The Texas Real Estate Inspector Committee (TREIC) met on October 16 for the final meeting of the calendar year. This meeting marks the last meeting for multiple members on the committee. Steve Rinehart, Shawn Emerick, Keisha Moulton, and Dave Motley have graciously volunteered their time to help make the inspection industry better. Their contributions have been extremely valuable and greatly appreciated.
Rhondalyn Riley took over the inspector position vacated by Scott Regan, and she wasted no time getting involved. Stephenie Cochran and Randy Bayer are the two new inspector members who will take their positions in January, and they were both in attendance for the October meeting. With two new public members also starting in January, we are excited to see how the dynamic of TREIC will evolve.
At the January meeting, the committee will make subcommittee assignments and vote for the chair, vice chair, and secretary to serve in 2024. Currently, four TREIC members sit on each of the two subcommittees, the Education Subcommittee and the Standards of Practice Subcommittee.
TREIC members discussed a public comment that said inspectors are facing increasing difficulties with some new construction home builders creating their own requirements for inspectors. Some of the requirements that these builders are imposing are violations of the Standards of Practice, which are the minimum set of standards that inspectors must adhere to when performing an inspection of a substantially completed house. This may have a direct impact on a buyer’s ability to have a third-party inspection performed on their new home. Home builders in Texas are not regulated, and TREC does not have regulatory authority to impose restrictions on these home builder requirements. Inspectors remain subject to the Standards of Practice.
Consumers should do their research when determining which builder to use, as their ability to have their largest investment inspected may be hindered by the policies of some builders.
Forms Related to the Texas Practicum
The committee reviewed proposed revisions to the Texas Practicum Credit Request form, which inspector applicants use to request credit for completing the 40-hour Texas Practicum. The form is to be filled out and submitted when an applicant is requesting credit for their Practicum as a requirement of licensure. The form details the requirements of the practicum, including performing at least five full in-person inspections with no more than four students per supervisor and ensuring that each report the student produces is considered satisfactory for release to a consumer. The revised form also includes a line for the signatures of the supervisor and the student. The goal is for both to have a clear understanding of what should be accomplished throughout the Practicum training.
The committee also discussed the Texas Practicum Evaluation form, but more work on it is needed. This form will likely be proposed at a future meeting.
The Future of License Types
The Real Estate Inspector license type is the least pursued, so TREIC is considering recommending a statutory change to repeal this license type. Part of the recommendation would ensure that existing Real Estate Inspector licenses would not be impacted.
In addition, the committee is considering a recommendation to require an introductory inspector course to obtain an apprentice license, which is also a statutory change. Currently, there is no education requirement to become an apprentice. Because these are statutory changes, these are not something that could not be considered until the next Texas Legislature in 2025.
Inspection Report Form PDF Now Fillable
In a previous meeting, a public comment expressed concern that inspectors were forced to purchase software to be able to complete an inspection report form in a manner other than handwriting it. To that end, TREC staff created a fillable PDF form accessible on the TREC website for all license holders to utilize, should they choose to do so. The ability of the fillable areas to be expanded is limited, but inspectors using the form can always add additional pages to the report for that is needed for more extensive documentation or pictures. This is another example of our efforts to support all inspectors in this wonderful industry.
Instruction Sheet for the Property Inspection Report Form
There was a discussion about the Instruction Sheet for the Property Inspection Report Form and whether inspectors are required to check multiple boxes in certain scenarios. One of the concerns centered around whether an inspector was required to check the Inspected and the Not Inspected boxes when the departure provision was used for a certain system. To that end, a modification of the wording of that particular part of the instruction sheet was proposed and adopted. It was made clear that even though the SOPs still leave some room for interpretation, enforcement will not be handing out disciplinary actions should an inspector not check both boxes in that scenario.
Plans for 2024
In January, after new members have begun their terms, we will begin a review of the Standards of Practice. One of the items to look at will be appropriate use of the checkboxes on the Property Inspection Report Form, so that it is clearer for inspectors and consumers alike. One option would be to get rid of the Not Inspected box altogether. The SOP review process is a long one, and there will be a number of open meetings throughout the process to allow for all input.
The next meeting of TREIC is January 16 at 10 a.m. CT in Austin. Keep in mind that the meetings are open, and you can receive up to four hours of CE credit per renewal period for attending a meeting in person.