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  1. #1
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Default Texas SoP fresh thread

    There’s a meeting at TREC on Tuesday regarding the SOP. Comments on 2009 SOP and proposed Commentary:

    1. The new SOP, while well-intentioned and in theory setting a much higher standard that most national standards for inspections, has not been complied with, IMHO, in the vast number of reports. Many Texas inspectors are just basically doing their old inspection on the new form. As there is no systematic assessment of inspector report quality in place (or practical), TREC has no way of knowing what is really going on. There are relatively few complaints to TREC, and even fewer lawsuits these days.

    2. The reason for general non-compliance is the limits on fees that the market will bear, and the number of surplus inspector licensees. Pressure from agents to dumb it down is likely also a factor. The new SOP works well for a 10 year old suburban house. But for a 50 year old place, which can generate 100+ deficiency comments, nobody can charge enough to justify the time allotted.

    3. In one TX geographical area there around 800 active licensees and 200 on inactive status. The 800 are chasing 4000-5000 resales a month. This is an unsustainable business model, and as such many drop out. However there is always a new crop coming out of the schools. There is also a large quantity of retired and semi-retired citizens, many well-educated, who consider inspection work to be a worthwhile enterprise to pursue. Many of these individuals are essentially subsidizing their work with their pensions and/ or spouses benefits, which allow them to charge less than a “real” standalone business must charge to justify its existence.

    4. There is no ready solution for the surplus inspector “problem.” The surplus is a result of demographics, the economy, and the internet. It is not TREC’s job to see that inspectors make a decent living. However, the unintended consequence long-term may be that the home-buying public may end up with a reduction in quality, as experienced inspectors take early retirement or drift away, and the industry becomes dominated by hopeful newbies and casual part-timers.

    5. Had there not been an E&O requirement the past couple of years, there would be even more inspectors chasing the little work that is out there.

    6. The new SOP had great promise. It provided a way to spend more time at a property and generate more information (certainly what I would want if I were a buyer) at a higher fee. However this has not been the result. It is a higher standard without the higher compensation.

    7. The Commentary only reinforces the SOP’s high standard and is essentially moot, as it does not address the overall business picture regarding inspections in Texas.

    8. Maybe the whole SOP should be trashed and Texas adopt the basic ASHI model, from which higher-end inspectors can build, and offer tiers of service that properly reflect the experience of the inspector, and the age and condition of a property.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Plano, Texas
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    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Good points J. B. but I would like to reiterate that neither the SOP, nor the commentary, nor Licensing should be used as a tool to ensure profitability for inspectors.

    One other point IMHO is that the commentary should not be used to explain or train the unskilled.
    The commentary is a misguided attempt to explain and train in order to bolster a deficient SOP.

    Let the market place and the courts function to weed out the incompetent and unscrupulous. Yes, incompetent inspectors should be sued into oblivion.

    Any standard strong enough to really protect consumers from the unskilled and unscrupulous will also dissuade the less sophisticated consumer from using an inspection at all due to the high price.
    To try and use the government hammer to force otherwise is folly in my opinion.
    When the realtor controlled TREC board lowered the bar to allow inspector schools to crank out three week wonders rather than the apprenticeship / sponsor licensing which had a self limiting feature, the dam was burst from which I see no recovery. JMHO

    Last edited by Jim Luttrall; 02-06-2010 at 03:04 PM.
    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Pretty simple really

    Make it mandatory one year apprenticeship for all entering the field and then moving into a Real Estate inspectors slot for six months and then testing for A Professional Real Estate Inspectors license. Nothing illegal about that at all. What does an electrician have to do to get his masters. Or a plumber or a union carpenter.

    Making the SOPs to make you spend more time on the job?????? What was that for again? You actually expected that we would have to do more and then get paid more.

    Seriously. That is like so many throwing foundation graphs and measurements in and Thermal imaging in and free termite inspections in ......All for free. They say it is to keep their price up to combat the low balling pricers. In essence they are just as bad if not worse. They are actually spending more time in a home and making less money for doing it and then complaining about the low ballers. (who in essence are spending less time in the home than the give it away guys so are actually making more money)

    Go back to my first paragraph......background, apprenticeship, real estate inspector and then professional. You will cut out 3/4 of the new guys thinking about it and with the existing that normally drop out then there will be plenty for the remaining inspectors.

    I only foresee one problem with that. Restrictions somehow have to be put on someone throwing seriously low prices out there and having ten inspector apprentices under him that he is only paying half of the take to.

    Oh yeah.....Stop thinking of ways to get inspectors to have to do more at an inspection.

    Remember the word "generalist". Remember the words "reduce their risk".

    Why would I or anyone want to be spending more time in a home and have a longer report to do. Enough info is passed on to the home buyer as it is to "reduce their risk" as a generalist. Where do you want it to go??? Six to seven hours per inspection and report. I am at the six hour range already with inspection, report and what ever follow up. Now think of the going out there and marketing. How much time to each inspection does that add. Now take the days and or total weeks off each year for slow time. How much time does that add to each inspection. The reality is that and inspection is already 8 hours when all is said and done.

    Why would you want to even consider adding more time to an inspection.

    As yuou said. Complaints are way down. The reality is that they are almost non existent in comparison to other trades.

    Worry about whether or not someone is not following the standfards if they have a complaint logged agasinst them. Stop trying to play before hand policemen when it is not necessary.

    Why is it the folks "in charge" of any organization feel that everyone on the planet has to be protected from everyone else on the planet.

    Complaint, check it out. No complaint....well they must be doing something pretty much right and that pretty much right is a whole lot better than adding additional un needed burdens on any working man.

    Leave well enough alone. The continuing of trying to fix it before it has broken has to be nipped in the backside. You changed the SOPs for now. Give it a rest. It is not already time to think of how you can change them again and add the commentary and and and and.

    Seriously. Complaints are way down. Chill. Thats like the police departments hiring more police to stop more traffic folks so they can bring in more revenue to pay all the new police that they hires to get more traffic violations so they can pay the new police to stop more traffic violators so they can get more revenue etc etc etc etc. Then you go by the police station on any given day and see 3/4 of all the cruisers at the station....Why....to do all the paper work that they have to take care of to get more revenue to pay for more police to get more revenue. And they should really be out patrolling making there presents known. Not on the highway at 2:30 in the afternoon trying to get traffic violators when there is little to know traffic and really no reason to be pulling anyone over because there is no traffic and they can move a little quicker. It is getting outrageous.

    More Gov to collect more money to put more restrictions on Blah blah blah to get more revenue to pay for bigger government blah blah blah.

    Am I making my point yet.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 02-06-2010 at 03:05 PM.

  4. #4
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    I thought E&O insurance was a bad thing when it was mandated. Now I think it helped weed out a lot of folks that didn't have a clue about how to run a home inspection business.

    The idiotic requirement that lack of AFCI be reported as deficient was a major blunder. There should be a distinction between when they were actually required and not a general requirement to report them as deficient, (even if the house was built in the 60's).

    The new front page of the TREC form was a very good idea. It helps protect inspectors.


  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    I thought E&O insurance was a bad thing when it was mandated. Now I think it helped weed out a lot of folks that didn't have a clue about how to run a home inspection business.

    The idiotic requirement that lack of AFCI be reported as deficient was a major blunder. There should be a distinction between when they were actually required and not a general requirement to report them as deficient, (even if the house was built in the 60's).

    The new front page of the TREC form was a very good idea. It helps protect inspectors.
    I have a pretty good write up and explanation for AFCI and also tell every client that back in 2002 and then at the end of 2008 rules changed concerning AFCI and the fact that They are a good idea and when doing upgrades in the future this is one place do do the upgrades and also that TREC says we must write them up as deficient.

    The fact that it is in there at all no matter how well you explain the changes and why we must write it as deficient buyers believe that this is an item that the sellers must fix because of the danger if they do not.

    The vast majority believe that this an absolute must no matter what and the sellers must fix them. I am constantly called on for this and I am one that no one ever use to call me for clarification of something in a report.

    I ask them if they read and understand the comment on AFCIs in the report and they understand that there home was built well before those dates. They do understand but it has become a bone of contention.

    Another wonderful time consumer is sliding a flat blade under the shingles to see how many nails there are in several locations.

    Fact is there may be a huge area in between where the nailing is not correct. I personally believe that it is a waste of my time and something I do have a disclaimer in my report for. I tell the folks I checked several areas but it means virtually nothing as areas between may have little to no nails. I am not going to give them a false sense that the roof shingles are nailed properly.

    "(i) fastening of roof covering material, as determined by a random sampling;"


    That has absolutely no meaning to it at all. That gives folks a total false sense that the roofing material has proper fasteners and amount of fasteners throughout. Completely false comment to say that it does even at a random sampling.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 02-07-2010 at 07:02 PM.

  6. #6
    Troy Eskew's Avatar
    Troy Eskew Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Jeez. No offense guys, but what the heck is up with Texas. Do they expect you to be code enforcement for a few hundred bucks on a real estate transaction?


  7. #7
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    I guess they figured we were truly the last line of defense in shoddy home building practices so they were hoping we would catch what the code enforcement guys cant seem to find. Its really amazing when you think about some of the electrical and HVAC work performed by incomps, (also licensed) then passed by the code inspectors.

    They want us to count nails on shingles but wont allow us to act as windstorm inspectors. I dont get it.


  8. #8
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    I'll suggest it is all about politics and the various lobbies (insurance, TAR, etc., etc..).

    Also often lack of willingness to accept responsibility or an AHJ inspecting for the 'things' they want to inspect for rather than what the fundamental code requires.

    Note that the local AHJ inspectors also don't have to worry about the liability that we as 3rd party HIs have to.

    As Ted, Jim, Im-J.Smith, John and many others have commented on ... it continues and will not end anytime soon with respect to the $200 "drive by" specialists and those marketing all kinds of things.

    It is frustrating to be faced with that type of individual out there when many of us actually take the profession seriously, take the time for the inspection, take the time for the client, take the time to prepare a professional report and mostly can sleep at night knowing you have done the right thing for the client.

    As for the proposed commentary ... I think it would be a great tool for "information" for the inspector, but with it potentially becoming adopted into the "rules" and being enforceable along with the SOP will become one real headache.

    As has been noted before if the SOP were adequately cleaned up a whole bunch of the commentary would simply not be necessary.

    I've offered my $0.02 to TREC and said that as long as they are pushing the Commentary they should just simply stop all such crap and require that all inspectors become "code" inspectors and utilize the IRC and Commentary. Heck ... it is already printed and available. Not for anything ... our SOP is based on the code requirements anyway. I find it interesting to say we are 'not' code inspectors, yet fundamentally that is what we are doing ... along with better building practices and the common sense items that are sorely missing in many cases.


  9. #9
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SOP fresh thread

    NK and Others:

    The problems with the TREC are myriad and cannot all be coupled with solutions. That said, it is certainly possible to cure most of them with this simple set of changes.

    (1) Eliminate the current SOP and replace it with the currently published versions of the IBC, IRC, and NEC, with whatever nonsense needs to be added regarding ethics, insurance, etc.

    (2) Eliminate the TREC Inspector Advisory Committee. This is nothing more than a group of politically-motivated, perennial gadflies with no intention of improving the lot of inspectors or the protection of consumers. It is a sham, the whole purpose of which is to placate licensees.

    (3) Require that the TREC enforcement personnel responsible for handling inspector complaints become fully certified as ICC residential inspectors and then take a 6-month intensive hands-on inspection course with me. The majority of lawyers and paralegals know next to nothing about construction and are singularly unqualified to critique those who do.

    The first two of the above steps would go a long way toward improving conditions for both the consumers and their inspectors.

    Of course, in the ideal world, the TREC would not have authority over HIs. They should be represented by their own board at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

    As for the "commentary", it is a band-aid approach to healing a deeply, intrinsically flawed SOP. It will never serve its intended purpose, assuming that its purpose is to clarify the hieroglyphic blather which constitutes the current SOP. It can only serve to further exacerbate an already astoundingly flawed set of regulations.

    While it may be the case that some of the TREC staff and IAC members have honorable intentions, they simply do not appear to be up to the task at hand. Their total failure to grasp the fact that they are not, and never will be a code-authoring agency seems to have eluded them. Re-inventing the wheel is for the unimaginative whose sole purpose is to justify their positions.


  10. #10
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    As much as I respect AD and Neil I must say that I hope home inspection never goes the way of what the two of you would like.

    The SOP in and of itself was meant and should only be meant to REDUCE the risk in the home buying process.

    Do you seriously think taking away the SOPs and replacing it with the IRC that does not address half the items I write up is worth while and the progressive way to go.

    You would be opening up the raunchiest can of worms you would ever want to smell. That would be like us putting a sealed stamped and certified approval on the entire construction process on the home which we do not see much of unless it is a full phase inspection.

    Please gentlemen. You would be replacing something you do not like with something that would be totally impossible to follow in a home inspection. You would have to know every code and time implemented as far back as the oldest home you inspect because it could not be enforced inspecting a home built in 1962 with codes in the 2008 IRC.

    Watch out what you ask for. You may just get it. Oh yeah, and don't you just love a code book filled with commentary to explain the new code and changes to it instead of just an understandable code that needs no explanation (that is what TREC wants to do. Where do you think they got it from. And you want to complain about and or condemn it?) Commentary is bull**** and something no one wants to step in. It will be a tear down of everything you do and then every lawyer on the planet will try to show its meaning in a court of law. Why do you think the Bible is soooo interpreted in sooooo many ways. Everyone trying to put there own spin on all the commentary (the entire book) There is not enough time in a day to do what either of you suggests in a home inspection. Now of course if you wish to burden a home buyer with a 1000 dollar inspection and cut out 2/3rds of all inspections due to folks not being able to afford it then go ahead and push for enforcement and change to what you want.

    It is never going to happen. Pushing for that is like TREC trying to push for home inspectors spending more time at the home inspection and a longer write up for the inspection.

    I say both the TREC folks and the IRC folks b oth need to back off.

    Like I said. You want to protect home inspectors so we are not paid less than handyman services. 1 year mandatory apprentice. 6 month mandatory real estate inspector. At least 600 hours of real class study and or a combo of real world knowledge of the industry.

    The SOPs are fine for what they are. To try to add to and improve upon at this time they just become convoluted and absurd. To change it to IRC followings all the way back to when ever (or what code was used at the time) forget about it.

    Yes, many items we inspect are based on code. Leave it alone at that..

    Enough is enough. Sometimes it is just time to just leave well enough alone. Play police when someone files a complaint about someone else. Until then it is Knapp time.


  11. #11
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Do you seriously think taking away the SOPs and replacing it with the IRC that does not address half the items I write up is worth while and the progressive way to go.
    TM: Yes, I do.

    You would be replacing something you do not like with something that would be totally impossible to follow in a home inspection.
    TM: You are obviously not familiar with the current SOP which is exactly as you describe.

    You would have to know every code and time implemented as far back as the oldest home you inspect because it could not be enforced inspecting a home built in 1962 with codes in the 2008 IRC.
    TM: Not true. You are currently required to report many issues if they are not compliant with the current code. Why not exercise a bit of consistency and make that all issues?

    don't you just love a code book filled with commentary to explain the new code and changes to it instead of just an understandable code that needs no explanation
    TM: You fail to understand that the model code commentaries are not enforceable. The TREC commentary will be in its current form.

    There is not enough time in a day to do what either of you suggests in a home inspection.
    TM: Wrong again. I have been doing just that for nearly 10 years.

    It is never going to happen.
    TM: Never say never.

    1 year mandatory apprentice.
    TM: How does that help when most of the inspectors cleared to sponsor apprentices are themselves not capable of inspecting a house?


  12. #12
    John Brown's Avatar
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    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    The original intent of the 2009 SoP upgrade was to provide a higher level of report for the average TX buyer and hopefully also increase fees. I assume this because the authors are mostly active inspectors.

    You can get an idea of what a nice compliant (and then some; this is not the minimum) report would be from one of the authors web site.

    Houston Real Estate Inspector - Willcox Inspections - Sample Real Estate Inspection Report

    Now, do you think you could anywhere near this kind of report in a timely manner and charge accordingly with the bottom feeders out there not doing the same?

    It aint working, folks. Potential lawsuits are being discouraged by arbitration clauses and the limits on liability established by cases such as Head vs. US Inspect. There's no weeding out going on. At least by buyers. The last major suit I've read about was by a seller over a report that had too much in it. Theres one guy I know of who is still doing handwritten checklists. Supposedly based on the new SoP. Unbelievable.

    Lets get back to a simple ASHI blow and go inspection so we can do 2+ a day and make a decent living on the meager fees the public expects to pay.


  13. #13
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    JB: There are many proponents of a simplified SOP, and hence a simplified report scenario. While I do not entirely disagree with that movement, I do not think you will ever see it happen.

    The TREC uses TAREI as a breeding ground for TRECIAC members. The TRECIAC in turn is a sham intended to placate Texas inspectors by lending the appearance of representation on the TREC board; something we have never had and will never have.

    The TRECIAC needs something to do other than just sit around on their hands. Hence the incessant tweaking of the feckless SOP and, here recently, the talk of publishing a commentary to "clarify" the un-claifiable. It is just the same old schit that oozes out of Austin's every pore.

    Republican attorneys protecting Republican brokers and title companies.


  14. #14
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    JB: Who are you "really"? And is Bitter Gulch near Left Armpit?

    Just curious.


  15. #15
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Nolan Kienitz View Post
    JB: Who are you "really"? And is Bitter Gulch near Left Armpit?

    Just curious.
    NK: there is no John Brown licensed in the State of Texas.
    Bitter Gulch: Latitude: 33.3809224 - Longitude: -100.3812222, which is more or less Lubbock.


  16. #16
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Wink Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    I serve the greater Bitter Gulch metroplex, including Lunktown, Possum Holler, Leadville, Heartbreak City, and Alkali Flats. Because we're one of the few areas in Tejas that voted for Obama, we are getting all sorts of stimulus projects here, including an olympic pool for our elementary school, a much-needed Naval Observatory, and a moose-mating research station. Your hard-earned tax dollars at work rebuilding America!

    In the meantime inspections fees around here have risen to a record $97.50 (with coupon) but that includes the WDI. What a deal! I even check ram pressure on the trash compactor with the new laser Comp-Chek Z3000, from InspectorWidgets.com.

    I'm looking forward to the Commentary II to the explain the Commentary.

    JB


  17. #17
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Quote Originally Posted by John Brown View Post
    I serve the greater Bitter Gulch metroplex, including Lunktown, Possum Holler, Leadville, Heartbreak City, and Alkali Flats. Because we're one of the few areas in Tejas that voted for Obama, we are getting all sorts of stimulus projects here, including an olympic pool for our elementary school, a much-needed Naval Observatory, and a moose-mating research station. Your hard-earned tax dollars at work rebuilding America!

    In the meantime inspections fees around here have risen to a record $97.50 (with coupon) but that includes the WDI. What a deal! I even check ram pressure on the trash compactor with the new laser Comp-Chek Z3000, from InspectorWidgets.com.

    I'm looking forward to the Commentary II to the explain the Commentary.

    JB
    JB: Exactly what did you say you were growing in your garage?


  18. #18

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    I thought you Texas guy's were like the Marlborough Man. Rough and Tough. I would think that with the number of inspectors you have you could band together and hire a really good PR firm to list the participating inspectors who charge more, but give more. Like a "Band Of Brothers" thing. I recently spent three days around the Austin area and I didn't find anyone in any of the service business or retail trades giving any big discounts. If you compete with 97.00 inspections then you need to tell the Texas home buying folks what they get for 97.00 and compare it to what they can get for the $500.00 you should be charging. I would also think that there might be some restraint of trade issues with requiring a report that you can't make profitable. There is strength in numbers. You just have to work together. And, couldn't a bunch of you make that 97.00 guy disappear into one of the caverns around Austin?


  19. #19
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    In all seriousness, forget about the SoP and the Commentary.

    Word on the street is that there is going to be a TREC inspector "summit" at A&M March 22 organized by the TREC. In attendance to be big wheels from various organizations plus members of the inspector committee.

    Speculating that this is in anticipation that legislature next session may cut funding for inspector oversight. Inspectors could end up at TDLR. Yes, that TDLR, home of Tow Truck Operators and Weather Modifiers, among others.

    Will TAR step in to keep the groveling inspector community under its thumb?


  20. #20
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Quote Originally Posted by John Brown View Post
    In all seriousness, forget about the SoP and the Commentary.

    Word on the street is that there is going to be a TREC inspector "summit" at A&M March 22 organized by the TREC. In attendance to be big wheels from various organizations plus members of the inspector committee.

    Speculating that this is in anticipation that legislature next session may cut funding for inspector oversight. Inspectors could end up at TDLR. Yes, that TDLR, home of Tow Truck Operators and Weather Modifiers, among others.

    Will TAR step in to keep the groveling inspector community under its thumb?
    JB: It would be a far, far better thing to have our own board at the TDLR than to be the perennial stepchildren at the TREC.


  21. #21
    Richard Soundy's Avatar
    Richard Soundy Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Mr. Miller,

    A few questions and statement to help me understand the current status in Texas HI industry:

    1. When you state "our own board" who exactly do you mean?

    2. Surely TREC consults with all representatives of HI industry by involvement of the Organizations/Associations already established in Texas - not necessary the complete boards, but at least one representative from each??

    3. Naturally I would expect involvement from TAR and other stakeholders in the RE market, but a SoP consideration for "inspections" HAS TO include the full gambit of Home Inspectors! Yes/No? If NO, then what is up with the governace of the State of Texas?

    All the best - Richard


  22. #22
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    1. When you state "our own board" who exactly do you mean?
    RS: HIs in Texas are currently licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission. The commission has a board of directors which consists of brokers, attorneys, and public members - but no inspectors. Does the term "taxation without representation" ring a bell?

    2. Surely TREC consults with all representatives of HI industry by involvement of the Organizations/Associations already established in Texas - not necessary the complete boards, but at least one representative from each??
    RS: The TREC has arranged for a Inspector Advisory Committee which consists of politically-motivated HIs with time on their hands, i.e. bored-to-tears inspectors d.b.a. political dabblers. You cannot be elected to the position, but rather must be anointed by the TREC. This is a bit like the ultimate realtor referral list, but without getting any jobs from it. It is simply a committee to give the appearance that HIs have representation, when the opposite is true.

    3. Naturally I would expect involvement from TAR and other stakeholders in the RE market, but a SoP consideration for "inspections" HAS TO include the full gambit of Home Inspectors! Yes/No? If NO, then what is up with the governance of the State of Texas?
    RS: What is up with the governance of the State of Texas is Republicans. Do I need to spell that part out for you? HIs have no say regarding their profession. None whatsoever. Now the appraisers, though overseen from arm's length by the TREC, did warrant their own board. Go figure.

    That said, here on the dwindling end of the George W. Bush-induced Great Depression 2.0, and with State budgets shot all to hell, there is a chance, however meager, that HIs may get their own board at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

    Last edited by A.D. Miller; 03-09-2010 at 10:27 AM.

  23. #23
    Richard Soundy's Avatar
    Richard Soundy Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    AD,

    Thank you for the quick response.

    What is your association doing in regards this matter (assuming you do belong to one of the many HI associations or organizations operating in Texas)?

    The Federal and or Political standing in the USA is what it is. Frankly I have difficulty distinguishing one Political party from the other - only two choices! So, looking to past parties "in power" is a waste of time in my opinion.

    I feel I have to disclose [1] I cannot vote - not a USA citizen [2] My State (California) is not governed any better than Texas, but my association (CRIEA) generally does react and at the very least gets a voice into such matters.

    Regards - Richard


  24. #24
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Anything happening in Home Inspection should be sent out to all home inspectors on an individual basis to be voted on. The problem with the heads of any Home Inspector organization puting forth suggestions to anyone is the fact that it is there opinion and suggestion on the matter, not necessarily the opinion and suggestion of the home inspectors in that organization.

    Wanna be politicians that have the need to have a badge on their chest and exude the greatness as the leader of some clan. That my friends is what is going on with this country of ours. Chest beating thugs that take their huge salaries and benefits and pentions for life making deals that their constituants know nothing about until its all over.

    AD

    Please stop with the Bush is to blame for everything


  25. #25
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    What is your association doing in regards this matter (assuming you do belong to one of the many HI associations or organizations operating in Texas)?
    RS: I actually did belong to two HI organizations; with the emphasis on "did". I was the webmaster and treasurer for several years at the North Texas chapter of TAREI. That was my first, and likely my last, attempt to get something done in government by working from the inside. Getting a group of HIs to agree on something is like herding inebriated chickens during a hail storm. Most do not understand the problem at hand, many do not even understand the question; and the majority seem just not to care. I was also a founding member of the Texas chapter of ASHI. This was a much brighter group, but amounted mostly to a clash of titanic egos and hosing down the decks with testosterone. I even let them talk me into being the ASHI COR representative for Texas. My first, and last, trip to an ASHI board meeting was truly a lesson in behind-the-curtain chicanery d.b.a. "leading" the profession.

    The Federal and or Political standing in the USA is what it is. Frankly I have difficulty distinguishing one Political party from the other - only two choices!
    RS: There is essentially no difference, save that, among the voters, the "liberals" of either party tend to be more intelligent and informed than their "conservative" counterparts. The politicians of both parties are simply bullshitters on steroids with one hand in the taxpayers pocket and the other in the pants of one of their assistants.

    So, looking to past parties "in power" is a waste of time in my opinion.
    RS: I disagree here. While it is true that the past is a another country and they do things differently there, it can also be a great teacher. Do you really miss the past 8 years of swirling down the proverbial drain? Would you do it again? If so, please don't tell me.

    I feel I have to disclose [1] I cannot vote - not a USA citizen
    RS: You may not be missing much there.

    [2] My State (California) is not governed any better than Texas,
    RS: Agreed. The Terminator, no matter how imposing a figure, simply does not have Rick Perry's hair.

    but my association (CRIEA) generally does react and at the very least gets a voice into such matters.
    RS: It would be nice to have the likes of CREIA in Texas, but I'm convinced that the dumbasses here would eventually disband it in favor of the multiple feckless organizations we now have. Why? Did I ever mention the Republican (conservative) majority here? When people are so essentially ovine and dumbed-down that they would even consider Sarah Palin or her ilk as "leaders", there is little hope left.


  26. #26
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Why? Did I ever mention the Republican (conservative) majority here? When people are so essentially ovine and dumbed-down that they would even consider Sarah Palin or her ilk as "leaders", there is little hope left.
    Palin certainly may not be the one, I'll give you that. We could elect someone like Obama.


    Oh wait.....we already did! That worked...huh?

    A little edit addition here.

    Give me the previous 8 years or even Clinton's 8 years.Both the Dems and Reps went with the flow in both Presidencies. Clinton and every politician road on the phony dot com boom. Bush and every politician did everything they could to keep from imploding at Clinton's end and then imploded anyway. Please get off Bush thing. All your pals were right there with them. Then I could tell you for a fact that I could retire comfortably. The way things are rounding up with all this damn stumbling and fumbling that is going on now I seriously doubt that I will retire ten years from now or ever. The majority in the nations capital right now have absolutely no freeking clue what so ever on how to bring things back around.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 03-10-2010 at 07:15 PM.

  27. #27
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Hey can Texas inspectors just make up their own SoP as part of the departure provision? Maybe this is the way to cut down on time spent at the house and knock out three+ a day and make the big bucks.

    found this guy at nacho.

    http://www.RWHOMEINSPECTIONS.com/Sta...OfPractice.pdf


  28. #28
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    JB -

    Believe that is the Nachi SOP. Did you get in touch with the HI and ask maybe why his webmaster may not have included the TREC SOP as well?

    Could be an oversight.


  29. #29
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Nolan Kienitz View Post
    JB -

    Believe that is the Nachi SOP. Did you get in touch with the HI and ask maybe why his webmaster may not have included the TREC SOP as well?

    Could be an oversight.
    NK: Might be he was embarrassed to display the infamous TREC SOP?


  30. #30
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Could be Freudian slip/ wishful thinkin.

    Nacho: quik and dirty= $$$
    TREC: slow and cumbersome = $

    Folks treat internet advertising like some kind of lark.... if a lawyer was after him it would be trouble, posting nacho's SoP instead of TREC.

    I like ASHI standard. Even more vague and forgiving. That is the home of the minimal 2 hr checklist. And the last half hour is waiting for the dishwasher to finish drying.


  31. #31
    Richard Soundy's Avatar
    Richard Soundy Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    John B,

    Look at this issue from a different aspect.

    All (or most) SoP's are a minimal and the majority of inspectors exceed this standard to meet their clients needs.

    Texas SoP, INachi SoP and ASHI SoP etc, etc, all have much in common and it is likely that no matter whose SoP you use, your final report (the findings = DATA) should be able to generate a tailored report to meet the requirements imposed on us by State or Local Jurisdiction.

    Who cares which SoP you select? This choice is going to be based on "what SoP has the most clout in the judicial system I or you operate under".

    Soooo Simple - the DATA is your findings and with a click of a button you are more than likely able to generate any kind of report you choose to meet most Sop's. If you cannot do this then the problem becomes your selection of software, not your performance as an inspector.

    All the best - Richard


  32. #32
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Hi Richard,

    The Feb 2009 Texas SoP is a much higher standard than the others, at its minimum. Here are some examples. Must get up on roof or explain why not. Must verify grounding and bonding at equipment. Must check water pressure. Fire separation at garage. Verify water heater element functionality (how you gonna do that, and how long will it take?). Verify performance of individual heat strips in electric furnace. AFCI to the latest standard. It goes on and on.

    The fireplace section alone could take 15 minutes to inspect and write up accurately:

    "Fireplace and chimney. The inspector shall report as Deficient: (1) built-up creosote in visible areas of the firebox and flue; (2) the presence of combustible materials in near proximity to the firebox opening; (3) the absence of fireblocking at the attic penetration of the chimney flue, where accessible; (4) an inoperative circulating fan; and (5) deficiencies in the: (A) damper; (B) lintel, hearth, hearth extension, and firebox; (C) gas log lighter valve and location; (D) combustion air vents; and (E) chimney structure, termination, coping, crown, caps, and spark arrestor."

    And if something is inaccessible or can't be verified, you need to say so, otherwise the assumption is by client that it was OK. That takes time.

    I see all these little ASHI homegauge type sample reports all over the internet (from all over the country). $250-$300. 2-3 hours total (meaning the magic two a day), very few checkboxes checked, some pretty pictures (like of a door that doesnt latch). Well $300 is what the public expects to pay, and that is what they get, and in TX inspectors are over a barrel, because they can't generate a compliant report (especially on an older house) for that kind of money. And everybody knows that they carry E&O by law. A wonderful business model.

    The bottom line is that in TX there are very few compliant reports being written. Folks are winging it. And so far nobody has noticed.

    Just my 2c.

    Respectfully,

    JB


  33. #33
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    The bottom line is that in TX there are very few compliant reports being written. Folks are winging it. And so far nobody has noticed.

    JB: I happen to be one that has been writing more than compliant reports all along. You can take it from me that doing 2 inspections a day in Texas, when actually complying with the SOP, is like doing a week of inspections in Lalaland, which is everywhere outside of Texas.

    Those who doubt this are welcome to come and try it for yourselves.


  34. #34
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Quote Originally Posted by John Brown View Post
    Hi Richard,

    The Feb 2009 Texas SoP is a much higher standard than the others, at its minimum. Here are some examples. Must get up on roof or explain why not. Must verify grounding and bonding at equipment. Must check water pressure. Fire separation at garage. Verify water heater element functionality (how you gonna do that, and how long will it take?). Verify performance of individual heat strips in electric furnace. AFCI to the latest standard. It goes on and on.

    The fireplace section alone could take 15 minutes to inspect and write up accurately:

    "Fireplace and chimney. The inspector shall report as Deficient: (1) built-up creosote in visible areas of the firebox and flue; (2) the presence of combustible materials in near proximity to the firebox opening; (3) the absence of fireblocking at the attic penetration of the chimney flue, where accessible; (4) an inoperative circulating fan; and (5) deficiencies in the: (A) damper; (B) lintel, hearth, hearth extension, and firebox; (C) gas log lighter valve and location; (D) combustion air vents; and (E) chimney structure, termination, coping, crown, caps, and spark arrestor."

    And if something is inaccessible or can't be verified, you need to say so, otherwise the assumption is by client that it was OK. That takes time.

    I see all these little ASHI homegauge type sample reports all over the internet (from all over the country). $250-$300. 2-3 hours total (meaning the magic two a day), very few checkboxes checked, some pretty pictures (like of a door that doesnt latch). Well $300 is what the public expects to pay, and that is what they get, and in TX inspectors are over a barrel, because they can't generate a compliant report (especially on an older house) for that kind of money. And everybody knows that they carry E&O by law. A wonderful business model.

    The bottom line is that in TX there are very few compliant reports being written. Folks are winging it. And so far nobody has noticed.

    Just my 2c.

    Respectfully,

    JB
    And


    Not to be a smart ass but.....so.

    What is your point.

    The clients are happy. Most if not all the major items are being caught about all the time by most inspectors.

    Most all the minor concerns are found by most inspectors.

    In general a pretty good bunch of honest folks out there making an honest living tryin not to get bogged down into all the mumbo jumbo that is going on out there.

    Again...what is your point.

    Clients are generally a pretty happy lot and they know that if it were not for us they would have a butt load of dollars going out on items they would not have found out about later . For that matter I can guaranty you there are a lot of homes that don't get purchased by clients due to so many items found at the inspection that there generally honest hard working home inspector found for their sake.

    To much stinking bureaucracy going on everywhere and the more there is the more that people want.

    Look at what is going on in the country right now. Senators and Congressman voting on things that they are not absolutely sure of what they are voting on only to vote on fixes later that really are not going to change because there leaders convinced them that they should vote now and fix later for the sake of making the final step in destroying incomes, raising costs for all time to come, imposing new taxes, giving the IRS a more mighty hand, not worrying about the plethora of folks hitting and soon to hit the Medicaid and Medicare route, offer tax credits to all those that cannot afford it like it is their money or make believe money that is giving these tax credits instead of home inspectors, nurses, doctors, businessmen and all being the ones giving these tax credits, make believe lowering of the deficit....................................

    Damn I could have kept on for the next hour but I think you and the rest of the country is getting my point.

    Stop with the bureaucracy and politics and I am mightier and much watch out for you crap that is going on. It is high time this all stopped and we get on to working more for a living and taking care of our own.

    The only trying the government should have tried to work out with health care was no limits and pre-existing conditions and taking car of the multitude of old folks and soon to be old folks.

    What was the Presidents speech. We are finally not the last hold out in democratic countries to take that ride down the slippery slope to insolvency. Oh wait. He did not actually say that but meant to

    For those that do not know

    insolvency n. 1) the condition of having more debts (liabilities) than total assets which might be available to pay them, even if the assets were mortgaged or sold. 2) a determination by a bankruptcy court that a person or business cannot raise the funds to pay all of his/her debts. The court will then "discharge" (forgive) some or all of the debts, leaving those creditors holding the bag and not getting what is owed them. The supposedly insolvent individual debtor, even though found to be bankrupt, is allowed certain exemptions, which permit him/her to retain a car, business equipment, personal property, and often a home as long as he/she continues to make payments on a loan secured by the property. (See: bankruptcy)

    And for those that ask what this might have to do with home inspection.........

    Wait....you will find out. I guaranty you. You will find out very soon.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Quote Originally Posted by John Brown View Post
    Hi Richard,

    The bottom line is that in TX there are very few compliant reports being written. Folks are winging it. And so far nobody has noticed.

    Just my 2c.

    Respectfully,

    JB
    I would say that is true about 50% of the time in all states that have a state mandated SOP. TX inspectors are not alone in what Y'all have to do, granted you do have some seriously off the wall stuff, but it is what it is.

    The kicker is that any SOP is the bare minimum and if you just report the minimum it won't take long before you get a letter or call about somthing you missed.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  36. #36
    Richard Soundy's Avatar
    Richard Soundy Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    John B.,

    I get your point! The crux of the matter lies in your paragraph "I see all these little ASHI homegauge type sample reports all over the internet (from all over the country). $250-$300." Have you noticed what other trades and professions charge for services (with very low liability...) - with out a shadow-of-doubt we are under charging for our services by 40% or 50%. Who's fault is that? Ours!

    SoP is one thing, but a Standard expected from our client is another. Like AD stated he conforms to the Texas Standard, so do I and likely so do most of us. Because our client expects this type of service from a HI. Realistic you must look to these inspections as being ~2.5hrs inspection, ~1.5hrs report generation and ~1hr. quality consultation time with client for a <2000sq.foot home. Two a day is unrealistic.

    I could go into details on some of the specifics you stated regarding the requirements of the Texas SoP like Chimneys, but that would become a personal choice based on my business practice (I hate them...). The fact that E&O insurance is mandated is in my opinion just playing up to an already corrupt system - again it is personal, Texas has far more important things to mandate such as "everybody taking responsibility for their own actions" and lawyers butting out....

    Generating a "compliant report" should be simple - 80% mandatory text, no Pictures and no opinions. The real quality of your inspection goes to your client and I have chosen to do this in a consultive manner where I share the information like pictures and opinions.

    All the best - Richard


  37. #37
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Soundy View Post
    John B.,

    I get your point! The crux of the matter lies in your paragraph "I see all these little ASHI homegauge type sample reports all over the internet (from all over the country). $250-$300." Have you noticed what other trades and professions charge for services (with very low liability...) - with out a shadow-of-doubt we are under charging for our services by 40% or 50%. Who's fault is that? Ours!

    SoP is one thing, but a Standard expected from our client is another. Like AD stated he conforms to the Texas Standard, so do I and likely so do most of us. Because our client expects this type of service from a HI. Realistic you must look to these inspections as being ~2.5hrs inspection, ~1.5hrs report generation and ~1hr. quality consultation time with client for a <2000sq.foot home. Two a day is unrealistic.

    I could go into details on some of the specifics you stated regarding the requirements of the Texas SoP like Chimneys, but that would become a personal choice based on my business practice (I hate them...). The fact that E&O insurance is mandated is in my opinion just playing up to an already corrupt system - again it is personal, Texas has far more important things to mandate such as "everybody taking responsibility for their own actions" and lawyers butting out....

    Generating a "compliant report" should be simple - 80% mandatory text, no Pictures and no opinions. The real quality of your inspection goes to your client and I have chosen to do this in a consultive manner where I share the information like pictures and opinions.

    All the best - Richard
    My *opinion* is that the entire report is an inspectors opinion based on his extent of knowledge. Simply stating that there is a faulty light switch, although true and for what ever reason, is your opinion. Pictures all through the report. My report is about 98 percent typed in and only applicable checked boxes if necessary. no need for a check box if you are writing about something to do with a check box.

    As far as the blue highlight

    Now add in the time marketing and or sitting on your backside in the slow times and that five hours turns into 8 real quick.....per inspection.


  38. #38
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Two a day is unrealistic.
    RS: Uncomfortable, but not unrealistic.

    The fact that E&O insurance is mandated is in my opinion just playing up to an already corrupt system
    RS: That goes without saying.

    Texas has far more important things to mandate such as "everybody taking responsibility for their own actions" and lawyers butting out....
    RS: Yes, but with the Republicans in Austin, this will never happen.

    Generating a "compliant report" should be simple
    RS: Should be, but is not.


  39. #39
    Richard Soundy's Avatar
    Richard Soundy Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Ted,

    You are correct, using "opinion" may not be the correct wording. Here is what I am trying to say:

    I select a typical example I just saw on the recent "post/pre tension" thread.

    "A post-tension tendon strand end was observed in the tendon pocket. This must be repaired to prevent further corrosion. You are strongly urged to have this condition further evaluated by a licensed professional structural engineer as per Post-Tensioning Institute’s “Post-Tensioning Manual”, 6th Edition, 20.3: POST CONSTRUCTION INSPECTION – Inspection of post-tensioned structures during service should be done on a periodic basis to assess the need for any preventative maintenance . . . Inspections should focus on concrete deterioration or other conditions that could expose the prestressing steel or other tendon components to corrosion. Structures with tendons that have been exposed, or tendons that appear to be corroded or broken, should be evaluated by an experienced engineer to determine if the structural integrity or capacity of the affected concrete member has been compromised.”

    This is what I call, IMO, an "opinion" that should not be in the compliant report. Of course, AD has every right (and expected) to share this information with his client per his standard business practice - this should be strictly between him and his client.

    IMO, the compliant report, using mandatory text would read something like this:

    "Post or Pre tensioned cable exposed to the environmental elements on the mid section of west side of home. Recommend further evaluation by a licensed, qualified specialist in this field."

    Ted, I am a strong believer in simplifying our report method/style to provide the "bare bones" requirement (like the SoP's). Regarding the findings and explaining such to your client, sharing pictures etc.. make that an ancillary part of your services which IMO should remain verbal (in consultation form).

    I realize we all carry out our business as suited to the local market conditions and sometimes we must comply to what is acceptable locally. So, it does become a personal choice in most cases.

    Best regards - Richard


  40. #40
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    This is what I call, IMO, an "opinion" that should not be in the compliant report. Of course, AD has every right (and expected) to share this information with his client per his standard business practice - this should be strictly between him and his client.
    RS: Actually, this does not fall under the heading of an "opinion". PT foundations are engineered systems, with the details of their design and construction being mandated by several entities, e.g. the PTI, ACI, and the IRC and IBC.

    The quote within my report comment is taken directly from the PTI literature. All PT foundation design drawings (plans) contain a general notes page by the design firm's engineer that states the foundation is designed in accordance with PTI and perhaps also WRI standards. So then, if the design engineer, the PTI, and the IRC require PTI compliance, how is this just my opinion?


  41. #41
    Richard Soundy's Avatar
    Richard Soundy Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    AD,

    My opening sentence addressed to Ted, already acknowledges that "opinion" is more than likely the wrong word to use - so, yes you are correct.

    I am not saying the way you report the subject findings is incorrect by any means - this is what I believe to be a personal business choice. Like a religion. if it works for you and brings in more business then "stick with it".

    In my humble opinion, the more words ... the bigger the report, the less likely it will be read, except for a lawyer.

    All the best - Richard
    PS - I am very familiar with PT and the institute, since this is a long standing family business.


  42. #42
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    Like a religion.
    RS: I have heard that my reports have brought many a realtor to Jesus

    In my humble opinion, the more words ... the bigger the report, the less likely it will be read, except for a lawyer.
    RS: When one is writing a report one is not just writing it for a client, but for many other entities who likely will gain access to it:

    (1) Agents and brokers
    (2) Builders
    (3) Insurance companies
    (4) Lenders
    (5) Repair persons
    (6) Contractors
    (7) Attorneys
    (8) Grand juries
    (9) Lynch mobs

    The more you write, the more it looks as if you actually did your job, and the less likely it is that any of the above can claim you did not fully disclose your findings. The less you write, the more it looks as if you (1) don't know much, and (2) didn't do much. The minimalist's way is not the safest way by any stretch of the imagination.


  43. #43
    Richard Soundy's Avatar
    Richard Soundy Guest

    Default Re: Texas SoP fresh thread

    AD,

    Items (1) (3) and (4) could care less for the written explanation and in reality a A,B,C rating would suffice.

    Items (2) (5) and (6) would be okay, but deferring with the added words to the "licensed/qualified specialist" would only be repeating what "they" should already know.

    Items (7) (8) and (9) - heaven forbid! The words I hear reverberating in the law schools under Ms. Justice, holding scales and sword is .... "put it in writing and we will sue" Just like that sword, it is double edged - "if it is not in writing it is harder to sue" Hence Lawyers and insurance companies always tell you to put it in writing ...

    I add (10) My Client - no harm in your full explanation and I am sure very much expected.

    AD, the SoP is a minimal, the compliant report should match in my OPINION. I am also aware that our clients expect more than the minimal that is why we earn the so called extra bucks!

    Best regards - Richard
    PS Wishing the day will come when we can have printers that print with inks that will gradually fade once the information is absorbed - hell, it would have to include the files on our computer as well ... no end to this trail!

    VBR - RS


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