Home Inspection for a Buyer
Some of the most common questions to ask before scheduling a home inspection.
Who usually pays for the inspection?
In a perfect world, the client (usually a buyer) independently chooses an inspector. In reality, if the buyer is moving here and not local, they may either depend on their agent (Realtor) to select someone they feel will best represent them, or you may Google for a home inspector. There you will get a list of local inspectors, and you can see how nice or not social media has been and get the feeling for who is the most popular.
A bit of important advice.You are selecting a service here, and unlike a product, you are buying an inspector's knowledge and experience. An experienced inspector is using their collective years or thousands of home inspection to provide in many areas a professional opinion of the performance of an item in the home. They are reaching into their proverbial bucket of experience and knowledge and tell you if what you have in common, normal, or something that needs to be addressed. The challenge is that you may select the inspector that is just starting in this new career, and the bucket is empty. The bottom line, you are renting that inspector's experience, and it may cost more than the inspector that is learning on your dime. Choose wisely.
What does an Inspector do?
- -We usually explain what a Home inspection is with the analogy of getting a doctor's health physical. We are truly giving the home a physical from top to bottom. We list the areas looked at from the roof, attic, ceiling, walls, foundation, electrical, plumbing, heat & air, door, windows, etc. All the things we can touch and inspect without getting exploratory, owners do get nervous when we start to take things apart.
- -We make a note of items that are damaged, whether it may be working or not. Age-appropriate opinions are required when evaluating the performance of a component like the HVAC. Just one of the more challenging areas is where the inspection has to make a performance opinion on the foundation. Because there are acceptable tolerances of movement, the main question is where do you draw the line and say it has failed or try to explain that the relief cracks you see are common and you don't recommend any repair. There is no substitute for education and experience.
- -We will explain how the various systems of the home operate and give you information on how to maintain the home. It is a good idea to bring a pad of paper and any questions that you may have to the inspection so I can address your concerns during the on-site walk-through.
- -After the inspection is complete, we will produce a written report that describes the systems and components of the home that were inspected and reports the defects and repairs that were noted during the inspection. The written report we provide is an enhanced version mandated by the Texas Real Estate Commission.
When should I get an inspection?
If you are buying a home and a contract has been accepted, it needs to happen quickly. Time is valuable. The average contract period is 7-10 days from the day your oﬀer is accepted. That means you have to identify an inspector, get it scheduled, receive the report, and present any demands to the seller by that last day. I recommend that as soon as you make an oﬀe start interviewing inspectors for the job. Most good inspectors are in high demand, and the possibility that one is sitting in their oﬃce just waiting for a call would be rare. Make a list of choices and start with the best. Give them adequate time to respond if they don't answer. Leave a message before just going down the list.
Most inspector's insurance will require a signed inspection agreement. This should not be scary but a good thing. It will confirm the date, time, location, fees, name, and email spellings. We, like many, do this electronically via emails. In 2004 we also started requiring that the inspection be paid before the actual day of the visit. Many options are available, including cash, check credit card & PayPal.
Should I attend the inspection?
You don't have to be there. Many of our clients are military and may be out of state or even the country. In this age of electronic communication, we are just a click away. We have walked a client through the results via Facetime from the middle east. If you are local and want to attend, we ask that you schedule your time during the last 1/3 of the inspection. Give time for the inspector to do their thing. Realize that the more you converse with the inspector, the more they are distracted from what they are doing. You would not strike up a conversation with your thoracic surgeon while they are concentrating on your open-heart surgery.
Should I get an inspection on a brand new home?
Yes, just as you would take a new car oﬀ the lot and go for a test drive, you should take the house out for a drive. Remember, your new home is built by everyday people on bad weather days, Fridays just before a holiday, etc. Municipal inspection is more of a cursory inspection, keying mainly on life safety items. If you are building outside of a city, then it is an honor system that the builder follows the building safety codes. Many of the things found on the inspection may have been found over the first year and covered under the builder's warranty, but much may never be found. So why not address them before you move in.