Real Estate professionals should always recommend their buyer to get a home inspection. It is the best way to discover what is wrong or right with the home, BEFORE you decide to purchase. Homebuyers receive an unbiased and professional opinion about the home they are about to purchase. Home inspectors look way beyond paint and rotting wood. They look at the entire structure of the home and will help uncover costly repair items.
The home inspection is typically performed just after the offer is accepted on the property and during the “option period”. The option period is usually negotiated with the help of your buyer’s agent and gives the buyer time to make sure they know everything about the condition of the home. An option period in Texas is typically 10 days and the buyer usually pays $100-$200, which is usually credited to the buyer at closing.
Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments of your time and money you will ever make. It is no wonder then that many homebuyers employ professionals to inspect the structural and mechanical systems of the home and report to them on their condition. Sometimes sellers also employ Home Inspectors to alert them to problems with their homes which could arise later in the transaction. But normally Home Inspectors are employed by buyers.
Most home buyers are not entirely educated about every structural element of a home. Therefore, hiring a home inspector gives them a great opportunity to become educated on many items in a home that they were not even aware existed. Real Estate professionals highly recommend that the buyer be present during the entire home inspection.
So what does a home inspection include?
A home inspection includes a non biased expert opinion on the condition of the structure. They fill out an inspection report regulated by the Texas Real Estate Commission and mark each item as needs repair, not inspected, or condition good. A home inspector is not a trade expert on every structural item in a home. They inspect items for functionality and if a repair or “trade inspection” is needed. For example..if the inspector finds that the roof has a few shingles missing, they would call it on the report and suggests that a qualified roofing company do a through inspection and repair. Or if the inspector finds out that the air conditioner does not cool properly, they would call it out and recommend that a qualified HVAC company come out and inspect the entire system. Both examples do not indicate that the entire roof needs to be replaced or that the entire HVAC system is bad.
Q and As about Home inspections
Why Should I have a Home Inspected?
Most homebuyer’s lack the experience and knowledge of a home’s structural system. The structural system includes Electrical, plumbing, HVAC systems, appliances, and of course, the structure. A home inspection provides a non-biased expert opinion on the condition of the home. Home inspections can uncover costly repairs and health hazards. Once these items are uncovered, the buyer has the option (as long as they are within their option period) to buy the home, renegotiate the deal, or completely back out and forfeiting their option money.
Can anyone perform a home inspection?
No. Only persons licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission as a home inspector are able to perform the inspection. To qualify for licensure, they must satisfy certain experience and education requirements and pass a state exam. Their inspection must follow in accordance with the board’s standards of practice and code of ethics.
What does an inspection usually include?
The following is a sample list of normal items that are usually included in an inspection.
Grading and Drainage
Roof Structure and Attic
Interior and Exterior Walls
Ceilings and Floors
Fireplace and Chimney
Attached Porches, Decks and Carports
Service Entrance and Panels
Branch Circuits - Connected Devices and Fixtures
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Systems (HVAC)
Ducts and Vents
Water Supply System and Fixtures
Drains, Wastes and Vents
Water Heating Equipment
Food Waste Disposer
Ranges, Ovens and Cooktops
Microwave Cooking Equipment
Bathroom Exhaust Fans and/or Heaters
Garage Door Operators
Other Built In Appliances
So what happens if the inspector recommends an item be repaired?
With the help of the inspection report, you will determine if the item(s) are a safety hazard which needed to be remedied right away, a "big ticket" item like a roof replacement, or a few rotted boards and missing light bulbs. Obviously, there are no perfect homes out there so you will need to use the guidance of your buyer’s agent when deciding what to ask the sellers to repair or negotiate. You have two choices...have the sellers repair the item or receive a concession for the estimated repair costs. It has been my experience to take the concession as the sellers might want to use the cheapest repair service. Your Buyer's Agent will assist you with the negotiations.
How do I order an inspection?
Your Buyer's Agent can recommend inspectors that have proven to be knowledgeable and professional. Or you can find one on your own. The choice is yours. Just make sure that they are licensed by the state and have references. Once you have an "executed" sales contract, your Buyer's Agent will tell you it is time to get a home inspection. The inspection will need to be performed and reviewed by you and your Buyer's Agent during the option period. You want to allow ample amount of time for repair negotiations before the option period ends so the sooner the better but wait until you have a signed and executed contract.
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