Hamilton Herald Masthead Hamilton Herald


Front Page - Friday, November 3, 2017

What to inspect before your next home purchase

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

Both Tennessee and Georgia provide a residential property disclosure form, with which an existing owner can tell a prospective buyer everything they know about the house and what remains with the home. This is an excellent tool to use during the initial evaluation of a property.

You might learn about the defects about which the owner is aware, what remains with the property, the type of roofing materials and if there’s a homeowners association. Regardless of which state you’re considering living in, the list of items is extensive.

The property disclosure might be rendered useless if the current property owner has not lived in the house for the last three years or the property is being transferred by a fiduciary during 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 a physical inspection is increased.

There’s a licensing process for home inspectors and people who look for wood destroying organisms in both Tennessee and Georgia. These inspectors can advise a buyer to the overall condition of a home including the electrical system, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, windows and doors.

They can also advise if there’s an active infestation of wood destroying organisms, such as termites, and if treatment is required. These types of inspectors can give a buyer insight into what might not be readily visible to the untrained eye.

If you’re thinking about putting up a fence, the home inspector can’t help you determine the boundary lines. Here, you’ll need a surveyor. A home inspector might look for leaky plumbing, but they generally can’t 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’re concerned about crime, methamphetamine properties or sex offenders, neither 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 district 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.

The Greater Chattanooga Realtors are “The Voice of Real Estate” in Greater Chattanooga. This is a regional organization with more than 1,800 members and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. Go to www.GCAR.net for more information.