Home Inspection in Texas and most everywhere is an important consideration if you’re buying or selling your home. Realtor Judi Wright is pleased to provide this helpful guide and hopes you will consider a home inspection before listing your property with her.
Performing a Home Inspection Before Selling Could Save You Money
The home that you are about to put on the market looks fantastic on the outside. But don’t be fooled, because there may be one or more shortcomings beneath the façade. All of which might effect the home selling process, even in today’s Seller market.
Realtor Judi Wright is pleased to provide this helpful guide and hopes you will consider a home inspection before listing your property with her.
Looks Can be Deceiving
Don’t be tempted to skip the home inspection just because your property looks good and you desire to save money. Buying a home is a crucial investment for any buyer. You should prepare to ensure that everything is in order once it hits the market.
As a seller, this is your opportunity to take a preemptive step that may save you time and money in the long run. But you need to be willing to fix the shortcomings that are found. If you are not, then don’t do the inspection.
Before you list your home, it is better for the home inspector you hire to look below the surface rather than the prospective buyer’s inspector. They may discover structural damage, foundation issues, plumbing problems, cracked siding, a leaky roof, mold or mildew, insufficient insulation, and problems with door movement, to name a few and/or an aging HVAC system on it’s last days of life
In today’s market, when buyers often pay top dollar for a home, they typically have higher expectations.
Stay One Step Ahead
If you don’t have an inspection before listing your home and the buyer’s inspector reports some critical issues, that buyer has significant negotiation leverage. They may ask for what you consider an unfair amount to repair the fault. Otherwise, they could take advantage of their option period and opt out of the purchase altogether. Then you must put your home back on the market and start all over and let’s face it, this isn’t fun for anyone!
After your home inspector identifies any deficiencies and you repair whatever is needed, your home sale will likely proceed as smoothly as possible. Actually, it may impress the buyer that you took the initiative to fix any potential problems before they fell in love with your property.
The cost of a home inspection varies but is often well worth the outlay of money. Why, because it can bring you peace of mind or – in the worst-case scenario — save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
When you hire a home inspector, be sure to ask them how long they have been in business, whether they specialize in residential inspections, and whether you can attend the inspection. As a matter of face, ask your favorite Realtor for a recommendation, don’t just use someone out of a Google listing.
How to Choose a Home Inspector
Are you selling your home and dreading the home inspection process?
Let’s peek into the buyer’s world and find out how home inspectors are selected and the list of areas they usually inspect.
As any skilled real estate agent would tell you, the best way to prepare for a home sale is to understand the buyer’s process so you can match their pace and give them exactly what they are looking for!
Let’s try to understand a typical buyer in the state of Texas and see how they select a home inspector.
Here are the main things (apart from pricing) that buyers consider before finally choosing a home inspector:
Review Recommendations from Others
Buyers search for home inspectors with a good reputation, and word of mouth is the most common referral method. Whether the recommendations come from friends, family, their trusted realtor, or even from the reviews posted online, the buyer would consider them and create a list for further review. I believe a recommendation from a trusted real estate agent should be the direction a Seller goes in choosing an inspector.
Verify the Inspectors Certifications and Experience
Home inspectors with certifications and years of experience are most likely to be chosen. Being a member of a trade association such as The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and The American Society of Home Inspectors puts a stamp of approval on their expertise, and buyers would lean towards picking one of them.
Request a Sample Property Inspection Report
A sample property inspection report of a home inspection provides insight into how a home inspector presents the problems (if any). Buyers use the information in this report to see if the home inspector can create a foundation on which they can build a negotiable case.
In Texas, the Texas Real Estate Commission licenses home inspectors and provides them with a checklist of home inspection requirement and instructions that must be included in an inspection.
As a seller, you might want to look at the sample reports of several home inspectors to give you an idea of what to expect. This information will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises. Some inspectors pop in extra text for every code change since a home was built. This results in a 150 page inspection report for what could have been 20 pages. There are key differences in inspectors, so make sure you know what you are getting.
Keep in mind that the buyer generally has their best interest in mind. So, when choosing a home inspector, they would appreciate one who may tend to exaggerate or over-inflate issues. Watch out for these inspectors (like I mentioned above)
To avoid these situations, the agents at the Judi Wright Team can help you decipher the reports, analyze and negate items that are unnecessary or are considered upgrades versus needed repairs. And many notations are upgrades so this is important.
We’re here to help you prepare your home for sale, negotiate all repairs, and reduce the stress of moving!
Home Inspection – Your Questions Answered
Whether you are buying or selling a home in Frisco, Plano, Prosper, Allen, Carrollton, or McKinney – a home inspection will likely be a part of the process. Many home buyers and sellers often have questions about the home inspection process, and some 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 from home buyers and sellers, along with the answers you need to know about home inspections.
What is a home inspection?
When purchasing a home, a buyer typically hires a licensed home inspector to ensure 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 will 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. Actually, no home is perfect and no inspector finds everything.
The home inspection is conducted by a trained and licensed professional experienced in detecting potential flaws before the final close on the home. This process allows all parties – buyers, sellers, and mortgage lenders– to continue the sales process transparently and informally.
What is the process for home inspections?
There are two types of home inspections – a home buyer’s inspection and a home seller’s inspection.
- Home Buyers: 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, a home 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.
- Home Sellers: 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 issues need attention. 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 2 to 4 hours to complete depending on the size of the home. Larger homes take longer as more components are typically involved in the inspection.
Should the seller or buyer be present for a home inspection?
For the buyer’s home inspection, it is a good idea for the buyer to be present during the inspection process or definitely at the end to review the findings. While not required, it’s a great way to learn more about the home and is 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 to review first-hand information on the home’s condition. This information will allow the agents to inform their respective clients of their options and provide information for potential repair negotiations.
Who pays for a home inspection?
A buyer typically pays for the home inspection since it protects the buyer. As we recommend at the beginning of this article, a seller may initiate a presale inspection before listing the home. The presale inspection helps the seller avoid potential issues 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 also varies depending on the additional services provided (i.e. is the pool included, termite inspection, etc.)
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 realtor to get estimates for your home and needs. Most agents recommend that buyers talk to more than one inspector and hire the one they are 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 paid for when it occurs, before closing. 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 buyer will pay for the home inspection out of pocket and before closing.
About Home Inspections in Texas
Home inspection regulations will vary by State. For those that call Texas home, here are a couple of key points regarding Home Inspection in the state of Texas.
Are home inspectors licensed in Texas?
Yes, a Texas home inspector is regulated by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). And Texas has some of the most rigorous training and inspector license requirements. However, this doesn’t mean all inspectors licensed to perform real estate inspections are equally trained.
Your real estate agent is usually the best source for finding a Texas home inspector that meets the high-performance standards required for real estate inspection. Plus, the experience of hundreds of previous inspections.
Are home inspections required in Texas?
Home inspections in Texas are not legally required but may be mandated by some banks before finalizing financing. Even if not required, it is in the homebuyers’ best interest because it provides peace of mind about the condition of a home – before you buy it.
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 does the home inspector look for during the inspection?
In Texas, home inspectors have a thorough list of home inspection requirements to check. They are looking for potential health and safety hazards, along with significant defects in the home.
Here are the essential things home inspectors are looking for:
- Water damage
- Presence of stains, mold, and decay
- 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 system issues
- Heating system
- Air conditioning system
- Hot water tank problems
- Age and condition of appliances
- 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 report checklist?
A home inspection report in Texas is comprehensive, but many items are not included in a typical home inspection.
Homes experience normal wear and tear. 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 requirements:
- Cosmetic flaws such as peeling wallpaper or scuffed paint
- Normal wear and tear, such as worn carpet
- Repair items under $100
- Termite infestation 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.
- They often don’t check outdoor landscape lighting and/or built-in grills, etc.
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.
An experienced agent can make sure you know which repairs you will need to do and which repairs to negotiate with the buyer. Remember, not all home inspectors are out to prove themselves worthy of the buyer’s money. They have a checklist from the TREC (Texas Real Estate Commission) and will be checking many things according to the checklist.
An experienced agent can help prepare you for this process and guide you throughout the negotiations of repairs.
What Buyers and Sellers Want to Know About Negotiating Repairs
A home inspection is a vital part of the process for those buying or selling a home in the Frisco, Plano, Carrollton, McKinney, Allen or Prosper area.
If you’ve already made it through the process or just wondering what happens next, keep reading for helpful tips for home buyers and sellers after completing the home inspection.
After the Home Inspection – What’s Next?
Most home inspections will result in dozens and dozens of items listed on the report. This list doesn’t mean you need to fix everything. It’s up to the seller and buyer to determine what happens next. And this is where the negotiation comes into play.
Several things could happen during this negotiation process. And these vary depending on many factors, including the experience and negotiating prowess of the real estate agents, the commitment of the buyer and seller to the deal, and even the market conditions. For example, in a hot seller’s market, a seller may have many offers and may not feel the need to repair any or all of the buyer’s requests.
Now is a great time to remind sellers and buyers alike that your professional realtor is your best asset during this time. The negotiation process happens throughout the entire real estate transaction. The expertise and experience of your agent could result in thousands of dollars back in your pocket.
Negotiating Repairs After a Home Inspection
Depending on the severity of the issues found during the inspection process, the buyer and seller have several options to resolve any home repair issues. These include:
There are many cases where the best course of action is to do nothing. For example, when the home inspection report doesn’t materialize any significant structural or safety issues.
While dozens of small or cosmetic items might be noted in the inspection report, buyers shouldn’t expect the home to be perfect. Houses get lived in – carpets get walked on, showers leak, and walls get scuffed. These should not cause extended discussions or delays in the close.
As a seller, doing nothing may also be the best action during a seller’s market if the seller has multiple offers. If you are a buyer, consider if asking for allowances or repairs could risk losing the home.
Renegotiate the price or receive a credit toward closing costs
If the buyer still wants the home after the inspection process results in repairs needed, an option might be for the buyer to re-negotiate the price by asking for repair allowances or a home warranty if not already negotiated. In this case, the buyer would provide written estimates from qualified professionals for the cost of the needed repairs. Or, ask for a fair amount of money to cover the repairs.
The buyer, seller, and their respective real estate agents negotiate fair and reasonable allowances from the accepted sale price. The buyer would then complete these repairs on their own using the repair allowance.
Agree on a list of repairs to be completed by the seller
If major structural, mechanical, or safety issues that were unknown by the buyer or seller before the inspection are found. The prospective buyer has the right to request repair of these items by the seller. In this situation, it’s essential to be specific about how and when to complete the repairs and what documentation you need for proof.
Once this repair request is received, it is up to the seller to decide if they will complete all or part of the list. Don’t be alarmed if this list negotiation goes through numerous rounds of back and forth. Multiple iterations are standard at this stage.
If the buyer or seller cannot settle the repair negotiations in one of the three ways listed above, the last option is to cancel the purchase agreement. Walking away is only an option if you have an option period specified in your contract. Note that this option usually requires forfeiture of the option deposit.
Every state is different. In Texas, an option period is usually part of the real estate contract that allows for inspection and negotiation of repairs during this timeframe.
Walking away is a last-resort option because no one wants to leave empty-handed after all that effort. But sometimes, the issues may be more substantial than the buyer or seller bargained for when starting the process.
Just be sure you know what your contract allows you to do, as not all will allow this. And that you have a skilled professional agent guiding you during this time.
Successful Negotiation Means Everyone Wins
Keep in mind that your real estate deal is unique. Rely on the expertise of your real estate agent to provide reliable counsel on your options. Because of their experience, they will have a much better understanding of what repairs are needed. Resulting in the level of negotiating power you have.
Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. And it’s perfectly ok (ideal even) to get creative about solving any issues so both parties get something they want. For example, you might find the buyer is moving from an apartment and doesn’t have any patio furniture. The buyer may be willing to ‘barter’ some repairs in exchange for the seller leaving behind a few of their patio pieces. Everyone wins.
Buying or selling a home can be overwhelming. But understanding the process and having the right real estate partner on your side can help ensure you meet your goals. If you are looking for more information on the home inspection process, give us a call at 214-597-2985 – we’d love to help!
About the Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright, The Judi Wright Team, is a real estate group specializing in Frisco, Plano, and the surrounding areas and the suburbs of Dallas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas” by D Magazine 17 times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly 13 times. Judi is also a Company-Wide Top Performer with Ebby Halliday, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.