By Keith Boggs
Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:00 am CT
COVID-19, aka Coronavirus, has slammed the brakes on nearly all aspects of daily life. It’s surreal — like a nightmare science fiction movie where some unknown creature seems to be lurking around each and every corner. And the full impact is yet to be understood. Many changes will be long-lasting; some will be permanent. And it looks like we will be standing six feet away from one another for quite some time to come.
Yet with all this uncertainness, some semblance of life must, and will, continue. And fortunately, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has declared that real estate services are an essential business. Sellers can still sell, buyers can still find their next home, and realtors can continue helping connect the two.
Home inspections are a critical part of this essential real estate ecosystem. The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) requires them before a sale can move forward. And despite the current madness, they’re happening every day. The home inspection experience, however, has changed to help keep all of us as safe as possible.
What can you expect from a home inspection during the COVID-19 pandemic? And how should the current health crisis influence how you select a home inspector? First, familiarize yourself with what you should expect from a home inspection during “normal” circumstances and how some inspectors go above and beyond. Then, read our list of 13 questions you should ask a home inspector before you hire one. And finally, add these four questions to the list.
What health safety precautions do your inspectors take during an inspection?
This is a crucial point to drill into with your home inspection company because the answer has the potential to affect the health and wellness of anyone who comes into the home after the inspector has done his work. All inspectors should wear protective gear, including masks and gloves. They should sanitize their equipment before and after the inspection. They should also clean the fixtures and appliances they touch during the inspection process. And they should maintain a six-foot distance from other people during the process.
Do you evaluate a house’s components differently given COVID-19?
What you don’t want is for a home inspector to use the pandemic as a reason to skimp on your inspection. You still need to know the overall condition of the home and property, so you can negotiate a fair deal and have peace of mind making this significant investment. And TREC’s minimum requirements still apply. Make sure your inspector won’t do less than what TREC demands, and ideally, that they will go above and beyond the minimum requirements to offer you additional detail, photos and videos, and recommendations for addressing defects.
Should buyers still plan to attend the inspection?
In the past, we have suggested that home buyers attend the inspection, at least for a bit of time toward the end, so they can get a debrief in person with the home inspector. But times have changed. If buyers do attend, the conversation has to happen from a distance, making it difficult to communicate effectively. If they don’t attend, they may be concerned about the depth of the inspection, worry that they won’t get the information they need, or be concerned about being able to ask their inspector questions to clarify his findings. The decision to attend or not is yours, but you want to mitigate any risks that may arise if you aren’t present — which leads me to the last question…
How do I get the information I need if I’m not there?
In this era of social distancing, the quality of the inspection report is more important than ever before. TREC only requires pass/fail notations with brief explanatory comments — no photos or videos, no recommendations about potential repairs. We provide one of the most detailed reports in the business, averaging 50 to 70 pages with hundreds of photos and videos. We also record a full video debrief of our findings, which is normally around 20 to 40 minutes long — something very few home inspectors do. Whether you’re present or not, you’ll be able to see and hear the inspection details as if you were standing right next to us. And this video is embedded in the report’s cover page to make it easily accessible to you or anyone else you want to review the findings. So, if you want an older parent or immune-compromised loved one or friend to weigh in on your home-buying decision, just forward the full report on to them!
Finally, you want to know that your inspector will be available after you review the report and watch the videos to answer any questions you may have. We are always here for you via email or a direct call to my cell phone.
Below are the areas we inspect, covering over 600 items in 30 different areas. Inspections of new builds include Thermal Imaging. Inspections of pre-owned houses include a Termite Report and inspection of exposed gas lines. Additional services can be purchased. Please visit www.stonebriarpropertyinspections.com to learn more.
Our detailed home inspections include the analysis of the home’s:
- Grading and drainage, including guttering
- Roof covering materials
- Roof structures and attics
- Interior and exterior walls
- Ceilings and floors
- Doors and windows
- Interior and exterior stairways
- Fireplaces and chimneys
- Porches, balconies, decks, and carports
- Electrical systems, including panels, outlets, and fixtures
- Heating, ventilation, and cooling systems
- Plumbing systems and fixtures
- Major appliances
- Garages and garage door openers
- Sprinkler systems
- Driveways, walkways, and patios
- Gas lines and meters
- Outdoor kitchens
- And much more…
About Keith Boggs
Keith Boggs is the owner of Stonebriar Property Inspections. He is your personal home inspector, and his investment in the company will be reflected in the quality of your inspection. Keith’s inspection reports are professional, comprehensive, detailed, and clear. They average about 70 pages and include 80 to 100 color images, detailed findings, and recommendations, along with tips and best practices for maintaining your home.
Stonebriar Property Inspection’s customer reviews speak to Keith’s reputation as an ethical, reliable, and courteous Dallas home inspector. Stonebriar Property Inspections is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating. SPI is fully licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission for home inspections and the Texas Department of Agriculture for termite/wood destroying insect inspections.