Purchasing a home is an exciting and terrifying adventure. On the one hand, you are investing in a property that your children and grandchildren may associate with many joyful memories. On the other hand, you are taking on a large, expensive burden that could be the source of many frustrations.
One way to minimize the potential for unpleasant surprises in your new home is to hire an inspector to carefully examine the house before you sign any closing documents. A home inspection is not a requirement for purchasing a home in Texas, and many homebuyers think they will save some money by waiving their right to an inspection. However, the benefits of obtaining a home inspection may be worth the cost.
What can you learn from an inspection?
If you have found a home you want to buy and decide to have it inspected, you will not want just anyone looking over the house. For your protection, it is better to find an inspector who has the required and valid certifications from the state authorities. Hiring a local inspector will offer the advantage of a professional who is familiar with issues that are commonly present in homes in the area.
Every inspector should have a basic checklist to follow, and the person you hire should tell you up front what items he or she does not include in the inspection. For example, most inspectors will not include pests, radon or asbestos in their basic packages. You have a right to be there during the inspection and to ask questions along the way. The final report after an inspection should include explanations of the following repairs the house needs:
- Cosmetic: These do not affect your safety or the way the home functions but are easily remedied with a coat of paint or other superficial fix.
- Minor: You may be able to make these repairs yourself.
- Major: These defects include systems that you or the seller will need to fix or replace.
- Material: Anything on this list compromises your safety or may affect the value of the home.
If your home inspection report has any major or material defects, or if there are a significant number of minor repairs needed, you have decisions to make. Your sales contract should include a contingency allowing you to back out if the home inspection is not acceptable. You may also be able to negotiate a lower price in light of the inspection or request that the seller make the repairs.
The home inspection may be optional, but not many consumer advisors recommend skipping it. Additionally, with an experienced attorney guiding you through the homebuying process, you will have an ally to review your sales contract for appropriate contingencies and protect your rights throughout the closing process.