Answers to your home inspection questions. Get recommendations for a home inspector from friends, family and your Realtor
Get recommendations for a home inspector from friends, family and your Realtor
Cathy Mitchell with MetroTex Association of Realtors answers home inspection questions.(Courtesy / MetroTex Association of Realtors)By Cathy Mitchell, 2019 President, MetroTex Association of Realtors
6:00 AM on Oct 6, 2019
Whether you’ve had a home inspection done before or this is your first time, there are a few basics buyers should know. To help clarify the process, here are the answers to five common questions.
Who pays for it?
The buyer chooses the inspector and pays the inspector directly for the inspection. The inspection report that is generated belongs to the buyer. Get recommendations for a home inspector from friends, family and your Realtor and make sure whoever you choose is licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission.
ADVERTISINGWhat does an inspector do?
The inspector will go through the property and make note of any damage, need for repairs or maintenance issues. The buyer will receive a copy of the completed report based on those findings. It’s important to know that there could be defects a home inspector will not find – and wouldn’t be expected to find – if the defects are in areas with limited or no access. For example, your inspector may recommend getting a structural engineer for a closer look at the foundation.
When should I get an inspection?
Your Realtor will discuss including a “termination-option period” in your contract to purchase the home. This is an amount of time during which you can conduct inspections, negotiate with the seller for repairs and still have the option to terminate the contract.
Where should I be during the inspection?
You don’t have to be at the property during the inspection, but it can help you better understand the process, get to know the property and have an opportunity to ask the inspector questions.
Why should I have this done?
ADVERTISINGBuying a home is probably the largest investment you will ever make, so you want to know as much as you can up front.
A home inspector will point out items that need regular maintenance and identify any problems.
After your inspection is complete, talk with your Realtor to determine if there are any issues you want to ask the seller to address before you move forward. A Realtor has experience with the homebuying process and will make recommendations that are right for you.
Aly J. Yale The Mortgage Reports Contributor
July 4, 2019 - 1 min readSaving by inspectingHome inspections can offer serious value. In fact, according to a new analysis, they save buyers an average of $14,000 per home purchase.
Verify your new rate (Oct 28th, 2019)Serious savingsThough most buyers pay between $200 and $500 for their home inspection, a new analysis from Porch.com shows the fee more than pays for itself in the long run. In fact, a home inspection saves the average buyer around $14,000 on their home purchase.
According to the report, the average list price before an inspection is $226,600. Post-inspection, the average closing price is just $212,400.
As the report explains, “Home inspections can be extremely prudent investments, saving homebuyers from unforeseen fiscal challenges. Citing necessary repairs, agents can knock thousands off the price their clients might otherwise have paid.”
About 36 percent of buyers said their inspector even provide estimated repair costs for each issue found.
Home inspection checklist: What to expect on inspection day
Insights into inspectionsFortunately, it seems most buyers have recognized the power of inspections. Eight in 10 recent homebuyers used an inspector in their purchase, paying about $377 on average.
The majority of these buyers used the inspector recommended by their real estate agent. Others used recommendations from friends or family members, or the seller made the inspection decision. Most chose the first inspector they considered.
Buying a house? Know these common home inspection findings — and what they cost to fix
In 86 percent of cases, the inspector found an item that needed repairs. Nearly 20 percent of inspections revealed a roof issue and 18 percent showed an electrical problem. Issues were also often cited with windows, gutters, plumbing and fencing.
Problems with heaters and roofs helped negotiations the most. When inspectors noted an issue with the heating system, buyers were able to negotiate the price $1,250 lower on average. With roof issues, it was $1,000 lower.
Hey, Buyers: Inspectors Can Predict the Future—and 8 Other Common Home Inspection MythsBy Wendy Helfenbaum | May 24, 2018
iStock; realtor.comAfter seeing dozens of duds, you’ve found the perfect house. You’re all set with pre-approved financing and a grand vision of how you’ll make this place look fabulous. Best of all, after some nail-biting negotiations, the seller has finally accepted your offer.
You’re done, right?
Well, not quite yet. There's still the home inspection—arguably the most important step of the home-buying process. Simply put, it can make or break the sale.
It can be confusing, we know. So join us as we debunk some of the most common home inspection myths.
Myth No. 1: A home inspection is the same thing as a home appraisalIn fact, these two things could not be more different, says Tim Buell, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors and a retired home inspector in Hilliard, OH.
“An appraiser’s function is to determine the value of a house on behalf of the lending institution," he says. "Home inspectors are only interested in the safety of the home—not the value.”
That means if the seller offers up a glowing appraisal report, you shouldn't be swayed into thinking you’ve just saved yourself the price of a home inspection. Got it?
Myth No. 2: Home inspectors can advise you on whether to buy the house“That's not my field of expertise," says ASHI’s Executive Director Frank Lesh, of the Home Sweet Home Inspection Co. in Chicago. “Often people ask, ‘Would you buy this house?’ I can only tell you about the functioning portions of the house, not whether you should buy it.”
And don't forget: Even though most inspections are done at the buyer's request, inspectors are impartial. If you think inspections are meant to help the buyer renegotiate the purchase price, Buell says, think again.
Myth No. 3: It doesn't matter which inspector you hireIn the U.S., only 30 states require licensing for home inspectors, according to the ASHI. But even licensed inspectors have various levels of training or certification, so it’s up to the buyer (you) to find a competent professional.
“Just because someone is licensed doesn't mean they're qualified," Lesh says. "It means they have met a minimum requirement for their license.”
Do your homework by getting referrals from professional associations, agents, and other homeowners, and then checking references thoroughly.
Myth No. 4: The inspector will uncover every single thing that's wrong with the houseMuch as you wish they could, home inspectors simply cannot check every nook and cranny, Buell says.
“People think we can see behind walls, but I’m not Superman—I don’t have X-ray vision,” he adds.
Rather, home inspectors are guests in the seller’s home, which limits what they can do.
“We can't tear into a wall to look behind it, or rip something apart to see why it's making a noise,” he says. “We're there for a visual inspection of readily accessible areas of the home, so if there's a china cabinet in front of something, we're not going to move it.”
That said, home inspectors do use specialized tools such as infrared cameras and moisture meters that allow them to gather more information. But buyers should be realistic about what they’ll learn, Buell notes.
For example: If you're buying a house in the middle of the winter, an inspector probably won’t be able to check a roof with 3 feet of snow on it. Instead, they’ll check the attic sheathing for signs of leaks.
Myth No. 5: Buyers don’t belong at the home inspectionIt doesn't matter whether you know anything about home construction and maintenance. “Buyers absolutely should be there, without question,” Lesh insists. “I can go into more detail [than in the report], and you’ll have a three-dimensional view.”
Lesh also encourages all buyers—especially first-timers—to ask questions. While home inspectors can't tell you whether to buy the house, they can share maintenance tips and advice.
Myth No. 6: Brand-new homes don’t need to be inspectedFaulty construction can lead to all kinds of repair nightmares in the future, so sparkly new houses need to be checked—maybe even morecarefully than older ones, Lesh says.
“With a house that's already been lived in ... I can see whether there are signs of leakage, mold, or anything that occurs over a period of time,” he explains. “If it’s a brand-new house, nobody has showered in that shower or used the appliances, so it absolutely should be inspected, even though it’s under warranty.”
In related news...
Myth No. 7: A flipped home doesn’t need to be inspected, eitherIf everything was redone top to bottom, there’s no point checking it out, right? C'mon—you know better.
“Unfortunately, some flippers are more interested in money than safety,” Buell says. “If a house has been flipped, you’ll want to make sure that they had the right building permits, and that code inspectors verified the remodeling work.”
Myth No. 8: Home inspectors can predict the futureLesh once had a client whose father wanted to know exactly how long the furnace would last.
“I opened my case and said, ‘Oh, gosh, I forgot my crystal ball,’” Lesh recalls.
“A home inspection is a snapshot in time,” Buell says. “We can tell you how old certain appliances are, and what the useful life of something is. ... But we don't know when a plumbing leak is going to happen or when a fuse will break on an electric panel."
Lesh does, however, tell clients that everything in the house will need to be replaced at some point. Best practice? Budget 1% of the value of the house per year for maintenance.
Myth No. 9: A good house will ‘pass’ the inspectionHome inspection reports will never indicate whether a property passes or fails, Lesh says. That’s because everything depends on a buyer's tolerance level: What’s acceptable for one buyer could cause another to walk away.
“I'm the judge of the house in terms of whether it’s safe," Lesh explains. "But I always ask people: Can you live with this?”
If you can, then the house passes your test. And that's all that matters.