Happy New Year!!! Welcome to 2017. It’s time to jump back into setting the expectations
of the inspection process by looking at the 2nd & 3rd paragraphs of the Preamble which address the rules of the TREC known as the Standards of Practice. These paragraphs state the following:
This inspection is subject to the rules (“Rules”) of the Texas Real Estate Commission (“TREC”), which can be found at www.trec.texas.gov.
The TREC Standards of Practice (Sections 535.227-535.233 of the Rules) are the minimum standards for inspections by TREC licensed inspectors. An inspection addresses only those components and conditions that are present, visible, and accessible at the time of the inspection. While there may be other parts, components or systems present, only those items specifically noted as being inspected were inspected. The inspector is NOT required to turn on decommissioned equipment, systems, utility services or apply an open flame or light a pilot to operate any appliance. The inspector is NOT required to climb over obstacles, move furnishings or stored items. The inspection report may address issues that are code-based or may refer to a particular code; however, this is NOT a code compliance inspection and does NOT verify compliance with manufacturer’s installation instructions. The inspection does NOT imply insurability or warrantability of the structure or its components. Although some safety issues may be addressed in this report, this inspection is NOT a safety/code inspection, and the inspector is NOT required to identify all potential hazards.
These paragraphs are the first two of five where the TREC really starts to define what a home inspection is and what it isn’t. This information can be broken down as follows:
- The entire home inspection process is regulated by the TREC – Education, professional conduct & ethics, licensing, insurance requirements, enforcement, advertising, the inspection report form, and the Standards of Practice all fall under the purview of the Texas Real Estate Commission. The Commission’s programs and industry regulation ensure that real estate service providers are honest, trustworthy and competent.
- The Standards of Practice are the minimum levels of inspection required – The inspector may provide a higher level of inspection performance than required and may inspect components and systems in addition to those described by the standards of practice.
- Only visible, accessible items which are present will be addressed – Home inspections are non-invasive in that Inspectors do not make holes in walls, lift carpet, move personal belongings etc.
- The inspector is NOT required to make any item ready for inspection – Lighting pilot lights, turning on water or gas at the meter, etc. There may be unknown safety/liability reasons that these items have been decommissioned.
- The inspector is NOT required to climb over obstacles or move any personal items – Inspector safety is an important issue but more importantly we are uninvited guests at the property and must respect the personal property of the owner.
- The inspection report is NOT a code compliance inspection – Because some of the Standards may be based on current codes it is an important reminder that it is not a code inspection and no action is required on any findings.
- The inspection report does NOT verify manufacturer compliance – Inspectors are generalists and not trained in all the various installation instructions of systems and appliances.
- The inspection report does NOT imply insurability or warrantability – The findings, whatever they may be, do not guarantee that an insurance provider will extend coverage on the property or that any system or appliance will be covered under any type of warranty.
- The inspection is NOT a safety/code inspection and the inspector is NOT required to identify all potential hazards – While the report may address certain safety concerns it is an important reminder that it is not a safety/code inspection and no action is required on any findings.
You may have noticed the word “NOT” appears here quite a few times and I think that it’s important to put this in perspective. It’s important to remember that we are uninvited guests into the Seller’s home and the “NOT’s” often refer to maintaining the integrity of the Seller’s personal property and/or the safety of the Inspector as well as setting the expectations as to the limitations of the inspection process.
In closing, the TREC exists to protect and serve the citizens of Texas, and as such, the Rules create a balance between providing the client with enough information regarding the general condition of the property to minimize the risk in their buying decision with the limitations that are in place that safeguard the other parties.