Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. Before signing on the dotted line, it’s crucial to have a professional home inspection performed to evaluate the condition of the property and uncover any potential issues. However, home inspections can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect.
The home inspection process in Houston can go smoothly if you understand the inspector’s role, prepare accordingly, and know what to look for during the inspection. This comprehensive guide provides expert tips to ensure your home inspection Houston Tx is a stress-free experience.
Research Home Inspectors Thoroughly
The first step is finding the right home inspector for the job. There are many inspectors to choose from, so take time to research potential candidates thoroughly.
Look for an inspector who:
- Holds certifications from reputable organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). This demonstrates proper training and adherence to industry standards.
- Has years of experience performing inspections specifically in the Houston area. Local market expertise is invaluable.
- Has overwhelmingly positive online reviews indicating professionalism and strong communication skills.
- Provides sample inspection reports on their website for transparency.
- Offers reasonable rates compared to the local market average. Avoid unbelievably cheap inspectors.
Thorough vetting gives you confidence in your inspector’s competency. They should inspect all areas of the home thoroughly and provide an objective, comprehensive report.
Don’t Make Repairs or Alter the Home Beforehand
It’s tempting to touch up the property prior to a home inspection, but resist the urge. Inspectors need to see the home’s current, unaltered condition to do their job properly.
Making repairs like patching holes or painting over water stains can conceal underlying defects. And alterations like removing shelving or furniture can obstruct access to certain areas.
Leave the home as is so the inspection is as transparent and thorough as possible. Cosmetic fixes can come after closing.
Have the Utilities Turned On
Inspectors need access to power, lighting, and running water to thoroughly evaluate the home’s systems and appliances. Confirm all utilities are on for at least 24 hours prior to the inspection.
If it’s winter, make sure the heat is turned on so the inspector can check the furnace and HVAC system. The same goes for air conditioning in summer.
Also disable any home security system so the inspector can freely access all areas without triggering alarms.
Taking these steps allows the most complete inspection possible.
Leave All Doors Unlocked and Clear Access
On inspection day, ensure all doors leading into attics, basements, crawl spaces, and garages are unlocked. Remove keys from any locked doors. This allows the inspector full access.
Also clear any storage or clutter from basements, garages, and crawl spaces. Overcrowding obstructs the inspector’s line of sight and makes it difficult to maneuver.
If there’s a pull-down ladder accessing an attic, have it lowered in advance. Providing full access saves time and avoids missed areas.
Keep Pets Out of the Way
Pets understandably get nervous with a stranger examining their home. Avoid having animals underfoot while the inspector works.
Keep pets outdoors, crated, or in another room. This prevents pets from hiding in places the inspector needs to access. It also eliminates tripping hazards and lets inspectors work freely without distractions.
Informing the inspector about pets on the property ahead of time allows them to take any precautions to inspect safely and minimize stress for pets.
Ask Questions But Don’t Interfere
Home inspections allow buyers to gain objective insights into a property’s condition from an expert. While inspectors need space and focus to work, don’t be shy asking questions respectfully.
If you don’t understand their process or want clarification on an area of concern, speak up. But avoid leaning over the inspector’s shoulder or offering your own commentary. Allow them to work independently and finish the inspection at their own pace.
Interfering can break an inspector’s concentration as they evaluate complex structural and systemic issues. Save questions and concerns for the end when you can have an open discussion.
Attend the Inspection Yourself
The buyer definitely should attend the home inspection in Houston Tx to get a first-hand account of the home’s condition. Alert the sellers too so they can rectify any urgent issues immediately.
Being present allows you to point out areas of concern and get real-time explanations from the inspector. If you can’t attend, ask a trusted representative who can relate details back to you.
Some key areas to observe closely:
Roof: Look for sagging, worn or missing shingles, granule loss, leaks, or water stains in the attic below. Inspectors will further scrutinize the roof via binoculars.
Foundation: Look for large cracks, shifting, or bowing which indicates structural issues. Check for cracks or gaps where siding meets the foundation.
Drainage: Make sure downspouts direct water away from the home’s foundation. Standing puddles near the foundation hint at drainage problems.
Electrical: Look for fraying, exposed wires, outdated components, or scorch marks indicating overheating. Verify ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) function properly.
Plumbing: Check for low water pressure, leaks, stains, or corrosion under sinks and around water heaters and pipes. Flush toilets to test function and flow.
Appliances: Turn on all appliances. Open and close the stove, oven, fridge, dishwasher, and washer/dryer doors to check alignment and function.
HVAC: Look for rust, leaks, or holes in ductwork. Make sure vents blow steady airflow.
Interior: Watch for uneven floors, cracks in walls or ceilings, water stains, peeling paint or wallpaper. Test windows and doors for smooth operation.
Your observations help forecast future repairs and guide negotiation if issues arise.
Review the Full Inspection Report Carefully
The inspector will provide a full written report summarizing their findings. Expect to receive the report within 24-48 hours. Set aside adequate time to review this pivotal document carefully.
The report indicates components functioning properly and highlights any deficiencies. It will categorize issues based on urgency:
- Safety hazards: Risk immediate injury or property damage if not addressed quickly. Examples include exposed electrical, missing handrails, or major plumbing leaks.
- Major defects: Require repair or replacement soon. Examples include roof leaks, foundation cracks, dysfunctional HVAC, or drainage issues.
- Minor flaws: Don’t urgently require repair but still should be addressed over time. Examples include worn roof shingles, minor plumbing leaks, or cracked windows.
- Maintenance notes: Ongoing maintenance needed to maximize longevity. Examples include cleaning gutters, servicing the HVAC, or re-caulking windows.
Any safety hazards or major defects could impact negotiations or termination of the purchase agreement. Review the full report with your real estate agent to determine next steps.
While alarming at first, home inspections protect buyers from inheriting expensive hidden issues. With the inspector’s unbiased perspective and expert tips, you can move forward confidently towards closing.