Home inspections are important; here’s what to expect

Our housing market is truly in uncharted waters. It was only several months ago when almost all the predictions were for a 2022 market that would be competitive but not as crazy. But it looks like the market has taken another swig on the crazy jug. 

RICK CHANTRY
2022 NETAR President

Although the short-term outlook has taken a bullish turn, one thing hasn’t changed.  

Homeowners who want to sell their home must give buyers a disclosure of the property’s known defects. Unless there’s an “as is” settlement the next step is a home inspection. And there has been a rising chorus of suggestions that buyers do not forego inspections. 

Here’s what to expect from a pre-purchase home inspection from a certified inspector.  

A visual inspection and written report or checklist on the home’s primary systems condition. That includes the heating system, central air conditioning system, the interior electrical and plumbing systems. It also includes checking the attic and its visual insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, doors, and windows. Add to all of that the roof, foundation, the basement, patio, decks, and garage. Be sure to read your inspector’s agreement to see what is included. 

It can take an hour and a half for a simple inspection on a smaller property to more than three and a half hours for a larger property. That’s because it’s a pretty thorough process that relies on standards set by the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors and the State Standards for Tennessee Home Inspectors Licensing Program. But it’s not a pass or fail process.  

Inspectors will be familiar with the local building code, but the home inspection is not a code check. Its goal is to evaluate and describe the physical condition of the home at the time of the inspection. An indication of what may need repair or replacement can be included, but whether or not any of that happens is up to what the buyer and seller agree to in their negotiations. As with all negotiations, there’s a virtually endless list of options.  

Here’s a basic checklist of best practices for hiring a home inspector. 

  • Check their license status. Tennessee’s Home Inspector Licensing Program was enacted in 2005 to ensure that only qualified persons are licensed home inspectors and that those inspectors extend a professional and educated opinion on the condition of the homes they inspect.  
  • Are they certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors? 
  • How long have they been an inspector, and the number of inspections they do is also a consideration? 
  • Understand the inspection fee upfront. Costs usually range from $250 to $500 depending on the property’s location, the type and size of the property, and the scope of the inspection. Some buyers get several cost estimates before hiring an inspector. 
  • Ask for references, including some previous customers, and talk to them. 
  • Discuss in advance how long you will have to wait for the report after the inspection is completed. 

Finally, while you should expect a checklist of the weak points turned up during the inspection and options you may have to resolve the issues, it’s not unheard of to see it include some of the property’s strong points. 

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region representing over 1,500 members and 100 affiliates involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.  

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region, representing over 1,600+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at https://netar.us