Home Inspections & Warranties – Q & A

Are you buying a new home in Texas? Then it’s important to understand the basics of home inspections and warranties. The following Q & A will help you navigate this important step in the home-buying process.

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of the house, from the roof to the foundation. This inspection also includes assessing any potential safety issues or system deficiencies. The purpose of a home inspection is to provide buyers with important information about the home’s condition before they make a purchase.

What should I expect during a home inspection?

During a home inspection, the inspector will examine major structural components such as walls, ceilings, windows, doors, and floors. They will also inspect the electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling systems, appliances, and HVAC equipment. The inspector may also look for pests such as termites or carpenter ants. After the inspection, you will receive a detailed report about the property’s condition and its systems.

Do sellers have to get a home inspection?

In most states, sellers are not required to get a home inspection before listing the property. However, many sellers opt to get one anyway to avoid any potential liability if problems arise later. Buyers should always get their own independent home inspection before purchasing a property.

Are warranties available for Texas homes?

Yes, there are warranties available for purchase that cover a variety of items in a home. These warranties can protect homeowners against major and minor repairs and replacements for heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical systems, roofs, and more. Read all documents carefully to know what is covered under the warranty.

What Is Included in a Home Inspection?

A standard home inspection typically covers the roof, attic, vents, walls, ceilings, windows, doors, floors, foundation, basement, and crawlspace. Additionally, they will look for signs of pests and mold, check the ventilation systems, and take note of any other potential hazards.

What Does a Home Warranty Cover?

A home warranty differs from a home inspection in that it covers certain house components should they fail within the coverage period. Most warranties cover major systems such as heating, plumbing, and electrical, as well as major appliances such as refrigerators and stoves. It also provides coverage should a system or appliance break down due to normal wear and tear.

How Long Does a Home Warranty Last?

Most home warranties last for one year and can be renewed annually. Some warranties offer lifetime coverage if the policyholder pays the required yearly fees.

What Are the Benefits of a Home Warranty?

A home warranty can provide peace of mind knowing that you are covered if something goes wrong with your major systems or appliances. This type of coverage often allows for fast repairs at minimal cost and even includes emergency services should an issue arise outside of normal business hours.

How do I find a home inspector?

To find a home inspector, Dian Hymer, author of “Buying and Selling a Home A Complete Guide,”, advises looking for someone with demonstrable qualifications. “Ideally, the general inspector you select should be an engineer, an architect, or a contractor. When possible, hire an inspector from one of the home inspection trade organizations.”

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Membership to ASHI is not automatic; proven field experience and technical knowledge of structures and their various systems and appliances are prerequisites.

One can usually find an inspector by looking in the phone book or by inquiring at a real estate office or sometimes at an area Realtor association.

Rates for the service vary greatly. Many inspectors charge about $400 but costs increase with the inspection scope.

What’s a home inspection?

A home inspection is when a paid professional inspector — often a contractor or an engineer — inspects the home, searching for defects or other problems that might plague the owner later on. They usually represent the buyer and or are paid by the buyer. The inspection usually takes place after a purchase contract between the buyer and seller has been signed.

Do I need a home inspection?

Yes. Buying a home “as is” is a risky proposition. Major repairs on homes can amount to thousands of dollars. Plumbing, electrical, and roof problems represent significant and complex systems that are expensive to fix. It’s better to know ahead of time if there are any hidden problems rather than being surprised after the sale has been finalized. Plus, some lenders may require a home inspection to ensure that the property meets their standards.

How do I find a home inspector?

Your realty agent is one source. Inspectors are listed in the yellow pages. You can ask for referrals from friends. Ask for their credentials, such as a contractor’s license or engineering certificate. Also, check out their references.