At this point, I've inspected over 2,000 homes in West Texas. Huge homes, tiny homes, old homes, and brand new construction homes. The one thing each and every one of these properties had in common were that each one had defects. I have yet to see a perfect home.
One thing that won't show up on a home inspection report are cosmetic defects. The reason cosmetic defects don't appear on most conscientious home inspectors inspection reports is because cosmetic problems are generally in the eye of the beholder.
However, as a home buyer, you should be in tune with whether or not your prospective home has cosmetic effects or not. The reason it should matter to you is simply due to the law of averages. If the person installing the baseboards installed them wrong, they also did other work in the home, & you can bet they did that wrong too. What about the areas you can't see? What about the areas you can see and don't know if it's right or wrong?
The moral of the story is this, when looking at a home, don't think about where your couch will go, or how your kids room will be set up as much as you think about whether this home will be safe, quality built, and stand the test of time. I know that's not easy! But its necessary.
One of the best decisions you can make to protect yourself, your family, and your home is to make sure you have functioning smoke alarms in the correct locations of your home. Per the National Fire Protection Association, these guidelines are below:
Installing your smoke alarms correctly - and making sure they are in working order - is an important step to making your home and family safer from fire.It’s important to have enough smoke alarms in your home. Fire research has demonstrated that with today’s modern furnishings, fires can spread much more rapidly than in the past when more natural materials were used. Because of this, having a sufficient number of properly located smoke alarms is essential to maximize the amount of available escape time. For many years NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, has required as a minimum that smoke alarms be installed inside every sleep room (even for existing homes) in addition to requiring them outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. (Additional smoke alarms are required for larger homes.) Homes built to earlier standards often don’t meet these minimum requirements.
Check today! Make it happen! Protect those you care about, and your property!
As you are home shopping in preparation to purchase your next property, I can help you with what you should be looking for when it comes to a "solid" home.
By solid, I mean a home that may have fewer problems than other homes.
First, a defect free home doesn't exist. Or at least I haven't inspected it!
Second, always look past the "lipstick". The nice paint, tile, lovely counter top, etc are not relevant to the structure of the home.
Third, the neighborhood can be a good indicator of what the home you're looking at might have looked like prior to going up for sale. If the neighbors homes are rough, chances are this one was too prior to you seeing it. Maybe not, but probably.
Fourth, hire me after you've found it. Be ready to walk away from the home if needed. I know it's easy to get attached to a home prior to purchase, but try not to be. You'll be in a better position for negotiation if you're not.
Call me if you have other questions regarding where to go from here. I can help!
So you're looking for a home, and find one. Now, you need to get a pro to inspect it for you.
Who do you hire? There are a wealth of choices in West Texas right now since, like most real estate markets nationwide, our market is hot.
A few things I've learned having been a licensed pro for several years, and having performed thousands of inspections for real! clients to this point:
If the inspector is the cheapest one, it's either because that inspector is new, is doing anything they can to get even one inspection, or does not provide a thorough inspection.
If the inspector is trying to book the inspection on a weekend, they are either part-time (read highly inexperienced), desperate to get even one inspection, or are from out of the area and service West Texas part time. Believe it or not, there are several inspectors that have swooped into our area from San Antonio and Fort Worth. Ask yourself, realistically, how would an inspector from Central or North Texas know anything about the homes in our area? Our neighborhoods? Local home builders?
If the inspector has a great reputation from REAL clients online (not made up or fake reviews from people that don't exist) then your next step is giving them a call, text, email or booking an inspection with them online. Pick their brain. Share your concerns. Don't just hire the first one to answer, or the cheapest inspector from out of the area.
You will likely be disappointed if you don't do your homework!
BEWARE of the part time home inspectors!
Despite the fact that West Texas does not receive much rain, this does not mean that moisture intrusion into a home is not possible. I inspect roughly 400 homes annually, and I can tell you that the opportunities for moisture intrusion are taken for granted by roofing contractors, builders, handymen, and homeowners daily. Sometimes it's the little things on a structure that can make a big difference, and other times, it's obvious problems that are allowing your home to be damaged by moisture intrusion, and associated defects.
Let's look at a West Texas home with a potentially major moisture intrusion problem:
Here we have a closet with an obvious moisture intrusion problem. It may be easy to assume that the water made it's way into the home from the wall, but in my experience, this may not be true. Water has a way of traveling in unusual ways. Could the water have made it's way into the home from the roof above, and traveled down the wall into the home?
This home had a flat roof, meaning virtually no slope to the roof. Though many areas of the country might not consider designing this type of roof for a home due to being in regions of the country with more precipitation, it is not rare for our area. The roof covering at this home had been poorly installed, and the roof layer was not adhering to the structure below, in addition to many other areas of defects on the roof. This is why the water in the closet could be the result of roof leaks.
The rear wall of the home could be the source of the leak. This home had a masonry exterior cladding, and the cladding was in contact with the soil at many locations on the exterior. Why does this matter? Because the opportunity for moisture intrusion, termites, and other possible problems rapidly increases when there is no gap between the exterior cladding (brick, masonry, siding, etc.) and the grade on the outside of the home. How can you check to see if there is a crack in the cladding below the soil level? How can the termite inspector check for termite activity?
So, this area could also be the source of the moisture intrusion.
The point is, the only way to identify the cause of the leak may be to force water into every possible access point and see what happens. No other way can prove where the problem has started. And many times, this way can require some demolition. So many unknowns. And so many unanswered questions.
This is one more reason to hire a licensed, experienced home inspector.
Can An Inspector Perform A Sewer Line Inspection?NO, unless the inspector is also a licensed plumber. TREC’s Standards of Practice (§535.231) require an inspector to operate plumbing fixtures, test for drain performance, and to report deficiencies in water supply pipes and waste pipes. An inspector can inspect the condition of an accessible pipe by visually inspecting the exterior of the pipe, by feeling the exterior with his or her hand, or by using a mirror or a camera that does not enter the sewer pipe. A TREC inspector is specifically exempt from inspecting for defects or deficiencies that are otherwise buried, hidden, latent, or concealed and should not inspect the interior of pipes using specialized invasive techniques or equipment such as a sewer scope. According to the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, a sewer scope inspection must be performed by a licensed plumber, and an inspector who performs a sewer scope inspection could be subject to disciplinary action by TREC or the Board of Plumbing Examiners.
This information is available on the TREC website under the FAQ section.
Small but Positive Increase in Sales and Prices, Continued Increase in Active Listings
June 16, 2018 – Lubbock area home sales increased 4.3% in May 2018 with 463 closed sales, according to our May 2018 Lubbock Area Housing Report. The median home price increased almost 5% compared to May 2017, with the median price for Lubbock area homes closing at $162,500.
The number of active listings on the market posted another substantial increase - almost 27% - with 1,050 active residential homes on the market in May 2018. Despite another increase, our market is still a strong seller's market in the predominent price range. Lubbock's monthly housing inventory was just 3.1 months in May 2018, up slightly from 2.6 months in May 2017. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University states that 6.5 months represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.*
Homes spent a total of 73 days from when a listing goes on the market to when it closes. This is one day less than May 2017.
May 2018 Statistics At-A-Glance
One of the more common questions I get when inspecting a home from buyers, and from their agents, is "how is the roof"?
This is an important question, as a roof can be one of or even the most expensive repair or replacement item on a home. If your neighborhood has ever experienced a West Texas hail storm, you know how the roofing companies come out of the woodwork (some like vultures). Roofers that have no ties to West Texas, or that yesterday were not roofers, may not be your best bet when hiring a pro. But, that's a topic for another day.....
As I mentioned, I get asked about the roof and it's condition a lot on the homes I inspect. What I generally tell people is this; if the roof may be in questionable condition, contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to get an idea of whether or not they will insure your roof.
I've seen some pretty weird stuff: Some roofs that I believed the insurance company would not insure, they had no problem insuring. Other roofs that appeared to me to have very few problems, the buyer's insurance company would not agree to insure.
That's why it's crucial you contact your insurance company to find out where they stand. The sooner, the better.
If your insurer agrees to insure your roof, you should be able to trust their opinion. They are putting their money and reputation on the line, and you should be able to hold them accountable for that.
If they won't agree to insure your roof, it's very likely that the next prospective home buyer of the home will not be able to get insurance for the roof either. Look at it like it's kind of a win-win situation for you if you're buying a home.
Also, many insurance companies will want to send out their own inspector to take a look at the roof, so it's in your best interest to be as proactive as possible. In fact, before you even contact a home inspector to inspect your home, you should already have an idea who your insurance company will be, what's the rates will be for you and this home, and what type of service you can expect.
Just some more friendly advice from a highly experienced West Texas home inspector!
Hear me out:
One possible approach that you might consider when buying a home is this; When looking at homes that you may be interested in, whether on your own or with your realtor, look at the home as if you are purchasing the home as is.
Purchasing a home as is means you're purchasing all of the flaws as they are, and you are willing to accept the responsibility of repairing what needs to be repaired for yourself, whether that means hiring a professional or doing it on your own.
The reason I believe looking at homes, planning to purchase them as is would be helpful. This is because so many times as a home inspector, I see people looking at a home and thinking of what it could potentially be, not for what it is. It is natural and encouraged that you dream of what redecorating or remodeling could mean for your potential home. That's not what I'm referring to. What I'm referring to has more to do with buying a home you are not happy with, or are settling for, in the hopes that this will change prior to you buying and moving in. I believe this can sometimes be a disservice you're doing yourself, and can potentially hurt you long term.
If you're thinking that this home should be better than it is before you buy it, why are you looking at it?
If the home is more than you can afford, why are you looking at it?
If before you hire me to inspect your home, you're already aware there are some major deficiencies, and you're not okay with that, why are you looking at it?
Anybody that knows me very well knows I'm a realist, I'm not big on sugarcoating the facts. When you call me to schedule your home inspection, be ready for a reality check. That's just how I do business. I won't encourage you to buy the home, or not to buy the home. But I believe you need somebody in your corner that's going to tell you like it is, for Better or For Worse.
Purchasing a home is the biggest financial decision you'll probably ever make.
You need to be ready.
Is your property ready for the inspection? Here's a checklist to help you verify that your property is ready for the home/termite/septic/pool inspection from Double C Home Inspections.
✔️All utilities on & operating.
✔️All pilot lights lit and operating.
✔️All Plumbing valves, shut off valves, etc on and operating
✔️All electrical panels easily accessible
✔️Attic accesses easily accessible
✔️Crawl space access easily accessible
✔️Toys, bath mats, dishes, etc removed from bathtubs & sinks
✔️Dogs or any pets that may present a safety risk or risk of escaping home secured properly, or removed from property.
✔️Alarm shut off
✔️All appliances ready to be tested
✔️Garage door operable and clear of belongings to be tested
✔️Pool equipment operating and ready to use
✔️Septic system accurately located
Once this list is completed, stop & celebrate! You're one step closer to selling your home!
Remember, having your home ready for the inspection will make the inspection smoother, and may help your home sell faster!