Knoxville Home Inspector Reveals Dangerous Condition

February 12, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

This is a video of an electrical hazard I discovered while doing a west Knoxville home inspection.   A large tree branch had fallen, and was being supported by the home’s electrical service drop.  The weight of this branch could pull the service drop conductors off the house, and present an immediate life safety issue.  Having your new home thoroughly checked by a professional Knoxville home inspector before closing will give you the peace of mind you deserve.

5 Questions for Screening Knoxville Home Inspectors

January 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

Knoxville Home Inspection 101: Do I Really Need an Inspection?

April 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

So you’ve found a house you love, and your real estate agent recommends that you have the home inspected. She even provides you with a few names of home inspectors she knows and trusts. But you can’t help but wonder, “Do I really need to have this done?” and “Will it really be worth the money?”

These are very common questions for homebuyers, especially first-time or relatively inexperienced homebuyers, who may not realize that they could potentially end up owning a “money pit”. Imagine the disappointment and frustration you would feel if you closed the deal on your new home, then quickly realized it had a laundry list of problems no one had ever mentioned! Shouldn’t the sellers have told you everything? Maybe, but that doesn’t always happen, and now you’re left with a bunch of unexpected expenses.

A professional home inspection is your safeguard against closing on a house that may not be as it appears on the surface. Although home inspectors conduct only visual inspections (they don’t cut access holes in drywall or pull up carpet), they are usually so thorough that the potential homeowner gets an accurate description of the condition of the home. With this information they can make a well-informed home-buying decision.

Knoxville home inspection fees vary by geographical area, house size, house age and other factors, but a good starting estimate would be $300 to $400 for a medium sized home. Sounds like a lot of money, but let’s see what you get. Most reputable Knoxville home inspectors would spend 3+ hours on site doing the physical work of the inspection, and then another hour or two putting together a comprehensive inspection report. This report would describe systems and components present in the home. It would also specify areas of concern, which could include such things as heating and cooling systems not functioning as intended, hazardous conditions inside electrical breaker panels, and damaged or rotted floor framing seen in the crawl space. Items like these would most likely go unnoticed during a casual “walk through” of the property, which is the extent of inspection most buyers do before making a decision.

Because a professional home inspector is viewed as an unbiased third party, his opinions and notations carry a lot of weight in the home buying process. With a comprehensive inspection report in hand, homebuyers are well-equipped to renegotiate their purchase contracts, if they decide to do so. And as a result, they commonly get the home inspection fee back many times over at the closing table. Spending a few hundred dollars on a professional home inspection before a home purchase can save the buyer thousands in the end.

Knoxville Home Inspections 101: Buyer’s Expectations

March 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

So you’ve found a home that you love.  You’ve walked through it a few times with your Realtor, and decided to call a Knoxville home inspector to verify that the home is as perfect as you perceive it to be.  You anticipate asking the sellers to address any concerns noted by the inspector before closing, so your new house will be trouble-free after you move in.  Sounds reasonable, right?  And this is how many homebuyers see the home inspection phase of the homebuying process.  Unfortunately, it hardly ever turns out this way.  Let’s take a look at some of the obstacles to such a smooth transaction.

First, there are no perfect houses.  I’ve personally inspected hundreds of homes in the Knoxville area over the last several years, and have yet to find one!  Many homebuyers have the expectation that the next house they purchase will be perfect, which could never really happen.  When choosing a house or a spouse, a perfect choice may not be possible, but a poor choice will make you miserable.  So in both cases, the best you can hope for is to make a very good choice. 

Secondly, home inspections are not intended to point out all items in the home that are less than perfect.  Most Knoxville home inspectors will make note of an item when it is not functioning as intended, or should reasonably be expected to stop functioning in the near future, or presents a safety concern to occupants.  Many other items may be seen as less than perfect by the buyer, but will not be mentioned in the home inspection report. 

Next, very few sellers will agree to address every item brought to light during the home inspection, though it does happen.  Usually sellers are more likely to accept financial responsibility for major problems or safety issues because they know if the present deal falls through, they’ll likely have to face these issues again with the next potential buyer.  So buyers are much better served by keeping some perspective on what’s really important in the transaction, and compromising  when necessary.

And finally, homes require periodic upkeep and maintenance.  Mechanical systems fail, plumbing systems develop leaks, and roofs will eventually need replacement.  This is the reality of being a homeowner.  However, by contracting with a professional Knoxville home inspection service at the appropriate time in the process, buyers are exposed to much less risk of unexpected expenses after closing ….. and find themselves much more content with their decision.

Dan Endsley – The House Scout, 132 W. Jackson Ave., Knoxville, TN 37902

Are All Knoxville Home Inspectors Certified?

March 1, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

No, and it’s important for prospective home buyers to ensure that their home inspector is.  Certification is a process professional organizations use to verify that inspectors have a certain level of knowledge and proficiency.  Not all Knoxville home inspectors are even members of a professional association, and many more have never been certified.

The two largest and most recognized national home inspector associations are The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI).  The House Scout is a member of both of these associations because, although they are very different organizations, they both have much to offer.  These groups both support the home inspection community with continuing education opportunities, local training sessions and networking with colleagues. 

About ASHI  (from ashi.org): 

In 1976, a group of visionary home inspectors with the common goal of building consumer awareness and enhancing the professionalism of their field established the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).  This not-for-profit professional association for home inspectors made its first order of business to establish and advocate high standards of practice and a strict code of ethics for the member community.  The Mission of ASHI is to meet the needs of its membership and promote excellence and exemplary practice within the profession.

Today, with 6,000+ members and 80+ chapters, ASHI is the largest and most respected professional association for home inspectors in North America. Through ASHI’s continued efforts, ASHI’s Standards of Practice—covering all of a home’s major systems—are now part of many pieces of state legislation and are recognized by consumers as the authoritative standard for professional home inspection.

About NACHI (InterNACHI):

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) is the world’s most elite, non-profit inspection association. Our home buying clients enjoy the professionalism only InterNACHI Certified Inspectors can provide. Our inspectors have all successfully passed InterNACHI’s Inspector Examination, taken a Standards of Practice Quiz, completed a Code of Ethics Course, adhere to Standards of Practice, abide by a Code of Ethics, attend required continuing education courses, and are InterNACHI Certified.

InterNACHI: the very best home inspectors.

Get more information about these professional associations, and find a certified home inspector in your area at www.ashi.org or www.nachi.org.

Call Today (865) 591-1121 or Schedule Above!  The House Scout is a certified Knoxville home inspector!

Will My Knoxville Home Inspection Disclose All Code Violations?

February 27, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

The short answer to this question is no.  Most Knoxville home inspectors specifically exclude building code violations in their pre-inspection agreements, unless the inspection being conducted is a new construction “phase”  inspection.  And national professional associations (ASHI & NACHI) and state standards list building code compliance as not within the scope of a general home inspection.   This is because it would be an impossible task for an inspector to determine the exact age of each home inspected,  and apply all the codes in force at time of construction for that particular jurisdiction.  Not to mention the fact that home inspectors have no authority to enforce any code in any jurisdiction.  They are only employed by their clients to give a professional, unbiased opinion about the home’s condition, and make suggestions or recommendations regarding problem areas.  The home inspection client then decides how they prefer to procede with that information.

Additionally, there are literally volumes of codes in publication, including the building code, mechanical code, plumbing code, electrical code and residential code.  No person could possibly master the entirety of these publications, and apply them to all the varied conditions and circumstances encountered by a general home inspector. 

However, Knoxville home inspectors often report on hazardous household conditions or inappropriate use of building materials, and these notations may be based on one or more commonly accepted codes.  Sound confusing?  It is!  No one can definitely define the boundary whereby the codes are or are not applied to a home inspection.  So, home inspectors generally do not perform code compliance inspections, but they may base some of their report comments on sections of a given code.

In summary, home inspectors are not code enforcement officials, and do not represent any particular jurisdiction.  Instead, they are “generalists” who report on the condition of the home, and alert their clients about any components or systems not functioning as intended.  The client can then make an informed homebuying decision.

You can count on The House Scout to protect you and your family from dangerous household conditions and unexpected expenses after closing. 

                 *****  Schedule Your Knoxville Home Inspection Now Online or Call (865) 591-1121!  *****

                              Dan Endsley - The House Scout, 132 W. Jackson Ave., Knoxville, TN 37902

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