If you’ve been looking for the perfect home in the Nashville metro area, you’ve probably come across quite a few options. These options will obviously include square footage, number of bathrooms, neighborhood, and local schools that would all combine to create the home of your dreams.
The next critical choice you’ll have to make involves selecting a home inspector. Magnolia Home Inspections has been part of the real estate industry since 2015. Over the past 6 years we have consistently been asked qualifying questions necessary when hiring a home inspector. A home inspection is only valuable as the inspector who performs it. Every home buyer should want answers to these questions!
Below are the most critical factors to consider when hiring a home inspector. It makes all the difference to make an educated decision and choose a professional you can trust.
Before licensing, the State of Tennessee requires all home inspectors to complete 90 hours of classwork. There is no shortcut to this requirement. If you did nothing but take these courses full-time, it would take a legitimate 90 hours of reading and study with tests, graded papers and exams.
After the 90 hours are completed prospective home inspectors are then required to pass the National Home Inspection Exam (NHIE). This is one of the most difficult, trickiest exams I have taken! The test is literally engineered to encourage you to choose the wrong answer even if you have the technical comprehension of subject you are being tested on. A large majority of test takers fail the first exam. Passing the exam and then obtaining an insurance policy is the final legal requirement to apply for a Tennessee home inspector’s license.
Training and Certification
A home inspector that has been licensed by the State of Tennessee Commerce and Insurance Department, Division of Regulatory Boards has worked very hard, investing a lot of time and energy into achieving that certification. However, it is important that home buyers know that a newly licensed inspector is only prepared to provide you with the bare minimum that is required as designated by the State.
A state license alone should not be a good measurement for hiring a home inspector. Two great questions to ask, “What additional training has the home inspector received in addition to becoming licensed by the State of Tennessee?” “Has the home inspector been mentored by a veteran inspector with the opportunity to perfect their craft before ever meeting their first client?”
Look on an inspector’s website or team page for professional certifications. These certifications can be an indication of an inspector that is research oriented and seeks to expand on his knowledge. Be wary of inspectors that advertise multiple ‘badges’ that are all supplied by a single association. Badges like ‘certified deck inspector’ or ‘proficient water heater inspector’ are invented by member associations and distributed for free, solely for marketing purposes! These badges are not representative of an extraordinary professional accomplishment.
A few certifications and reputable institutions:
- Building Science Principles, Building Performance Institute
- Infrared Thermography, Infrared Institute
- Radon Training & Certification, Spruce Environmental Technologies
- Building Dampness & IEQ Training, ProLabs
- Department of Energy Weatherization Certification
- National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP)
- The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST)
- Unmanned Aircraft System Pilot’s License, Federal Administration of Aviation
Experience is important and you should consider this when researching the best home inspector for you. I recommend taking into consideration an individual’s overall career in addition to becoming a home inspector. At Magnolia Home Inspections we only train new home inspectors with hands-on experience in the construction industry. Individuals with such experience have intimate knowledge of the construction process that cannot be gained through reading books or watching YouTube videos. Home inspectors with a construction background tend to have a deeper understanding as to why critical issues are occurring in a home and also have experience with the best long-term repair for issues.
There are still great home inspectors available who do not have construction experience. If an individual does not have such experience, I would be more inclined to hire a home inspector who has been in the industry at least 3 years. The last six years working solely as a home inspector are not quite equal to my construction experience but they are invaluable to our ability as a company to provide a higher level of service to our client home buyers today.
A home inspector that has been in the industry for at least 3 years typically shows that he has a dependable service. Success of a home inspection is dependent on a home inspector working well with other professionals in the industry. In order to thrive as a business, the trust and respect of local realtors and bank lenders must earned. In the real estate industry, earning that trust can take a 2 or 3 years.
Although many inspectors make up for “hands-on” knowledge or an experience deficit by joining an association like InterNachi or ASHI or HITA, these associations are vital to providing the best service possible to home buyers! I would warn any prospective home buyer against hiring any licensed home inspector that is not a member of an association like ASHI!!
American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is a large organization with memberships of home inspectors from all over the world! Every year they host an event and bring in top experts to cover all the issues pertinent to the industry necessary for all home inspectors to be on the frontline of changing technology, regulations and service opportunities in the industry.
It is easy to become lost on an island as a home inspector losing touch with the changing construction methodologies in the home building industry. It is also very easy to develop a huge ego when the spotlight is constantly on you to potentially play the hero, saving individuals from the pitfalls of house defects. An association with high-quality membership like ASHI is absolutely imperative to the necessary continued growth of a service professional and to keep the ego in check!
I would highly recommend that you consider hiring a home inspector that is part of a team if not a larger inspection firm. There is no substitute for a home inspector being surrounded by a diverse group of construction industry professionals who are able to share their life experiences in building, estimating and repairing all of the defects that we include in our reports on a daily basis. The questions and answers that occur behind the scenes among a strong veteran group make everyone wiser and better prepared to offer the best service.
I still make phone calls today to my trade contractor plumbers and electricians regarding curious new issues. In some instances an issue that I may have called out to correct was actually the best possible installation for that particular home due to unique circumstances. These insights only come from veterans in the industry.
It should be important to you why a home inspection company is in business? Do they have a purpose greater than just making big profits? Do there employees enjoy the work culture inside the business? (Are they detail-oriented and catch typos?) Do employees come to work with a sense of purpose? These are excellent questions you should be asking your realtor and asking your home inspector! At the end of the day these are individual consultants that are representing your best interests.
When your home inspector is tired, inside a tiny, dark, damp crawlspace… does he/she have your best interests in mind? Is your home inspector thinking about getting out of there quickly or do they have a competitive spirit, willing to crawl further and climbing higher than the competition?
In addition to work ethic is your home inspector surrounded by a work culture that expects excellence in the area where details matter? Is your home inspector qualified to be your consultant? Think about it, when you hire a home inspector you are essentially hiring a consultant that is advising you on an investment into a structure that is typically worth $750,000 here in Nashville or Franklin (37209, 37205, 37067).
Your ability to trust this individual to be a consummate professional in this advisory role and have a passion for representing your best interests while completing the tedious tasks required in a scorching hot attic space or dirty crawl space should be your primary concern!
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Which home inspection firm is best for you?
The best home inspection firm for you is simply the one that best aligns with your values and provides you a peace of mind guarantee as they fulfill their daily professional commitments.
We encourage you to do as much research as you can. Remember, a home inspector is a consultant that is advising you on one of the largest investments you will make in your life-time.
Magnolia Home Inspections has served Nashville since 2015 and we are proud to offer home inspection services in Franklin, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Thompson Station, Murfreesboro and Columbia.
If we haven’t already answered all your questions please continue your research with additional resources below or send your questions over chat! We would be very pleased to talk with you with any feedback on resources that are currently not available here at our website. We recommend the following articles as you continue your search for the best home inspection firm in Nashville:
FREE Additional Resources
Download: The Ultimate Checklist for Hiring a Home Inspector