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Articles by Real Estate Professionals
About Home Inspectors

In addition to their Articles dealing generally with the nature of their services, the real estate professionals will discuss different specific "Topics" of interest to buyers and sellers from time to time.  These articles are indexed in the Articles Library for your review.

The content of these articles and topics is not edited by FSBO Advertising Service, Inc. and reflects solely the thoughts and opinions of the authors.

Author, Edward Robinson is vice president of Professional Engineering Inspections, Inc. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Houston and is a TREC licensed real estate inspector in the Houston area. You may contact Professional Engineering Inspections's at (713) 664-1264.

Introduction

Home inspection services are normally contracted by a potential purchaser of a residential property with the purpose of determining the current condition of that property. Inspections on homes is a relatively new service that has become standard practice in only the last 8 to 10 years. Prior to the existence and use of home inspectors, most home inspection services were provided in a minimal way by contractors in specific fields, such as air conditioning contractors, plumbers, electricians, and general contractors. The problem with having inspections performed by such contractors was that they were not in the normal business of providing documentation as to the condition of an asset. In many cases, a foundation, roof, or mechanical system may, in fact, function and may not require significant repair but may be in a poor condition or display a need for increased maintenance that is not reflected in the information provided by a specific trade inspection. In addition, there is a significant benefit to hiring a single individual who can provide information on many different systems. As a result of this need, property inspection professionals began providing inspection services. In the state of Texas, home inspection services are primarily performed by real estate inspectors licensed under the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) and licensed professional engineers, with most of the home inspections performed in Texas by licensed real estate inspectors.

Description Of Typical Services

TREC licensed inspectors are required to follow a minimum scope in their inspection. Although this scope can be increased by the inspector, most inspection services provide inspections of a similar scope. The significant systems considered in a typical inspection are the foundation, roof, structure, maintenance items, mechanical systems, plumbing systems, and electrical systems. A client will most often find the differences between inspection services in the level of detail, the quality of the written report, and the quality of the customer service.

Services provided by most home inspection companies licensed by the TREC are limited to pre-purchase inspections. Items required to be included in a typical inspection report include information and an opinion regarding the condition of the foundation, structure, roof, general maintenance items, built-in appliances, air conditioning and heating, and electrical systems. The scope of a typical home inspection includes items which are readily visible without moving items or performing significant disassembly of equipment or structure inspected. In some cases, inspectors are not allowed to significantly disassemble equipment due to the lack of state licenses, such is the case with electrical or air conditioning equipment. This also prevents the possibility of damage to the property being inspected. The purpose of such an inspection is to provide information as to the overall condition of the property being evaluated. It should be understood by clients that this does not necessarily include recommendations for any repairs to a property unless that was specifically contracted for.

Engineering firms which provide home inspection services are not necessarily required to follow the TREC standards of practice, although in most cases they do. Such firms often have a very wide variety of additional inspection services in addition to standard pre-purchase home inspections. These include: water penetration inspections, soils testing, foundation performance evaluations and testing, legal investigation and documentation, new construction evaluations, site drainage evaluations, structural evaluation and testing, and other special consulting. In most cases, these additional services provide more in-depth evaluations which allow for more specific recommendations and, in some cases, provide repair design or recommendations for repair.

The services provided by real estate inspectors are priceless and, in a significant number of cases, provide information on the condition of property that more than justify even the highest of inspection fees.


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