Home inspections are always recommended when buying a home, even if it’s new construction. As the buyer, you choose the inspector and pay him directly (usually via credit card) prior to the inspection. The inspector usually can check the gas lines, sprinkler system and will coordinate a termite inspection at the same time. Most buyers don’t know inspectors, so ask your friends, family or your real estate agent for a list of names you can select. You definitely want an inspector who is licensed with TREC!
The inspector will conduct an “objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of the house, from the roof to the foundation”. The home inspector will not move items blocking access nor do they inspect things within walls or behind walls. The inspector will go through the entire house making notes of any visible damage, items needing repair or maintenance and provide a printed and digital copy of his findings and recommendations. If something is beyond his scope, he may recommend consulting with a licensed professional for further evaluation. Examples of this would include a structural engineer, Heating/Air Conditioning (HVAC), or a qualified roofing company for their recommendations.
Home inspections are typically conducted during the option period (Texas real estate contracts) with repairs negotiated with the listing agent/seller during the option period as well. If the inspection reveals conditions not acceptable to the buyer or if the seller is unwilling to make the recommended repairs requested by the buyer, the buyer can exercise their right to terminate during the option period and receive their earnest money back. Most of the time, sellers are willing to repair a reasonable list of items requested by the buyer. A good buyer’s agent will educate their buyer on what is reasonable to ask for and what is generally considered excessive. Note that code changes occur frequently, so while a home was built to code, it may be out of code at the time of the inspection. The inspector is required to call this out. However, a seller isn’t required to change things just because the code changed. This is a case by case situation best deferred to your buyer’s agent for advice.
Many buyers envision being at the inspection for the entire 3-4 hours, depending on the size of the property. The best approach is to meet your buyer’s agent at the property about 45 minutes prior to the inspection concluding. This allows for a summary review in person with the inspector, so he can answer any questions, show you where things are located, and further familiarize you with things unique to that particular home. This allows the home inspector to do his job thoroughly without interruption for the first few hours, then he is more prepared to review the findings with you and your agent.
Why should you have a home inspection? To protect you in making what is likely your largest investment. In order to make the best real estate decision, you need to go forward with as much information about the property as possible. Most importantly, remember there is no perfect home and all homes, old and brand new, have little things here and there!
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