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Home Inspection Tip FAQ

Texas Property Inspection FAQ from
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Home Inspection Tips, Advice and FAQ

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Home Inspection Real Estate Tips and Advice


Frequenty Asked Questions: Real Estate Property Home Inspections
By: Dallas Fort Worth Professional Home Inspector, James Walker

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Frequently Asked Questions - Texas Home Inspector FAQ Tips

What Is A Home Inspection?
A professional home inspection is a visual inspection of the structure and components of a home. The home inspector will look for items that are not functioning as intended, items that are unsafe or are not within the guidelines of the “Standards of Practice” established by the Texas Real Estate Commission. If a problem or symptom is found with the property, the home inspector will include a description of the problem in a computer generated report and may recommend further evaluation by a specific trade (structural engineer report).


Why is a professional home inspection important?

Home Buyers: The process of buying a home can be stressful. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. Emotions often affect the buyer and make it hard to imagine any problems with their new home. A buyer needs a home inspection to find out all the problems that may exist with the home before moving in.

Home Sellers: An increasingly competitive housing market and a slower economy are driving an increased focus on home and property value. Hiring qualified real estate professionals is the first step toward gaining the advantage. Becoming more involved in the process yourself, learning as much as you can, and providing your own extra effort may be the difference that puts your home in the "must have" category.

If you have a home for sale you may choose to have a thorough inspection before, or when, you first list your home. Pre-inspected homes allow the seller to take control over negotiations. You and your realtor will be effectively armed with the right information to negotiate a fair value for your home. You will save money and hassle by knowing now what your defects are, not after you have already negotiated and are faced with costly repairs discovered on the buyers inspection. Defects found before the buyer comes along allow you to shop around for a contractor and not deal with inflated estimates that a buyer will present. Most buyers will want the seller to fix defects found on the home inspection or try to drop the price of the home. Buyers generally try to negotiate two times the actual cost of repairs needed. With a professional home inspection, the condition of the home is taken into consideration during the original offer, eliminating re-negotiations.


What if the report reveals problems?
All homes have problems, even new homes. The only question is how serious are these problems? Good home inspectors understand the difference between major and minor problems and will communicate that difference. Every problem has a solution. Solutions vary from a simple fix of the component to adjusting the purchase price but having a home inspection allows the problem to be addressed before closing.


What does a home inspection include?
With One Source Real Estate Inspections, a home inspector report will review the condition of the home's components listed including:

 


Inspection of Structural Systems
House Foundation
Grading and Drainage
Roof Covering
Roof Structure & Attic
Walls
Ceilings and Floors
Doors
Windows
Fireplace/Chimney
Porches, Decks and Carports

Inspection of Electrical Systems
Service Entrance and Panels
Branch Circuits-Connected Devices and Fixtures
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
Heating Equipment
Cooling Equipment
Ducts and Vents

Inspection of Plumbing System
Water Supply System & Fixtures
Drains, Wastes, Vents
Water Heating Equipment
Hydro-Therapy Equipment


Inspection of Appliances
Dishwasher
Food Waste Disposer
Range Hood
Ranges/Ovens/Cook tops
Microwave Cooking Equipment
Trash Compactor
Bathroom Exhaust Fans and/or Heaters
Whole House Vacuum Systems
Garage Door Operators
Door Bell & Chime
Dryer Vents
Other Built-In Appliances

Inspection of Optional Systems
Lawn Sprinkler
Swimming Pools & Equipment
Outbuildings
Outdoor Cooking Equipment
Gas Lines
Water Wells
Septic Systems
Fire Protection Equipment


What Should I NOT Expect from a Home Inspection?

  • A home inspection is not a home warranty, implied warranty or protection against future failures. Stuff happens! (Ask Forrest) Mechanical components like air conditioning units and Heating Systems can and will break down. A home inspection tells you the condition of the component at the time of the home inspection. For protection from future failure, I always recommend a real estate home warranty policy.
  • A home inspection is not an appraisal that determines the value and square footage of a home. A good home inspector will not tell you if you should buy this home or what to pay for this house.
  • A home inspection is not a code inspection, which verifies local building code compliance, although the home inspector must be well versed in current codes. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house. They will follow a “Standards of Practice” established by the “Texas Real Estate Commission” (TREC). Home inspectors are required to inspect every home as if it were built today. Consider it a way of educating the home buyer of what they are buying into. Home inspectors will report findings when it comes to safety concerns that may be in the current code such as no GFCI outlets at sinks. A home inspector thinks "Safety" first .. not "Code" when performing a home inspection.

Should I attend the home inspection?
I have learned from experience that participation enhances your home inspection experience. Being present enables you, the client, to achieve a better understanding of the inspector's findings and an in-depth view of the property you are purchasing or selling. Being present also enables you to benefit from the educational tour at the end of the inspection with regard to the maintenance and upkeep of the home. Be sure to give the home inspector time and space to concentrate and focus so he can do the best job possible for you, but never hesitate to ask questions at anytime during the process.


How to Select a Home Inspector
What questions should I ask or things to know about hiring a home inspector?
Make sure your home inspector is licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC).
Ask for his license number! Then ask these questions:

  • Does your home inspector carry General liability and Errors & Omissions Insurance for your protection?
  • A home inspection should include a comprehensive report that describes what was inspected and the condition of each inspected item. The best reports are created using home inspection software that includes digital pictures and comments specific to your home. No hand written reports!
  • When and how do you deliver the report?
    Home inspectors will often deliver the report the same day or within 24 hours of the inspection. Email delivery of reports is often the most common and efficient way of delivery. Real Estate Agents, Mortgage Loan Companies and out of town clients prefer email delivery instead of non-legible faxes or costly overnights.
  • Can I see a sample home inspection report?
    Always request a copy of a sample report to make sure it is detailed and easily understood. A good home inspector will want to show you the type of inspection reports he writes. If you cannot understand the report or if you feel there is to much fluff or useless information that some reports contain you probably will not read your own report and may miss important information.
  • How much do you charge? Real estate inspectors will give a free estimate of cost if you answer a few questions about the property. But just as you wouldn't choose a surgeon based on lowest price, neither should you choose a home inspector on cost alone. You may not want the costliest inspector either. Weigh price against answers to your questions and your impression of the inspector during a phone call. Then go with your gut feel, and you'll likely make the right choice.

A home inspection services company should provide information to the client to give them the ability to go into negotiations with the knowledge that their decisions are being made from an informed position.


What REALLY Matters in the Home Inspection Process
Buying a home? The process can be stressful. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite affect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This often includes a home inspection written report, checklist, photographs, environmental reports, and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this combined with the seller's disclosure and what you notice yourself makes the experience even more overwhelming.

What should you do? ... Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:

  • Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
  • Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
  • Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home or real estate property.
  • Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.

Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and your real estate property investment.

Final Home Inspection Advice:
Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during a home inspection. Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the home inspection report. No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Don't kill your deal over things that don't matter.

Copyright 2004 Texas Home Inspector James Walker, One Source Real Estate Inspections. All rights reserved.


More OneSource Real Estate Inspections Home Inspection Services and Resources including:

  • Pre-listing home inspection: Dallas Fort Worth home for sale
  • Builder Warranty Coverage: New home inspection
  • New Construction Inspection Program
  • Home Buyer Inspection for Mortgage Loan Approval
  • Consumer Information for the homeowner from appliances to water well systems

Click here for a Home Inspection Checklist of 10 things you can check for yourself!

Do you have a question to add to our Home Inspection FAQ? Or would you like to sign up for our North Texas Home Inspection Newsletter? EMail OneSource Real Estate Inspections today!
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