I live in Southwest Houston. Obviously we have quite a mess down here. I was very blessed and did not suffer damage to my home. I have had a few evacuees staying with me and done a few “rescues” to try to help my friends and neighbors. Now we are beginning to move into the clean up and restore stage and I’m beginning to get calls from realtors from realtors to perform inspections to determine storm damage for sellers and check homes that were under contract for sellers. (They don’t want a full inspection, just a “check-up”.) I am not sure how I feel about this because I don’t like the idea of taking advantage of the misfortune of others. At the same time this is my business and livelihood. This brings me to my questions:
Have any of you had past experiences with this type of circumstance and how did you handle it?
Did you charge and if so what percentage of your typical fee?
Be mindful of where you receive your responses. Most non-Texas inspectors are not knowledgeable in the requirements imposed on you by TREC. Remember that TREC is a self-funded agency. They exist on fees and penalties charged to licensees. Don’t give them extra funding out of your wallet.
§535.223 Standard Inspection Report Form(a)(1) states
§535.223 Standard Inspection Report Form(a)(6) states
So based on the regulation, it would appear clear that any inspection that is not performed for a prospective buyer or seller does not fall under TREC’s jurisdiction and you can do whatever you and your client want. Also if you are performing “re-inspections of a property performed for the same client” you do not have to use the TREC promulgated report form. If the house is for sale or it’s not a reinspection or it’s not limited to a single system, I thinks the regs require you to produce a TREC report (maybe you could thread the needle and do the inspection for the agent vs. the buyer or seller, but I wouldn’t try it). You may wish to contact TREC for their non-binding opinion.
What that means to me:
For clients that I have already performed a TREC compliant inspection, I can perform a walkthrough reinspection of undefined scope and not produce a TREC report - I’m doing this free of charge for post-Harvey specific walkthrough re-inspections on behalf of my clients.
If the house is not being sold, it doesn’t fall under TREC’s jurisdiction and I can perform any type of inspection I choose (e.g., a Storm Damage Assessment) and document it any way I choose.
If the house is for sale and I didn’t already inspect it, the only type of inspection that I offer is a TREC compliant inspection.
You may interpret the rules differently or you may parse words and find a way to make it work but you could wind up funding more of TREC than you want to.
As much as we would like to help homeowners in this horrific disaster I don’t honestly see the purpose in taking a home owner or home buyer’s money for this type of effort. At this time there will most likely be at least one, possibly two, “inspections” performed on the home. One would be by a FEMA Inspector (Vanguard EM or PB Disaster Services) and possibly a second by an Adjuster dealing with FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Those are the two that will account for anything whether it is Federal aid or NFIP payout.
I certainly don’t understand why any Realtor is attempting to get in the middle of the FEMA/NFIP process by advising their clients to contact and pay for an independent Inspector to provide them an inspection service that FEMA/NFIP will not be using?
Mike, you got some excellent info here from two very
educated & experienced Texas inspectors to help guide you. As Chuck stated, b**e mindful of where you receive your responses.
Good luck to you & be safe!
You guys are awesome! Thanks so much for the guidance. As Chuck suggested, I think I will just offer a free re-inspection for prior clients impacted by Harvey.
Emmanuel, I was made aware of the FEMA inspections by a friend and have initiated the process through Vanguard. Going that route makes much more sense to me and it is something I will be able to do that will be helpful and I can feel good about…and I won’t be walking in any gray areas with TREC.