Is a Home Inspection really necessary?

I get asked these type of questions related to Inspection especially when comes to buying new homes. I always tell my clients that Inspection is an integral part of home buying process. If you hesitate to spend just few hundred dollars, you might end up losing more than you expect in short and long run as well. Let me go over few questions which are commonly asked by my clients so that way it would be easy for everyone to get an idea about inspection necessity on buying a home.

  1. I am buying a new builder home, do I still need to do the inspection?

  2. Yes you certainly should consider doing an inspection. There are 3 stage inspections which some inspectors market for new builder homes. It covers inspections at different stages like after foundation pouring, structural completion and full completion. It cost around $700-$900 depending on the inspectors experience. Some people like to do it to make sure everything is done as per code from start to finish. If you don’t want to do it, you should atleast do full completion inspection before your final walk through so you can find things send the list out to builder to fix it before your walk through. Some like to do 3-6 months after closing since warranty covers for 1 year and they can get it fixed any findings from the inspector. It’s about your comfortable factor but don’t try to save on inspection.

  3. If I buy a resale home, when should I do my inspection and what are my options as per the sales contract?

  4. It is very important to do a inspection on old or resale homes. If it is foreclosed or short sale property, it is more important because the property might not have been lived for some time. You never know what is working and not working. Inspection is the first thing you need to do as soon as a sales contract is put in place. Before that, sales contract should allow certain period called option period to do inspection and make decision accordingly. If you haven’t mentioned an option period, you won’t have option to do inspection and get out of the contract. Work with your Realtor carefully to have sufficient time to do the inspection with all the utilities turned on. You should consider adding more days to the option period if you expect turning on utilities can take more than usual time.

  5. I don’t understand how a home inspector who is not an electrician can evaluate an electrical system; who is not a plumber can evaluate a plumbing system; who is not an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractor can evaluate a furnace. Can you explain?
  6. It is a great question. Good thinking! Inspector is like a Family physician. He is door keeper for our health. He basically knows how our body parts work and what can go wrong. If he finds any issue, he refer you to the specialist. Similarly, an inspector get certified by going through a state certification requisites like certain class hours studying courses and passing the state exam. In their courses, they go through about the basic parts which makes up the home briefly and their workings. With experience, many inspectors gain more in depth knowledge about things like any other technician. They might not know in depth problems but they can easily detect problems which are visible to our eyes.

  7. How do I choose a good Inspector?

  8. If you are working with a Realtor, he/she should be able to suggest few inspectors for you to call up and get a quote and choose one you think would do a good job. Realtor should be able to shed light on their referrals about their expertise and experience which should also help you in the selection process. If you don’t have realtor, try to find someone via friends and families. If you find someone from craigslist or websites, don’t forget to see sample reports and research more about them in inspector association websites.

  9. How much should I pay for the Home Inspector?

  10. It depends. In and around Houston area, many inspectors charge $300-$400 for 1500 sq.ft single story property. Take that as benchmark and calculate for more square footage. Don’t sign any agreement or contract with a Inspector before they even come out to do the inspection.

  11. Can Inspectors be held liable for not finding things which are deducted after buying the house?

  12. No. You cannot or won’t be able to. Most Inspectors ask you to sign a agreement after the inspection and the main important part of that agreement is to relieve them from any liabilities associated with the inspection. You can go back and ask them to come and inspect mentioning that what you found and many inspectors may come back to do it again as courtesy but many charge for that service as well. They are very clear about the fact that they inspectors not experts of everything in the home.

  13. I am a seller. Do you recommend doing an inspection before listing the property?

  14. I wouldn’t recommend but it is not a bad idea either. But the only caveat is, you need to publish the report if you do an inspection. If you try to hide something which you know from prospective buyer, they can come after you if they happen to find out. So seller usually don’t want to take that stance and avoid inspection before listing it. Some like to inspect and fix issues which are important and leave others for buyers to find out and ask for it. You can play according to you situation.

Hope I covered most of the questions which are asked about inspection. In conclusion, I like to stress the point that don’t buy a resale home without doing an inspection unless you know what you are doing. For New homes, you can should inspection either before closing or before your warranty expires. It is always better to leave things to people who does best and learn from it. Try to take action from their findings to avoid big expenses and saves your time and effort as well.

About Vijaianand Thirnageswaram

I am a Proud Realtor of Texas, trying to guide and help clients to find their dream home and educate them to buy them for right price. I am also a Candidate for CFP who has more financial knowledge which allows me share and educate clients in any financial decision making process.

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