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October 29, 2017

What To Inspect On Your Next Home Purchase

By Mark Hite
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

When considering a new residence as your potential home, there are many factors that contribute to a home’s selection, however one topic that is seldom is discussed are what physical inspections a new buyer should procure prior to purchasing the house?

Both Tennessee and Georgia provide a residential property disclosure form, where an existing owner can tell a prospective buyer everything they know about the house and what conveys with the home.  This is a excellent tool to use on the initial evaluation of a property.  Here you may learn about many items such as: defects which the owner has knowledge of, what conveys with the property, type of roofing materials and if there is a Home Owners Association.  Regardless of which state you are considering living in, the list of items is extensive.

The property  disclosure  may be rendered useless if the current property owner has not lived In the house for the last 3 years or the property is being transferred by a fiduciary in the course of the administration of a decedent’s estate, guardianship, conservatorship or trust.  In these cases, the owner may be exempted from completing a property disclosure in Tennessee.   In any of these cases the importance of physical inspection is increased.

There is a licensing process for home inspectors and wood destroying organisms in both Tennessee and Georgia.  These inspectors can advise a buyer of the overall condition of a home including such items as: electrical, heating/air conditioning, plumbing windows and doors.  They can also advise if there is active infestation of wood destroying organisms, such as termites and if a treatment is required.  These types of inspectors can give a buyer insight into what may not be readily visible to the untrained eye.

If you are thinking about putting up a fence, the home inspector can’t help you determine the boundary lines, here you need a surveyor.   A home inspector may look for leaking plumbing but they generally cannot provide information on utility connections or the capacity of the septic system for the home.   If these are important in your consideration, then different professionals should be brought in.

If you are concerned about crime, methamphetamine properties or sex offenders, a home inspector nor a realtor is the source for this type of information.  Here a buyer would need to consult local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. 

Perhaps a particular school districts or specific zoning codes are important to you in selecting a home.  Here again, consulting a local board of education or government office is the most accurate source.  

With so much to consider, an experienced Realtor member of the Greater Chattanooga Realtors should be your guide to help you navigate the inspection process.


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