A home buyer should keep in mind that a perfect house does not exist. It’s easy to fall in love with a house that has new counter tops, paint, and flooring. But a home buyer should also consider the ages of the systems. Take into consideration the age of the roof, the Heating and Cooling systems, and the water heaters for example.
Do you recommend the home buyer be present for the home inspection?
I do. Most of the time we are working inside of an option period, the time when a homebuyer needs to use that time to do their due diligence and reach their comfort level about a very important purchase. I encourage my client’s to use the time it takes for me to perform an inspection to discover everything that they can about the house. If the buyer has specific concerns about the house then they should let the inspector know so that the items can be given some extra thought.
How can home buyers and first-time home buyers prepare in advance of their home inspection? Read a sample of the inspector’s inspection report so that when you get your report you’ll better understand it. Budget some time for your inspection if you can. Bring a note pad, your camera, and your questions. You might want to bring a flashlight and a tape measure. Bring something to drink and if you plan to stay for the entire inspection you might want to bring a snack, especially if your children are going to be present. If the house is vacant then you might want to bring a fold-up chair and some toilet paper.
Nice call on the TP Bud – hadn’t thought of that! What should buyers and agents be looking for when shopping for homes?
Know what type of property that you are suited for. Do you want to save some money and buy a fixer-upper to make your own? Or are you more of a turn-key type person? Then develop a critical eye. Think water, think foundation, roof, and walls. Get past the window dressing and check out the windows. Look at the mechanical equipment such as the electric service panel, the heating and cooling system, and the water heater. Just know that every house is a good house if: you can get it for the right price; if you can accept the condition that it’s in; and if you can sell it for a profit. A home inspector can help you better understand the condition that the house is in.
How has the home inspection industry changed since you began your career?
I started inspecting homes in 1996. We didn’t charge much but we didn’t do much either. Two hours on the job, three pages of check-boxes on NCR paper; the homebuyer got the top copy and then we raced off to the next house. When inspectors advertise that they’ve done thousands of inspections it’s because that’s the way we did it, do the math. About 35 years ago Texas became the first state to require licensing for home inspectors. Even twenty years ago, only a few people got a home inspection. But people were wanting their homes inspected and so the industry bloomed. Realtors and agents soon realized the value of having a house inspected, as real estate is a referral-based business. Today home inspectors spend four or more hours on a single house and deliver inspection reports as PDF files via the internet. Many of us use specialized equipment to help provide our clients with a more thorough inspection with more high-tech equipment such as infrared imaging equipment, laser thermometers, floor level measuring devices, digital cameras, electronic combustible gas and carbon monoxide detectors, and more. The building trades and technology are changing so fast that it drives the inspection profession forward. We don’t do as many inspections a year as we used to, and we charge more now, but you get a much better inspection and a lot more information than before.
When you’re not crawling under houses and tiptoeing in attics, what would we find you doing? I’m something of a homebody. I enjoy time with my wife and our pets (cats and koi). I collect eclectic music and art, and I fancy myself as a photographer. I’m the Vice President of the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors (Lone Star ASHI) so that takes up some time. I’m also the Head Judge for the Tolbert’s Texas Men’s State Open Chili Championship Cook-Off and the Tolbert’s International Championship Chili Cook-Off.
Thanks so much Bud – great info! What’s the best way Dallas area home buyers can reach you?
If you’re in your option period then I encourage you to call me @ 214-215-4961 because every single day counts and that’s the quickest way to schedule an appointment. And I also encourage you to visit my website @ www.goodhomeinpsection.com because it can answer many questions you may have about me or home inspection in general. And thank you for interviewing me Troy, I enjoyed it!