by TJ AndersonThere’s a lot to celebrate about the Nashville food scene, and rightly, folks from around the country have been celebrating us more and more, for years now. The New York Times
What To Expect From A Home Inspection In Nashville
by TJ Anderson
If you’re about to embark on your first home-buying experience, you’ll have a lot to get acquainted with, from the emotional back-and-forth of putting in an offer to the hand-cramping experience of closing day.
In the middle, one of the most important parts: your home inspection.
A little advice
Along with your Realtor, lender and title company, your home inspector is a key part of your home-buying team — someone who’s going to help arm you with the knowledge you need to make good, comfortable decisions.
First bit of advice: As with any contractor, do your homework, and find some feedback on any home inspector you’re considering. Your Realtor can suggest some options too — I work with great home inspectors that I trust implicitly, so if you don’t know where to start, a Realtor can be a big help.
Second suggestion: Be there for your scheduled inspection. Sure, your inspector can fly solo (and sometimes, especially if you live in another city, it’s not feasible to be there). But it’ll really benefit you to walk through the property with those expert eyes.
You can get a better sense of any issues your inspector finds in person than in photos, and if you have any questions/concerns, you’re in a better place to voice them. Inspectors are usually great about helping you get acquainted with your property, too — telling you about how your systems/shutoffs work, and things you might want to keep an eye on down the line.
What your inspector will focus on
Beyond that, here are some basics about what you should expect. Every home inspector and every home is different, but this is the general idea of what they’ll be looking at, and looking for.
Your inspector looks for signs of structural damage or moisture intrusion — cracks, gaps, discoloration, etc.
Your inspector may or may not take a walk on your roof (it’s not required in Tennessee). Whether they rely on tech tools (some companies use drones) or good old-fashioned feet, he or she will look for things like missing/loose shingles, nail pops and flashing problems (those are the metal pieces around your chimney or in hips and valleys that protect those areas and divert water away). They’ll also give you a sense of the general state of the roof, and some insight into how long you should be able to go before a new roof is necessary.
A small part of your home, but a huge key to keeping water damage at bay. Your inspector will check for proper installation (they should pitch slightly), whether there's any blockage and whether water is being properly diverted away from the foundation.
Expect your inspector to give the whole exterior a once- (or twice-) over, from decks and steps to your windows and doors. They’re looking for really important things that are easy for homeowners to overlook — like whether a deck is properly fastened, or whether stair railings meet code.
When we’re touring homes, most potential buyers are more taken in by emotional attachment — cool kitchen finishes and appliances, spa-like bath retreats. But financially, we really want to put a magnifying glass to the parts that have no affect on the aesthetic, like your HVAC and electrical system. These examinations are among the most involved in your inspection process. Your inspector will make sure your HVAC is blowing enough air at correct temperatures. He or she will examine the visible parts of your electric system and point you toward any potential hazards. You’ll also get an overview of your plumbing, from how it’s flowing to the state the pipes are in. This is especially helpful if you’re buying an older home — you want to know if there are galvanized steel pipes hanging around, since the likelihood of replacement there is high (and the cost to do so could be similarly high).
Whether your doors and windows open and shut OK are just the beginning of what an inspector is looking for. They’ll also check for things like moisture damage or the potential for it — many use high-tech cameras that can see beyond the naked eye. This can really save you from being on the hook for big repairs down the line.
Replacing a kitchen full of appliances can be pricey, so you’ll want a good sense of the state they’re in. Your inspector checks everything, to assess working order/condition.
Beyond the plumbing, an inspector will make sure that moisture issues aren’t hiding in the bathroom. Moisture issues can be pricey to address, so having the full picture here is key.
Even if the attic’s just for storage, it needs a thorough look — for things like venting, insulation, moisture intrusion. Any/all of those things can affect your energy bills and/or lead to expensive repairs down the line.
It’s a lot to chew on, but a good home inspector will walk you through this and explain everything you need to know. Great ones even do it easy-to-grasp layman’s terms.
Questions/concerns? I love helping first-time homebuyers, and I’m happy to walk you through every step of the home-buying process, to help you feel confident and comfortable. Just give me a call or send me an email, and tell me about what you’re looking for.
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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