Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from roof to foundation. An inspector typically spends between two to three hours evaluating a home, and may recommend further evaluation if problems or symptoms are discovered. One of the best ways to understand about a home's condition, habitability and safety is to hire a professional home inspector. A properly trained home inspector will review your house as a system, looking at how one component of the house might affect the operability or lifespan of another. Home inspectors will go through the property and perform a comprehensive visual inspection to assess the condition of the house and all of its systems. They will determine the components that are not performing properly as well as items that are beyond their useful life or are unsafe. They will also identify areas where repairs may be needed or where there may have been problems in the past. Inspections are intended to provide the client with a better understanding of property conditions, as observed at the time of the inspection.
What does a Home Inspection include?
There are generally 300-400 items observed throughout an inspection. For a brief summary click on the "What do we Inspect" link.
Why do I need a Home Inspection?
For many people, their home will be the largest investment they ever make. Most buyers are unable to identify on their own the presence of unique problems that may exist in a home. These problems can cost a significant amount of money that the buyer may be unprepared to spend. There may also be hidden safety hazards that could hurt you or your family. A professional home inspector is trained to observe these potential problems and safety hazards and report them so the buyer can make a more educated decision in the purchase of the home.
What will the inspection cost?
The cost depends upon the size and type of property to be inspected. Click on the "Pricing" link for more information.
How much time does a Home Inspection take?
Most home inspections will be completed in 2-3 hours. A condo or townhome may only take 1 hour. A 6000 square foot home may take over 4 hours. The amount of time an inspection takes depends on the size of the property and its overall condition. We will not be rushed though an inspection. We will always spend as much time as the property requires.
Which cities do you serve?
Bear Creek Property Consultants, LLC is based in Knoxville, Tennessee, but we also serve: Oak Ridge, Maryville, Clinton, Lenoir City, Kingston, Loudon, Harriman, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Lake City, Norris, Jefferson City, Dandridge and Alcoa.
Can I do a Home Inspection myself?
Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. A professional home inspector has the experience, depth of knowledge and training to make an unbiased and informed report of the condition of a property. An inspector is familiar with the many elements of home construction, their proper installation and maintenance. An inspector understands how the home's systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail and knows what to look for and is uniquely suited to interpret what their findings reveal about the condition of the property. Most buyers find it difficult to remain objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate information about the condition of a home, always obtain an impartial third-party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection.
Can a house fail a Home Inspection?
No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies compliance to local codes and standards. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house. A home inspection describes the physical condition of a property and indicates what may need repair or replacement.
What is the inspector responsible for?
Any professional inspection firm will have an agreement for you to read and sign. This agreement will spell out the company's capabilities and their limitations. Do not assume you know what the inspector can do for you based on what you hope or want him to do for you. There are limitations. Inspectors are there to limit your risk in the purchase of a home. However, they cannot eliminate that risk. Keep in mind that the inspection is limited to what can be visually observed at the time of the inspection. Generally, a home inspector's job is to observe and evaluate the major systems of the home and report to you the conditions they observe that exist on the day of the inspection. When problems are found the inspector will either offer recommendations of how to repair or recommend you get further evaluation by someone who specializes in that field. An inspector cannot predict the condition of a system five years from now, or even what condition it will be in the next day. To put it simply, anything that breaks was working the day before it broke; a furnace working the day of the inspection may develop a problem between then and the date you move in . There are also limitations to the depth of evaluation a home inspector can perform. There are components to systems that are not visible without dismantling the systems. Home inspectors do not perform this kind of testing. The inspector can evaluate only what is visible. Please view our pre-inspection agreement under the "Our Reports" link. On the day of the inspection you will sign two copies of this agreement; one for you and one for the inspector.
What type of report should I expect?
The report will include an analysis of the major components and operating systems of a home as seen during the time of the inspection. The report is organized into a logical and descriptive checklist format supplemented with digital photographs to further illustrate components or systems observed during the inspection. We generally spend 2-3 hours writing up the final report. For this reason you will not receive your report until later in the evening, but you will recieve your report on the same day as the inspection. We prefer to be very thorough and accurate in writing our reports. We will not compromise our standards just to speed up the process. We generally send our reports via e-mail as a pdf document. As long as you have Adobe Reader, a free program for download you can view our reports. At your request we can also bring you a printed copy of the report and discuss its contents in person. We can also send you a cd-rom of the report or mail you a printed copy of the report. To view a sample report and pre-inspection agreement click on the "Our Reports" link in the left hand column.
When do I call in a Home Inspector?
Before you sign the contract or purchase agreement, make your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated. Contact us immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Bear Creek Property Consultants LLC is aware of the time constraints involved in purchase agreements and therefore offers home inspections seven days a week, any time of day, as long as there is enough light to inspect the outside of the house.
Do I have to be present during the inspection?
While it is not necessary for you to be present, it is always recommended that you make time to join us during our visit. This allows you to observe the inspector, ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain them. After you have seen the property with the inspector, you will find the written report easier to understand.
What if the report reveals problems?
No house is perfect. When we identify problems, it does not indicate you should not buy the house. our findings serve to educate you in advance of the purchase about the condition of the property. A seller may adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are discovered during an inspection. If your budget is tight, or if you do not want to be involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely valuable.
If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?
Yes. Now you can complete your home purchase with confidence about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. From the inspection, you will have learned many things about your new home, and will want to keep that information for future reference.
I am buying a new house, or a nearly new house. Do I really need an inspection?
Yes! Even though a house may be new or nearly new that does not mean that it is free of problems. No home builder is perfect. Many of the problems or safety hazards identified may still be covered by the builder's warranty, and therefore may be fixed for free. For more information on Warranty Inspections click on the "Inspections for Buyers" link in the left hand column.
Why should I, as a seller, have my home inspected prior to listing?
The primary reason to have a pre-listing inspection is to speed up the sales process. Bear Creek Property Consultants LLC will conduct a detailed inspection of your property so you know which systems or components of your property should be repaired or upgraded prior to listing your house. When most of the problems and safety hazards have already been fixed potential buyers are much less likely to back out of contract after hiring their own inspector. For more information click on the "Inspections for Sellers" link in the left hand column.
What else should I do before buying a house?
Always verify everything with documentation! Whenever changes are made to a house or a site form the time of the original construction, the owner of the property or the owner's building contractor must file the necessary building permits and obtain final approvals from the local municipality. In the state of Tennessee this includes any work over $100 in value. Never assume that all the permits were pulled and final approvals granted. Always check with your local town hall to be certain. Work performed without the proper permits presents a potential safety hazard and liability risk. A county inspector did not verify that the work was performed correctly and in accordance with local building codes and variances. In cases where permits were not pulled or final approval was not granted the homeowner can obtain an "as built" final inspection by a municipal building inspector. Just because a home has a Certificate of Occupancy does not mean that the building department has approved all of the work done at the site. Buyers should also request copies of all receipts and documentation for any work performed at the property. The current owner of the property should be able to provide you the receipts and documentation. For instance, if the current owner of the property states that the roof of the house is two years old, or that asbestos in the basement was removed by a licensed EPA contractor, proof should be provided to back up these claims. If the seller cannot provide this proof you should be wary that he or she may not be telling the truth.
Do I need a home inspection if my bank is having the house appraised?
Yes! A house appraisal is an independent evaluation of the current market value of a house or property. In general, the purpose of an appraisal is to set the current value of a house so that a lender may determine how much it can loan to the buyer. The appraiser looks at similar properties in the area and the prices at which they were sold to set the value of the house. A house inspector conducts a thorough evaluation of the house's major systems and structural integrity. Whereas the appraiser is typically working for the bank, the house inspector is working for you. The house inspector identifies items that need replacement or repair prior to closing, which can save you thousands of dollars. U.S. Department Of Housing And Urban Development (HUD) requires buyers sign a "Consumer Notice" advising them to get a house inspection in addition to a house appraisal before purchasing a house with a FHA mortgage. Additionally, HUD now allows home-buyers to include the costs of appraisal and inspection in their FHA mortgage.
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes, we prefer that you pay with cash or check, but we will accept credit cards at your request. All of our credit card billing is done through PayPal (www.paypal.com). You must have a PayPal account in order to charge your inspection to your credit card or bank account. PayPal is a secure online billing service. If you would prefer to pay with a credit card please let us know BEFORE your home inspection. We will then email you an invoice you can use to pay for your inspection through your secure PayPal account.
Providing home inspections in Knoxville, Oak Ridge,
Maryville and much of east Tennessee