The Scope and Importance of a Home Inspection

A home inspection is a professional consulting service that determines the present condition of the home’s major systems, based on a visual inspection of accessible features. It focuses on the performance of the home, rather than cosmetic, code or design issues. Inspections are often performed during a real estate transaction, but may be done anytime.

A home inspector is sometimes confused with a real estate appraiser. A home inspector determines the condition of a structure, whereas an appraiser determines the value of a property.

A good analogy that many people can understand is a home inspector is similar to a general medical practitioner. Example would be when inspecting a home if the inspector see’s questionable faults in the electrical distribution box (breaker box) the inspector would “recommend further evaluation by a licensed electrician”. As would a MD recommend you go see a heart specialist if you’re Doctor sees something potentially irregular with your heart. You wouldn’t ask your MD to do open heart surgery nor is he licensed to do so.

Note: (e) (6) An inspector shall not accept employment to repair, replace, maintain or upgrade systems or components of property covered by the Standards of Practice under this sub chapter on which the inspector has performed an inspection under a real estate contract, lease, or exchange of real property within 12 months of the date of the inspection.                                          http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=22&pt=23&ch=535&rl=220

Home Inspection is:

• An in-field evaluation and professional opinion of the performance of the readily accessible installed systems in a home at one point in time
• Primarily a visual examination
• Intended to identify components that are significantly deficient, unsafe or near the end of their useful life
• Documented with a written report

Home Inspection is not:

• An insurance policy, guarantee or warranty on the home
• An invasive or destructive exercise
• Intended to identify concealed defects
• A code or design review
• Intended to predict future performance or life expectancy
• An environmental review or energy audit

Components Included:

• Roof
• Structure
• Exterior
• Electrical system
• Heating and Air Conditioning system
• Plumbing system
• Insulation and Vapor Barriers
• Interior
• Mechanical and Natural Ventilation systems

What’s Excluded:

• Cosmetics
• Outbuildings
• Swimming pools and spas
• Specialty systems including telephone, cable TV, alarm systems, lawn sprinklers

Why Home Inspections are Important:

You’ve seen the shiny buffed floors and sparkling granite countertops, and maybe you’ve even flushed all the toilets, but before you put down a deposit and agree to take on a huge mortgage, you need to make sure that everything you don’t see is in good working order. You’ll want to make sure the heating or A/C unit isn’t about to die, the foundation isn’t secretly cracking, and the roof isn’t about to spring a huge leak. If you arrange for a home inspection by a professional before the sale goes through, the problem is still the seller’s. If you choose not to have a home inspection done, the problem, unfortunately, becomes yours.
The number of home inspections performed increases each year and according to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), over 90% of home sales involving a home inspection. While this number doesn’t differentiate between a seller-based inspection and buyer-based inspection, it certainly indicates the significance of home inspections in the buying process.
According to home inspectors, homes are sometimes not particularly well cared for by homeowners, who are slow to fix leaky faucets, replace heating or A/C filters, or clunky furnaces. If homes with homeowners living in the property can be uncared for, imagine what conditions a foreclosed home can hide. Mold can grow if the water hasn’t been turned off and the environment becomes moist. If the home is boarded up and there is no ventilation for weeks or months, black mold can grow fairly quickly.
Because of the importance of a proper home inspection, you should make the purchase of the home contingent on your approval of a home inspector’s report. When making a written offer for the home, simply make the home inspection a condition of the purchase. If your home inspection comes back clean, you can proceed with the sale with confidence. And if the report is negative, you can reduce your offer, make the seller pay for any repairs, or even back out of the contract altogether.