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California Home Inspections- What You Need To Know(2023)

California Home Inspections- What You Need To Know(2023)

What Are California Home Inspections?

After a home goes into escrow, an essential part of the closing process in California is home inspections.  Inspecting your future home is a primary security measure to ensure that you are aware of the condition of the property you are purchasing. Home inspections are an essential part of the home-buying process in California. Some home Inspections are required by law, while others are an optional measure to assess the condition of the property.

Types of Home Inspections in California

  • General inspection
  • Foundation inspection
  • Plumbing inspection
  • Septic tank inspection
  • Termite inspection
  • Mold inspection
  • Chimney inspection

General Home Inspection:

Home Inspection California

A general home inspection is conducted by a professional and typically takes 2-3 hours. A general home inspection is the first step in assessing the current state of the home. Your real estate agentwill have recommendations for the home inspection company that best suits the needs of your property. 

What does a general inspection include? 

  • Exterior: includes exterior walls, porches, balconies, driveway
  • Interior:includes ceilings, floors, doors, outlets, windows, staircases, railings, and fireplace ventilation.
  • Plumbing: includes Pipes, drains, pumps, water heaters, toilets
  • Roof, foundation, and state of electric and HVAC systems. 

How much does a general home inspection cost?

A home inspection generally costs between $300-500, usually toward the lower end of that range; according to data from HomeAdvisor, the average cost of a home inspection in the U.S. is $338.The buyer pays for the home inspection since their lender will use it to confirm the home is a solid investment.

Foundation Inspection:

Foundation Inspection Los Angeles

A general home inspector should notice if there are any signs of foundational damage in the house. These signs include cracked floors, separation between walls and floor, molding that has separated, as well as other key indicators. If your general home inspector points out any of these signs, it’s worthwhile to conduct a specialized foundation inspection. The foundation inspection will include floor elevation surveys, examination of the surrounding terrain, and ensuring there’s no standing water near the foundation. 

A foundation inspection is done by a structural engineer or foundation repair contractor. It typically takes 1-2 hours. Foundation inspections in California typically cost around $350.

Plumbing Inspection ( Sewer Camera Inspection)

Plumbing Inspection Los Angeles

Plumbing Inspections assess the condition and quality of your plumbing and sewer system and prevent future costly water damage. Especially in older buildings, where plumbing systems are likely to have deteriorated, we highly recommend a thorough plumbing inspection. A Plumbing Inspector can conduct both visual and camera inspections. A visual inspection will examine the indoor and outdoor plumbing pipes, including supply lines and sewage lines.

  • Hose bibs, both outdoors and in the laundry room
  • Sinks and bathtubs
  • Faucets and showers
  • Toilets
  • Water heaters

The next step is a camera inspection which will determine the exact location of any damage, diagnose the type of damage, and provide a thorough report. Plumbing inspections are done by licensed plumbers. The average cost for a plumbing inspection is about $200, but if a camera inspection is required the price can be around $500.

Septic Tank Inspection

If you’re considering a home with a septic tank system, it is legally required to conduct an inspection. Septic tanks are prevalent in California’s hillside homes. A replacement of the septic system can run upwards of $30,000, so make sure your inspector is professional, thorough, and competent. The inspection’s duration depends on the age and location of the tank. 

The cost of a septic inspection will vary depending on a few factors. The tank size affects the price, as does the qualifications and licensing required by the inspector. The average septic inspection prices range from around $300 to over $1000.

Termite Inspection:

termite inspection California

Termite and pest inspections are at the top of the priority list of homebuyers in California.

The Los Angeles climate creates a breeding ground for dry wood and subterranean termites. Termites are responsible for most of the home damage in the state and can be exceptionally costly for homeowners with wooden foundations and interiors. Signs of termite infestation include damaged wood, piles of wings, or bubbling and buckled paint. (which can be a sign of water damage or termite infestation)

According to HomeAdvisorThe average cost of termite inspection is $100, with prices ranging between $75 and $325. The total termite inspection cost might include the inspection itself and a termite letter confirming the inspection to a home lender. Termite inspections take between 30 and 45 minutes but can take longer depending on the size of your property.

Mold Inspection:

mold inspection california

Often, the general home inspection will suffice to determine whether you need someone to do a mold inspection. If a home has mold there are usually external, tell-tale signs. These indicators include a damp, musty smell underneath a sink or visual signs of mold build-up on a wall or carpeting. A general inspector will inform you if he notices any signs of mold in the house and if a mold inspection is recommended. A mold inspector will use a variety of methods including an infra-camera, moisture meters, and other air sampling tools. A mold inspection takes on average 3 hours but can be longer depending on the size of the home and the damage that exists. 

Chimney Inspection:

Before buying a home in California, it is worthwhile to ensure that the chimney is in functioning and good condition. 

The most crucial detail to look out for in a chimney inspection is the presence of creosote. Creosote is a byproduct of burning wood or fossil fuels and can build up inside a chimney. It is one of the most common causes of chimney fires that can be dangerous to the structure of the chimney and the home. 

A chimney inspector can determine whether the chimney has too much soot or creosote buildup and may recommend cleaning before the fireplace is safe to use. The inspector will check all portions of the chimney exterior and interior, including areas within accessible attics, crawl spaces, and basements. Often, a video camera is put through the chimney to get a comprehensive view of the inner portion of the chimney.

Common Questions Regarding Home Inspections in California:

What Is An Inspection Contingency?

An inspection contingency is a clause in the purchase agreement that gives the buyer the right to have a home inspection done. 

What happens if I Uncover Damage During My Inspection Period?

If problems are discovered during inspections, the inspection contingency gives the home buyer the power to negotiate repairs with the seller, taking a cut off the purchase price.

Do I have to be present at home inspections?

Although your presence is not required, it is recommended to have someone supervising the home inspector to ensure no aspect of the home is left unnoticed. Observing the home inspector also allows you to ask questions and gain clarity on the cost of repairs, and the true state of any issue that exists. At The Bienstock Group, we ensure that a professional member of our team is present at every home inspection.

About The Bienstock Group:

THe BIenstock Grouo

The Bienstock Group, led by Sheri Bienstock, is an expert real estate group in Los Angeles, Hancock Park, and Miracle Mile. Sheri is committed to her clients and will invest all her effort to get you the best results possible. Sheri has 235+ five-star reviews on Zillow, and has been ranked #1 listing agent in 90036 since 2009 and in Hancock Park since 2016.

Have questions regarding home inspections in California? Call usanytime and we’d be happy to address all your real estate needs!


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