Buying a Home in Austin, Texas - Step Five: Inspection and Repairs
This is part five of a seven-part series intended to teach you, the home buyer, about how the process typically works here in Austin. The first four parts are listed here for your convenience:
After you have secured the home or condo of your choice, it will be time to schedule a home inspection. This involves having a licensed inspector come to the home and make a detailed report which shows any items which are in need of service or repair. Most inspectors can include a termite inspection along with the general home inspection.
Inspectors generally charge based on the size of the home. A basic inspection for an average-sized home might run $200-250; for a large home, it could run $500 or more.
If you and/or the inspector decide that there are additional specific issues of concern with the home, there are specialists available for septic inspections, roof inspections, slab inspections, and other areas. By their nature, most inspectors are considered "generalists", meaning that they know a little bit about a broad number of factors and systems that affect your home. They may suggest a structural engineer if they are concerned about the foundation, as they are probably not fully qualified/licensed to determine if there are issues that need to be addressed there.
I always inform my clients that they shouldn't be surprised to see a lot of potential repair items on the inspector's report. It doesn't mean that all of these items are critical, or that they are even worth fixing. Sometimes, you will see items that don't meet current construction codes because the home was built prior to those codes being instituted. In most cases, it's tough to get sellers to address small items that fall into that category.
Keep in mind that many home sellers will not be willing to make a house "perfect" for the buyer, especially if they have already negotiated on the price. A common quote from someone selling their home is, "I already came off of the price by $5,000 - can't the buyer use that to fix this stuff?"
Once we have the inspection report in hand for your home, we can determine which items we would like to request to have repaired by the seller before closing, and I will prepare an addendum to the contract for this. In the case of a new home builder, they will almost always correct everything on the inspector's list, unless there is a good reason not to do so. We recommend that our clients get a third-party inspection for any home, whether it is new or resale.
A great rule of thumb when asking for repairs
Is this item something that ANY reasonable buyer would want to have fixed before occupying the house? This would include roof issues, water leaks, structural problems, bad wiring, and more.
Generally, my advice is to focus on the items that are truly important to you, and not to ask the sellers to repair everything on the list. From a negotiating standpoint, this comes across as very reasonable to most sellers.
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to call me anytime at 512-796-7653 (cell) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you soon! You can also access our primary Austin real estate website at www.austintexashomes.com.
The next step in the series will be about preparing to close on your home. I will post a link here once it has been written. :)
Photo above is courtesy of andercismo via Flickr.com.