Home inspections: Frequently asked questions

Whether you’re in the process of buying or selling a home, the idea of getting a home inspection will likely come up. A home inspection involves an expert examining the condition of a house, checking for flaws in both the structure and the built-in systems. But are these inspections necessary? And what happens if a problem is found? We answer these questions and more below.

What does the home inspection cover?
A home inspection will examine the condition of items including the air conditioning and heating system, roof, foundation, ceilings, floors, walls, attic, basement, doors, windows and visible structure. Depending on the inspector, additional systems and features, such as swimming pools, will also be inspected.

Can I perform a home inspection myself?
Only a professional home inspector can perform an official examination. Although you may be well versed in home building and know key items to look for, a licensed inspector will have far more experience with the process, present an unbiased opinion and may identify issues you might not have considered.

Why should a home inspection be performed?
A home inspection will shed light on the current condition of a property, exposing any issues that may require routine maintenance or additional expense to resolve. Understanding the true state of a property is helpful for both the current homeowner, as well as those interested in buying the property.

Is a home inspection useful in the home buying/selling process?
Absolutely! A home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying and selling process. In most real estate transactions, the home buyer pays for the house to be inspected within a few days of signing a purchase agreement. However, as a seller, it’s not a bad idea to have an inspection performed before putting your home on the market, as the report could identify problems you need to disclose or repairs that could be made before your home is put up for sale. In addition, understanding the true condition of your home will help you and your REALTOR® determine a fair listing price.

Note: In accordance with Austin’s ECAD Ordinance, some Austin home sellers are required to have an energy audit performed on their home before selling their property. This process is separate from the home inspection.

What if the inspection reveals problems? 
It’s common for home inspections to reveal minor issues in most properties—these are generally no cause for concern and can be easily resolved. However, if major problems are found, the buyer and seller will likely need to negotiate whether and when these problems will be fixed and who will pay for them. The seller may need to adjust the purchase price or contract conditions in the event that this occurs.

For more information about inspections and how they may affect your home buying or selling process, contact your Central Texas REALTOR®.

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