Whether you're in Texas or anywhere else, home inspection is usually done right after the buyer signs a purchase agreement or contract. This agreement should have a clause that covers the specifies terms regarding the home inspection that both the buyer and seller are obligated to follow. The clause should make the final financial obligation for the buyer contingent on the outcome of the home inspection. Sometimes a seller may have a home inspection performed to prevent any surprises regarding major home repairs. Such unexpected findings can scare away some home buyers and being able to repair or disclose any problems can be an advantage at closing.
What a Home Inspection Should Cover
In Texas, home inspections should be done by a licensed professional with education and experience. The inspection is an examination of the structure and systems of the house from roof to foundation. After giving the home a thorough visual examination, the inspector's standard report should cover the condition of the following items:
Electrical and plumbing systems
Heating and air conditioning systems
Roof and Ceilings
Visible insulation and attic
Doors and windows
Walls and floors
This report identifies the need for major repairs or finds any builder oversights on a newly constructed home. Hopefully the report will educate the new homeowner about the house and give him or her the ability to perform appropriate maintenance and plan for future decisions. Buying a home is usually the largest investment a person makes and knowing as much as possible is simply sound business.
Having a home inspection prior to listing a home gives a seller the opportunity to make repairs that will add value to the home and prevents unpleasant surprises during the transaction. Finding out about a major repair at the end of the sale could negatively impact the final selling price or disrupt finalizing the sale of the home altogether.
Nationwide, the average cost of a home inspection is $325. The cost varies based on the location, age, and size of the home, as well as any options like radon testing or septic system inspections. Cost should not be the deciding factor for the home buyer in the selection of an inspector. Qualifications, training, experience and reputation should take precedence as this professional is needed to provide the buyer with accurate and thorough information regarding their investment. Look for compliance with state guidelines, professional affiliations and recommendations from previous customers and other professionals.
In order to get an unbiased and accurate assessment of a dwelling, the inspection must be done by an objective home inspector. Home buyers may want to do their own inspection, although it isn't recommended, especially for first-time buyers. The reason is because even if a buyer had the experience required, they will still be influenced by their emotions when looking at the house they hope to call home. A professional home inspector understands construction, installation and home safety and maintenance. The inspector will recognize if any of these elements are not working and will put these issues in his report. A good home inspection report is between 20 and 50 pages in length and includes photos.
The home inspection is not a pass or fail test and the inspector is not appraising the home to determine market value, nor will this inspection assess code compliance. It is to create a report about the overall condition of the home and its systems and to identify anything that needs the be repaired.
Though you are not required to be present during the inspection, it is best to be there to ask questions, learn about maintaining the home and understand any repairs that need to occur. A home is a large investment and a buyer should take pro-active measures to educate themselves about it. Even if the home has minimal or no problems, the inspection is worth the investment because is allows the buyer to proceed with confidence and the written report from the inspection will be a valuable source of information in the future.
Where to Find a Good Home Inspector
Finding a qualified and reputable home inspector can be done by doing a web search for members of professional organizations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). You can also get a referral from a qualified real estate agent or broker, although some agents know more about this process than others and have better connections to the top inspectors in Texas. But no matter who referred you to the inspector, check credentials and consumer ratings before you hire.
If you're looking to for a realtor in the Greater Austin area that can provide you with great referrals to home inspectors, or if you are still in the process of choosing a realtor, contact Monty Crawford with the Crawford Group today.