The search for the perfect home is full of highs and lows, especially when it comes to dollar amounts. Between closing costs, transaction fees and other additional expenses littered throughout the home buying process, it is easy to feel bogged down by frivolous expenses. But possibly the best money you will spend during this process is one of those miscellaneous expenses—the home inspection. Home inspection costs are minimum compared are small change compared to other home buying expenses. Even most premium inspections do not exceed $500, but the information and knowledge gained through them is priceless.
A home inspection is one of the final steps in the home buying process, and it usually occurs once the seller or home builder has accepted the buyer’s offer, and the offer should be contingent on the results of a home inspection. This does not mean it is unimportant nor that it can be rushed through. The home inspection process takes time and effort on your part, but once it is complete you can rest easy knowing what you are getting and what you can expect from your home in terms of maintenance and repairs down the line. Most new home builders provide a home inspection. Perry Homes, for example, conducts numerous inspections throughout the building process to ensure exceptional quality. However, if you are buying a resale home, check out the following tips that are very important to have in mind before and during the home inspection process.
Know what you want and what you are getting. The first thing to know is that there are several types of inspections. Generally, buyers want a standard inspection that checks for major damages or problems with the home. The classic option is a home inspection—the house is inspected and, based on the findings, the buyer can request that the seller repair issues highlighted in the inspection or credit the buyer a certain amount to do the work themselves. They also have the option to walk away from the sale if the damages are too costly or dangerous for their liking.
A general inspection, meanwhile, looks for the same potential problems as a home inspection and produces a similar report, but the buyer cannot use this information to negotiate with the seller—the inspection report is for the buyer’s information only. Most general inspections also allow the buyer to walk away from the sale if they choose.
Specialty inspections for issues such as mold, radon and pest are also available, but these usually require additional costs and specialty inspectors—your average home inspector will not be able to perform these inspections.
Courtesy tip: Your inspector is not your contractor; they might point out problem areas, but they cannot fix them.
Choose your home inspector with care. A home inspection is such an important part of the home buying process. You want to make sure you find an inspector that is qualified and professional, as well as someone you feel comfortable with. Inspectors must be certified, so an important step in researching potential inspectors is confirming their certification through reputable organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors and the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Both organizations have search engines to help you identify certified inspectors in your area—check out ASHI’s here and NACHI’s here.
You might also ask your real estate agent for inspector referrals. If they have an established history of working in the area, chances are they have dealt with numerous inspectors and have a small list of trusted referrals to draw from. Use your best judgement when it comes to first or second-party referrals.
Finally, request a sample inspection report, which an inspector should be happy to provide. This will give you an idea of the inspector’s process and attention to detail, not to mention give you a chance to familiarize yourself with the official inspection report paperwork.
Perform your own home inspection beforehand. While you are most likely not a certified inspector, you are the person who is going to live in this house. You want to be sure your personal concerns are acknowledged and—hopefully—put at ease. So grab a couple simple tools—a screwdriver, flashlight, binoculars, step stool and, if possible, a receptacle tester—and perform your own home inspection.
Visually inspect walls and ceilings for discoloration that could indicate water damage, check the water pressure in bathrooms by running the sink or tub and flushing the toilet, test electrical outlets if you have access to a receptacle tester and use your binoculars to check the exterior of the home—in particular the roof—for signs of curling, cracking or cupped edges in the shingles. Check out this home inspection checklist for a detailed list of inspection tips.
Here’s a pro tip: Look for newer cosmetic fixes, as well, like new paint or fixtures, even a well-placed rug. These could be masking underlying damages to the property.
Once you have noted your personal concerns about the house, bring them to your inspector’s attention ahead of time. Let them know you have specific questions about certain elements of the home and point them out. Be your own advocate!
Be present mentally and physically at the inspection. Most home inspectors will welcome your presence on the day of the inspection—they might even expect it. Let the inspector know you would like to come, and be prepared on the day to direct them to the issues you found in your pre-inspection. Remember, you have knowledge to offer in this situation; the inspector has never been to this property before, but you know your way around.
Arrive at the inspection ready to engage. Of course your inspector will provide you with a full report after the inspection, but it does not hurt to take notes as the inspection is in progress. Ask specific questions about how something works or the nature of the suspected damage. If you do not understand a comment your inspector makes, do not be afraid to ask! This is where feeling comfortable with the inspector you have chosen truly pays off. When you feel comfortable and respected by a professional, you are more likely to seek information you need without feeling embarrassed or unsure.
Know what to do with the finished product. The ultimate inspection report is not just a preview of a home’s potential maintenance and repair issues—it is a bargaining tool. If your inspection revealed major issues such as problems with the heating system or a damaged roof, you should include these issues in your post-inspection negotiations. If the inspection did not turn up major problems, feel free to include small issues and see what the seller is willing to cover. Make a list of surface problems you would like fixed by the seller in order of importance, but be willing to drop a few of your bottom seed issues.
Does the home inspection process feel a little less daunting? Spread that feeling by sharing this blog with other potential home buyers!
BY JOE CLINE
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Affinity Properties, Inc 509937
EMAIL SHORT URL
If you are buying a home in Texas, it is important that you learn what the Texas home inspection process entails. Home inspectors check the basic features of a home, including the structure, plumbing, electricity, roof, and basement or crawlspace. Home inspectors in Texas are certified by the state real estate commission, and they are required to follow inspection protocols that are determined by law.
Home inspectors do not have to check areas in the house that are dangerous to access or inconvenient. Although the inspector is required to use a ladder if necessary to check the attic and roof, other areas that would require a ladder to access can go without inspection. Texas home inspectors also do not have to report regular wear and tear, repairs that appear to be adequate, as well as any aesthetic issues. They are also not responsible for any property features that are buried or hidden. Although home inspectors are required to check the basement or crawl space, they do not need to inspect the crawl space if the headroom is less than eighteen inches. The entry to the crawlspace must be at least twenty-four inches by eighteen inches. Otherwise, the inspector is not required to enter the crawlspace. After the home inspection is completed, you should contact the inspector and ask if there were any home features that could not be inspected for any reason. Additionally, in Texas home inspectors are not required to check the property for signs of pest infestation. If you are concerned about pests, you might want to contact a pest control specialist and have them evaluate the property.
Home inspectors in Texas will carefully evaluate the structure of the home. They will report any obvious cracks or settling in the foundation. They will also report if the structural materials appear to have deteriorated. They will prepare a written report regarding the overall condition of the foundation. During the basement or crawlspace inspection, the inspector will also look for water damage. They will consider the property deficient if there is obvious water leakage or pooling of water. The inspector will also check the roof, and will note any damage or deficiencies. They will also estimate how long the roof will continue to be usable.
Inside the home, the inspector will check the plumbing system, making certain that it is fully operational. The electrical systems must be up to state code. Each home is required to have a disconnection point. If it does not, the inspector will mark the electrical system as deficient. Inspectors will check the heating and cooling system as well. In Texas, it is especially important that the home inspector carefully check out the air conditioning system. If there is a problem with the home's cooling system, you do not want to discover this on one of Texas' many one-hundred degree summer days. Finally, the Texas home inspector will inspect all the appliances in the home, making certain that they function properly and that they lack any obvious defects, such as rust.
Joe Cline writes articles for West Lake Hills homes. Other articles written by the author related to Rollingwood homes and Austin Texas real estate can be found on the net.
May 14, 2019 | by Reuven ShechterHOME BUYING
HOME INSPECTIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
At A GlanceIf you’re buying a home, it’s always best to get the home inspected before you close the deal. While the inspection will probably reveal more than a few defects, it doesn’t mean its an immediate deal-breaker. Here’s how inspections work and next steps on how to move forward after you have one.
In almost every situation, it is advised that anyone buying a home first request a whole home inspection prior to closing. It’s important to understand what is — and isn’t — included in a home inspection and your options for moving forward if — or more likely, when — defects are found.
Why get a home inspection?Learn why you should get an inspection and use a Clever Partner Agent.
How Home Inspections WorkWhen you decide to have the home you’re buying inspected, you get to choose which company you use. If you don’t have a reliable one in mind, your real estate agent likely has a company they use frequently and would recommend. As the buyer, you pay for the inspection and are able to (and encouraged to) attend the inspection in person.
The standard inspection evaluates the condition of the homes heating and air systems, interior plumbing and electrical, roof, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, and structure. Plus, you may want to (or be required to) get additional inspections for things like pests, or radon. The report provided to you after the inspection should include detailed descriptions and photos of any defects.
Fixes You Can Make YourselfIt is rare that a home inspector finds absolutely nothing wrong with the house. In fact, if this is the case, you may question the thoroughness of the inspector. Finding some problems doesn’t automatically mean you shouldn’t buy the house, only that you may need to be address the defects down the road.
If you’re planning on remodeling a bathroom or kitchen shortly after purchasing the home anyway, don’t ask the seller to make any repairs in those locations unless they’re major electrical or plumbing defects.
Here are some fixes typically handled by the seller after move-in:
While you can request that the seller make repairs following an inspection, it’s important to pick your battles and the seller can always say no. These asks should mainly be reserved for major structural or mechanical defects. Rely heavily on the expertise of your real estate agent when deciding which repairs to ask a seller to make.
Common defects that a seller may fix include significant plumbing problems, a leaking roof, elevated radon levels, unsafe electrical defects, mold issues, and drainage or water problems. You may also ask the seller to hire an exterminator to handle a wildlife or termite infestation. Since these are usually issues you would want resolved before moving into the home, it would be typical for a seller to foot the bill to have these issues fixed prior to closing, instead of knocking money off the selling price.
When To Negotiate for MoneyIn certain instances, you may ask for cash-back credit at closing, meaning the seller provides money you can use to complete the project yourself. The seller may also offer to lower the purchase price. These options are similar in that you’re essentially paying the same amount for the home, but they may have different implications for your mortgage.
You may ask for cash-back or a lower selling price if you think the seller’s hired contractor might perform shoddy repairs, or you or the seller wants to expedite closing. If a problem is major, but doesn’t necessarily need fixed immediately, this may also be a time to ask for a discount of the asking price.
When To WalkMost any defect found in a home can be fixed — but it may come at a steep price. If you find a major problem like a foundation issue and the seller refuses to make the repair, it may be time to walk away from the deal. Additionally, just because the issues gets repaired doesn’t mean it won’t rear its ugly head again, and you’ll have to fix it at your own expense.
Problems Not Found During An InspectionWhile an inspector will do his or her best to thoroughly inspect the property for defects they are trained to spot, they pay not catch everything. Plus, they aren’t experts on everything. For example, they may check to see that an air conditioning unit is functional, but without a thorough examination by an HVAC specialist, there’s no way to guess whether or not it will likely still be working when you move in.
Leaks and some structural problems can also be easy to miss on an inspection. While an inspector is trained to look for telltale signs of a leak, if their inspection took place after a dry season, there may be very few signs.
Employ the ExpertsIf you’re looking to buy a home, connect with an experienced, local agent for guidance and support throughout the process. They know what homes are worth and can ensure you get the home for the best price possible, with the needed repairs. They also know the ins and outs of the inspection process and can help you determine when to make repairs yourself, how much you can ask of the seller, and when to walk away.
Clever Partner Agents are also able to offer on-demand showings — sometimes in less than an hour — so you know you won’t miss out on a good flip deal. Plus, you’re eligible for a $1,000 buyer’s rebate on any home you purchase for more than $150,000.
6 Home Inspection Tips for Buyers That Sellers Can Learn From, Too
by Valerie Kalfrin
Posted on March 28, 2019
home inspection sets both buyers and sellers on edge. It may feel like the buyer has the upper hand, but everyone involved is eager for this part of the sale to go well and understand its value in the process.
In fact, 90% of homeowners believe that home inspections aren’t a luxury but a necessity, according to a poll from the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
Realizing that each side ultimately wants the same thing—and that you can work together toward closing a deal—should set all parties more at ease. Start with these 6 home inspection tips for buyers that offer hidden lessons for sellers, too.
Source: (Kristine Isabedra/ Death to the Stock Photo)Tip #1: Make the inspection official by writing it in as a contract contingency.It’s not enough to tell the seller of a house verbally that you plan to get the house inspected before closing. You’ll need to work with your agent to make sure it’s written into the contract as a contingency clause, which “defines a condition or action that must be met for a real estate contract to become binding,” according to Investopedia.
The inspection contingency clause in particular allows a buyer to stipulate that they have a certain amount of time (typically 10-14 days) to inspect the property after both parties sign the purchase offer. This gives the buyer the chance to back out of the deal and get their earnest money back if they can’t come to an agreement on repair negotiations.
In the event that you’re buying the house from a friend or relative—or trying to compete in a hot market with fierce buyer competition—you might be tempted to waive the inspection.
Bad idea—says Frank Lesh, who also has inspected houses since 1989 and is the executive director ASHI. “Unfortunately, that could be a serious mistake,” he said.
Even if a seller isn’t deliberately hiding something, some maintenance issues aren’t apparent to an untrained eye.
Jesus Cardenas, a top-selling agent in Pembroke Pines, Florida, echoes that inspections are always part of the contract in the West Broward County area, where he works. “All properties are sold as is with the right to inspect within the first 10 days,” he said.
What that means for sellers:95% of purchased homes go through an inspection before closing so there’s very little chance that you’ll wiggle out of this step. The only exception may be in a white-hot market where buyers are clamoring to compete, giving you all the power to sell “as is” for market value (but it’s rare).
Because the inspection is written in as a contingency, you should know your options when it comes to repair negotiations: agree to fix the issue, offer a credit to the buyer at closing, or refuse to take action with the risk that the buyer could walk away with their earnest money.
The upside of a home inspection is that it puts everything out in the open. Both sides know what a property’s problems are and can negotiate with all facts on the table. For more tips on what’s the right call in varying negotiation scenarios, check out HomeLight’s guide: “Fix it or Fight It?” which is all about how to handle repair requests before closing.
Many agents will suggest a pre-listing home inspection to either tackle maintenance issues early or give buyers a heads-up about certain issues, creating transparency. Cardenas, for instance, incorporates an inspection into his pre-listing routine because his area has a lot of 1990s homes with Spanish-tile roofs near the end of their life expectancy.
One such inspection found that a client’s roof had perhaps one or two years’ life left. Cardenas knew a roofing company that his client hired to perform about $6,000 worth of repairs, plus provide certification of another year on the life of the roof. “The seller was a nervous wreck, but you know what? The inspection went through completely fine,” he said. “We sold the place to the first buyer.”
He’d rather know of any problems upfront than have the buyer’s inspector unearth a surprise maintenance issue.
Tip #2: Temper your expectations for a perfect inspection.Although a home inspection report is detailed, it doesn’t cover every nook, creak, and cranny.
“One expectation that first-time buyers have is that the inspector is going to find everything wrong with the house—and that’s not the case. We’re there as a guest of the owner, so we’re limited in our ability to inspect things,” Lesh said.
“We can’t tear behind the wall to see if there’s a leak behind the bathroom faucet or the bathtub. We can’t take things apart to see why the dishwasher is making a funny sound. Other than removing the electrical panel, we don’t move furniture or appliances.”
So if there’s a sectional sofa in front of the living room windows, for example, the inspector may not be able to reach all the windows to test if one sticks.
What that means for sellers:The inspection report assesses a home’s condition. It’s not a report card on how good a homeowner you’ve been or a “pass or fail” test. You may be used to your home and its quirks, but a buyer isn’t, so try not to take anything in the report personally—and remember, minor things will always crop up.
“Listen, you’re buying a 30-year-old home … even a ten-year-old home or brand-new construction, you’re going to have issues. Every house has an issue,” Cardenas said.
Trust your agent to help weed through what’s minor and what’s a potential deal-breaker.
Source: (Monkey Business Images/ Shutterstock)Tip #3: Be prepared to attend the inspection and ask lots of questions.When buyers pay for the home inspection, it’s fairly standard for them to watch the inspector at work. “The first thing I always do is I ask what their concerns are. Maybe they had an issue with a previous house, so they’re sensitive to that,” Lesh said.
Although he also explains that he needs elbow room—he might go into and out of the house several times, crouch down to examine something, and make sudden stops—he’s glad to answer any questions the buyer has.
“You’ll still get a report, but it’s easier to understand a problem when I can explain it to you, and you see what the issue is,” Lesh said.
What that means for sellers:Although buyers need this opportunity, a seller already knows the home—and more often than not can get in the way.
Lesh and Cardenas both have had experiences with buyers clashing with sellers who became defensive or emotional during the inspection.
Let your agent supervise the inspection and tell you what the inspector found. (If you’ve had a pre-listing inspection or a maintenance inspection done recently, you’ll already know what’s in store.)
Tip #4: Know when to ask for a repair, take a credit, or leave it be.The home inspection can trigger some delicate negotiations over a property’s flaws. For each, a buyer can request that the seller hire a contractor to fix it, obtain a credit (a reduction in the purchase price) toward fixing it themselves, or let it be. Sellers can opt for either or simply reject both and negotiate from there, although that puts the transaction at risk of the buyer walking away.
Sellers should repair major structural issues or safety problems, such as a dated roof or any requirements for a government-backed mortgage like an FHA loan, or offer credit if they don’t have the funds. Cosmetic imperfections, such as chipped paint or peeling wallpaper, can be left to the buyers to handle once they purchase the property.
“Most of the time, a seller will say, ‘No, I’m not going to give you a credit because the door doesn’t close properly,” Cardenas said.
What that means for sellers:If your electrical system, appliances, or water heater are older, talk to your agent about offering a service contract to sweeten the deal. Cardenas said these cost about $300 a year and reassure sellers that any repairs that might arise after closing will be covered. “That takes away a lot of problems,” he said.
Tip #5: Request documentation to prove completed repairs.While not essential, this can help verify any amenities the seller’s advertising, such as a new roof. “If the receipts are out, I’ll look at them,” Lesh said. “I think it’s a good thing for a seller to do if they actually did have work done.”
What that means for sellers:You might already have your receipts handy for a home appraiser, so it doesn’t hurt to let a home inspector view them, too, as well as your agent. “If the buyer asked for the documents about the repairs, and it was recently [done], then it’s better to give them to me,” Cardenas said.
Source: (Fevziie/ Shutterstock)Tip #6: Now’s your chance to get specialty inspections, too.Although home inspectors are trained and certified to assess several parts of a home, they also can specialize in what are called “ancillary inspections,” or more detailed reviews focusing on individual components.
If they don’t have the right expertise themselves, general inspectors might refer the buyer to specialty inspectors who can more accurately assess components such as the home’s foundation or signs of termites. These types of specialty inspections are an additional fee.
Depending on where you live, radon inspections are a common one for home buyers to get, Lesh said. This colorless, odorless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in rock, soil, and water, so any home can have a radon problem, the EPA says. However, people tend to think of radon testing more readily in homes that use well water or that have basements.
Other specialty inspections include termite or pest inspections, swimming pool inspections, and well or sewer scans, where they insert a special camera into the sewer line underground to make sure the pipe is functional.
If your home is older than 10-15 years, an electrical inspection can point out any repairs needed to bring the property up to code, such as replacing the electrical panel and any outdated wiring and receptacles.
What that means for sellers:Be prepared for your home to be scrutinized and have patience throughout the various inspections—but do keep tabs on the deadlines of the contract and when the buyer is supposed to have each appointment scheduled by.
Article Image Source: (Milly Eaton/ Pexels)
Process by Gary Smith
Are you preparing to purchase a home? You’ll want to have it seen by a professional. New homes too!
Here are 7 truths about the home inspection process that will leave you with sound advice – trust me – my reputation is built on offering sound advise.
Inspectors are only as good as the last man (or woman) in. AKA – “The home inspector should have caught that”.
Sometimes it won’t matter how much experience the inspector has or how many credentials hang on the office wall. The moment you hire someone to work on your home you’ll be told that the issue you’ve hired them to repair is/was preexisting and that the home inspector should-a, would-a, could-a.
Truth: Most repairmen don’t respect home inspector opinions.
What you see is not always what you get. Most sellers want you to know that they’re proud of their home. Pride of homeownership is one of the keys to living the American dream. However, by the time an inspector sees the property the cracks have been caulked, the roof has been patched and the cooling system will freeze you out of the house! After you’ve purchased your home, be prepared. At some point along the way, you’ll find cracks, your roof could begin leaking and the A/C system will need servicing. That’s one of the realities of homeownership and home inspectors can’t prevent it.
Truth: An inspection does not mean you may forego home maintenance.
They have a license to steal. You’ve heard it before – “Gosh, they’ve got a license to steal”! You’ll most likely have that feeling after you’ve been “sold” a line of smoke and mirror tactics that have “little-to-nothing” to do with investigating and/or rendering an opinion about the conditions of your property. A prime example is a home inspection service who offers a 90 Day Warranty. This product is usually prefaced by claims that you’ll be 100%, 110% or even 200% satisfied with the inspection service. Read the details. Most 90 day warranties begin the day of the inspection, often have hidden deductibles and, as coverage begins, you don’t own the home yet. In some cases it can take 30 to 60 days before you take possession. Do the math.
Truth: Don’t be duped by flash and dash – if it’s too good to be true, it most likely is.
There is no a crystal ball. If you speak with an inspector who tells you, without hesitancy, that the roof won’t leak, the walls won’t crack, the drain won’t clog, etc. etc., you should be concerned. Home inspectors can’t predict outcomes and you’ll reinforce the opinion they have a license to steal (see above).
Truth: Inspectors can’t predict the future.
You came recommended. Who says? Inspector recommendations are a hot topic within the real estate industry and have been written and talked about for years.
#1) It’s not wise to hire your inspector based on price.
#2) Be very careful hiring the inspector as a real estate agent’s recommendation.
Most agents have been legally advised to offer you three or more inspector names/companies. They don’t offer three or more pest control companies, they don’t offer three or more alarm companies, or attorneys or/and a host of other professionals.
An inspector is hired to evaluate the home’s conditions and his findings can seriously alter the outcome of a purchase. Most home purchase contracts include certain contractual contingencies. An example would be that you must financially qualify for the home. Another common condition, called the home inspection contingency, states that you are satisfied with the physical condition of the home at the time of the contract. The buyer will be required to address this contingency before the contract is legally binding.
Truth: This is a huge purchase – don’t cut corners, interview the inspector and hire a trusted professional.
Out of sight, out of mind. There is no possible way (unless the inspector has a habit of jumping into phone booths and flying with a cape) that your inspector will have x-ray vision. If the seller (or the home he/she lives in) has limited the physical access to rooms, the attic, the crawl space or/and other areas of the home it will be impossible to render an opinion. Look for comments in the report that reflect limited or no access. If you don’t see these notes – well, what else has been left out of the report?
Truth: It’s wise to ask plenty of questions about the house.
You did read the entire report, right? Once the inspector is finished, it would not be wise to just flip to the summary and “hit the high spots”. Read the entire report. All of it. Often there’s value in the body of the report. Look for notes on maintenance, care and safety information.
You paid for a comprehensive report – if you don’t get one, well…you should have gotten one.
Truth: It’s wise to ask plenty of questions about the report.
The Take Away :: Look for an experienced home inspector who has plenty of testimonials and a reputation of offering sound advice. Interview the inspector – check with past clients and don’t hire based on inappropriate ethics, discounted services and gimmicks. When the smoke clears – you could regret your choice…and that’s the truth!
Buy NowUnderstanding the home inspection process can help buyers during an exciting yet potentially nerve-wracking time in their lives.
Home inspections are a vital part of the home buying process. Such inspections can protect buyers as they’re on the cusp of making what will likely be the most significant investment of their lives. Understanding the home inspection process can help buyers during an exciting yet potentially nerve-wracking time in their lives.
The American Society of Home Inspectors defines a home inspection as an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house. Inspectors will conduct visual examinations from the roof to the foundation of the home. Additional structures on the property, such as sheds or detached outdoor living areas, are not typically included in the examination.
The ASHI notes that inspectors will examine the condition of various parts of the home. The heating system, central air conditioning unit, interior plumbing and electrical systems, roof (though inspectors will not climb onto the roof), attic and insulation will be examined. Inspectors also will examine walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, the foundation of the home, basement (or crawl space), and structural components.
Homes cannot fail home inspections, which are just assessments of a home’s existing condition. Municipal inspections are separate inspections conducted by government agencies to verify that a property is in compliance with local codes. Home inspectors will provide detailed reports describing the condition of a home and indicate if any repairs are in order.
A home inspection is a vital component that can help buyers make the most informed decision possible. Forgoing an inspection can leave buyers vulnerable to potentially costly repairs and issues with a home that might have been detected with a proper home inspection. In addition, some lenders insist that buyers have home inspections conducted before they will allow them to borrow money.
Home inspections can protect home buyers as they prepare to make the most significant financial investment of their lives. More information about inspections can be found at www.homeinspector.org.
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.
1. It Provides an "Out"
A quality home inspection can reveal critical information about the condition of a home and its systems. This makes the buyer aware of what costs, repairs and maintenance the home may require immediately, and over time. If a buyer isn't comfortable with the findings of the home inspection, it usually presents one last opportunity to back out of the offer to buy. (This step is important when purchasing a property because it may save you thousands. For more, see The 3 Most Important Factors In Buying A Home).
A home inspection can detect safety issues like radon, carbon monoxide, and mold, which all homes should be tested for. Make sure that your home-buying contract states that should such hazards be detected, you have the option to cancel the offer to buy.
3. Reveal Illegal Additions or Installations
A home inspection can reveal whether rooms, altered garages or basements were completed without a proper permit, or did not follow code, according to Chantay Bridges of Clear Choice Realty & Associates. "If a house has illegal room additions that are un-permitted, it affects the insurance, taxes, usability and most of all the overall value. In essence, a buyer is purchasing something that legally does not exist," she explains. Even new homes with systems that were not installed to code will become the new homeowners' financial "problem" to fix (and finance). (The home for sale/purchase must pass inspection. For more, see Housing Deals That Fall Through.)
Home inspections are even more critical if you are buying an "as-is" foreclosed property or short sale. Dwellings that have been boarded often develop hazardous mold problems, which are costly to remedy and pose health concerns. Greg Haskett, VP of shared services at HomeTeam Inspection Service says it's common for home inspectors to find that copper plumbing lines and outdoor compressors have been removed from foreclosed properties by people trying to sell copper to recyclers for money. (For more, see Should You Buy A House At Auction?)
5. Negotiating Tool
Realtor Jennifer De Vivo of Orlando-based De Vivo Realty says the home inspection report presents an opportunity to ask for repairs and/or request a price reduction or credit from the seller. Work with your realtor to understand what requests can and should be made to negotiate a better deal.
6. Forecast Future Costs
A home inspector can approximate the installation age of major systems in the home like plumbing, heating and cooling, and critical equipment like water heaters. They can diagnose the current condition of the structure itself, and tell you how long finishes have been in the home. All components in the home have a "shelf-life." Understanding when they require replacement can help you make important budgeting decisions, and it wll determine what type of home insurance coverage or warranties you should consider. (For more, see New Home Repair Troubleshooting.)
7. Determine "Deal-Breakers"
De Vivo suggests that home inspections can help buyers identify how much additional money or effort they are willing and able to spend to take the home to a condition that is personally acceptable. If you are unwilling to repair issues like faulty gutters, cracked walls or ceilings, perhaps you are not ready to end your home buying search.
8. Learn to Protect Your Investment
The home inspector is a valuable educational resource. He or she can suggest specific tips on how to maintain the home, and ultimately save you thousands of dollars in the long term, according to De Vivo.
9. Reveal the Big Picture
Haskett advises that people use the home inspection to understand the nuances of what may be the biggest purchase they ever make. "People fall in love with a piece of property based on the color of the walls, the location of the home, or something else; they are completely blind to the issues that can make that dream home a nightmare," he says. (For more, see Purchasing A Short-Sale Property.)
Some insurance companies will not insure a home if certain conditions are found, or without the presence of certifications like Wind Mitigation and four-point inspections, according to Haskett. "Qualified home inspectors can do these things at the same time as their other services and save the home buyer time and money in the long run."