Everything really is bigger in Texas—including our population growth. In the past year, the Lone Star State added more residents than any other state in the U.S., and those numbers just keep growing. And if you’re one of the thousands of people making Texas your new home, there’s a few key things you’ll need to do once you get here. One of the first? Finding a home inspector.

So, what does a home inspector even do?

Simply put, your home inspector is your partner on your journey to buying a home. A good home inspector is in communication with buyers, sellers, and real estate agents to help everyone understand how the process works, the importance of pre-inspection preparation, and more. During the inspection, your home inspector will visually inspect systems inside and outside the home, including the attic and crawl spaces. They will also check equipment and appliances, inspect the home’s electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems. Finally, they will climb the roof, check doors and windows, and generally keep an eye out for signs that indicate hidden issues. These checks are all outlined by the Texas Real Estate Commission’s requirements. You can learn more in our post “What to Expect When You’re Inspecting.”

So, now that you know what a home inspector does, how do you choose the right one for you?

Home inspectors are all different in their experience and customer service, but one of the biggest things to keep in mind is this: you’re not hiring a company, you’re hiring a person. We’ve touched on this in previous blog posts, but there is an important set of questions to ask a potential home inspector. We’ve included our top five below.

Are you licensed to perform home inspections in the state of Texas?

If the answer is “no,” then it’s time to move on to your next choice. All Texas home inspectors are required to be licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) in order to perform home inspections. Your home inspector’s TREC license number should be found on their website and other business documents.

What will you inspect?

The TREC has a list of minimum required inspection standards listed on their website. Take some time to familiarize yourself with these requirements, and compare them to what your potential home inspector says they will inspect. If they only offer the minimum requirement, consider finding another alternative. A great home inspector should be willing to go above and beyond these standards, and provide you a comprehensive list of what they will evaluate.

How long will it take?

A typical home inspection lasts anywhere between two to four hours, depending on the size of the home. However, many home inspectors have added precautions in light of COVID-19. While the length of the inspection isn’t drastically affected by the pandemic, there are a few components that are different. Namely, instead of inspecting the home with the buyer present, inspectors now will do this process alone. Furthermore, your home inspector will likely take added measures including social distancing, sanitization of equipment and more. You should feel free to ask a potential home inspector what measure they are taking to be COVID-safe during their inspection, and any changes to their services because of it.

What will the report look like, and how long will it take for me to receive it?

Just like it has minimum requirements for what should be included in a home inspection, the TREC also outlines what must be included in a home inspector’s report. An inspection report from a licensed home inspector is typically 50-100 pages long, and is clear and detailed about the home’s conditions, defects, and recommended repairs. You will normally receive this report within 24 hours of the inspection. You may also ask for a sample from a home inspector’s prior inspections.

Can you provide references?

One of the best ways to learn if you will be satisfied with the work from a potential home inspector? Ask those who have used their services in the past! Of course, you can check out a potential home inspector’s reviews on Yelp, or other review sites. However, a good home inspector should be willing to provide a list of prior clients for you to speak with. A good rule of thumb is to talk with two or three past clients before deciding if it’s the right fit for you.

Keep in mind, these questions only cover a small portion of what you can and should ask a potential home inspector. For a longer list of questions, and more in-depth explanation you can check out the following posts:

The Most Important Question to Ask a Home Inspector
Selecting a Home Inspector? Ask These 13 Questions
How to Choose a Home Inspector. Our 5 Tips