Home InspectionIs an inspection necessary?
You have the right to request an inspection of any property you are thinking of purchasing by a professional inspector of your choice. You should always exercise your option to have the physical condition of the property and its inclusions inspected. Many of the more severe and expensive problems such as mechanical, electrical, structural, and plumbing are not noticeable to the untrained eye. If repairs are needed, negotiate these in your contract offer. A professionally conducted home inspection followed by a written evaluation is becoming standard procedure in home buying because of increased buyer awareness and savvy.
Are inspectors licensed?
Since an increasing number of buyers are requesting property inspections, there has been a rapid increase in the number of people entering the inspection field, the State of Texas does require testing and licensing of inspectors.
What does an inspection entail?
A qualified inspector will follow Standards of Practice in conducting their inspection. The inspection consists of a physical inspection of the home with the purchaser present, followed by a written report detailing their findings. They report on the general condition of the home’s electrical, heating, and air systems, interior plumbing, roof, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, and visible structure. The inspection is not designed to criticize every minor problem or defect in the home. No home is perfect. It is intended to report on major damage or serious problems that require repair for the well being of the home and that might require significant expense. In Texas, a special concern is expansive soils. They can be destructive when water causes these high clay content soils to swell and exert upward pressure on foundation and driveway slabs. If improperly constructed, these structures can crown up in the middle.
Buyer education is necessary.
The primary purpose of the inspection is to educate the buyer to make an informed purchasing decision. The inspector should allow and even encourage the buyer to attend the home inspection. A good home inspector knows how the home’s many systems and components work together and how to minimize the damaging effects of sun and water. The buyer’s attendance of the inspection provides them with an over all idea of possible future repair costs and maintenance routines. This is valuable information, which could increase the life span, and perhaps the future selling price of the home.
Continuing education is important for inspectors.
A competent home inspector is familiar with the latest construction materials, home building techniques, and professional equipment. Consumers should research whether prospective home inspectors actively monitor the changes in construction and real estate in order to keep their business practices current and professional. Members must meet annual continuing education requirements for this purpose.
Time and fee guidelines for the inspection.
The time necessary to properly inspect a home, as well as the fee charged by an inspector, varies according to market location, the size and age of the home, and the individual inspection company. However, you can expect that it will take an average of two to three hours to competently inspect a typical one-family, three-bedroom home, with an average cost of $100 to $300. I may not be at the inspection, so notify me after the inspection is completed.
Beware of false claims. Consumers must be cautious in evaluating some of the claims made by people hoping to fill the growing demand for home inspection services. Many new companies request only an application fee. Some claim to offer certification but do not require exams or proven credentials. Still others boast engineering licenses as assurance of competence, even though the engineering license has nothing to do with home inspecting.
Some inspectors may be qualified to provide other types of services with their inspection that go beyond the scope of the ASHI standards.