Part I- All about the home inspection process, plus answers to frequently asked questions from buyers and sellers
Home Inspection 411 for buyers and sellers
Whether you are buying or selling a home in Frisco, Plano, Prosper, Allen, Carrollton, or McKinney – a home inspection is likely to be a part of the process. Many home buyers and sellers often have questions about the home inspection process, and many times, a bit of anxiety.
Home sellers often feel like their beloved home is in the hot seat and stress about expensive repairs that might eat away at their profit. And, home buyers want to know nothing is lurking beneath the surface that could result in costly surprises down the road.
To help resolve some of the anxiety and clear up confusion, we’ve compiled a quick list of common questions asked by home buyers and sellers, along with the answers you need to know about home inspections.
The Home Inspection Basics
What is a home inspection?
In the process of purchasing a home, a buyer will typically hire a licensed home inspector to ensure there are no significant flaws.
The home inspection is a non-invasive process in which the inspector conducts a thorough visual inspection of mandatory items (see list below). It is designed to help protect the home buyer by revealing structural, electrical, or mechanical issues that may not be obvious to the buyer or seller.
No home is perfect. And the inspection report should not be considered a pass-or-fail test, or even a mandatory repair list for the home seller. Nor should it be considered a guarantee or warranty that the home is perfect.
The home inspection is conducted by a trained and licensed professional experienced in detecting potential flaws that need to be surfaced before the final close on the home. This process allows all parties – buyers, sellers, and mortgage lenders– to continue the sales process in a transparent and informed manner.
What is the process for home inspections?
There are two types of home inspections – a buyer’s inspection and a seller’s inspection.
A buyer’s inspection (most common) happens after the buyer has made an offer, and the seller has accepted the offer. The home inspection process often occurs before the appraisal.
The buyer typically orders a buyer’s inspection during the Option Period. Once the inspection is ordered and scheduled, an inspector will conduct a thorough visual examination of the home and provide a report to the buyer and their agent. Generally, the buyer and agent attend the inspection at the end to review the inspector’s findings in person.
The report usually happens on-site or within one day after the inspection occurs. At this time, the agent and buyer can review to determine what, if any, issues need attention. (Read more below about how to handle items found on the inspection report.)
A seller’s inspection happens before the home is listed. The seller or seller’s agent initiates the seller’s inspection to help the seller address any issues ahead of time that could cause delays in the sales process. Many sellers also use this as a selling tool as it can alleviate buyer anxiety during the offer period.
How long does the home inspection process take?
Once scheduled, the home inspection usually takes two to four hours to complete depending on the size of the home. Larger homes take more time as there are typically more components involved in the inspection.
Should the seller or buyer be present for a home inspection?
For buyer’s home inspections, it is a good idea for the buyer to be present during the home inspection process or definitely at the end to review the findings. While not required, it’s a great way to find out more about the home and usually simpler to understand if you are present during the inspection rather than just reading the report.
The real estate agents are often present at the end of the inspection as it provides first-hand information on the condition of the home. This information can be used to better inform their respective clients on options, as well as provide information for potential repair negotiations.
Paying for Home Inspections
Who pays for a home inspection?
A buyer typically pays for the home inspection since it is meant to protect the buyer. In some cases, a seller may initiate what’s called a presale inspection before listing the home. The presale inspection helps the seller see and deal with any potential roadblocks before they become a problem.
How much does a home inspection cost?
On average, in the far North Dallas and Frisco area, home inspections range from $300 – $750 depending on the size and location of the home. This amount varies also depending on the additional services provided. Some home inspection companies offer full-color binders with CDs and home repair manuals, while others may offer more basic reporting services. Talk with your real estate agent to get estimates for your home and needs. Most agents recommend that buyers talk to more than one inspector and hire the one they comfortable working with for their report.
Is the home inspection expense part of the closing costs?
No, the home inspection is an out-of-pocket expense. While a home inspection estimate is part of your estimated closing costs document, this is only to show you the total estimated costs for buying the home. The home buyer will pay for the home inspection out of pocket and before close.
About Home Inspections in Texas
Are home inspectors licensed in Texas?
Yes, in Texas home inspectors are regulated by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). And, Texas has some of the most rigorous training and licensing requirements. However, this doesn’t mean all licensed inspectors are equal. Your real estate agent is usually the best source for finding a home inspection service that meets high-performance standards due to their experience in hundreds of previous transactions.
Are home inspections required in Texas?
Home inspections are not legally required but may be mandated by some banks before finalizing financing. Even if not required, it is usually in the homebuyers’ best interest because it provides peace of mind about the condition of a home – before you buy it. And, if the inspection uncovers something serious, it affords a legal way to back out of the contract. Most agents recommend having an independent third-party inspection even on brand new construction.
Home Inspection Checklist
What do inspectors look for during the inspection?
In Texas, home inspectors have a thorough list of items to check. They are looking for potential health and safety issues, along with significant defects in the home. Here are the essential things home inspectors are looking for:
- Water damage
- Structural damage such as cracks in the foundation, missing brick or impairment to attached structures
- A damaged or old roof
- Issues or flaws in the electrical system
- Interior plumbing issues
- Heating, air conditioning, and hot water tank problems
- Issues with interior items such as floors, windows, doors, and ceilings
- Attic ventilation and insulation
- Code violations
What is not included in the home inspection checklist?
In Texas, the home inspection report is comprehensive, but many items are not included in a typical home inspection. Homes experience normal wear and tear – and prospective home buyers should expect some ‘character’ flaws when buying a previously owned home.
Here are a few examples of items that are generally not part of the home inspection:
- Cosmetic flaws such as peeling wallpaper or scuffed paint
- Normal wear and tear such as worn carpet
- Repair items under $100
- Termites or mold – these might be noted if the inspector spots evidence, but they won’t actively look for termites or mold unless you pay for a separate Wood Destroying Insect inspection or Mold Inspection.
- Behind the wall issues such as asbestos or lead pipes/paint – because the home inspection is a non-invasive process, they won’t knock holes in walls, ceilings or floors to inspect anything not readily accessible.
The home inspection process is sometimes nerve-racking for home buyers and sellers alike. But understanding the process ahead of time can ease the tension and help manage expectations for a smoother process.
Are you wondering what happens after the home inspection process concludes? Keep reading Part II of this series to learn your options for negotiating repairs.
And, if you are looking for even more information on buying or selling a home in DFW suburbs – give us a call at 469-634-0932! Our team of dedicated real estate professionals is ready to assist with all your residential real estate needs.
About the Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright/The Judi Wright Team is a real estate group specializing in the suburbs of Frisco, Plano, and surrounding areas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas,” by D Magazine thirteen times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly eight times. Judi is also a Company-Wide Top Performer with Ebby Halliday, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.