By Keith Boggs
Posted November 16, 2020, at 9:00 am CT

One of the most interesting questions I get about home inspections is this: “Can you fail a home inspection?” I suppose it’s a reasonable question, particularly for those who haven’t been through a home inspection before. Home inspections are complex and not well-understood in general. A lot goes into them, but buyers, sellers, and realtors don’t actually see what happens.

So, when I’m asked that very interesting question, I give a very interesting answer: “Maybe!” Here’s why that’s my answer and what it means to you.

Your goal? Know the property — or the seller’s problems will become yours.

At Stonebriar Property Inspections, most of our clients are buyers looking for their next house, and the goal is pretty clear: As a buyer, you’ve found a home you think you may want to invest in, you have decided to make an offer, and you want to make sure you know what you’re getting into. You need to understand as much as you can about the condition of the property you’re considering buying, so you can either rescind your offer, adjust it, ask the seller to make repairs, or ask for price concessions or a home warranty.

Additionally, sellers can request a pre-listing home inspection to make sure they have information about their property’s condition before they list it. Usually, their primary goal is to decide whether they will address defects before putting the home on the market. An inspection helps them get comfortable with listing the home at a certain price, knowing what problems it has. It also prepares them for future negotiations with buyers — they know what defects may be identified and can be prepared with information to help the sale go smoothly.

Note: If the seller has had a pre-listing home inspection, it’s important to keep two things in mind:

  1. The seller is required by law to share the home inspection report and information about any known defects with potential buyers, and
  2. As a buyer, you still want to hire your own home inspector to perform a separate inspection. Conflict of interest concerns aside, you need a second, impartial opinion when you’re making a large investment. Additionally, your home inspector can be an important partner — answering questions, talking about repairs, and walking you through the process to make sure you have a clear picture of the property’s condition.

The home inspection is key to meeting your goal.

So, let’s talk about the inspection itself and the report that your home inspector delivers afterward. Home inspectors are licensed by state and have a set of minimum requirements they must meet when they evaluate any property. In Texas, at a high level, your inspector is expected to gain an understanding of the general condition of a property by doing a visual survey and basic performance evaluation of systems and components, for example, roofs, electrical and plumbing systems, and kitchen appliances.

Once inspected, the home inspector creates an inspection report with a list of the systems and components he was planning to evaluate, and, for each, indicating whether it was inspected, not inspected, not present, or deficient. The inspector can include notes and details, photos and videos, and information to help you determine next steps for repairs. (The best ones include this level of detail in their reports, even though it’s not required by the state.)

Related Reading

Here are a few resources to help you understand more about home inspection requirements and processes in the state of Texas:

At the end of the day, the home inspection report is what helps buyers and sellers meet their goals — to have a clear understanding of the property’s condition. It’s a collection of information — checkboxes, notes describing defects and how they may be repaired, and, ideally, photos and videos, so you can see the property through the inspector’s eyes.

Failure is Not an Option — Or Is It?

So, back to the original question: “Can you fail a home inspection?” Your home inspector will not tell you that any single system or component “failed,” but he will describe any defects he finds. He also won’t tell you the property as a whole “failed.” The place may have many issues, or it may be in great shape! So, you, the buyer or seller, get to decide whether it “passed” or “failed” in your eyes. (Thus, the answer is maybe!)

As a buyer, you may decide there are too many issues or too much work to do to make the home your own. In that case, it failed your personal test, and you may choose to walk away. On the other hand, you may see a path forward and decide to negotiate with the seller to come to a fair agreement. As a seller doing a pre-listing home inspection, you may be happy with the outcomes and feel confident enough to put the house on the market right away. Or you might be devastated because your home has major issues that require immediate attention before you can list it, and that’s an epic fail.

Regardless of the outcome, both buyers and sellers have the information they need to help them make wise decisions. And that’s why a home inspection is such an important part of the home-buying journey.

Please reach out to us for more information about how we can provide top-notch home inspection services at reasonable prices with the best customer service in the North Texas area.

About Our Licensed Dallas Home Inspections

Keith Boggs is the owner of Stonebriar Property Inspections. He is your personal home inspector, and his investment in the company will be reflected in the quality of your inspection. Mr. Boggs’ inspection reports are professional, comprehensive, detailed, and clear. They average about 60 pages, include 100 to 200 color images, and include detailed findings, recommendations, tips, and best practices for maintaining your home. Buyers also receive a full video debrief explaining all findings. Stonebriar Property Inspection’s customer reviews speak to Keith’s reputation as an ethical, reliable, and courteous Dallas home inspector. Stonebriar Property Inspections is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating. SPI is fully licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission for home inspections and the Texas Department of Agriculture for termite/wood destroying insect inspections.