Frequently Asked Questions
What is included in a home inspection?
Home inspections in the State of Texas consist of a visual inspection of the structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems of a home or building. Also included in the inspection are built-in appliances, an observation of the exterior site, and the roof covering. In the state of Texas, all inspectors are required to use a standard report format.
What items are not included in a home inspection?
Although some inspectors may include additional areas in their inspections, we have elected to NOT include pools, hot tubs, wood destroying insects, and sprinkler systems in our inspections. Water wells and septic systems are not included in our standard inspections but can be included for an additional charge. However, many mortgage companies require a septic inspection from a registered sanitarian and will not accept an inspection from a real estate inspector. It is important to remember that in order to perform pest inspections, an inspector must also be licensed by the State Pest Control Board. An inspectors license alone does not grant a Real Estate Inspector the authority to perform pest inspections. Cosmetic items are also typically excluded from every home inspection report.
What are the licensing requirements of a Real Estate Inspector?
Any person that presents themselves as a Home Inspector must be licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). In some cases, Architects, Engineers, and possibly other licensed professionals, may be permitted to perform inspections of real estate in the State of Texas.
How do I find a home inspector?
The state real estate board should be able to provide you with a list of inspectors in your area. You may also look in the yellow pages under “Real Estate Inspections”, “Building Inspections”, or other categories. The most important advice that can be given for finding a home inspector is: Do your own research! Check with friends and family to see if they had a home inspection performed when they bought and if they were satisfied with the service they received.
How much does a home inspection cost?
Home inspections can vary greatly in cost. Typically, they are based on the size of the home and proximity to an inspector’s office. Often, the type construction and age of the home may play a part in the pricing. Our inspections begin at $275.00 for the average home and increase in price with respect to size of the home.
When is payment due for the inspection?
We accept payment onsite, when the final report is completed, or at the time of closing.
If the house is new, or appears to be in good condition, do I really need a real estate inspection?
Absolutely. Now you can complete your home purchase with your eyes open as to the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will also learn many things about your new home from our written report and will want to keep that information for your future reference.
When should I call in for a home inspection?
You should contact a home inspector right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. However, before you sign, be sure that there is an inspection clause in the contract making your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. Nevertheless, be sure to leave yourself enough time to schedule the inspection, receive the report, and review the findings. In the state of Texas, time periods in real estate contracts imply calendar days and not business days. In Texas this is called an option period. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.
Can a house fail a real estate inspection?
No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of the subject home. A home inspection is not an appraisal which determines market value, or a municipal inspection which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may be in need of repair or replacement.
How long does a home inspection take?
The length of time it takes to perform an inspection can vary greatly from one inspection firm, or individual inspector to another. A number of items influence the length of time required to perform a thorough inspection. As inspectors, we have to allow time for appliances to go through normal cycles such as air conditioning systems to cool completely, furnaces to heat up sufficiently, dishwashers to go through a complete cycle, ovens to heat completely, etc. We typically take about 4 man-hours per inspection for a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in average condition.
Do I have to be present at the time of the inspection?
It is not necessary for you to be present at the time of the inspection. You should receive the same quality inspection whether you are present or not. However, being present at the inspection will allow you to ask questions that may make the report easier to understand when you receive the final draft. Over the years, many buyers have shown up toward the end of the inspection to go over some of the problem areas we have found.
How long before I get my inspection report?
Some companies issue reports at the completion of the inspection and others have a short turn-around period for the final report. We have chosen to have a short turn around period that will allow us to come back to the office and input the final report with careful consideration so that the report will be easier to understand. This method has worked well for us, as well as our clients over the years.
I just received my report. How do I determine which items are most important to repair?
The importance of items in need of repair varies from property to property or on an individual basis. Some items may be of a structural or performance nature, while others may be of an economic (energy efficiency) nature. Probably the most important thing to keep in mind when deciding which items to repair is to look at what you may have to repair in the future for someone else who may be buying your home.
Do you re-inspect after repairs have been made?
Oftentimes, buyers have chosen to accept a receipt for repairs as proof the repairs have been completed. Occasionally, we have been asked to go back and verify completion of repairs. If you choose to have us go back and verify repairs, an additional charge at an hourly rate will apply.
Do I have to repair everything on the Real Estate Inspection Report?
No. The inspection report is to inform you of conditions or situations that are in need of attention. Many of these conditions may or may not be of concern to you. Any repairs to be made are completely dependent upon what the buyer and seller agree to do. What this means is that no one (other than the lender) is going to require that everything on the inspection report be repaired.
What type of instruments are used to determine the extent of foundation movement?
Some companies use a 4-foot level to determine foundation problems, but this method is not very accurate and could possibly miss problem areas in the house. We have found that using an electronic measuring device (Stanley Compulevelä), or a surveyor’s transit has the highest accuracy in determining foundation movement. However, it is important to know that level readings or visual inspections alone cannot accurately identify foundation problems.
What types of instruments are used to check for gas leaks?
We have found the electronic instruments to be the most reliable means of detecting gas leaks. However, this may present a problem if the repairperson or inspector, is not equipped with an electronic detector and checks for leaks with a liquid solution. Typically smaller leaks will not show up with liquid solutions but this does not mean the significance of a smaller leak should be overlooked. Any leak, if left in a closed area long enough, can become a major risk.
Why do I have to raise my water heater?
The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) says that water heaters installed in garage, or in a room that opens up to the garage and not mounted a minimum of 18-inches off the floor shall be listed as a recognized hazard. The reason for this is garages are commonly used for the storage of flammable and/or combustible liquids (gasoline, oil, kerosene, paint thinner, lacquer thinner, etc.). Any vapors that escape from these containers are highly combustible and may likely lead to an explosion if close enough to the flame/spark source. It is believed that raising these appliances up off the floor may reduce the chance of explosion.
What are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)?
These are electrical devices that are intended for protection of personnel by de-energizing a circuit or portion thereof within an established period of time when a current to ground exceeds some predetermined value that is less than that required to operate the overcurrent protective device of the supply circuit. Kitchen, bathroom, garage or outdoor outlets are commonly required to be GFCI protected because of their proximity to wet locations.