Home Inspection Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to a few of the most common questions we are asked about the home inspection process.
What is an inspection?
A professional property inspection is an impartial, third-party, visual evaluation of the physical structure and systems of a building. Understanding the condition of the systems and components of a house, townhome, condominium, etc. is critical when it comes to purchase, repair, or maintenance decisions.
Upon completion, you will receive a State of Texas-mandated formal report detailing the conditions of each element inspected.
What does an inspection cover?
An inspection includes a visual examination of the building. During a standard inspection, the inspector evaluates and reports the condition of the foundation, grading, roof, roof structure, interior/exterior walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, fireplace/chimney, electrical systems, heating equipment, cooling equipment (temperature permitting), plumbing system, water heating equipment and built-in kitchen appliances. Only those items that are visible and accessible by normal means are included in the report.
Inspectors licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) are required to comply with the TREC Standards of Practice when inspections are performed for a prospective buyer or prospective seller of one-to-four family residential property. The Standards of Practice are the minimum levels of inspection practice required of inspectors for the accessible parts, components, and systems typically found in improvements to real property, excluding detached structures, decks, docks and fences. The inspector may provide a higher level of inspection performance than required by the standards of practice and may inspect parts, components, and systems in addition to those described by the standards of practice.
Are codes part of the inspection?
The definition of codes is the minimum building practices allowed to make a structure safe, sound, and sanitary. To the extent that is allowed, obviously our standards and inspections are based on accepted practices. But a home inspection covering complete adherence to code is not possible due to the nature of the constraints of this inspection. Much of the structure is covered disallowing visual inspection. The inspection is non-invasive because the property may not be owned by the inspector nor by the client.
A true code inspection would encompass greater invasive procedures and would cost many times more than this inspection.
This inspection is termed a visual performance inspection and will only tell you what the inspector can see, touch, or test.
Why do I need an inspection?
Your home purchase could be the largest single investments you will ever make. To minimize your risk, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the newly constructed or existing house before you buy it. An inspection may identify the need for immediate repairs or builder errors, as well the need for maintenance to better protect your home. After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make an informed decision.
As the seller of a home, an inspection can give you the opportunity to complete needed repairs that could possibly make your home more appealing to a potential buyer.
If you already own a home, an inspection may identify problem areas enabling you to address them and possibly avoid future expensive repairs.
If you purchased a new home, having an inspection performed before the one-year warranty has expired, gives you leverage when your builder conducts the one-year “walk-through.” The builder can then repair, under warranty, any defects discovered by the inspection.
Can I do the inspection myself?
Although you may be very handy, most home buyers and home owners lack the knowledge and expertise of a professional inspector. Professional inspectors have extensive training and have inspected hundreds, or even thousands of homes in their career. A professional inspector is familiar with the critical elements of construction and with the proper installation, maintenance and inter-relations of these elements. Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective about the home they are considering, and this may lead to a poor assessment.
What will an inspection cost?
The inspection fee for a typical single-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Likewise, within a geographic area, the inspection fees charged may vary depending upon a number of factors such as size of the house, its age, particular features of the house (slab foundation, crawl space foundation, etc.) and possible optional systems inspected (pool, lawn sprinkler systems, water wells, septic systems, etc.)
Home Advisor reports that the national average for a standard home inspection in 2018 is $324, with the typical range falling between $277-$388. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development places the average between $300-$500. Fixr reports the average cost to range from $500-$700, and the average cost on Angie’s List for a home inspection is $473.
For the Houston area, ProMatcher spots the average home inspection cost for a 2,000 square foot home (most typical) at $321 with the range between $289-$352. Inspections on homes between 2,000-4,000 square feet would cost an average of $471 and for homes over 4,000 square feet, $540 and up.
CostOwl.com factors the national average cost range for a home inspection somewhere between $300 and $600.
Contact SafeShield Inspections for a FREE, custom quote.
Cost should not be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection or in the selection of your home inspector. Although the fee paid for an inspection is a consideration, other comparisons must be made to ensure you are obtaining the most comprehensive inspection for your dollar. You might save many times the cost of the inspection if you are able to have the seller perform repairs based on significant problems revealed by the inspector. Use the inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training, and professional affiliations as a guide.
Can a house fail an inspection?
No. A professional inspection is simply an examination of the current condition of your house. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal code inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A professional inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but will describe its current condition and report those items that are deficient.
What are the general licensing and requirements for home inspectors in Texas?
The Texas licensing entity for inspectors, real estate agents, and warranty companies is the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC): http://www.trec.state.tx.us/
Inspectors are required to perform inspections on certain components (as a minimum). This is known as the Standards of Practice and can be found at: http://www.trec.state.tx.us/pdf/rules/trecrules.pdf (starts on page 75 under section §535.227)
Inspectors are required to use a certain report format to convey this information to the client: http://www.trec.state.tx.us/pdf/forms/insp/REI-7A-0-PropertyInspectonReport.PDF
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