Educate Yourself on Home Inspectors’ Roles Before Buying and Selling

from  Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance

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The Tennessee real estate market is experiencing record-setting home sales and demand that are helping bolster the Volunteer State’s strong economy. In the midst of the breakneck pace of the housing market, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Regulatory Boards reminds consumers to educate themselves about the role home inspectors play when it comes to home sales.

“While buying or selling a home can be an exciting time, both consumers and real estate agents alike run the risk of overlooking crucial information when it comes to the role that home inspectors can play,” said Home Inspector Licensing Program Executive Director Michael Schulz. “Our team wants to help educate consumers when it comes to the role that home inspectors do and do not play when it comes to buying and selling a home.”

A new blog post highlighting the work of home inspectors can be found here.

TDCI is a valuable consumer resource for home shoppers and sellers alike as the agency licenses over 2,000 home inspectors through the Home Inspector Licensing Program in addition to over 39,000 actively licensed real estate professionals through the Tennessee Real Estate Commission.

Home Inspection 101

What does a home inspector do? Home inspections are an educational asset who can help buyers make informed choices about the home they are purchasing. A licensed home inspector is an independent professional apart from the real estate agent or mortgage lender who provides a visual evaluation of the property.

What does a home inspection entail? The inspector visually inspects a home’s structural components (foundation, floors, roof and walls), windows, heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical systems. When the inspector has completed his or her inspection, the inspector then creates a detailed report explaining the areas of the house that require repair or could potentially become problematic in the future. A full list of a home inspector’s duties by law can be found here.

What does a home inspector not entail? Many consumers mistakenly think home inspectors have more duties than they are actually required by law to include. Home inspectors are not required to:

  • Walk a home’s roof.
  • Enter a home’s crawl space.
  • Look for mold or microorganisms though the report might note their presence, but probably need follow-up by a specialist.
  • Offer or perform any act or service contrary to law.
  • Offer or perform any other job function requiring a license such as engineering, architectural, plumbing or electrical work.

Is a home inspection required by law in Tennessee before selling a home? No. While a home inspection is a good idea so that a buyer may have a better understanding of a home’s current condition, a home inspection is not required before the sale or purchase of a home.

Is a home inspection required before getting a mortgage? No. Consumers sometimes confuse a home inspection with a home appraisal because there may be some overlap in terms of their information. The home inspection is for the buyer’s benefit only. A home appraisal is required before a mortgage lender approves a mortgage.

How can I ensure that I use a licensed home inspector for my home inspection? Before scheduling a home inspection, visit verify.tn.gov to check the licensing status of thousands of home inspectors and other licensed professionals regulated by TDCI. Consumers or professionals with questions about home inspectors should contact TDCI’s Home Inspector Licensing Program at Home.Inspector. [email protected] or a file a complaint online.

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