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Housing Trends

December 2018

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Yes … You Need an Inspection

Since the purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the home and the condition of the property before you buy.

This is why it’s critical to pay for the services of a licensed home inspector – you need an unbiased, professional opinion about the condition of a property before you make such an important purchase.

What does an inspection cover?
A home inspector's report will review the condition of the home's heating system and air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing, and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement, and visible structure.

It’s important to remember that an inspection is not a warranty or a guarantee; it’s an objective opinion based on a visual, top-to-bottom examination of a property. A licensed inspector is trained to understand how the home's systems and components are intended to function together, how and why they fail, and to spot warning signs of problems that may not be obvious.

Keep in mind, though, that inspectors are human – even the most experienced practitioner may miss something. After all, he can’t tear into the walls and doesn’t have x-ray vision.

Don’t try this at home
I sometimes hear of buyers attempting to inspect the home themselves. Unless that buyer is an inspector, or very experienced in home construction and repair, he is making a mistake – one that could cost him many thousands of dollars down the road. Hire a professional – it’s the right move.

A small price to pay
The inspection fee for a typical single-family house will vary by inspector. The cost also depends on the size of the house, its features, how old it is, and possible additional services like testing sprinkler systems, septic systems, wells, or swimming-pool equipment.

Don’t, under any circumstances, let the fact that there’s a cost dissuade you from pursuing the inspection – that’s short-sighted. Trust me … the cost of an inspection is a small price to pay for a little peace of mind.

To be or not to be?
It’s not necessary for you to be present for the inspection, but it is recommended. It gives you the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain it.

You’ll also find that the final report is much easier to understand if you accompanied the inspector through the property.

My house is on the market. Should I get an inspection?
Most people associate inspections with buying a house, but what if you’re already a homeowner? Can an inspection benefit you, too?

The short answer is yes. If you’re selling your home, an inspection will give you a better understanding of conditions that may be discovered by the buyer's inspector — and give you the time needed to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.

If there’s a problem…
The Texas Real Estate Commission accepts written and signed complaints against real estate brokers and salespersons; real estate inspectors; residential service companies; timeshare developers; easement or right-of-way agents; and unlicensed persons engaging in any of the above activities.

Grounds for complaints might include acting dishonestly or fraudulently; performing an inspection in a negligent or incompetent manner; or violating the standards of practice for licensed inspectors. For more information, visit www.trec.state.tx.us.

Finding a home inspector
Besides the phone book and your friends, the Internet can be a great source for finding an inspector – many have taken the time to develop an online presence. Your Texas Realtor will also be able to provide you with a list of inspectors in your area. Whatever your referral source, make sure the inspector is licensed in Texas.

When you’re interviewing, see what kind of fee (if any) he will charge to re-inspect the home after repairs have been made. You should also ask what type of training he has, whether he belongs to a professional inspector association, and whether you will be able to call him with questions that come up after the inspection.

What’s new?
In October 2008, the Texas Real Estate Commission approved revised standards of practice for inspectors, as well as a new mandatory inspection report form for one- to four-family residential properties.

After three years of development, these revisions go into effect on February 1, 2009. The commission adopted these revised rules and the new form to better serve the public by giving consumers more information about property conditions.

Ask your Texas Realtor for more information about the changes.

A little perspective
Whether you’re a buyer or seller, a good inspector will give you insights into the quality and state of a home that you may not have otherwise discovered on your own. That professional opinion speaks to the condition of a property and is an important part of a real estate transaction..

Source: Texas Association of REALTORS®
Reprinted with permission.