Q. What is a "Home Inspection"?

A certified home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. A large number of specialized tools are employed to give accurate measurements. The standard home inspector's report will include an evaluation of the condition of the home's heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement, and visible structure. Having a home inspected is like giving it a "medical" physical checkup. If problems or symptoms are found, I will refer you to the appropriate specialist or tradesperson for further evaluation. A good inspector will not recommend any particular  person or company, thus avoiding any conflict of interest or alliance.

Q. When is the report delivered?

The report is delivered by download via the internet (.pdf format), email, or on CD. This is totally up to the client. If not delivered on the spot, it will be available the day following the inspection in which ever method the client chooses.

Q. Why do I need a home inspection?

The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards.
Of course, a home inspection will also point out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and will be able to make a confident buying decision.

If you have owned your home for a long time, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and recommend preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs. In addition, home sellers may opt for having an inspection prior to placing the home on the market to gain a better understanding of conditions which the buyer's inspector may point out. This provides an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.

Q. When is the best time to have the inspection for a used home?
The answer varies on who you are in the transaction.
If you are buying a used home: Ideally you should have the property inspected before you make an offer to purchase. Often buyers wait until after the offer is accepted to have the property inspected. The real estate agent may insist to you to have an offer on the table even before suggesting to the home owner that an inspector be allowed accesses to the property. 

Commonly you may have the house inspected immediately after signed contract before an offer is returned to you. Usually there is a tiny 10 day period for the inspection and a few days to get estimates on repairs and replacement equipment. Few buyers are prepared for the time crunch that they will be going through. The agents want to give the buyer as little time as possible to deal with the laborious process of dealing with details. 

Q. When is the best time to have the inspection for a new home? 

For new construction, the inspections ideally are to take place over a number of weeks. Timing is critical and the status of the property changes daily while under construction. The smart home buyer of a new property has at least three inspections at different times during the construction phase. Seven or more inspections will help keep the builder closer to the building standards and hopefully aware that the buyer has an eye on their work. Some builders never want to have their work checked thus try to hide flaws or hinder the inspection process. Eventually l add more details here to help consumers in the real estate purchasing maze.


Q. When is the best time to have the inspection for a home sold at auction? 

As far as foreclosures,  and HUD properties sold at auction are concerned. It is best to have the property inspected before you make a bid on the property. Many of the foreclosed properties are in a horrid state of disrepair and may require extensive rework. Although some may be a real bargain, others are problematic money pits. If accesses to the property before the auction is prohibitive, the buyer should be aware of potential trouble areas. 
Rental properties are usually in poor condition. Condo and town homes that once were rental apartments also are usually in very poor shape. They should be inspected before you make an offer to purchase.


Q. What will it cost?

The inspection fee for a typical one family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending upon the size of the house, particular features of the house, its age, and possible additional services, such as septic , water well, or lawn sprinklers. 
However, do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection, or in the selection of your home inspector. The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest priced inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector's qualifications, including his experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the most important consideration. Large homes (above 4000 sq. ft.) can easily have a charge of $400.00 and a very small home (1500 sq. ft) could be as little as $200. I don't inspect

Q. Can't I do it myself?

Yes, you can and if you feel comfortable with the task I will suggest some books to read first. You probably won't have time within the option period to obtain, read and understand all the material. However even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector who has inspected hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homes in his or her career. An inspector is familiar with all the elements of home construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. He or she understands how the home's systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail.
Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate picture, it is best to obtain an impartial third party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection.

Q. When do I call in the home inspector?

A home inspector is typically called right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign, be sure that there is an inspection clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.

Q. Can a house fail inspection?

Not exactly. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance for new construction. Most houses, even those under construction now, do NOT meet current building codes. This is especially true of houses built in an unincorporated area. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement.

Who should be at the inspection?

Ideally only the buyer and the inspector. However, it's fine with us if the agent is there. We represent our clients.

Q. Do I (the buyer) have to be there?

It's not necessary for you to be present for the entire inspection, but it is recommended if your time allows it. By following the home inspector around the house, by observing and asking questions, you will learn a great deal about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain it. You will also find the written report easier to understand if you've seen the property first hand through the inspector's eyes. It is best that real estate agent not remain at the site during the inspection. Your presence as a buyer is necessary to get the verbal account of the findings and to pay for the services. We recommend you attend at least the last 30 minutes of the inspection. We can call you by cell to let you know where we are in the inspection process to give you time to attend the summary and final sign-off.

Q. Can you make repairs if they are needed?

 NO! NEVER! If any inspector says "yes"-- BEWARE! They may have a vested interest in the outcome of their report. I don't do repairs and I don't often make repair estimates. I have a strict Code of Ethics which forbids any actions that could be interpreted as a conflict of interest.

Q. How long does your inspection take?

My structured inspection takes 3 to 5 hours to complete. I strictly adhere to the Standards of Practice outlines. The extra investment of time assures you of not only the highest quality inspection but the same thorough inspection every time.

Q. Do you have a written guarantee that your report is accurate?

Most home inspectors have disclaimers, or they are simply unaware of the liability they are assuming. I perform a visual inspection and evaluate the condition of the components of the home based upon the simple criteria of durability and serviceability. The standards that I am responsible to report are contained in the Texas Standards of Professional Practice as published by the Texas Real Estate Commision,     
and the
National Association of Certified Home Inspectors of which I am affiliated.

Q. Do you go over the report in person with the buyer?

 I prefer to review the property with the buyer at the conclusion of the inspection to show them firsthand anything discovered during the inspection. I have found that this is the key to giving a buyer peace of mind about their property. When the buyer is out of the area, I go through the report with them over the phone page by page.

Q. What kind of report can I expect?

 I have a state-of-the-art computer generated report. I am able to take advantage of technology to create a report that is easy to understand and quite comprehensive. This type of report points out the weaknesses of the home. The strengths of the house are given orally.

 I have created many supporting documents that supplement the property specific reports. They cover a wide spectrum of topics that can help you with detailed areas. These supporting documents are never available to real estate agents or other 3rd parties.

Q. What are the most common house problems buyers can expect to find?

In homes 20 years and older, roof shingles, foundation cracks, wood destroying insect damage, electrical wiring, and surface water drainage systems are the items most commonly cited on inspection reports as needing repair or modification.

In new construction, inspections frequently report poor landscaping drainage, inadequate attic ventilation, poor roof construction, and substandard masonry and finish work. Sometimes the problems are related to poor initial design problems such as vulnerable areas of the roof structure, and unwise location of utility rooms (such as located on the 2nd floor or at an interior wall rather than exterior wall where there is a direct exterior vent for the dryer.)

Properties that are currently or have been rental property are generally in poor maintenance. "Investment properties" can also be very problematic. They are usually houses that have had recent improvements and were purchased at a low price to be repaired then resold at generally a much higher price. Thus these houses are often older and may have had past problems that forced it to be sold at one time at a "bargain" price. Sometimes the repairs are well done but often they reflect "handyman" workmanship which falls below building code and industrial standards. 

Q. Do you check for cosmetic  items?

 No, not exactly. All houses show some degree of normal wear. Toilets will at time overflow thus causing small stains in the grout. The varnish on a floor will wear thin in one area faster than another due to use. Roof coverings begin to show wear on the day they are installed. Even new homes show slight paint imperfections and flooring that has some mild evidence of normal traffic. Walls often show scuff marks and paint color will often vary within a room. These things do not affect the basic functionality of the house. The criteria of wear is based on whether the item is performing as intended and possibly in need of some immediate repair. If you want a nit picky list of problems, then you can compile that list on your own separate from the inspection report. An overly scrutinized property could produce a report that is not helpful in the long term or reflective of the general functional condition of the property. Sometimes unethical buyers try to blow a small problem into a seeming larger one in order to get a lower selling price. Any emotion packed tactic / ploy usually doesn't work and only alienates the seller. Being manipulative only causes ill will.

Q. Who do you submit the report to? 

I report only to the buyer or (client).


Q. Why is knowing the condition of the home so important?

The condition of the home can have a huge financial impact on the home purchase decision.  Home prices have risen substantially over the years and so has the cost of home repairs.  Today's home buyer must consider not only the cost of buying the home, but also the cost of owning the home.  Nothing can be more devastating, both emotionally and financially, than to have a family move into their new home only to face thousands of dollars in unexpected repair costs. 


Have me call you.


Home Inspection Glossary

the InterNACHI Glossary