FAQ

Print

What is a home inspection? 

A home inspection is a visual examination of the home’s major structure, systems and components that are visible and safely accessible.  The inspector should substantially adhere to a standards of practice that outlines what should be covered during a general home inspection, as well as what is excluded. Some inspectors may strictly follow the standards of practice, while others may exceed the standards and inspect other items or perform a more detailed inspection. Whatever the inspector includes in his or her inspection should be discussed prior to or at the inspection – this is known as the scope of work. The inspector should provide you with a written report, which may include photos and/or recommendations, of his or her findings of the inspection.  

Why should I get a home inspection?

Buying a home is typically the biggest investment you will ever make, so it’s important to get a home inspection because the inspector should be able to discover and document defects that may or may not be obvious to you as a prospective buyer.  Such defects can range from simple replacements or repairs, to severe damage or safety and health concerns. Additionally, most mortgage companies require a home inspection on a property before approving the home loan.

Where can I find a home inspector in my area?

There are several ways to find a home inspector. You may be able to find one online or in local ads. You may also find inspectors’ brochures by visiting a real estate office. There is no single method that is superior when it comes to finding an inspector who’s right for your inspection needs. 

How can I be sure that a home inspector is qualified?

It is important to choose a home inspector who is qualified and holds a license or certification in the field. Many jurisdictions do not regulate home inspections, meaning that anyone could call themselves a home inspector. Fortunately, Texas is one of the toughest states to procure a license. 

What will it cost?

The inspection fee for a typical one-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending on a number of factors such as the size of the house, its age and possible optional services such as wood destroying insect, pool/spa and sprinkler systems.

Do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether to have a home inspection or in the selection of your home inspector. The sense of security and knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspection is not necessarily a bargain. Use the inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training, compliance with regulations and professional affiliations as a guide.

How long does a home inspection take?

Depending on the home’s age, size, and location, as well as the home inspector’s own work protocols and ethic, your home inspection may take up to three hours or more. Adding square footage, outbuildings, and/or ancillary services (pool/spa and sprinkler systems) will increase that time. It may be necessary for your inspector to bring in a helper for a very large property. If your general home inspection takes significantly less than two hours, it may indicate that the inspector was not thorough enough. 

When do I call a home inspector?

Typically, a home inspector is contacted immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Before you sign, be sure there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent on the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms and conditions to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.

Should I be present for the inspection?

You should attend the inspection, and you should reconsider hiring an inspector who doesn’t allow this. You can learn a lot by following an inspector through the home. You will certainly gain a better understanding of the home’s condition, which will give you insight into its potential sale points and defects. Additionally, you will likely learn information about the home’s maintenance, systems and components that may provide useful for the transaction. 

What if the report reveals problems?

No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. If your budget is tight, or if you don’t want to become involved in future repair work, this information will be important to you. If major problems are found, a seller may agree to make repairs.

If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?

Absolutely. Now you can complete your home purchase with confidence. You’ll have learned many things about your new home from the inspector’s written report and will have that information for future reference.