Reading and Understanding your Home Inspection Report
Reading and understanding a home inspection report can often be a daunting and sometimes scary thing. One of the best things you can do to help yourself to understand the inspection report is to have attended the home inspection – or at least to show up near the end of the inspection to talk to the inspector and get the inspector’s overall opinion of the home, and of his/her main concerns about the home. Here are some things that you can do to get the most out of your home inspection report.
When you receive and read over your report, you may see many items that are marked as “deficiencies.” This does not mean that the home is falling apart, because most homes (even “good” homes) have multiple deficiencies. If my own home were inspected, several deficiencies would be found because I know that my home is not perfect, and I'm okay with that. I take care of the important stuff and don't worry about the small stuff. Don’t let the number of deficiencies on your home inspection report scare you. There may indeed be one or two items that are very serious and that need to be addressed or, in the worst cases, may even cause you to change your mind about purchasing the home, but this is not the case with most homes. On most inspections that I do, there are a few things that I would recommend to the prospective purchaser to ask to have repaired. The remainder of the items can be dealt with after the home is purchased. There may even be a few items that aren't really worth worrying about at all.
Some things to keep in mind when reading over your home inspection report:
- Home inspectors in Texas are licensed and regulated by the TREC, and because of this, they are required to write up certain items and deficiencies in the homes that they inspect.
- Almost every home has some deficiencies, and often, the majority of these deficiencies are minor or related to newer building standards that may not have been in place when the home was built.
- It is not uncommon to have ten or more items marked as deficient on a home inspection report – even when the home is in good condition.
- Home inspectors do not have x-ray vision, and they cannot predict the future. There are many parts of a home such as under carpet, inside walls, and behind furnishings that cannot be seen or inspected. Although its rare, an item that is functioning today could stop working tomorrow, and your home inspector often has no way of knowing that something is about to stop working.
If you have any questions after reading the report, your home inspector should be willing to answer or explain anything on the report that you still have questions about. Your real estate agent is also an excellent resource as he or she has likely read through many reports and knows what to look for.
Two types of homes:
- A home that is not brand new - Keep in mind that the home is not new. You cannot expect the home to be perfect, and you cannot expect the current owner to make the home perfect for you.
- A home that is brand new – It is normally reasonable to expect a brand-new home to be deficiency free.
What a home inspection report is and what you should do with it:
- It is an overview of the home’s condition based on a two or three-hour long inspection.
- Read over it a couple of times and decide which items are your main concerns.
- Along with your realtor, decide which items you will ask the seller to address, and which you will take care of once you purchase the home.
What a home inspection report is NOT:
- It should not be looked at as a to-do list of everything that needs to be repaired.
- It is not a checklist of items to ask the seller to correct. In most cases, it is not reasonable to expect the seller to repair every item on an inspection report.
It typically does not include cosmetic defects, and likely does not include every problem/issue with the home since inspectors cannot see into walls and ceilings, behind furniture, under attic insulation and floor coverings, etc.
One more thing to keep in mind. A home inspection is not a pass or fail inspection, so there is nothing that causes a home inspection to fail. A home inspection and the subsequent home inspection report simply will show what the current condition of the home is and will allow the prospective buyer to decide if he/she wants to move forward with the purchase or not.
If you have any questions about your home inspection, please feel free to contact us at 325-998-HOME. Morgan Inspection Services has been performing home inspections and septic inspections in Abilene Texas, Brownwood Texas, and San Angelo Texas since 2002.