Austin Real Estate Explained: Home Inspections
What is a Home Inspection?
A Home Inspector will come to a home that is under contract and conduct an “objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation,” according to the American Society of Home Inspectors. The Home Inspector will carefully examine the entire house and take notes, and photos of maintenance issues and/or malfunctioning systems. The Home Inspector will detail the findings and provide the Buyer with a comprehensive Home Inspection Report.
Why get a Home Inspection?
Remember a Home Inspection is different from the Home Appraisal. A Home Appraisal is a third-party estimate of the value of the home/property for the Lender’s loan requirements, and is typically mandatory. A Home Inspection is (usually) optional, and provides an evaluation as to the condition of the home, mainly for the Buyer’s informational purposes.
“The Home Inspection Report will objectively evaluate the physical condition of the home by inspecting the structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and overall construction of the home and components.”
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the reason potential home buyer’s should get a Home Inspection, is that the Home Inspection Report gives the buyer detailed information about the overall condition of the home prior to purchase. The Home Inspection Report will objectively evaluate the physical condition of the home by inspecting the structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and overall construction of the home and components.
When to obtain your Home Inspection.
The Buyer is typically responsible for ordering and paying for the inspection, after the home is under contract. However, it is crucial that your Home Inspection is completed before your Option Period runs out. Obviously, you would want to discover all the home’s deficiencies while you are in a better negotiating standpoint for repairs or discounts.
What are the requirements to become a licensed Home Inspector?
The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) is responsible for certifying and licensing for all the Home Inspectors in Texas. TREC is the same entity that oversees the licensing requirements for Realtors. Before Home Inspectors can begin working in their field, they must be an Apprentice for a minimum of 3 months, and have completed 25 Home Inspections under the supervision of a Licensed Home Inspector. Once the Apprenticeship is completed, a potential Home Inspector must complete 90+ hours of educational coursework, submit to an extensive background check, and pass a standard exam. What’s more, Texas Licenses Home Inspectors must submit to fingerprint checks, deposit money in a trust account, continuously hold Business insurance, and continuing education course work must be completed every 2 years.
For Your Information.
It is important to remember that the Home Inspector may not be able to inspect every portion of the home, due to unforeseen obstructions. It must also be noted the quality of Home Inspectors varies widely. Some can have tendencies to ‘oversell’ their findings and make a Buyer more concerned than reasonable. Conversely, some Home Inspectors can fail (or not feel necessary) to report minor issues, which a Buyer might feel important to know. Once you receive your Home Inspection Report, it’s always a good idea to consult with professional trades to learn more about your Home Inspection deficiencies.
Home Inspection, FAQ.
It is often the case that the Seller does not want a copy of the Buyer’s Home Inspection Report. Trying to explain to a Buyer, why the Seller’s refuse to look at the Home Inspection Report can be tricky. Below is a great case sample from the Texas Association of Realtors® (TAR), that might help explain.
Q: The Buyer is on day four of his 10-day termination-option period. His Realtor® sent a copy of his inspection report to the Seller’s Agent along with an amendment for repairs. However, the Seller’s Agent refuses to open the report or negotiate for any repairs. What can the Buyer do?
A: A Broker or Seller who receives an inspection report is charged with knowledge of the information in the report, even if the Broker or Seller does not open the report. Meaning the Seller must disclose the Home Inspection Report’s deficiencies to potential future Buyers.
While Sellers and their Realtors® should review inspection reports they receive on the property, a Buyer or a Buyers Realtor® representative can’t force them to review the reports. There is also no requirement that sellers agree to or even consider amendments requiring the seller to perform repairs to the property.
If the buyer is not satisfied with the information in the inspection report or cannot get the seller to agree to requested repairs, the buyer can exercise his right to terminate the contract before his option period ends.
Ubiquitous Legal Disclaimer: The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.