Things you should know

New Home Construction Phase Inspections

New Construction:
Inspecting your largest investment and why it is important.

If you have purchased your new home, but are still under your first-year warranty... ATTENTION !

The new home industry is moving so fast. Skilled labor in the housing industry can be difficult to find. Builders often shift work to other locations and cannot show up when you are counting on it the most, because production builders have to keep their work moving. Oftentimes they are hiring low cost unskilled laborers as work force.

My firsthand experience in building commercial buildings and custom homes was so frustrating, it forced me to pay over budget to get skilled workers, or I had to do the work myself. National builders have specific timelines that have to be met. You think they would include this in their contracts? They sure do... no promises, no guarantees... but when we say it is finished, you have to jump through hoops and close with only a day’s or two of notice.

What have real estate agents done to help their clients? Residential home inspectors in Texas fall under the jurisdiction of the Texas Real Estate Commission, (TREC). TREC (real estate agents) has established the necessary standards that inspectors must meet in both their qualifications and their reporting of findings. The "professional" level inspector in Texas has the highest qualifications, experience, education and knowledge out of all fifty states. In many cases the professional inspector has previously constructed homes or been in the homebuilding industry gaining a tremendous insight into how things are supposed to be done - and why. Several "national builders" will not hire construction superintendents with experience. In fact, they require in most cases that the superintendent or construction supervisor have no previous experience. These managers are counting on the sub-contractor to supervise his own work, or the city inspector to write a defects punch list of errors.

Where does this leave the homebuyer? If you don’t have an inspector, you better look over the shoulder of the laborers as often as possible, or hope the supervisor has been doing so. It is an astounding fact that most construction supervisors depend on the city inspector to find the mistakes and leave him a punch list of corrections. What if the home is being built outside the city limits! City inspectors are one of the most overloaded pieces of the construction world, with no help in sight because of budget constraints. Usually city inspectors have 10- plus inspections daily and are known to have walked in, turn around a couple of times and walk out. It is a fact that sometimes they have issued 'green tags' on homes they did not inspect. So, where does this leave the new homebuyer? Hire your own inspector. And a real estate agent.

The professional home inspector is the difference in whether or not everyone comes away from the experience without saying, "I will never build another house again!" Instead, because there was a home inspector involved through all phases of the construction process, the result was getting the very dream house they envisioned from the start.
In fact, there are some builders who now hire inspectors for phase inspection in an attempt to improve their customer satisfaction after the close and to reduce the warranty callbacks which are very troublesome and expensive to builders. Hire a professional inspector and real estate agent they should know the builder's reputation beyond the hype of the marketing pros.

In 2003 the Texas legislature enacted a new law specifically directed to protecting the homebuyer. Now all builders in Texas have to register with the Texas Residential Construction Commission, (TRCC). They have to register every house they build. And when there is a dispute, who does the state call? TRCC calls a code certified inspector.
Should one of the two sides still not be satisfied, who does the state call?
TRCC calls three code certified inspectors to inspect the grievance and to render one opinion and the matter is settled.
This new law was implemented, to counter an effort by a group gaining a lot of attention called "Sick of Bad Builders". A professional inspector will make the difference when given the opportunity. The earlier an inspector gets involved in the construction process, the smoother and happier everyone will be and the Better Built your home will be. (Even the builder benefits in the end, from having fewer callback service calls.)

Production builders build under many different names, but rest assured they have one objective: Profit. Regardless of their slogan the one common thread that runs through them all is... "Get it finished", "Get it closed", "Get the next one started." Some builder will tell you that you don’t need an inspector, because they will take care of you and besides, you have a whole year of warranty to find everything! After that ...it’s your problem!

Why are Property Inspections Report forms important?

Have you considered...?

Most home inspections pay for themselves - and then some: They will actually save you money in the long run!
In most transactions an allowance is made to repair/replace some of the items discovered during the home inspection. If you do not have an inspection done, these problems will not surface and you have nothing to base renegotiations on. Also, not having an inspection done will likely cost you money when you sell: The next buyer’s home inspection will undoubtedly turn up items, that would have surfaced during your purchasing of the home, had you had an inspection performed. The only difference is that now you will be asked to pay for it.

Top Ten Defects Found During Warranty Inspection

1. Roof Defects

2. Water Intrusion Areas of Concern

3. Lot Drainage Problems

4. Plumbing Issues

5. Gas Leaks at Connections

6. Air Conditioning- Heat Problems

7. Sprinkler Systems Problems

8. Electrical Safety Issues

9. Window Issues

10. Door Issues

My Client Is my Concern

Purchasing a house is one of the largest investments a person can make in their lifetime. When you choose A-TEX Home Inspection, you will get an inspector who works only for you, with your best interests in mind. The real estate agent and the mortgage company are not our client - you are. We are there to inform you as to the condition of the property so that you may have peace of mind in this important investment.

End of Your Builder’s Warranty?

Have you purchased a new home? Is your one-year home builder’s warranty about to expire? An End of Builder’s Warranty Inspection will provide you with what may be your last chance to correct defects at your builder’s expense. Don’t wait until your 1-year anniversary has expired. With your inspection report, you can approach your builder knowing exactly what issues need to be resolved.

Can you inspect the home yourself?

Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional inspector who has inspected thousands of homes in their career. An inspector develops a sixth sense (at least the good ones do) for potential issues and is familiar with the many elements of home construction and with the proper installation, maintenance and inter-relationship of its systems. Most buyers find it difficult to remain objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may cloud their judgment. For the most thorough, accurate information about the true condition of a home, always obtain an impartial third-party inspection.








Why are Property Inspection Report forms important?

Owners often need to know how well a property has been maintained, especially if they have leased the property to a business.

Potential leasers need to know the conditions and expected maintenance costs of those systems and building components they are agreeing to maintain during their lease period.

Buyers require a wide range of information depending on their intended use of the property.

The following list introduces some of the services that may be involved in a Commercial Property Condition report.

Due Diligence

To make a good decision, you need to have important information about the building. What is the condition of the roof and what is its repair history?

What kind of heating and cooling (HVAC) system does the building have; is there a central plant system, or are there split systems, package units, boilers, chillers, cooling towers, etc?

Do the building plans indicate any significant modifications have been made to the building; are there previous environmental reports, maintenance records for HVAC, roofing, elevators, fire sprinklers, and other installed systems?

Basic Evaluation provides valuable information on:

Roofing

HVAC or Cooling and Heating

Structures, Exteriors, Interiors

Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical

Inspections can also provide:

Repair Cost Estimates when required.

Five-Year Cost Projections when required.

Fire Sprinkler Inspections by an Independent Licensed Contractor

Elevator Inspections performed by State Approved and licensed Contractor

Phase One Environmental Assessments

Life Safety Review

ADA - Accessibility Review

Relevant Questions that a Client May ask during a Property Condition Analysis.

How long will the roof last before needing replacement?

How long will the heating and cooling systems (HVAC) last before needing replacement?

Is the electrical system adequate and safe?

Has the building been modified and are proper permits on file and engineering reports available?

How about interior and exterior surfaces?

Have they been well maintained?

When will parking areas need resurfacing or replacement?

What is the status of the building’s ADA or accessibility provisions?

What events would trigger a need to update and what are my options?

(Local jurisdictions often do not require that existing buildings adopt ADA required improvements unless the buildings are substantially altered or modified. The extent of alterations, structural repairs, or additions necessary to trigger ADA requirements may be set to a dollar amount adjusted annually by the local enforcing agency. This amount is typically in the $70,000 range. Meeting these exclusions will not necessarily prevent litigation based on state or national requirements for accessibility.) We strongly encourage you to accompany the inspector so that you may ask questions and gain a better understanding of the systems in the home. If you have any questions, or are interested in any other services, please contact us so we may discuss your specific needs.

Upon Taking Ownership

After taking possession of a new home, there are some maintenance and safety issues that should be addressed immediately. The following checklist should help you undertake these improvements:

Change the locks on all exterior entrances, for improved security.

Check that all windows and doors are secure. Improve window hardware as necessary. Security rods can be added to sliding windows and doors. Consideration could also be given to a security system.

Install smoke detectors on each level of the home. Ensure that there is a smoke detector outside all sleeping areas. Replace batteries on any existing smoke detectors and test them. Make a note to replace batteries again in one year.

Create a plan of action in the event of a fire in your home. Ensure that there is an operable window or door in every room of the house. Consult with your local fire department regarding fire safety issues and what to do in the event of fire.

Examine driveways and walkways for trip hazards. Undertake repairs where necessary.

Examine the interior of the home for trip hazards. Loose or torn carpeting and flooring should be repaired.

Undertake improvements to all stairways, decks, porches and landings where there is a risk of falling or stumbling.

Review your home inspection report for any items that require immediate improvement or further investigation. Address these areas as required.

Install rain caps and vermin screens on all chimney flues, as necessary.

Investigate the location of the main shut-offs for the plumbing, heating and electrical systems. If you attended the home inspection, these items would have been pointed out to you.




ADDENDUM: MAINTENANCE ADVICE

Regular Maintenance

EVERY MONTH

Check that fire extinguisher(s) are fully charged. Re-charge if necessary.

Examine heating/cooling air filters and replace or clean as necessary.

Inspect and clean humidifiers and electronic air cleaners.

If the house has hot water heating, bleed radiator valves.

Clean gutters and downspouts. Ensure that downspouts are secure, and that the discharge of the downspouts is appropriate. Remove debris from window wells.

Carefully inspect the condition of shower enclosures. Repair or replace deteriorated grout and caulk. Ensure that water is not escaping the enclosure during showering. Check below all plumbing fixtures for evidence of leakage.

Repair or replace leaking faucets or shower heads.

Secure loose toilets, or repair flush mechanisms that become troublesome.

SPRING AND FALL

Examine the roof for evidence of damage to roof coverings, flashings and chimneys.

Look in the attic (if accessible) to ensure that roof vents are not obstructed. Check for evidence of leakage, condensation or vermin activity. Level out insulation if needed.

Trim back tree branches and shrubs to ensure that they are not in contact with the house.

Inspect the exterior walls and foundation for evidence of damage, cracking or movement. Watch for bird nests or other vermin or insect activity.

Survey the basement and/or crawl space walls for evidence of moisture seepage.

Look at overhead wires coming to the house. They should be secure and clear of trees or other obstructions.

Ensure that the grade of the land around the house encourages water to flow away from the foundation.

Inspect all driveways, walkways, decks, porches, and landscape components for evidence of deterioration, movement or safety hazards.

Clean windows and test their operation. Improve caulking and weather-stripping as necessary. Watch for evidence of rot in wood window frames. Paint and repair window sills and frames as necessary.

Test all ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) devices, as identified in the inspection report.

Shut off isolating valves for exterior hose bibs in the fall, if below freezing temperatures are anticipated.

Test the Temperature and Pressure Relief (TPR) Valve on water heaters.

Inspect for evidence of wood boring insect activity. Eliminate any wood/soil contact around the perimeter of the home.

Test the overhead garage door opener, to ensure that the auto-reverse mechanism is responding properly. Clean and lubricate hinges, rollers and tracks on overhead doors.

Replace or clean exhaust hood filters.

Clean, inspect and/or service all appliances as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

ANNUALLY

Replace smoke detector batteries.

Have the heating, cooling and water heater systems cleaned and serviced.

Have chimneys inspected and cleaned. Ensure that rain caps and vermin screens are secure.

Examine the electrical panels, wiring and electrical components for evidence of overheating. Ensure that all components are secure. Flip the breakers on and off to ensure that they are not sticky.

If the house utilizes a well, check and service the pump and holding tank. Have the water quality tested. If the property has a septic system, have the tank inspected (and pumped as needed).

If your home is in an area prone to wood destroying insects (termites, carpenter ants, etc.), have the home inspected by a licensed specialist. Preventative treatments may be recommended in some cases.

Prevention Is The Best Approach

Although we’ve heard it many times, nothing could be truer than the old cliché "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Preventative maintenance is the best way to keep your house in great shape.
It also reduces the risk of unexpected repairs and improves the odds of selling your house at fair market value, when the time comes. Please feel free to contact our office should you have any questions regarding the operation or maintenance of your home.
Enjoy your home!