Frequently Asked Questions
What needs to be done before your home inspection is performed?
Prior to the inspection, please be sure to read, review, and sign the home inspection agreement. Payment is required before the inspection, payable in cash or check.
How long does it take for a home inspection to be completed?
Generally speaking, it could range from two to four hours, or more, depending on the size of the home, the type of defects, the weather, and other conditions, like how much lighting there is, how large a crawl space, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is the quality of the inspection and attention to detail, which can sometimes take longer.
A home inspection consists of a visual observation of the home and includes:
Heat and air conditioning systems, roofing, under floor area or basement, attics, functional flow and drainage of plumbing systems, electrical systems, issues with the grade or guttering which may lead to water penetration of the home and damage to the home. There are countless issues that can be found during a proper home inspection that might be otherwise missed through a casual observation. An inspection may show structural components where deterioration has been found. Flashings that are improperly installed are another issue a home inspection may uncover. This could cause major water damage and deterioration to a roof system over time. In fact bad flashing is one of the biggest culprits in the shortening of the roof’s lifespan as well as lack of the proper ventilation.
Decks, balconies, stoops, steps, areaways, porches and applicable railings are also inspected as well as eaves, soffits, and fascias. Other items include vegetation, grading, drainage, driveways, patios, walkways, and retaining walls with respect to their effect on the condition of the building.
After the inspection is complete you will be provided a detailed report which will include image photos of areas of concern. more on what is included in your home inspection.
This is completely up to you, but please keep a few things in mind. Please avoid following the inspector into hazardous areas, like on rooftops or under the floor crawl spaces. Also please stand a safe distance away when the inspector is inspecting the electrical panel, just in case there are some unknown hazards awaiting.
Generally, as far as questions go, I welcome them; however, I prefer to take my notes and photos back for review before I make final comments as to whether a particular area of a home is defective or not, which of course will be found in your report. Keep in mind, anything can happen in a home inspection. It wouldn’t be too unusual for snakes, spiders, or other strange critters to be stumbled upon from time to time.
If there are safety concerns with the structure itself, it’s better if your inspector finds them first. There have been instances with other inspectors where an entire deck has collapsed while the realtor and the client were walking behind the inspector.
Will you be able to tell me if I should buy the property?
No. That decision is up to you. All we can do is show you defects in a property. You will need to determine whether the home is worth the price the buyer is asking.
Absolutely. Your report will be as detailed as humanly possible, complete with photos of defects, and in many cases there will be arrows pointing toward defects that may be unclear in the photos, but that being said, I welcome any questions you may have about the report, or anything on the report that needs clarifying.
Normally, you should have your report by the next business day. Reports for inspections done on Saturday may not be completed until Monday, but every effort will be made to provide your report to you as soon as possible.
Yes. Unfortunately, there are areas that the inspector cannot see, such as behind walls. Generally, home inspectors do not operate appliances unless they are built into the home. There are certain types of roofs that an inspector won’t walk on because it may cause damage to the roof covering, or it may be deemed too steep to safely climb. In cases like this, inspectors rely on observing from the ground with a pair of binoculars or climbing to the top of the ladder and viewing from the sides.
Tennessee law does not require an inspector to inspect for pests, like termites or other wood destroying insects; however; if, while crawling underneath the floor, I see obvious signs of termites, of course, I will take photos and include that information in the report. At that point, it becomes a job for a profession pest control expert.
To get a detailed idea of the scope of a typical home inspection, please review the TN inspection rules page. It details everything a Tennessee inspector is required and not required to do during an inspection.
It’s physically impossible to find every possible issue with a home considering some issues can be behind walls, or may not be showing any outward signs that can be seen during a visual inspection. Please keep in mind, while we like to take as much time as possible to inspect the home, time is limited. Our primary focus is going to be health and safety first, and second will be searching for defects that might be potentially costly for the client.
Remember that we are looking for signs of past problems that exist in the present, but homes, like automobiles, can be fine today and then run into issues the very next week. If a roof is leaking and the sun is shining, the leak will not be seen, but usually if the leak has been occurring for a while there are signs that can be seen such as staining and deterioration.
You may see areas of concern mentioned in a typical report that you may have never even considered.
A pre-listing inspection helps the seller see the home through the eyes of the buyer before putting the home on the market. It’s essentially the same report, but the seller is the client instead of the buyer. This is an invaluable tool for the seller. There may be defects that can be easily fixed that could save discouraging the buyer after they have their own home inspection performed.
What are the rules for home inspectors in Tennessee?
As important as it is for home inspectors to know the law, it’s also important for our clients to fully understand what the law requires on the scope of the inspection and, hopefully, fully understand just what an inspection covers. An inspection can uncover many problems, but it cannot do the impossible, which is to warranty that no issues will happen in the future. It can only uncover possible current issues that are readily visible during the inspection from the underfloor area or basement, attic, roof, exterior, and interior of the home. Check out the official State of Tennessee website and then click on the rules for home inspectors pdf link.