We’re creating a community of empowered Houston homeowners, one home inspection and blog post at a time. How are we going to do that? Great question, I would love to tell you. First I need to tell you a little bit about myself and how I became your friendly neighborhood home inspector. Then we’ll get back to defining empowered homeowners.
Who We Are
I’m Todd Burford and my family and I have proudly called Houston home for three years now. I am the inspector/owner at SMC Home Solutions. Why do I keep using the word “we”? Because team work makes the dream work. My home team is my family, and when I inspect your home, I’ll temporarily join your team. I will be as careful and thorough as I would be with my own home purchase.
My wife, Christina, and I were born and raised just down I-10 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before Houston we lived in Mobile, Alabama (a little further down I-10) for eight years. We love the Gulf Coast and being within driving distance of our families. Both of our kids were born in Mobile and it will always have a special place in our hearts. Sadie (5) and Matthew (3) are now native Houstonians and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We love the food, the culture, the diversity, and the many many things to do.
How We Got Here
Before I was your top-choice home inspector, I spent a decade working in the energy industry. After graduating in Mechanical Engineering from LSU, I started as a refinery engineer in Mobile. I had so much fun as part of the small refinery community and I learned a ton. My first role was in the Pressure Equipment Inspection Department! Our job was to keep everyone safe by ensuring the flammable stuff stayed in the pipes. That’s where I discovered my passion for walking around a complex environment and looking for things out of the ordinary, or things I couldn’t explain. Did you know that your home has over 10,000 systems and components that work together to keep you safe and comfortable?
In my next roles at the refinery I supported the Maintenance team by making sure the equipment kept running smoothly with high reliability. After that I got the opportunity to support the Operations team. Keeping a refinery safely running 24/7 is no small job and each day presented a new challenge and learning opportunity. As a homeowner, there are challenges every day in making sure your home is dry, the air is clean, and the lights stay on. Some are small and some are big and expensive. I want to help you identify and understand those challenges so they don’t seem so daunting.
In those first six years, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to do something I loved every day. Since then, I’ve taken on several new challenges, moved to Houston, learned a lot, and met some amazing new coworkers and friends. But all of the challenges have been office-based rather than in the field. I’ve felt a little further from my passion with each new step away from my boots and hardhat.
Since parenting young children doesn’t leave much time for the golf course, crawling around my own attic to understand and repair my home systems became my latest hobby. I began to realize my passion was right in front of me. I could get back to using that passion to help people again, but homeowners rather than refinery operators. I could turn my small business daydream into a reality now instead of when I’m ready to retire. Do any of those realizations even happen, much less turn into reality, without the unwavering love and support of my amazing wife? Absolutely not. She’s the best.
Our Homeowner Journey
Every home buyer has his or her own circumstances, past experiences, and concerns. We have bought three homes and been to the option period on a fourth. Each experience was very different. There is a very wide spectrum of readiness and willingness to buy a particular home for each buyer (I’m holding my hands out wide for dramatic effect).
Our current home checked all the key factors for our house hunting and Christina loved the recently updated open floor plan. With a quick turnaround to relocate to Houston and the comfort we felt with the home layout and neighborhood, I had a very high tolerance for significant findings by our inspector. Fortunately there were no major deficiencies that we weren’t already aware of as part of the seller’s disclosure. We were able to negotiate with the seller regarding the moderate deficiencies. I have since found several more deficiencies in our house that I will fix in the future, but I love our home even more every day.
In Mobile, we walked away from a house under contract due to a moderate structural deficiency. It was a wonderful home in a nice neighborhood with no major deficiencies. But…we were at the top of our price range, and despite the house checking all the boxes we wanted, it felt like more of a forever home than we were looking for at the time. The moderate structural concern would have been a non-issue for me in our Houston home purchase.
I share these stories as a homeowner and not a home inspector. I hope they convey how wide the buyer spectrum can be and show how buying a home is different each and every time. The home inspector was an integral part of the process each time, but he did not know our circumstances and could not make our decision for us.
Empowering Houston Homeowners
I believe home inspections should not generate as much stress and anxiety as they do today. The fear associated with home inspections stems from a lack of buyer awareness of what the home inspection process is designed to do. Don’t worry, I am unashamed to include myself in that category of buyers three times over! There has been a black or white perception of the process. However, you cannot pass or fail a home inspection. Every home inspection will land in the gray area and it’s up to the client to make the next decision.
A home inspection is a limited but wide-ranging visual inspection. A home inspection results in more information for you to make the best decision. The result of a great home inspection is detailed information about the home, communicated clearly both verbally at the time of inspection and written as part of a thorough final report. We are going to provide a great home inspection each and every time. Our mission is not exponential growth, but a personalized, stress-free experience. We want our clients and real estate agents to feel taken care of.
A home inspector is not an expert in a single system, but a generalist by design. I have only recently come to embrace my true calling as a generalist. David Epstein’s book Range helped me see the benefits of being intellectually curious. Branching out into new disciplines can be a way to connect dots that no one has thought to connect before. I look forward to connecting the dots of my past experiences to add value to your home buying experience. Did I mention I got my MBA, traveled to Honduras, worked as a church administrator, and researched global oil product market economics?
I love being a homeowner and I want to help others on their journey. Whether you’re buying your first or fifth home, you need to know what’s under the hood. We want you to feel empowered to take the next step.
I hope you’re encouraged, inspired, skeptical, or just curious to see where this journey will go. SMC Home Solutions is on Facebook and Instagram so follow along! Since you’ve made it this far, you’ve earned the right to know how we arrived at our name, SMC Home Solutions. Like most of our major decisions in our life, Christina and I came upon it while brainstorming names on a walk. I still remember exactly where we were when we decided our daughter’s name would be Sadie.
SMC stands for the names of the people I love most: Sadie, Matthew, and Christina. There is no new bold adventure without them. Home Solutions represents our focus beyond just the inspection. Our first product and solution is a stress-free experience that you didn’t know you needed. Happy house hunting to all of our fellow Houstonians. Let us know when you’re ready for your inspection!