So you have spent countless hours searching the internet, riding in a car with your Realtor, throughout Waco, Woodway, China Spring or what may feel like every neighborhood throughout McLennan county. You finally find a beautiful home that appears to be extremely well maintained, clean, neat and for all practical purposes, looks perfect. You and your Realtor negotiate a fantastic price and terms that you’re happy with, now what about the home inspection? Who do you call, how do you chose and what should you expect from not only the report but from the inspector?
You should ask your Realtor for a list with at least three or more names of licensed structural, pest and foundation inspectors. As the Buyer, you should be the one to call the inspector of choice so that you have the opportunity to ask them qualifying questions such as:
1) How many inspections do you complete on average a year?
2) How many years have you been working as a Full Time inspector?
3) Do you own or operate another company that may be seen as a conflict of interest? Electrician, Roofer, Plumber or HVAC?
4) Do you plan on simply providing an inspection report or do you use these inspections as an opportunity to offer a bid as a service provider?
5) Have you ever had a complaint filed against you?
6) If so, how was it handled?
Now that you have chosen your inspector, you should plan on attending the inspection during the last hour. This will give you the opportunity to learn directly from the inspector, what he has found and ask questions.
Please keep in mind, that inspectors licensed within the State of Texas are suppose to only give you factual information about what they see in or around the property. Some examples of what an inspector may inform a Buyer are: if something is not to current code, which is not always a bad thing, if a fire or safety hazard exists or if an item is not performing to current or manufacturer standards. What they are definitely NOT SUPPOSE to do is give their personal opinion. They are merely suppose to report what they see on the property and pass that information on to you, the Buyer, and let you determine whether or not you still believe the home is worth the sales price.
Please keep in mind, Inspectors have a little bit of GENERAL knowledge of a lot of different areas. If you have received a report that has issues of concern, don’t just rely on the inspector for information. Do what you can to extend the option period and call a licensed professional within THAT industry. Someone that has extensive training, knowledge and long term experience within that specific industry on a day to day basis.
I have had the opportunity to work with some wonderful inspectors from Waco to Austin that have provided quality reports, answered all of my clients questions in a fashion that resulted in my clients making informed decisions. I have also had the misfortune of working with some inspectors that, for who knows what reason, painted such a negative image of a pretty standard property ultimately, scaring the Buyers to the point of thinking that they had made a horrible mistake in not only choosing that particular home but considering making a purchase at all. Because if that beautiful home had so many things “wrong” with it, what will the inspector find on the next home and how much more money will they be out of pocket before finally closing on a property?
My advice? Keep things in perspective and remember that if you are considering a pre-existing home, it won’t be perfect, it will have issues. There will be areas that are not to current code. There may even be some safety issues but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be your dream home. It doesn’t mean those issues can not be addressed to your satisfaction Stay CALM and work in partnership with your Realtor to come to an informed decision. Sometimes that decision may actually be to terminate the contract, other times, that may mean re-negotiating terms of the contract. Either way, it needs to be YOUR decision, not an inspectors.