What Is An Inspection?
An inspection is a visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a building. If you are in the process of buying a house, townhouse, condominium, etc. you should have it properly inspected before the final purchase by an experienced and impartial professional inspector.
What Does An Inspection Include?
An inspection includes a visual examination of the building. During a standard inspection, the inspector evaluates and reports the condition of the foundation, grading, roof, roof structure, interior/exterior walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, fireplace/chimney, electrical systems, heating equipment, cooling equipment (temperature permitting), plumbing system, water heating equipment and built-in kitchen appliances. Only those items that are visible and accessible by normal means are included in the report.
Why Do I Need An Inspection?
Your home purchase could be the largest single investments you will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. An inspection may identify the need for immediate repairs or builder errors, as well the need for maintenance to better protect your home. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make an informed decision.
As the seller of a home, an inspection can give you the opportunity to complete needed repairs that could possibly make your home more appealing to a potential buyer.
If you already own a home, an inspection may identify problem areas enabling you to address them and possibly avoid future expensive repairs.
Can I Do The Inspection Myself?
Although you may be very handy, most home buyers and home owners lack the knowledge and expertise of a professional inspector. Professional inspectors have extensive training and have inspected hundreds, or perhaps thousands of homes in their career. A professional inspector is familiar with the critical elements of construction and with the proper installation, maintenance and inter-relations of these elements. Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the home they are considering, and this may lead to a poor assessment.
What Will An Inspection Cost?
The inspection fee for a typical single-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Likewise, within a geographic area the inspection fees charged by different inspection services may vary depending upon a number of factors such as size of the house, its age, particular features of the house (slab foundation, crawl space foundation, etc.) and possible optional systems inspected (pool, lawn sprinkler systems, water wells, septic systems, etc.).
Cost should not be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection or in the selection of your home inspector. Although the fee paid for an inspection is a consideration, other comparisons must be made to ensure you are obtaining the most comprehensive inspection for your dollar. You might save many times the cost of the inspection if you are able to have the seller perform repairs based on significant problems revealed by the inspector. Use the inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training, and professional affiliations as a guide.
Can A House Fail An Inspection?
No. A professional inspection is simply an examination of the current condition of your house. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal code inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A professional inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but will describe its current condition and report those items that are deficient.
How Do I Find An Inspector?
There are several ways of choosing an inspector. You can use the Find An Inspector search tool for a list of inspectors in your area and who belong to this non-profit professional organization. Personal contacts, either from prior inspections or from a friend, relative, or business acquaintance who has had a recent inspection is an excellent method. Also, your real estate agent or broker may be able to provide you a list of names from which to choose.
When Do I Call An Inspector?
The best time to retain the inspector is immediately after the purchase contract has been signed. The TREC One-Four Family Residential Contract allows for the buyer to have a property inspected. A negotiated time period, referred to as the option period, is when the inspection takes place. Any request for repairs have to be agreed upon and signed by all parties in the form of an amendment to the contract ON or BEFORE the expiration of the option period.
Should I Attend The Inspection?
It is highly recommended that you attend the inspection. Attending the inspection will allow you to become more familiar with the home you are purchasing. Also, you can observe the inspector and ask questions while learning about the condition of the home.
What If The Inspection Report Reveals Problems?
Perfect houses do not exist. If the inspector identifies problem areas, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. A seller may be willing to make repairs based on deficiencies discovered by the inspector. If you are on a tight budget and the deficiencies are significant, or if you do not wish to become involved in future repair work, you may decide against this property. The decision is yours.
If The Inspection Report Is Favorable, Did I Really Need An Inspection?
Absolutely! Now you can complete your purchase with confidence about the condition of the property. You may have learned a few things about your home from the inspection report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. Above all, you can rest assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision.
Preparing for a Home Inspection
“Seller shall permit Buyer and Buyer’s agents access to the Property at reasonable times. Buyer may have the Property inspected by inspectors selected by Buyer and licensed by TREC or otherwise permitted by law to make inspections. Seller at Seller’s expense shall turn on existing utilities for inspections”. (Excerpt from Paragraph 7A of the TREC One to Four Family Residential Contract No. 20-7)
Having the property ready for an inspection can prevent unnecessary delays. For liability reasons, inspectors do not move personal property. Most inspectors will charge an additional fee if they return to the property to inspect items that were not accessible or if the utilities were off.
The buyer/seller should confirm that:
- All utilities (electric, water, gas) are on
- All pilot lights are lit
- All locks are removed or unlocked from areas that may prohibit inspector accessibility such as attics, doors, etc.
- Attic access is clear
- Crawl space (if provided) access is clear
- Electrical panels are accessible and not locked
- Water heater is accessible
- Furnace is accessible
- Cooling system is accessible
- Built-in kitchen appliances are accessible and ready to operate
- Pets are secure