An inside look at the residential real estate market in Southeast Texas including: the hottest neighborhoods, proven home selling strategies, home buying and negotiating tactics, median prices by neighborhood, average days homes are on the market, and professional advice on how to get the best deal when buying or selling a home.

Home construction 101

New Home Inspection Requirements Start Soon.

Magnfying_glassLess than thirty days from now, all homes built or undergoing a major remodeling project in the state of Texas will be subject to new inspection requirements.  The new home inspection requirements will require a minimum of three inspections for all homes built or remodeled in unincorporated areas or in cities that do not offer municipal inspections.

The Texas Residential Construction Commission has enacted the mandatory reviews.  All projects started after September 1, 2008 will be subject to the new requirements. 

Three Inspections Required:

  1. The foundation inspection must be conducted prior to the placement of concrete.
  2. The framing and mechanical systems inspection must be conducted prior to the placement of exterior wall insulation or interior wall coverings.
  3. The final inspection when the home is complete.

The inspections will have to be completed by a licensed engineer, a registered architect, a professional Texas Real Estate Commission inspector or a third-party inspector certified by the Texas Residential Construction Commission. 

There will be fines levied against builders and re-modelers that fail to have their projects inspected.

The Texas Residential Construction Commission has put together a list of Most Frequently Asked Questions about the program.  They have also added Contracted Inspections Instructions

What does the Foundation inspection look for?

  • compliance with engineered drawings
  • proper placement, support, sizing, and spacing of graded rebar
  • ensuring proper beam depth, width, and placement
  • vapor/moisture barrier placement check
  • if drawings are not sealed by an engineer, then the foundation must comply with the building code

What does the Framing, Mechanical inspection look for?

  • electrical systems must be properly grounded
  • all connections in junction boxes
  • proper gauge wiring is installed
  • outlets spaced properly
  • adequate access to machinery
  • duct work should not be encumbered by other building materials
  • ducts are installed to applicable building code
  • roof is supported and sloped
  • plumbing system should be reviewed

What does the final inspection certify?

  • yard is graded properly for water flow
  • HVAC is in complete working order
  • HVAC exterior unit is located on a level surface
  • all air ducts free of obstruction
  • doors and windows operate properly
  • finish materials are properly installed
  • the flatwork around home is free of any structural cracks
  • all roof cladding is installed to manufacturer's recommendations
  • flashing is installed
  • fixtures are correctly installed and working
  • all appliances are installed and working
  • there are no apparent safety issues.

This is not a complete list of everything the inspections cover.  The inspector must also verify the project meets the applicable building code.  You might hear some rumbling and grumbling from the contractors you know but the program is designed for the good of the consumer - you and me.  Three inspections is really very minimal to require for a residential structure.  The home builder I worked for required ten inspections before they would deliver a completed home to a new home owner.

Does it make you wonder what was required before the new program?  Two inspections or maybe just one inspection to deliver a home.  At least now the Texas Residential Construction Commission has stepped up the requirements to protect home owners.  All homes built or remodeled must be inspected three times. Starting soon!   

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Not All Hardwood Floors Are Created Equal.

Hardwood_floors_2Hardwood flooring is a popular choice for many Southeast Texas homeowners. 

Here's 5 things you need to consider before installing a hardwood floor in your home.

1. How much money to you want to spend?

2. Do you want to install it yourself or hire a professional flooring company?

3.  How long do you want your new wood floor to last?

4. What is your sub-floor construction?  Will the wood flooring overlay concrete or plywood?

5.  What is the flooring environment?  What will the floor have to withstand.  Pets, children, high traffic, humidity, dirt, etc.

Here's 3 types of wood flooring to consider.

1. Laminate Flooring

2. Engineered Wood

3. Solid Wood

Here's the pro's and con's of each type.

Laminate Floors

  • pro= generally have the lowest price per square foot
  • pro= good variety, easy to find
  • pro= can be installed by a do-it-yourselfer
  • con= floating floor with hollow sound when walked on
  • con= generally the least durable

Engineered Wood

  • pro= combines the pros of solid wood and laminate
  • pro= multiple thicknesses and color choices
  • pro= can be installed by advanced do-it-yourselfer
  • con= glue down or nail down installation
  • con= wear surface generally 3/16" thick or less, limited refinishing tolerance

Solid Wood

  • pro= the classic wood floor that can last for decades
  • pro= thickness available from 5 1/16" to 3/4"
  • pro= thicker varieties can be refinished when needed
  • con= most expensive
  • con= generally requires professional installation via nail down or glue down

Need more information before you decide? 

Here's 3 great reference websites to check out.

  1. About Hardwood Floors.com
  2. Armstrong Hardwood Floors.com
  3. National Wood Flooring Association

Here's 3 Southeast Texas Companies that install hard wood floors.

  1. Mayes Wood Flooring
  2. American Steam-A-Way Flooring Center
  3. Beaumont Flooring Directory provides names and numbers of several local flooring companies.

If you are one of the Southeast Texans who wants the natural look and aesthetic appeal of a hardwood floor, before you spend your hard earned money, just remember not all hardwood floors are created equal. 

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