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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

 

5 Tips When Planning for Your Home’s Maintenance and Rehabilitation

Jul 27, 18 • News

5 Tips When Planning for Your Home’s Maintenance and Rehabilitation

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Buying a home is a considerable expense, but the beautiful thing about it is that you have your own place that it may just replicate your dream home. We are sure you want to keep it that way over the years, which is why maintaining the property is essential. Preparing for the process of maintenance or rehabilitation might save you some time and money and here are some tips to keep in mind in that area.

The Gutters Should Be Clean

 

This might be unnoticeable, but it is an essential component when it comes to preventing potential problems in the future. It’s the gutters that catch water that runs off from the roof and divert it in the opposite direction from your house, which makes them an integral part of the residential drainage system. If you head to the basement and notice that water is accumulating, the reason may be small water diversion or improper gutter maintenance. You should ensure to clean the gutters once or twice every year and do not only use the hose to rinse them, but also inspect the channels and physically remove any debris.

Inspect the Roof

 

Just to be on the safe side, you should do this twice per year – in the spring and in the autumn. You should be looking for any form of damages, as well as discolorations. This will help you to prevent any future leaks and loss that they may cause. You should mainly focus on shingles that are located around your chimneys, vents, and skylights, as this is where most leaks occur. If you notice any discoloration, you may need to repaint that section. Or, while you are there, why not repaint the entire roof to complement your house siding?

 

Inspect the Exterior of Your Home

 

When you plan to do this, make sure to have enough time and patience to do a proper job. If you notice a joint that may lead to leaks, consider using house wrap to improve weather resistance. Pay particular attention to wood siding if you have one. If you haven’t done anything to maintain it in a while, there is a good chance that it will need repainting. However, your primary concern should be that there is no damage from insects or water as wood is prone to that.

Inspect the Interior Walls

 

Once you are done with the exterior, move to the interior of your house and start with the walls. You should look for potential leaks and places where drywall perhaps needs to be removed, as well as anything else that may seem out of the ordinary. If you have stone accent walls, make sure to check their condition by looking for grout between them. Also, keep in mind that various impacts may have damaged or loosened them.

Check the Rest of the Interior

 

Walk from one room to the other and look for possible issues. If you are starting from the bathroom, check the toilet tank, washing machine, and dryer for possible leaks. Experienced homeowners say that you should pay particular attention to the metal ends of the hoses used for water supply. As for the water heater, you should make sure to drain it at least once every year. The reason is that sediments from the water that settles on the floor of the heater may damage its bottom.

The chances are you also have some leaky faucets in your home, so make sure to include that in your upcoming maintenance session. You should also analyze the pipes and check if the water flows freely through them or they need to be unclogged. Finally, do not forget to check the condensation hose of your air conditioner and see if you need to change the air filters in your central heat and air unit.

Once you have all the things that you need to do list, it is much easier to organize your maintenance session and conduct it in the most effective way. If you are a homeowner, the chances are that you will need the help of a professional. However, informing yourself on what needs to be done before calling your maintenance guy can save you both some time, and you may even keep some money in your pockets.

New Air Sealing Method

Jun 24, 18 • News