The inspection process is established by law and regulated by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). Home Inspectors are licensed and must follow, at a minimum, a specified TREC Standard of Practice that instructs the inspector what to look at during the inspection process. These Standards provide the inspector some flexibility, so there is some variation between what different inspectors will find in need of repair.
It should also be noted that using a ASHI Certified Inspector in the state of Texas requires a higher level of home inspection scope because the Standards of Practice of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) have additional items that must be included in the inspection process. The ASHI Experience Home Inspection is a big step up in the quality and scope of the Home Inspection in Texas. Always use an ASHI Certified Inspector for your inspection needs.
It is the intention of this page to inform you of the most serious and costly repairs that are commonly found. Because of the liabilities incurred when transferring property from the seller to a buyer, some safety issues must be addressed and some systems may need upgrading to make the property reasonably safe for the new buyer. Particular items will be discussed later.
The inspection is basically a visual inspections, with limited testing of the systems in the home. Utilities must be on and access to certain areas are required, those being:
- All crawl spaces under the home (pier and beam homes only)
- Attic areas
- Electrical panels and Water Heaters
- Access to the back yard (for you dog owners)
Your making these areas readily accessible will help speed the inspection process along and minimize the possibility for damage to items that must be moved by the inspector.
The inspector will test all the appliances that are staying with the home. This will include Bath Heaters/Fans, Dishwasher, Food Waste Disposer, Door Bell, Garage Door Openers, Microwave Ovens, Ovens, Ranges, Range Vent Fans, Ceiling Fans, Trash Compactors, Vacuum Systems, Water Heaters and Whirlpool Equipment. Any damaged or non functioning components of these appliances will be noted as items needing repair. Items that relate to Safety, in this category, may include the auto reversing function on the garage door openers, location of gas water heaters on the floor of the garage, and testing of the Temperature Relief Valve to the water heaters. Not all TREC Inspectors test the TRV so watch for this important safety check.
All plumbing fixtures and connections will be inspected. Leaks or damage to fixtures will be noted as items needing repair. Loose tile and grout around showers and tub enclosures will also be noted, as will loose or damaged toilets. Items related to Safety may include plumbing cross connections such as toilet ballcock valves that are not antisiphon type and sit lower than the water level in the toilet tank.
The Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems will be inspected. If the A/C is not cooling properly, or there is a problem with the heating system (such as rust on the burners) it will be noted as an item needing repair. The ventilation system will also be inspected and any damage to the registers, thermostats, or ducts will be noted.
The foundation provides a stable support for the entire structure. Because of the expansionistic clay soils in this area, moisture control is vital. Site drainage is crucial to preventing foundation movement. A positive grade of 1" fall per foot to a distance of 3-4 feet away from the foundation is necessary to prevent heaving of the soil. Regular watering of the foundation area will minimize settling of the foundation. Clues to foundation movement may appear inside the home by sheetrock tears around doors and windows, and outside there may be brick and mortar separation. They are symptoms of a problem and not the problem themselves. A Pier and Beam foundation is a raised foundation with access for someone to crawl under the home. An inspector will be looking for plumbing leaks, ventilation problems, wood damage and electrical wiring not properly secured to the floor joist.
The fireplace and chimney will be inspected from the firebox (located in the home) to the chimney cap. Damage to the structure, firebox, or associated equipment (such as the damper, gas lighter etc.) will be noted as needing repair.
The roof will be inspected. Because this area is not directly observable from the ground, most sellers are not fully aware of the roof’s true condition. The inspector will note excessive wear or damage from age, weather or trees. Missing shingles or chimney caps can easily take place during one of our recent storms. The attic structure will also be inspected and a lack of insulation in a particular area will be noted. Sky lights are often not fully insulated.
The interior and exterior will be inspected for damage to wood or other wall/ceiling material. Wood rot will always be called out for repair. Garage doors often have loose screws or nuts and any damage to one or more panels will warrant repairs. If you have windows that have developed internal condensation, they will be called out for replacement.
The Electrical system will also be closely inspected by the inspector. Improper splices, connections and wiring will be noted as items needing repair. Loose, damaged, or improperly wired switches and outlets will be noted. Recent changes in the regulations require a Home Inspector to note if there is no Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter protection on any outlet within 6 feet of a sink, any exterior outlet below 6 feet in height, and in the garage. This will include the need for GFCI protection on the hot tub, spa, whirlpool, and pool.
This will cover the majority of notations made by a Home Inspector when inspecting your home. There can always be other notations made from the inspector’s observations.
Always use an ASHI Certified Inspector for your inspection needs.