The housing market of 2021 was, and continues to be in 2022, without a doubt, a Seller’s Market. This means that sellers hold more power in the transaction due to an extremely low inventory. Because of this, potential buyers are often skipping the home inspection as a way to make their offer more enticing. Not only is this not advisable but it seems that a lot of buyers, and even some Real Estate Agents, do not understand what this means in terms of the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) One To Four Family Residential Contract, which is the mandated form that all Texas-licensed Real Estate Agents are required to use.
TREC NO. 20-16, Page 4 gives Buyers the right to access and to have the property inspected.
“Seller shall permit…” in legal speak, this is a mandatory action. What this means is that unless the contract is specifically amended to state that no inspections will take place, the Seller still must allow a Buyer to have an inspection performed. The Buyer is just not able to use the results of that inspection to walk away and have their Earnest Money Deposit returned like one would if there was an Option Period. Amending the contract in this way is called waiving the inspection contingency. This means you can still do an inspection for your own information and so that you know what you are purchasing.
I’ll say it again for the people in the back, doing this does NOT forego your right to have the property inspected.
Why pay for an inspection if it does not allow you to terminate the deal? What if the inspection turned up $30,000 dollar’s worth of needed repairs that were not readily-visible. Would that make the $500 inspection worth it? Is that a likely scenario, probably not… but why take a chance? What IS more likely is the inspector is going to find around $2500-5000 worth of maintenance issues and safety upgrades based on current standards that will make your new home safer for your family. There is rarely a time when hiring a home inspector is not worth it and just because it is a seller’s market does not negate the need for a professional eye on what is very likely the largest purchase of your life.
TREC One-to-Four Family Residential Contract - https://www.trec.texas.gov/sites/default/files/pdf-forms/20-16_0.pdf
Electrical dos and don'ts might just be the most confusing and frustrating part of an inspection report. Although it has been required by the National Electrical Code (NEC) for over a year in Texas, the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) Standards of Practice (SOP) for Inspectors has just now caught up with a list, so Real Estate Agents and Clients may notice a lot more "Deficiencies" noted on their inspection reports. (This actually took effect on February 1st, 2022.) Regardless of when the house was built, if there is not GFCI/AFCI protection in the required locations, we are required to note it as Deficient.
Often, you will hear "grandfathered" used in cases like this. However, this is a bit of a misnomer as that is NOT an official term. These are considered a safety item and safety is not, and never should be, ignored. Of course, as always, sellers are under no obligation to correct anything in the report.
Check out the chart below for a quick reference to the requirements. One location missing from this chart, as well as the SOP is the requirement for a GFCI-protected receptacle within 25 feet of the furnace. It is required per the NEC, but did not make the TREC list for some reason. Another significant change is the requirement for GFCI protection on certain 250V circuits. I fully expect to see even MORE changes when the 2023 version of the NEC comes out.
With any luck, this will help you to communicate the whys and hows to your clients... but you can always reach out to GSI for assistance. Give us a call at 210-426-1332, drop me an email at Shannon@gsi-tx.com, or visit the website, www.satxinspector.com for more info and freebies for you and your clients.
Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) Standards of Practice (SOP)
National Electrical Code (NEC) 210.8 & 210.63
Shannon Gatewood is the owner of Gatewood Superior Inspections. Sometimes he rambles on trying to teach someone a thing or two.