Home Inspection Precautions: COVID-19
We find ourselves in fast-moving times with new information released daily (sometimes hourly) as it relates to the impact of COVID-19 to our city, state, nation and world. Alli and I are likewise aware and monitoring the situation as it relates to the safety of our clients and property owners. At this time, SafeShield Inspections remains open and we continue to schedule inspections.
Harris County says real estate services are essential amid coronavirus stay home order
March 24, 2020 – “Harris County’s new stay-at-home order allows real estate agents and others professionals associated with buying and selling homes to continue working through April 3 when the restriction is scheduled to be lifted.” Read the full Houston Chronicle article here.
Precautionary Steps to Minimize Risk
Here are some of the precautionary steps we are taking to minimize risk for our clients, agents, and property owners:
- [UPDATED March 26, 2020] I have completed the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors’ (InterNACHI) COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for Home Inspectors Course and will adhere to their recommended safety guidelines and standards. View certificate of completion.
I have Supra key access, so for homes secured on a Supra, the agent does not need to be present to grant access.
[UPDATED March 24, 2020] Although I encourage home buyers to be present for part (or all) of the inspection to meet face-to-face and walk through the property with me, at this time and following the recommendations of both InterNACHI and the CDC, we will be conducting virtual meetings with clients and agents until further notice. I always have been and will continue to be available for phone calls with clients to discuss findings, and I can also live-chat with them via video either at the home and/or after issuing my written report.
I take all necessary precautions when it comes to protecting the inspection property. This includes wearing shoe covers inside the home and gloves/additional PPE gear when necessary.
I practice regular hand washing or use alcohol-based hand rubs when a washing station is unavailable. I always wash my hands when they are visibly soiled during an inspection and after removing any PPE.
- The inspection agreement is delivered to clients via email and they can easily submit their assent via electronic signature. Likewise, payments can be handled conveniently and securely as well via our online payment system.
- Inspection reports are delivered to clients electronically via email link.
In all seriousness, home inspection is a fairly solitary process. Even before now, I quite often complete inspections completely on my own without direct contact with other people. If clients, agents or home owners are on-site during an inspection, I am respecting social distancing recommendations including maintaining a minimum distance of 6 feet from others and avoiding handshakes (which is particularly difficult for me! I’m a handshake kind of guy.) I am making every effort to protect YOUR health and am also taking precautions to protect those I love as well.
Tips for a Clean and Sanitized Home
As home inspectors, we are often privy to some of the more unseemly (and sometimes downright disgusting) areas of a home. We’re not just talking about disorganization. Yes, clutter has its own disadvantages, but even the most tidy homes can harbor unwanted germs. Here are a few simple strategies to keep your home as germ-free as possible: 8 Tips for a Clean and Sanitized Home.
Home Air Filters
We’ve received quite a few inquiries lately about how often the air filter(s) should be changed out in a home. Clean air filters save energy and money. Routinely changing or cleaning the filters from your home’s heating and air conditioning system helps the units run more efficiently and enjoy a longer lifespan. In addition, Heather Kolich writes in an article for How Stuff Works, “Filters help to keep dust from building up in your ducts, or being blown into other rooms of your house. In recent years, this air cleaning function has become more important to homeowners, and manufacturers have designed filters that use your heating and air system to remove microscopic particles like dust, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, plant and mold spores, and even smoke from the air in your home.”
- Air filters – How often you change out your home air filters depend on a number of factors, including:
- Type of filter
- Overall indoor air quality
- Number of pets in the home
- Number of people in the home
- Amount of exterior air pollution and/or construction around the home
Here are some very generic averages that might help you know how often you should change the air filter at home (assuming a basic fiberglass or pleated filter):
- Vacation home (i.e. home not used regularly) and no pets or allergies: every 6-12 months
- “Average” suburban home without pets: every 90 days
- Add a dog or cat: every 60 days
- For a home within the city or near a construction zone: 45-60 days
- Add more than one pet or anyone that has allergies: 20-45 days
Community Resources List (see below)
Alli forwarded this great list of resources that The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce emailed out last week, and I’m including it below for all of you. I hope you find it helpful.
Most importantly, Alli and I wish you and your loved ones continued good health. If we can assist you in any way, please contact me directly at (832) 953-6992 or email Micah@SafeShieldInspections.com.
COVID-19 Community Resource Guide
Compiled by The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce
Overview and Monitoring
CDC | Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary
Updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracking the situation in the U.S. and the latest recommendations
CDC | Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel
Updated information about Coronavirus for travelers and travel related industries
State of Texas | Coronavirus cases in Texas
An updated tracker of test results in Texas and additional resources
CDC | Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease
Recommended strategies for employers to use now
OSHA | COVID-19 Safety and Health Standards, Control & Prevention External Link
An overview of information for workers and employers, including links to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and control and prevention
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation | Guidance for Employers to Plan and Respond to the Coronavirus
Strategies and tips to protect your workforce
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation | Understanding the Coronavirus (Video)
Webinar about the impact of coronavirus on the private sector and how companies should consider their response, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Montgomery County Public Health District | Local Information
Conroe Independent School District | CISD’s latest information
Montgomery County Independent School District | Superintendent’s Statement (Video)
Schedule a Home Inspection
Your future deserves the attention of a professional. If you have questions or would like more information on home inspections, please contact Micah Stephens with SafeShield Inspections, LLC at (832) 953-6992 or email Micah@SafeShieldInspections.com. CLICK HERE for a free quote.