As published in the Conroe Courier, these articles written by Claudia Hohlt address various real estate topics in and around Montgomery County.
I heard a story about the wife of a junior high school principal who bought her husband a tie for Christmas. She selected one with a subdued pattern with colors that complemented his favorite suit. She didn’t notice until after she started wrapping it that the pattern consisted of numerous silhouettes of shapely women. Fortunately, it was noticed before the tie was worn to school, as I can just imagine all the young boys acting up in class hoping to get sent to the principal’s office!
I think most of us have purchased an item or two that turned out to be a little different than what we expected. And often it is because we missed an important detail. When it comes to real estate, there are so many details that it is next to impossible for the average homebuyer to examine and understand each and every one. That is why home inspections are so important. Missing an important detail on a home purchase can be a costly mistake.
Home inspectors are licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) and have completed education and training in home inspections. A typical home inspection covers a home’s structure, electrical system, heating and air conditioning system, plumbing system, appliances, as well as certain other improvements in place such as lawn irrigation. The minimum level inspection as defined by TREC is a “limited visual survey and basic operation of the systems and components of a building using normal controls and does not require the use of specialized tools or procedures”. TREC further states that “the purpose of the inspection is to provide the client with information regarding the general condition of the residence at the time of inspection”.
Of course, some inspections offer services above and beyond what is required by TREC. But that additional level of service might come with a higher service fee. Regardless, licensed inspectors methodically examine the exterior and interior of the home and almost always find some issues that the buyer should take into consideration. Sometimes a report might recommend hiring a specialist, such as a licensed HVAC technician, to do a more detailed analysis on an area of specific concern.
A Realtor should always recommend to their client that they purchase an option period for a specific time period to “kick the tires”. During the option period, a client can back out of the contract at any time for any reason. It is during the option period that the home inspection is done as well as other due diligence such as a termite inspection. Most times, the home inspection report does not reveal issues that cause a buyer to exercise their option to terminate. Typically there is one of three outcomes; the seller agrees to address all requested items on the inspection, the buyer agrees to accept the property as is, or most commonly, the seller agrees to make some, but not all, requested repairs.
When I purchased my first home several decades ago, the inspection report consisted of three items scribbled on a half sheet of notebook paper. Those days are long gone. Nowadays, inspectors are licensed and required to issue an inspection report that provides assurance to a buyer that a trained professional has inspected the home according to state mandated procedures. Of course there are no guarantees, but a home inspection is one of the most important tools to help prevent buyer’s remorse.
The junior high school principal’s wife had an easy solution to her problem. She just took the tie back and exchanged it. But overlooking an important detail in a home can have much more foreboding consequences. So be sure to always have an inspection done before purchasing a home.