I enjoy reading my friend Mike Bradley’s Facebook post on home inspections. While they are humorous on the one hand, it is sad to think some homes are not inspected and expensive issues not found. Home inspections are a visual evaluation of a home from roof to foundation (Possibly basement, but rare in Texas). It’s an important step in the home purchase process that alerts buyers of what may need attention before finalizing a contract. Though not required by your mortgage lender or realtor, it is often a highly recommended step to ensure you’re investing in the right property because Texas is a Buyer Beware State. Meaning it is the Buyer’s responsibility to discover the imperfections in the home they are purchasing.
A licensed inspector checks the performance of the home’s roof, driveway, foundation, framing, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing.
Some of the specific things they will inspect include:
-Electrical outlets-Window alignment
-Septic tank and pipe leaks
-The condition of roof shingles-Sufficient insulation
-Basement and garage foundations
-Proper functioning of appliances
-Proper functioning of circuit breakers
-Proper functioning of air conditioning and heating systems
-Operational fire and carbon monoxide alarms
-The general condition of windows, doors, floors, ceilings, and walls
Home inspections aren’t just for your home purchase; they’re important for future planning, too. Some of the information you learn can help you predict future expenses like replacing your roof or water heater. It’s a thorough process that often lasts anywhere from two to three hours.
What is not covered by a home inspection? Home inspections can only consider visual cues. It’s not an in-depth exam, so it’s important to know that inspectors cannot check:
-Inside pipes or sewer lines
-Behind electrical panels
-Septic tank systems
-Floor creaks and warps
What do home inspections cost?
The cost of standard home inspections varies depending on the market. Plus, more specific and more intensive inspections can be done for a higher cost. These may be worth the investment depending on the age and location of the property. You’ll definitely want to shop around to find the best value for your needs. Find a further discussion on that below.
What should you ask a home inspector?
You have many options if you choose to hire a home inspector. Be sure to ask for recommendations from your realtor or mortgage lender, maybe even ask a few of your friends or family members. Home inspections are important, so always, always, be sure to interview the inspector before hiring them. You’ll want to feel confident in their experience.
Consider these questions when shopping around for inspectors:
-Are you focused on residential or commercial properties?
-What does the inspection include?
-How many home inspections have you done?
-How do you keep your expertise up to date?
-Can I attend the inspection?
-Can I see a sample report?
-Keep in mind: home inspections are not all-inclusive. Some areas of the home require a specialist. You should consider the following options, living in East Texas:
-Soil analysis (can lead to foundation issues)
The current real estate market is going through a crazy period. You hear tales of houses getting contracts the day they are listed. While it is definitely a seller’s market, buyers need to not rush into what is usually the largest purchase in their lives. Having the home you believe will be the home of your dreams inspected will provide insight to potential repairs and money pits. Talk to your real estate agent or attorney when you are purchasing property to make sure you are protecting yourself.