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 to 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


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

(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

(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.


Condition of soil under and around foundation and retaining walls

$300 to $2,000; negotiable

Repair or treat problem

These are estimated prices only.