5 Questions for Screening Knoxville Home Inspectors

January 22, 2012 by  

I am constantly amazed how many potential Knoxville home inspection clients call about my services, and ask only one question … “How much do you charge?”  While this is an important question, it’s not even close to being the most important question you should ask.  Most Knoxville home inspectors will price their inspections on a given house very similarly, usually within $50 from one inspector to another.  And the difference in the quality of the inspection and report you receive can vary greatly.  So, in addition to the “How much do you charge?” question, here are 5 questions you should ask before hiring anyone to inspect your Knoxville area home.

1) How long have you been a TN licensed home inspector, and how many inspections have you completed?

Although everybody has to start somewhere, and I appreciate all the clients who hired me during my first year as an inspector,  I realize now that becoming proficient in the home inspection business requires experience and practice.  Make sure your inspector has at least a few years experience under his belt, and has completed at least a few hundred inspections.

2)  How long do your home inspections last?

For an average sized (2000 sq ft) single family house, your inspector should generally set aside 2 – 3 hours for the on-site inspection.  If he estimates significantly less than 2 hours, you should expect a substandard inspection.

3) When will I receive the home inspection report?

Some Knoxville home inspectors advertise on-site report writing, which means the customer will receive the electronic or printed report as soon as the inspection is over.  While this may appear to be of benefit to the client, this system of reporting never worked for me.  First, the client rarely needs the home inspection report immediately.  I always give a full verbal summary after every inspection, so if immediate contract negotiations are necessary, my clients already know what will be noted in the report and can proceed.  Second, I would not trust myself (or any inspector) to throw together a report on-site, and have found that my reports are much more complete and accurate when I have time to organize my notes and thoughts before sending out the report.  I usually spend about 2 hours on each report, and these are sent via email the same day as the inspection.

4)  Do you belong to any professional associations (ASHI, NACHI, HITA)?

While this does not guarantee your inspector will be competent in the home inspection field, it certainly doesn’t hurt.  Home inspectors who join and stay active in professional associations like ASHI, NACHI and HITA are more likely to stay up-to-date on their knowledge and skills, and also have a community of Knoxville home inspectors to consult if needed.  I have personally found these associations to be helpful and encouraging in my professional development.

5)  Will I be able to attend and participate in the home inspection?

Some Knoxville home inspection clients are timid about shadowing the inspector, or actively asking questions as he goes about his business.  This is your time to get involved, and learn about your new house.  You have paid for the inspector’s time … get your money’s worth.  If an inspector sounds at all apprehensive when asked this question, it’s time to keep looking.  Find an inspector who sounds approachable and accommodating.  You may have several interactions with this individual before you close the deal on your new place, and you need to be sure you’re comfortable with him.

If you are thorough in your questioning and research of potential Knoxville home inspectors, you will greatly improve your chances of being completely satisfied with your choice.

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