Purchasing a home is undoubtedly one of the biggest decisions that you will make in your lifetime. That being said, you will what to ensure that the decision is a sound one when it comes to making such a large investment.
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your money is by looking into certified home inspections at the very beginning of your home buying journey.
The home inspection cost is probably going to run you somewhere between $300-$500, but it’s protecting you from headaches and money lost in the end.
The home inspection report is going to provide you and your agent with insight into the condition of the home that may not be visible to the untrained eye. While they are not required for every transaction, it is important to know what you are investing in.
Know the Difference: Appraisal vs. Inspection
A simple Google search for “Killeen home inspections” should provide you with local providers that are able to look at the property for you and quote you the home inspection cost, but what exactly are your hiring them to do?
If you are unclear what the inspection is used for, know that you are not the only person who is confused at this step.
Many industry terms get thrown around in a real estate transaction that may very well go right over your head. Becoming an informed buyer is the very first step.
If you are financing your home through a lender, there is a very good chance they they will require you to have an appraisal completed.
This is a report that the lender will use to verify that the home is worth the price that the buyer is offering to pay for the home.
This appraiser will inspect the property’s condition, but they aren’t necessarily making note of every problem. Their responsibility is to compare the home to recent listings and sales in the area to valuate the home.
However, they might note various issues in the report such as wetness in the basement, a leaky roof, a broken window, etc. This is more about validating the condition for valuation than it is for negotiating repairs.
Certified Home Inspections
An inspector is hired to investigate the true condition of the home, thus a home inspection.
A general inspector will be analyzing the whole house including the roof, foundation, electrical, plumbing, etc. This report is used as a bargaining chip to get items addressed before the transaction is complete.
In Texas, you’ll want to have the inspection completed right away. With the inspection in hand, you can negotiate any major repairs prior to the end of the option period.
On some occasions, an appraiser will point out large items that they might feel requires a second set of eyes to review as they may not be an expert on that item. They may suggest in their report that, for example, a full report from a roof inspector should be supplied to confirm the stability and longevity that is left on the roof. In this case, a lender will typically require that an inspector is involved for that transaction.
Who Should Pay for a Home Inspection?
Nine times out of ten the buyer is going to request and pay for the inspections to take place.
After all, this is the buyer’s way of ensuring their investment. The seller simply wants you to buy their home.
On a very rare occasion, the seller will agree to pony up the money, but don’t count on this happening. You should go in with the expectation that the cost belongs to the buyer of the home.
Remember, the inspection report is a bargaining chip for the buyer in the transaction.
Imagine finding the perfect home only to have your inspection report reveal that the septic system needs $35k in repairs.
That’s a HUGE price tag!
You are going to want to know upfront if the sellers have any interest in making this right before you close. You don’t want to go in knowing you are going to have to fix a bunch of problems in your new home.
What Is Covered in a Home Inspection?
A general home inspector is going to look over the subject property from top to bottom. They will be looking at the electrical, plumbing, roof, foundation, heating and air, walls, ceiling, etc. They will then provide you with a report citing the conditions of each.
A specific inspector is going to be addressing the item that they are hired for.
If we are talking about that same roof inspector from earlier, they would only be addressing the roof. They will typically be required to be licensed and bonded to provide an expert opinion for the transaction.
What Will Fail a Home Inspection?
Any item that is not up to code, could cause a safety hazard, or broken could be cause for a failed inspection.
This could be large foundation cracks, a leaky roof, or exposed wiring that was not completed professionally.
Remember the septic tank we discussed earlier? That could cause a home inspection to fail.
Keep in mind that it’s not really pass or fail. Instead, it’s more about what issues are you the buyer and the lender willing to accept?
The lender wants a clean bill of health for the home before using it for collateral for your loan. They will want those items to be fixed and signed off on by the inspector before moving forward.
Who Pays for Repairs After Home Inspections?
The easy answer here is the buyer or the seller. There is no cookie-cutter answer.
Yes, that is confusing.
You want the inspection report to serve as a bargaining chip with the seller. However, depending on your purchase agreement, the seller may not be willing to address any of the inspection items.
This is a common occurrence on a listing that is marked “as-is”. In a scenario like that, you would have to decide as to the buyer if you would like to address the items for the transaction to close.
This is why it is so important to work with an experienced real estate agent that has the ability to negotiate on your behalf.
In the best case scenario, you will submit your list to the seller, and they will address the items of concern. However, you can’t always bank on the fact that they are willing to play nice.
If you have the inspection completed before the option period ends you always have the option to back out of the deal and get your earnest money back.
How Long Should a Home Inspection Take?
A full inspection will typically take somewhere between 2-3 hours.
This is going to depend on the experience of the inspector, and the home’s condition and size.
The inspection, however, is just the hands-on part. The home inspector will then provide a comprehensive report with the deficiencies.
Once they are finished touring the home, they will typically have the report back to you within just a few days. A really good inspector can have the report to you usually by the end of the day.
Are Home Inspections Really Worth It?
You can’t protect yourself enough when it comes to purchasing a home. Certified home inspections can open your eyes to problems that you didn’t even know existed.
If you have limitless money to blow on unforeseen repairs, then, chance it. However, most people are going to want that peace of mind.
Think of this scenario. You receive an appraisal report that is completely clean except for a small note about the foundation. Your lender suggests having a foundation expert look at the property to confirm that the condition is satisfactory to move forward.
The foundation inspector looks over the foundation for you and provides a satisfactory report, but mentions the asbestos under the home. You didn’t know it was there. Your agent and the sellers didn’t mention it. Nothing was suggested in the appraisal report, but your inspector made sure that it was brought to your attention.
In this situation, the inspector just brought a very important issue to the surface. That report was certainly worth it!
At this point, you can negotiate with the seller to remedy the situation. If they agree, a qualified professional will fix the deficiency and you’ll be able to verify the work is complete on your final home walkthrough.
Skipped home inspections and lack of representation are the two biggest mistakes that homebuyers make when they are trying to save money.
You wouldn’t show up to court without an attorney and witnesses to help you plead your case. You don’t want to show up to a real estate transaction without having all of the tools in your toolbox that will help to protect you and your dollars.
Your sellers are looking out for themselves. You should too!
Personally, I recommend Averson Home Inspections. I’ve referred him to my clients more times than I can count and even used him for our own home inspections.