consider it an additional building and may charge extra for its inspection. In addition, if your house has extras that most houses may not, such as a swimming pool, septic system or outbuildings you should probably expect to pay additional for them. Due to health and environmental concerns there are often items that may incur additional costs. These may include:
• Asbestos – While newer homes probably don’t contain harmful asbestos, older homes may. Expect to pay a minimum of $400-$500 for inspection and testing. Plus, asbestos removal can be a very expensive proposition – depending on the amount of asbestos. Expect the cost to be as little as $500 or as much as $25,000 or more!
• Mold – Most homes cost around $750-$900 to have mold tests. If mold is discovered, professional removal could run as much as $2,500 or more.
• Lead – Homes built before 1978 should be inspected for the presence of lead in paint and the water pipes. The test for lead would probably cost around $300. If the results come back positive for lead in either the paint or the pipes, lead removal could cost from $1,000-$2,500 or more
• Sewer scope – Often overlooked, the inspection of your sewer could be worthwhile if your home is more than 20 years old. Sewer pipes could be blocked by expanding tree roots or other obstructions. The cost of having a sewer scope performed will be roughly $100-$300
And what about the unexpected costs?
While Boston area home inspections are not required, they are recommended. Trying to save a few hundred dollars today could result in having to pay a few thousand dollars down the proverbial road. Some unexpected items include the following, along with their approximate cost:
• Electrical issues – The cost of bringing an older home “up to code” could range from $10,000-$15,000
• Plumbing issues – Older plumbing can often contain unseen problems. The cost to perform repairs or maintenance by a licensed plumber would be in the $250 range
• HVAC – A new furnace can cost between $2,000-$12,000. Parts for repairs may run $500-$750. Water heaters will run $600-$1,000
• Windows – If you replace only the windows, you can expect to pay $300-$700 each, and $500-$1,000 each for both the window and frame
• Flooring – Floor joists often need to be replaced in older homes. They usually cost $100-$300 each. If an entire section of joists need replacing the cost can be $5,000-$10,000. If the house needs to be jacked up and have all joists replaced, expect to pay $10,000-$30,000 or more!
A last word on Boston area home inspections: The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has never been truer. If you find a home you want to buy, consider investing in the cost of a home inspection. It could save you a small fortune over the long haul and provide you valuable peace of mind.