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Is a Home Inspection Required to Buy a Home in California?

This blog post is part of an ongoing series in which we answer frequently asked questions about buying a house in California. Today’s question is: Is a home inspection required in order to buy a home in California with a mortgage loan?

At a glance: Generally speaking, home inspections are not required in California. It’s entirely possible to buy a house without having it inspected first. But an inspection is still a worthwhile investment, because it reveals the true condition of the property. Appraisals, on the other hand, our usually required when a mortgage loan is used.

Is a Home Inspection Required in California?

As a home buyer in California, you are not required to have a comprehensive property inspection. There is no law or regulation that says buyers must have a house inspected. It’s your choice.

With that being said, a home inspection is certainly a worthwhile investment. By having a house professionally inspected, you will gain valuable insight into its current condition.

Home inspectors evaluate all aspects of the house. This includes the roof, the foundation, the electrical system, plumbing, and more. They receive specialized training that  allows them to identify issues a layperson might overlook.

Related: FHA inspection requirements

Why It’s a Worthwhile Investment

Home inspections in California usually cost around $350 on average. But the cost can vary based on the size of the house and the complexity of the inspection itself. A larger home might cost more than average, while a condo or a smaller house might cost less.

That’s a small price to pay for peace of mind!

Buying a house in California is a huge investment. You want to make sure you’re making a sound investment, and the inspection contributes to this. It gives you a clearer picture of the home’s condition, as well as any potential repairs that might be needed. Inspectors can also point out potential health and safety issues, such as faulty wiring in an electrical panel.

So while you are not required to have a home inspection in California, you would be wise to do so.

You’ll Probably Need an Appraisal

Home inspections and appraisals are often lumped together, erroneously. First-time buyers sometimes get them mixed up, thinking they are one and the same. But these are two separate processes.

  • Inspection: A home inspector’s primary objective is to evaluate the condition of the house and identify items in need of repair. He’s not particularly concerned with the market value of the property.
  • Appraisal: The purpose of a home appraisal is to determine the current market value of the house, based on recent sales activity in the area (and other factors). The appraiser’s primary goal is to figure out how much the house is worth in the current market.

Home inspections are usually not required in California, but appraisals are almost always required when a mortgage loan is being used. That’s because banks and lenders want to ensure that the house is worth the amount the buyer has agreed to pay for it. After all, the home is being used as collateral for the loan.

Need a mortgage loan? Bridgepoint Funding has been serving the mortgage financing needs of Californians for more than 16 years. We offer competitive rates on FHA, VA and conventional home loans. Please contact us if you would like to receive a rate quote, or if you have any mortgage-related questions.

Mike Trejo

Mike Trejo is a Bay Area mortgage broker with 20+ years of knowledge and experience.

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