Buyers and the Home Inspection

Congratulations!  You’ve found a house you love, made an offer, negotiated it, and had it accepted!  Now you’re in option/inspection period and ready to hire an inspector to evaluate the home.  In Texas, realtors give our buyers a list of inspectors who are licensed so buyers can choose who to hire.  I usually like to indicate inspectors I’ve worked with before who I feel have done a good job for my clients, but it’s the buyer’s choice of who to select.  So, now that you’ve made your choice and set up an inspection appointment, what’s next?

First, be sure your realtor has informed the listing agent of the inspection time and who the inspector will be so the seller knows and can be prepared and arrange to be gone.  Try to make your appointment for a time when you and your realtor can be there for the inspection.  If  you can’t be there for the entire time, find out about how long he thinks he will be and try to at least come for the last part of the inspection so the inspector can go over his findings with you.

Keep in mind that an inspector’s license (at least in Texas) requires him to note anything in the home that does not meet current building code.  Depending on the age of the home, that could be quite a few things, as building codes change a lot.  Just because something does not meet current codes, does not mean it needs repair or is dangerous.  It just means that the item is not up to today’s standards, which likely did not exist when the home was built!  A good inspector will let you know if a particular item warrants repair or replacement or not, but don’t panic just because there are a lot of items marked!

Inspectors are not supposed to give estimates of what it will cost to fix something or replace something.  That is not their field of expertise.  They can recommend you consult someone who specializes in whatever the item is, e.g. an HVAC technician, an electrician, a plumber, etc.   He may also suggest that a particular item is a minor repair that can be done easily with a couple of small parts, but if you’re not handy, or don’t know someone who is, always best to get an estimate for repairs from someone who knows!

After you’ve had a chance to see the report and have seen first hand what items have been noted in the report, talk to your realtor about which items you would like for the seller to take care of before closing.   All these repairs are negotiable, and that’s between you and the seller what’s going to be done and by whom.  Your realtor will help you decide and negotiate for the things that are most important to you and explain your options.  Be sure you ask for receipts for all work the seller has agreed to do so you know it’s been done and who did it.

Once those negotiations are complete, you’re moving on toward closing the transaction if you’ve come to an agreement, or finding another property if you haven’t.

Good luck!