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What You Should Know About Your Home Inspection: An Interview with James Barrett Jr. of The Barrett Company

By James Barrett Jr.

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

The Barrett Company was formed in 2010 as a Home Inspection company. We are a small company, having only one Inspector and all inspections are done in-house by me. I received my TREC license in January of 2011 after retiring from the business of construction with 50 years of building in many different areas of the industry including residential, light and heavy commercial, and ending in heavy civil and military construction. I would add that the process required to become a licensed Professional Inspector was much more difficult than becoming a contractor in the states where I was licensed as a General Contractor. We do only home inspections as required by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), following the guidelines and requirements of the Standards of Practice. I do not include the several other types of inspections sometimes required by the lender or buyer; I do assist my clients in finding other types of inspectors if they inquire for recommendations. The Standards are available on the TREC website @ www.trec.state.tx.us.

What are two or three of the most common repairs that are needed on the houses you've seen in the North East Texas area?

The most common issues are generally caused and found in older homes we inspect. As for rating these issues, I would state that as homes age, and if it has been left with less than normal maintenance the most common issue are system failures aka: heating, air conditioning, electrical and water heating systems. Next would be roofing systems, then the common foundation issues caused by settlement. We are required to inspect the entire home and all installed systems for function, including doors, walls, ceilings, windows, stairs, appliances and active utilities. These issues also are the common issues that cause possible costly repairs for the potential buyer.

What should a standard home inspection cover?

The requirements for a standard inspection include:

  • Structural Systems & Foundation
  • Electrical System
  • Heating, Venting, & Air Conditioning Systems
  • Plumbing System
  • Appliances, Installed
  • Optional and Added Systems.

The full scope of systems to be inspected covers fifteen (15) pages of the Standards of Practice. My common site walk-out inspection report covers more than 300 items to be reviewed.

How long should it take for homeowners to receive their inspection report?

The Standards require that the report be forwarded within "a reasonable time period". I deliver my reports within two (2) days after the completion of the walk-out inspection. All of my document transfer is done via E-mail, including the photo file. Some of the "large" inspection companies using computer field systems deliver their reports at the end of the inspection, onsite.

Should a quality home inspector also provide repair work? What are some of the reasons why or why not?

This is not allowed by the TREC, as it can become a Conflict of Ethics issue. It will cause the Inspector to be fined, possibly suspended or loss of License.

The requirements for licensing as a TREC Professional Inspector are 472 hours of Class & Field training, passing a Final Exam that has been found to be so difficult that approximately 70% of the people taking the exam will fail, some more than one time. Each year after passing the final exam and being licensed the Inspector must complete 16 Unit Hours of Continuing Education each year in order to be re-licensed every two years, totaling 32 Unit Hours for each two-year period.

In the state of Texas "All" home inspectors are required to be Licensed, Insured and supervised by a state agency, the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). The Professional E & O insurance required by the state must be active at all times to maintain the license. If any person or persons does not meet and maintain these requirements this person is "Not" a legal "Home Inspector". All Inspectors are listed on the TREC website at www.trec.state,tx.us., if they are not listed, they are not legal, Period! The benefit to all home buyers is "Licensed Professional Inspector, Licensed by the State of Texas"! No General Contractor in Texas is required to be licensed by the state; Home Inspectors are required to be licensed.

If a home inspector misses a major defect, do home buyers have any recourse?

Yes, the TREC has in-place a recovery fund, which all inspectors must contribute to. Also, we are required to carry Professional Liability Insurance, knows as E. & O. (errors & oversights) insurance. All report forms are required to make the client aware of these funds for recovery of possible damages. All inspectors work very hard to prevent oversights and the problems that can be created by this. We do all we can to find these kinds of issues and always do our due-diligence to prevent problems. We are not builders and cannot see through walls, nor are we allowed to do any "destructive investigation" to find hidden defects.

What is the best way for people to reach you and your company?

MY website is on the Internet at www.thebarrco.com

I am also listed on the HomeAdvisor website.

The company contact number is 214-234-6196

My company E-mail is: jbarrett@thebarrco.com

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