Home Inspection Corner
As a service to our valued clients, the Home Inspector’s Corner has been added and will feature various Austin area home inspectors and topics of interest to those preparing to buy or sell a home. We have worked with all these inspectors and feel that they provide great service, but we recommend that you choose an inspector that you are comfortable with.
You MUST Obtain A Home Inspection (If You Wish to Work With Us)
Home inspections are recommended for ALL home purchases, new or resale. A home is a set of complicated systems in various states along the wear life-cycle. Technology and safety standards are constantly changing. Installation methods are not always followed correctly and the methods vary by product type and manufacturer. Also, construction superintendents’ skills and experience vary as does the amount of time they spend overseeing the building of your home. Protect your interests and get every home that you consider purchasing inspected by a licensed inspector.
As noted by the Texas Real Estate Commission home inspection form, home inspections are generally visual only. A representative sample of building components are viewed in areas that are accessible at the time of the inspection. No destructive testing or dismantling of building components is typically performed. It is the goal of the inspection to put a home buyer in a better position to make a buying decision. Not all improvements will be identified during the inspection. Unexpected repairs should still be anticipated. The inspection should not be considered a guarantee or warranty of any kind.
Wood Destroying Insect Inspections
In Texas, it is safe to say that it’s a matter of when you will have a problem with wood destroying insects as opposed to if you have a problem with wood destroying insects. WDI (wood destroying insect) inspections a good idea for all resale purchases. The WDI report will show areas of previous infestations, areas of conducive conditions to infestations, and areas with active infestations. Any issues should be addressed prior to closing so that the scope and treatment required are known before the closing.
Texas is full of wood destorying insects. From termites to carpenter ants to more exotic wasps, something wants to eat the wood in your home. The WDI (wood destroying insect) inspections are typically from $50-$80 and include visual inspections of the foundation and interior of the home. The inspector will also look for previous treatments and active infestations. Many homes in the central Texas area have had or will have some form of infestation during their useful lives. Most damage is minor and shouldn’t dissuade a buyer from purchasing the home.
Inspectors are typically generalists. They perform testing by running systems and looking at the results. If something seems out of line to them they may know the cause, but will often recommend the client call in a specialist to investigate the issue further. Obtaining a specialists opinion is a good idea for many items like HVAC, roofing, electrical, and plumbing systems that can be very expensive to fix, cause extensive damage to your home, or in the worst case harm you or your family if the system should malfunction.
Radon is a harmful gas often found in some parts of the US. We are lucky in Austin because we have a pretty solid layer of bedrock under us that prevents the gas from permeating to the surface. In places like Connecticut, where I used to live, radon and radon testing are a fact of life. If you wish you may still have the home tested for radon, but you may get some funny looks. As always, you should investigate the home you intend to buy to your satisfaction. Mold testing is another test that is seldom performed, but can be at your request.
Whether you are buying a home or selling one, a home inspection is an essential part of the process. It may identify the need for major repairs or uncover builder oversights, as well as highlight the importance of maintenance to keep the home in good shape. The inspection typically will take place after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Before you sign, be sure there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent on the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms and conditions to which the buyer and seller are obligated.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (www.ashi.org) publishes a Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that outlines what you should expect to be included in your home inspection report. Generally, it will cover the conditions of the following:
• heating system
• central air conditioning system (temperature permitting)
• interior plumbing and electrical systems
• roof, attic and visible insulation
• walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors
• foundation, basement and structural components
Home Inspection Fees
Fees for a home inspection vary geographically and depend on factors such as the size of the house, its age and optional services such as septic, pool, hot tub, sprinkler, well, mold or radon testing. For most houses you can expect the fee to range from$250-$500.
Finding an Austin Inspector
To find a qualified home inspector, ask Joe as well as friends or business acquaintances for recommendations. You can find a few inspectors on our site at the who we like page. Remember, as a buyer it is your responsibility to evaluate and feel comfortable with the inspector that evaluates your prospective new home.
If you have any inspection questions that you would like answered please send an email and we’ll get them answered by one of our inspectors.
If you would like more information about how to select a home inspector you can get it at the National Association of Home Inspectors. Licensing information is available at the Texas Real Estate Commission.