A. House Exterior: roof and everything on it, wall coverings with trim, gutters and downspouts, windows, doors, foundation, porches, grading and drainage.
B. Attic: roof structure, insulation, mechanical devices and their installation, ductwork, ventilation.
C. Basement or crawlspace if present: Same as attic, plus ensuring there are no leaks, that sump and drainage systems work, and reviewing integrity of structural support.
D. House Interior:

    1. Structural: ceilings, walls, floors, stairs, operation of windows and doors.
    2. Electrical: check all available outlets and lights, review breaker box, grounding systems, test GFCI outlets and test for presence of GFCI where required.
    3. Plumbing: test all fixtures, test functional water flow and drain flow, locate shut off valves, test static water pressure, look for leaks including caulking and tile grout, and ensure safe installation.
    4. Appliances: Dishwasher, Food disposer, Cooktop, stove, Range hood, microwave, garage door opener, ventilation fans
    5. Fireplaces
    6. Mechanical devices such as exhaust fans

A. “Portable” or non-built-in appliances such as Refrigerators, Freezers, Washers, Dryers, or portable Dishwashers.
Portable appliances are not generally considered part of the house for the real estate contract. While they may be sold with the house under an addendum, they are not included in the home inspection process.
B. Alarm or security systems.
These systems need to be evaluated by a security industry pro who can help you understand how they work, what they cover and what the ancillary expenses may be (Monthly fees? Offsite monitoring? Internet storage or other operating requirements?). Keeping abreast of the rapid changes in the home security industry is a full-time job for specialists in that field!
C. Electrical or Mechanical systems that have been disconnected or shut down.

    1. Why? If a device is shut down, the home inspector cannot safely connect it or turn it back on. It may have been shut down because of a problem. In that case, supplying fuel or electricity could be dangerous.
    2. What can be done? The system installation can be inspected—for instance, the furnace cabinet can be inspected in the summer to make sure that the fuel supply connections are correct, that there are no signs of scorching outside the burn chamber, etc., but the furnace itself will not be turned on. Likewise, an air conditioner can be damaged by being run when the temperature is too low. But the installation, condition of the cabinets, coolant lines, and drain lines can be examined.
    3.  If the normal controls are not accessible, the system cannot be tested. Utilities must be turned on and thermostats or other controls must be accessible. This includes being able to adjust web-accessible controls such as Nest thermostats or phone-controlled irrigation systems. If a thermostat is in a “locked” mode, the HVAC system can become inaccessible. If you do not have direct access to web-enabled controls, please have your realtor coordinate with the seller or their agent to allow temporary access.

A. For return visits caused by inaccessibility.
B. For outbuildings, sheds, guesthouses or any structure not part of the main house.
C. For swimming pools and hot tubs.
D. For irrigation or sprinkler systems.
E. For outdoor cooking areas.

A. I read the TREC consumer notice, and it says that only real estate SALES are covered by their program. What about my “11-month” inspection? Or an inspection that will be used to prepare a home prior to putting it on the market?

    1. Texas Administrative Code §535.227.a.1 states:
      These standards of practice apply when a professional inspector or real estate inspector who is licensed under this chapter accepts employment to perform a real estate inspection for a prospective buyer or seller of real property.
    2. TREC has ruled that it does not have jurisdiction over 11-month inspections, or any residential inspections not directly involved in a sale.

B. What does it mean for my clients? Even though TREC does not accept jurisdiction over these inspections, I have an ethical duty to perform them to the same exacting standards as for any residential sale. InterNACHI and TPREIA have ethical guidelines to which I agreed when I joined these organizations. The guidelines do not allow anything less than a full, compliant inspection every single time. Each inspection is conducted with the same rigorous attention to detail: the same report format is used, the same examinations are conducted, the same systems are reviewed. Whether or not TREC accepts jurisdiction, I accept responsibility for doing the job right every single time.

A. I have worked hard to educate myself about the risks of this new virus and the best practices for home inspectors. I took a web class designed to train home inspectors about how to protect themselves and their clients from infection and/or transmission. These are the steps I am taking:

    1. I limit the number of inspections that I conduct to only a few per week.
    2. I limit my exposure to the virus by practicing social-distancing guidelines: I rarely go outside my own home, and keep trips into public places strictly limited in duration. I use protective gear when I go out in public. I change clothing, wash, and disinfect items I acquired when I return from trips outside the home.
    3. I limit your exposure when I visit your home. I will wear a mask, a clean cap to cover my hair, and will use wipes and hand cleaner frequently. I have found it nearly impossible to do the job with nitrile gloves on, so the wipes and hand cleaner are the best way to go. Probably better, as gloves can cause problems if not changed frequently enough. I also bring my own towels and booties for my shoes. I carry disposable protective coveralls, but have not had need of them yet.
    4.  I do ask that my clients do what they can to help out: clean off a counter space in the kitchen for me and set aside kitchen and bathroom towels or other personal items that I might contact during inspection. The kitchen and bathroom are high-traffic areas that present the most likely point of contact as inspectors must touch all plumbing fixtures and most appliances during the inspection. I will also touch all door knobs, windows and electrical switches but will simply disinfect my hands as I go.
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