Home inspections are an important part of the home buying process. Buying a home without one is kind of the same as buying a car without so much as getting in the drivers seat and turning on the engine.

When you make an offer on a house, your real estate agent will recommend you include an option period to get a  home inspection done. Because the home inspector works for you and you will pay for a home inspection, you need to know what to expect from this home inspection.

A home inspection is definitely one of those jobs best left to professionals. Even if you have experience in home construction or remodeling, it is the home inspectors training in the systematic evaluation of the of the home to identify plumbing, sewer, electrical, and structural problems that provides the benefit. Combine that with the emotional factors you may have about buying a home, and it’s easy to see why potential home buyers are not the ones who need to do the inspecting.

It is typically recommended that you spend time with your home inspector at the home so you can ask questions and see the good and not-so-good for yourself.

A qualified home inspector reviews a property’s visible and accessible areas outside and inside to identify any safety and health issues, negative and positive aspects of the property and any conditions that need further specialized attention.

A home inspection includes structural systems such as the foundation, walls, roof, attic, windows, doors, ceilings, floors and crawlspace where present. Electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems are also part of a home inspection. In Texas, it even include examining the built in appliances and should also report. There are, however, some things that are not part of a home inspection and require a separate license. Things like pests, termites or other wood destroying insects are outside the scope of a home inspection. Mold and radon inspections also require a different license and are not part of a standard home inspection in Texas.

Once the inspection is complete, a home inspector provides a written report detailing the condition and/or performance of the major systems of home. This is not “pass” or “fail.” The inspection report gives you the information you need to decide whether or not to buy the home “as is” or negotiate with the seller to either fix some of the problems or reduce the price. Know that no home is perfect. It is not uncommon for a report to include 50 or more issues.  In addition, be aware that the home inspection report identifies issues found the day of inspection, it is limited by the condition of the home (storage items or utilities that are off) and cannot predict problems that may arise a few months or a few weeks down the road.

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