How to Investigate Your Home Inspector

Check an inspector's license, education and disciplinary reports through the Texas Real Estate Council

Your home is typically the biggest purchase you make in a lifetime and most of us want to be sure we're buying a house that's in good shape.

Home inspectors help in that process, but their report card on your home doesn't come with any guarantees. 

Brett Cooper recently relocated from Houston and bought a home in Plano. Before closing he hired an home inspector to make sure everything was in good working order.

"We went over the report, talked about the pool, and having never owned a pool we inquired, 'Does everything look OK? Is it going to function?' and they said yes," Cooper recalled.

During one of his first dips in the pool, Brett noticed a problem at the skimmer.

"The side plaster is completely missing and on the top it wasn't completely missing, but cracked. I was like, "That's odd." This should have been noticed when you did the pool inspection," he said.

Cooper's dad has experience with pools. He also pointed out issues with the foundation the pool equipment was on and said water didn't appear to be circulating very well. This time, he called out a pool expert and was given thousands of dollars worth of repairs the company said were needed.

Cooper thought the inspector should pay for not catching the problem, but legally no home inspector is under any obligation to be accountable for a problem.

Jim Adams is the president of the Texas Real Estate Commission.

Adams said Texas' standards of practice for inspectors are some of the most strict in the country. But he said there are 3,500 new inspectors in Texas right now and vetting to make sure you get a good one is important.

"We're not perfect. We miss things on occasion," Adams said. "How does an inspector deal with it when he does miss something?"

Cooper had to pay for his repairs out of pocket. We reached out to the inspector, who stood by his report, but agreed to file a claim with his insurance company to see if they find fault.

Cooper waits with a little uncertainty in his mind about the whole inspection process.

The Home Inspectors Association recommends not just taking your realtor's word, but researching your inspector by verifying their license, looking at their education and any disciplinary reports or complaints against them.

You can find all three on the Texas Real Estate Council's website.

If your loan officer doesn't require an inspection, you can also call out people like HVAC companies, roofers and pool builders individually to look at all the items.

It's more complicated, but you're hopefully getting someone who is a bit more of a specialist to let you know if there's a problem lurking in your home.

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