Home Inspection Checklist for Texas Home Inspectors

By
Home Inspector with Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections

 

As most home inspectors in Texas should be aware by now, the new SOP and report form go into effect in February 2009. There have been changes made that we need to be aware of, and that we need to include in our reports. I took a preliminary version of those SOPs to create a simple checklist for our inspections. The requirements are listed on the form, and then spaces are left for notes. In some cases, I put down Yes/No answers which can be circled.

I based it on the SOPs so we would have a quick reference guide to ensure that we are meeting these requirements as we are getting used to them. I also included space at the beginning for some basic information about the job to have on hand. I included reminders to write the serial numbers down for appliances. This is not a requirement, but it is a good practice. You can then say that this is the specific piece of equipment that was examined, in case a unit was changed out, and there is an issue with the new unit. If you come up with any ideas on how to improve this, let me know, so I can update this file. I created this one fairly quickly, so I probably will be making changes to it soon. I was having fun creating a report form in HTML, but I am still working on it. I want to be able to save it as a pdf that would be clear when printed.

 

 

Here it is in pdf format:

New Checklist

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Rainer
639,033
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX

Howdy Frank - Yes it certainly looks like change is also coming to our business. I don't know how this blog looks to you but you need to make a few changes for some reason your HTML didn't work. Are you trying to post your checklist? I'll check back later to see if you made your changes.

Nov 12, 2008 08:48 PM #1
Rainer
75,570
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections - Houston, TX

Nice to see you Carl. I am not sure waht is going on. I am able to click on the term New Checklist and it opens up the pdf that I saved on my own site. If you cannot pull it up here, I can e-mail it to you.

You know that there is a change here and a change there, so I thought some type of guide would help.

Nov 13, 2008 05:49 AM #2
Rainer
639,033
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX

Morning Frank: Your checklist did open this morning but you still have some HTML showing on your page. I will print out and take a look. You are further along putting a checklist then I am. When I went to our meeting this month there was some discussion regarding the change (s); always something going on.

How are you doing with the TRCC and phase inspections? Bringing you some business?

Nov 13, 2008 08:23 AM #3
Rainer
75,570
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections - Houston, TX

You know Carl, there are the changes in language, but then there is a small thing here and there that we have to remember to add on. Checking the static water pressure will be one that I will have to remember to make a note on the report.

 

I was in negotiations with one specialty home builder to start doing the phase inspections, but that fell apart. Everyone wants us to lower our price when our costs are going up. My main business has been real estate investors (and oddly enough Realtors buying homes for themselves). With the number of inspectors in Houston trying to take advantage of the new TRCC rule to the ratio of new homes being built it seems that it will be hard to develop that business line, but we have to keep plugging away at it.

Nov 13, 2008 09:57 AM #4
Rainer
639,033
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX

Frank - I did print out your checklist this morning before I left but haven't had a chance to take a look. I am going to a training session next week and they will be discussing the new SOP and changes. Just will have to rethink how we do some of these things and add the new items. We'll see.

I have been doing some phase inspections; still have to find my comfort zone and careful not to miss anything. So far the builders have been good to work with. There was one that called, he interviewed me and I interviewed him and we did not see eye to eye so it didn't work out. I really prefer the consumer call me and leave the builder out of it.

Nov 13, 2008 06:30 PM #5
Rainer
639,033
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX

Frank- I forgot to tell you your blog looks good now.

Nov 13, 2008 06:31 PM #6
Rainer
75,570
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections - Houston, TX

Carl- I figured a checklist such as this one may not be the best, but you can quickly scan over the items to see if you hit upon the new practice. I was thinking of highlighting them in yellow. (Some I did underline in this version). Many of these changes are items that I was covering anyway, but I was not marking them as in need of repair. For example, I would state if the home had AFCI breakers or not, and why that was important, but I would not check the in need of repair box. Now I just have to remeber to check the box.

I would prefer dealing with the customer too. Most builders are great, but some of them see us as a hindrance. Considering that it was builders behind the formation of the TRCC, they should adhere to the standards.

Nov 13, 2008 06:45 PM #7
Rainer
18,365
Robert Flaa
R Eyes Home Inspections - Denton, TX
#9501 Home Inspector

Thanks Frank, that is useful, I am working on my form to re-due it for the new standards. this has helped me. if i am not mistaken you can send your form to TREC to see if you are in compliance or not. 

Nov 21, 2008 10:35 PM #8
Rainer
75,570
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections - Houston, TX

Robert, yes TREC is good about such things, but I just took the SOP and set it up as a checklist. My third child was born yesterday and I was in a green building class this week, so I have not had time to give this a better once over. This checklist is just meant until we get use to the new requirements.

Nov 22, 2008 07:18 PM #9
Anonymous
Anonymous

My Howdy

there Frank, my friend

Sorry that I did not get by to visit ya yesterday.

Would be okay with you, that I incorporate your checklist into my inspections also. I have not fully looked it over yet. At a fast glance, it sure does look good.

I also always write the serial numbers of the appliances, that are going to be staying with the homes. Add them in my inspection reports

I think all of us are going to have. Some good things coming our way.

Happy New Year, to you and your family!

Happy New Year

Jan 02, 2009 10:47 PM #10
Rainmaker
1,266,459
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Frank - I think I am a little stunned that a state would create a list of "deficiencies" that inspectors are to report.  What happens to you if one of them is hidden and you miss it?  Was the bureaucrat who created this "list" a home inspector?  Has he/she ever done an inspection? 

Do they define what a deficiency is - for instance, what is a "deficiency in the thermostat" as stated under the cooling section on your report?  Old, loose, unlevel, contains mercury, not digital, in the wrong place?  What if you think it is in the wrong place - does the state come in and back you up or disagree with you? 

Does the state mandate what is to be done if an inspector calls out a deficiency?  Does that force homeowner repairs in order to sell the house? 

Does the state also have to "approve" a report?  What is the inspector qualifications of the bureaucrat who reviews it?  Do you still use a paper check list or do they also get involved in reviewing a computerized report?  Do they require association memberships - the better associations have minimum reporting requirements.  Does the state conflict with the associations?  Do they require state-approved minimum reporting requirements for IR, mold, energy, radon, lead, etc., inspections?

Overall I am stunned that the state would insert itself so much in your business.

Years ago Virginia got involved in "licensing" home inspectors.  A couple of us old guys were there to try to prevent them from doing what they wanted to do - a bureaucrat was creating licensing criteria for inspectors.  He had never done an inspection, was showboating making it look like he was protecting the consumer from us big, bad, mean inspectors, and created criteria that was, let's just say, minimal.  He did not even use standards taken from Nachi or Ashi, but what he thought relevant.  "He" was very, very important.  I was very disappointed. This nannyism did not help our state.

What it did was bring into the Virginia home inspector market a boat load of inspectors who met his criteria.  The test reflects knowledge gleaned from a book and not from experience or understanding.  Classes started up creating inspectors.  Pass the test - I am a home inspector!  To this day I am cleaning up problems created by graduate "inspectors."  Now that there is a Texas state-mandated check list, can anyone become an inspector there?  Clip board, checklist, check the box?  If that is allowed it is a little like builders who advertise that they build a house "to code."  A code is a minimum requirement - I would hope that houses are built to exceed codes...  the same with inspectors.

Jan 03, 2009 05:20 AM #11
Rainer
75,570
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections - Houston, TX

Dale- thanks for dropping by, and of course you can use it; anything to help a friend out. I have been working on a newer version, but I only have notes for it so far. I need to sit down and type it.

Jay- you bring up some valid points that we are grappling with here in Texas. Firstly, there are small changes in throughout the SOPs, and I created this checklist as a tool to remind me not to skip a new standard. For example, when I check out a water heater, I take down vital information off of the tag, but now I need to remember to report its capacity on my report. That was not something I thought the homeowner needed to know, but the intention is that they should know if the unit is appropriate for the house, which I always did report on.

The SOPs represent the minimum that an inspector should do, and it was written by inspectors. Generally, there is another section of the procedures which states that deficiencies are judged by current best practices. Many inspectors, including myself, question how can we ensure that all inspectors are working at the same level if there is not a clear direction on what is meant by current best practices. The rule is vague on one hand to allow inspector knowledge come into play. For example, I report when there is no insulation over an attached porch or grarage, because I know that this is an energy drain, so I hope to show the homeowner how to reduce his utility bills. This is a current best practice among builders who are working towards "green" standards, but it is not a code requirement. Most inspectors will not report the missing insulation, because it is a standard practice. I report on it, because I think it is helpful for the potential homeowner to know that they can reduce their bills with this action. Currently, we inspectors are trying to find a way to help us define what is meant by the SOPs.

The language was changed from "in need of repair" to "deficiency" to reflect that an item does not neccessarily need to be repaired, but that it just does not meet the best in current practice. For example, my home does not have AFCI breakers for my bedroom areas. It has been fine for the past 42 years. Eventually I will be updating my panel to correct this situation. I want to inform my clients that this is a great new way to protect their homes, but should they force a seller to install them? The state wants every new homeowner to know about this feature, so that is why I am required to report on it, but the first page of the new report states that no one is required to make repairs based upon the findings in the report. We are just information providers, and the state wishes to use us to spread information on new technologies. It is up to the buyer and seller to negotiate any terms that may arise form our reports.

Jan 03, 2009 06:02 AM #12
Anonymous
Anonymous

Howdy there Frank

How are you and your family do-en?

Sorry that I've not been by in a month of Sunday's. I sure do like the checklist, that you made. Will I'm going to visit your blog it's self. To see whats new on it.

God Bless America

Feb 28, 2009 09:34 PM #13
Rainer
75,570
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections - Houston, TX

Dale- I was thinking about you and Carl the other day. I was going to send an email to you next week; it has been a busy weekend. I have been focusing on a marketing campaign to homeowners (instead of buyers and sellers) that has been paying off (more work, but less money for each job, but then again less work on each job). Things like roof inspections and such. Then I have been busy with real estate investors. I was on a couple of inspections in Deer Park recently.

The family is doing well. My wife is concerned about being lay offs at the hospital, but I think she may be alright. My son wants me to build a bio-reactor with him, and the girls are amazing. I hope that your family is good. I will send that email soon.

Mar 01, 2009 04:07 AM #14
Anonymous
Anonymous

Howdy there Frank

Will my friend, I've came by to ask if you do Home Inspections in Splendora, Texas? If I remember right it's over Houston way. I was contacted by E-Mail today, wanting to know if I could do a Home Inspection there, and how much it would cost. Looks like my SEO sure is working. I get at less one or two E-Mails a week, from folks that are not in NH or VT, wanting to know if I can do a Home Inspection or commercial properties Inspections for them. I wrote a post tonight about this one. And put a copy of the E-Mail, but with out the contacte info in it.

Home Inspector

Mar 23, 2009 08:42 PM #15
Rainer
75,570
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections - Houston, TX

Dale, I do go out that way. He sent me the same email, and I did respond to him. I think maybe that he is trying to become a hoe inspector, so he is checking up on some facts.

Mar 24, 2009 06:39 AM #16
Anonymous
Anonymous

Howdy there Frank

Thank you, for leting me know. That you also got the E-Mail and that you have responded to him. He could very will be, my friend.

God Bless America

Mar 24, 2009 07:52 PM #17
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