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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

When is Less More?

Dec 23, 19 • News

It is commonly understood that governmental agencies are notorious for distributing “information” that is, how shall I say, specious. In my profession, dealing as I do with home builders, municipal building inspectors, real estate brokers, agents, et al., I am accustomed to being inundated by a tsunami of bullshit. That said, occasionally some outrageous statement appears that astounds even jaded me. Something so stupefying and outrageous that it defies the wildest imagination. You know, presidential in nature.

I came across this wild-eyed quote while keeping up with the meanderings of the folks who issue one of my licenses – The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). This agency was recently reviewed by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission regarding its efficiency and found wanting in many areas. One that affects home buyers more than the others is the educational requirements for licensing home inspectors. The Sunset Commission opined that the requirements were in need of a change in order to produce more informed and competent inspectors. The TREC perfunctorily agreed. The following statement reflects just how they plan to go about this.

“The Inspector Committee met on October 7 at the Texas Real Estate  Commission. Many of the items before the committee were proposed at the July meeting. The Committee received public comments on the proposed changes. The Committee considered those comments, and the proposals moved forward as written. The most notable changes in the rules are those to the pre-licensure for home inspectors in Texas. The new process cuts the number of hours required approximately in half for the most utilized track to become an inspector while equipping inspectors to more readily be able to perform an inspection upon completion.” (Bold and italics are mine)

Excerpted from: https://www.trec.texas.gov/article/chair-inspector-committee-october-2019

If you find nothing askew with the preceding statements issued forth from the  Texas Real Estate Commission’s Inspector Committee, then read no further, this is not for you. You’ll find your designated reading corner in the children’s section of the local library next to the wooden blocks and the Big Bird stuffed toys.

Would you assume that reducing the amount of children’s education to half of what it is now would somehow miraculously increase their knowledge?

K-6 ≥ K-12 is math that simply does not compute.

The requirements to become a home inspector in the great state of Texas have always been minimal. No real construction experience is required. No building code knowledge is required. Simply take a course for $3000 (less if online) that teaches the multiple-choice test one must pass, pass the exam, and voila! you get your Cracker Jack box license. No sweat.

This has led to some, if not most, folks who hire home inspectors in Texas apparently being led down the garden path by questionably-educated, ill-informed, quasi-competent “inspectors”, who are foisted on us all by the folks who brought you the revelations quoted at the beginning of this vociferation. But, let me not cast aspersions.

The moral of this story is that you must thoroughly vet your home inspector. Relying on a mere state-issued license to do business and/or a referral from your avaricious agent will not protect you. Practice the level of due diligence that accrues with becoming an adult and buying a house.

I’ll end this now before I segue into deviant terminology . . .

Is Your Smoke/CO Detector Listed?

Oct 10, 19 • News

Texas Building Codes Gutted – Again

The bedlamites in Austin have been at it again. As of September 1, 2019,
in all municipalities in Texas, the minimal building codes will be dealt a severe blow. The morons whom some folks have voted into the legislature, in their infinite ignorance, have deemed that Texas municipal building inspectors can no longer choose to adopt any building codes that are more stringent than the national model codes. As if the current codes are not lenient enough the builders can now skirt the building officials who want to eliminate the use of questionably safe, durable, or outright dangerous building products and procedures.

This is yet another move on the part of the powerful Texas homebuilders lobby to gut the codes, thumb their noses at regulation, and proceed to make a profit to the detriment of the home buying public. Previously the same regime that has been in power in the state for decades negated the code requirements for fire-suppression sprinkler systems in all houses.

If you voted for these imbeciles, please take a moment prior to the next election to actually think about who you are supporting. Regardless who you voted for please consider contacting your senators and representatives to complain about the passage of House Bill 2439 during the last session of lunacy.

FHA Inspections

Jun 29, 19 • News

Those of you who know me understand that I rarely have a good word to say regarding all things governmental. That said, the FHA surprised me last August by eliminating their in-house approval process for FHA inspectors and requiring that those doing FHA inspections be certified by the International Code Council as R-5 Residential Combination Inspectors, as I have been for over 20 years.

The approval process in the past was minimal. The inspector had merely to “prove” (read: claim) three whole years construction experience and be in possession of a feckless license to do business from the Texas Real Estate Commission. This ensured that whatever was being inspected, it was being scrutinized by know-nothings. ICC Combination Inspectors look for compliance with local building codes as well as specific HUD requirements.

When a person applies for an FHA/HUD/VA/USDA loan it is usually because they cannot qualify for a conventional loan. This person also typically does not have the means to foot the bill for any major repairs required due to the typical and widespread lackluster Texas home builder performance. These folks need protection and the FHA has finally taken a step in the right direction for providing this to their borrowers.

Kudos to the FHA Commissioner for doing the right thing.

Plumbers Flushed

May 29, 19 • News

We should all be waiting for June 16th with bated breath when the half-baked 2019 Texas legislative session finally comes to an end. Every two years the drooling idiots we elect gather in Austin to torment us with their seeming lack of understanding of nearly everything.  

This session has proven especially egregious in many respects. To avoid waxing partisan I will spare you my opinions on most of these, e.g. immigration, abortion, cannabis, taxes, health care, gun control, education, et al. I want to focus on just one issue: plumbers.

The Texas legislature, hereinafter known as “the Morons” has, in their infinite stupidity, decided to eliminate the Texas Board of Plumbing Examiners. That is the group that is (was) responsible for overseeing the education and licensing of plumbers.

Texas plumbers have been growing in importance in the eyes of the Morons for decades. A few years back they decided that plumbers could also legally perform electrical work on any system they were repairing or installing – without an electrician’s license. Before that, it was decided that a master plumber could perform whole-house building code inspections – without code certification. Renaissance men, I assume.

Now, we have the ultimate. Plumbers have busted out of their legendary phone booth and are prepared to fly above the rest of us unencumbered by any of those pesky plumbing regulations and codes.

That leaves the rest of us circling the proverbial bowl.

Thanks, Austin.

Join The Class Action

Mar 10, 19 • News

Read this chilling (for Realtors) article from Inman’s Robert Hahn.

https://www.inman.com/2019/03/08/what-the-bombshell-buyer-side-lawsuit-means-for-realtors/

Proper Lot Drainage

Dec 18, 18 • News

Those familiar with my reports know that I devote several paragraphs to information on proper lot drainage. The following article penned by Angie Bersin of Redfin focuses on this critical topic. Enjoy!

https://www.redfin.com/blog/drainage-solutions-outdoor

Texas Does Not Regulate Roofers

Oct 16, 18 • News

There is no regulation of roofers in Texas.

Texas Home Inspectors Cannot Perform Sewer Camera Tests

Aug 8, 18 • News

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It should go without saying that home inspectors are not plumbers. That’s not enough for the greedy inspectors who foist these inspections on unsuspecting clients for hefty fees. Even if the camera inspections are free they are ILLEGAL unless the inspector is also a licensed plumber. If you doubt this read the ruling issued by the Texas Real Estate Commission.

Dodging the Square Foot Question

Aug 7, 18 • News

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This article will give you some insight into how your home builder (or real estate agent) will answer any possible question you may ask – with bullshit.

The Square Foot Question