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How to Pass A Home Inspection for Sellers and Real Estate Agents

  All home inspectors are trained to find defects and the good ones find more than the newer, less experienced ones.   So expect a home inspector to find things wrong with every house if they are doing their job for their client.   I tell people that there are no perfect houses.   Houses built by imperfect people in an imperfect world, add weather, age and normal decay; can't possibly be perfect.     So what can a Seller or Real Estate agent do to improve their odds of "Passing" the home inspection?    Following is my list of things that can help expedite your home selling process with regard to passing the biggest hurdle: the home inspection.   1. De-clutter and clean your home as much as possible.   Make sure all Attic and Crawlspace cavities are "readily accessible".   2. Fix the things you have put off fixing.   The less issues found by the inspector, the better your home looks to a prospective buyer. 3. Make sure all appliances and fireplaces op
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How to Stop Flying Squirrels from Chewing on Your Log Home

  I have had a continuing problem with Flying Squirrels over the last several years.   It seems that they like my home because it is a Log Home in a wooded setting near a large body of water.   I have posted about this problem before and recommended trapping them and relocating them.   However; in my case at least, either there are new squirrels showing up, or, I am not able to trap them all.   The problem was keeping me up at night, as I could hear chewing outside my home. For those of you who can't sleep due to Chewing at night, I want to share my newest all natural solution to this problem.   It also works for other nocturnal flying mammals.     I was visiting my niece and nephews home, when my nephew showed me this video he used to entertain his kids.   It was a YouTube video of owls and crickets.   While I was listening to this, I thought to myself, I wander if this could be used to attract Owls to my property and help me with my squirrel problem?     So, when I got ho

First Time Home Buyer Home Inspection Mistakes

  We have seen first time home buyers make some critical errors in regard to the home inspection process that can cost them money and aggravation. We offer the following advice as a guide to help you avoid those mistakes.   1- Not Having a Home Inspection: Some people do this to keep from spending 100s of dollars, but end up potentially costing themselves 1000s   It makes no sense.   2-Allowing the Seller to do repairs on Home Inspection findings.   The Seller has an incentive to use the lowest bidder to do repairs; or worse, do the repairs themselves.   In this case, the warranty on the work may not transfer to the new owner after the closing happens, then you are stuck with inferior work and little recourse.   Sometimes Real Estate Agents will ask Us to inspect after the repairs are completed by a Seller.   We don't recommend this as most of the time, we end up having to throw off on the repair, costing the buyer additional money; and making the agent and seller mad in th

Log Home Inspections

  When inspecting a log house, there are some special key characteristics that are unique to log houses that require close scrutiny. I have outlined some of them below to help on an initial visit when considering purchasing a log home: 1. What is the general condition of the logs? Deferred maintenance can lead to trouble for any home, but especially log homes.   Generally, log homes require staining frequently to prevent deterioration. The frequency is dependent on the quality of the stain and the exposure of the log walls.   Then there is the question of whether the stain on the logs is latex or oil based.   Oil based stains tend to last longer, but latex stains are being engineered better as time goes on.   The worst thing that anyone can do to a log wall is apply paint to the outside.   Solid color stains are difficult sometimes to tell from paint on the initial inspection.   The reason you want to avoid paint is that logs, being cellulose like cotton, have a natural “moisture r

Warning Signs That Your New House Might Be A Money Pit

  1. Moldy smells..Mold is everywhere, but when water leaks occur, mold can become a serious problem.  Mold can be present in crawl spaces and can cycle to dormant during dry periods and come back during high humidity and warmer months.  Sometimes sellers will surface clean an area thinking they have removed the mold, but often mold is hidden and will come back when moisture is re-introduced. 2. Burning smells…Some burning smells are harmless, but others can be electrical problems.  3. Water stains, rust and damaged finishes. You may have plumbing, roof or basement issues that need to be addressed soon before more damage occurs. 4. Gutters missing or spilling…We live in a “temperate rainforest”. Needless to say, water control is vital to the longevity of any house in our area. Failure to keep a home high and dry can result in a host of water related problems. 5. Strange sewer smells in the yard…Septic failure can happen anytime.  You should always ask the owner when the sep
  Is Venting A Crawl Space Needed?   Traditional crawl spaces have typically been built over a dirt floor with ventilation air from foundation perimeter vents.   Recent building science studies conducted by various institutions including the University of Tennessee challenge this old way of thinking and indicate that we need to rethink traditional methods of building related to venting a crawl space.   As a Home Inspector, Home Energy Rater and Building Scientist I have witnessed many problems that moisture in crawl spaces can cause including condensation, wood rot, mold, buckling hardwood floors, smelly moldy carpets, mold in the attic, sticking doors and windows, dust mites and wood destroying organism/insect activity. I have often thought that crawl spaces are the most neglected areas of homes, and for good reason. After all, who wants to crawl into a moist, insect and rodent filled area?   In fact, most homeowners don't go there, shut it out of their minds and never thi

What does (or should) a Tennessee Home Inspection Include?

  There are several standards that home inspector’s follow, but the absolute minimum that they must follow is the TN State Home Inspection Standard found at : If the Inspector is a Member of ASHI, they voluntarily also follow a stricter standard found at: If the Inspector is a member of InterNACHI, in addition to the State Standard, they follow the following:   The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) also publishes a Code of Ethics in addition to the Standards of Practice that outlines what home inspectors should do, and should not do in regard to professionalism, conflicts of interest, good faith and public perception. That Standard is available at: In general, the home ins