Home Inspection Important Part of the Buying Process

July 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The home inspection is one of the most important parts of the buying process. And, choosing the right home inspector is as important as choosing the right Realtor. You want the best one you can find. Real estate inspectors, like real estate agents, are licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission and have to subscribe to a set of standards, take mandatory continuing education and use a prescribed set of forms for reporting.  At West Austin Properties, we recommend a short list of real estate inspectors to our clients because we know these professionals to be knowledgeable, thorough and highly proficient at what they do.

The inspection is normally scheduled during the buyer’s option period, the negotiated period of time during which the buyer can terminate the contract for any reason. The price of the inspection depends on the size and age of the home, the amenities (pool, sprinkler system, spa, etc) and sometimes the location.  The inspector estimates the amount of time that it will take to perform the inspection and give the buyer an estimated cost. The inspectors we use will also order a termite inspector to do a termite inspection at the same time. The home inspection usually runs between $400 and $600 depending on these criteria. The cost can increase with features like a swimming pool or spa, sprinkler system, etc.  A termite inspection will usually add another $100-125.  And, it generally takes 3-4 hours to inspect a home that is 2000 to 3500 square feet.

The inspector will inspect the home and note that items were Inspected, Not Inspected, Not Present, and Deficiency.  All inspectors in Texas must use the same promulgated form. The first area inspected are Structural Systems including foundation; grading and drainage; roof covering materials; roof structure and attic; walls (interior and exterior); ceilings and floors; doors (interior and exterior); windows; stairways (interior and exterior); fireplace/chimney; porches, balconies, decks and carports, and other.  The second area is Electrical Systems which covers service entrance and panels; branch circuits, connected devices, and fixtures.  The third area is Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems including heating equipment; cooling equipment; duct system, chases and vents. The fourth area is Plumbing System including water supply system and fixtures; drains, wastes and vents, water heating equipment; and hydro-message therapy equipment.  The fifth area is Appliances and includes dishwasher; food waste disposer; range vent exhaust; ranges, cooktops and ovens; microwave oven; trash compactor; mechanical exhaust vents and bathroom heaters; garage door operator(s); doorbell and chimes; and dryer vents.  The final section covers Optional Systems including lawn and garden sprinkler systems.

Most home inspectors are not engineers. Our recommended inspectors will recommend an inspection by a structural engineer or other expert if they see indications that a more expert opinion is needed. For example, if the inspector sees cracks in the mortar of the stone or brick, door jambs that are not in alignment or cracks in the sheet rock, the inspector might recommend that the property be inspected by a structural engineer.

The inspector will arrive at the property and access it through the lockbox system if he is given an access code. Our recommended inspectors like to work in the home without the presence of others, the homeowner, real estate agents or the buyer so that they can concentrate on their work. During this time, the inspector notes items that he sees and logs them into his computer. He also takes photographs of areas or items that are noted.  About 30 minutes before the end of the inspection period, the inspector will call us to summon the buyer.  We meet at the property to go over the details of the inspection.  The inspector will give a hard copy to the buyer or he can email the entire report including photographs to the buyer and the buyer’s agent. These reports are very helpful to describe and negotiate repairs with the seller.  The inspector will not recommend that repairs be made or suggest contractors to make repairs. The scope of his work is to report only. In no case, will the inspectors that we recommend ever be allowed to perform repairs to a property.

The home inspection does not include water wells, septic systems, radon gas, lead based paint, or Austin Energy Audits.  Each of these would be done by a different licensed professional.

For a list of recommended inspectors, please refer to our Preferred Vendor List.  These vendors have been recommended by our clients.  We do not take compensation from any vendor or professional recommended here. They are listed for the convenience of our clients.  Please ask anyone you hire for references, and then check them.

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