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I get to see a lot of different houses and a lot of different components in those houses. I don’t look at peoples “stuff”, like their TV, radios, speakers, computers or stuff like that because they aren’t a part of the HOME. These things will be gone when the house is sold, but below are things that should stay because they are installed INTO the property.  Here are a few of my favorite examples that I have seen and that are sweet additions to any home.


1. USB Outlets. Think about how many of your electronic devices use a USB to charge up. My house has about 20. Cell phone, laptop, iPad, iPod, baby monitor, Kindle, blu tooth speakers, screwdriver, flashlight, video game controllers, and on and on. These outlets are fantastic and give you more flexibility as to where you can plug in your stuff. There are many different makes and models but they are not too expensive, about $15-20 each.


2. Bathroom Fan with BluTooth Speakers. You need to have a bathroom fan anyways, so why not make it awesome?! This one is at Home Depot for $159. It does the job with 90 CFM (cubic feet per minute) and links wirelessly to your phone or tablet and streams your music while you shower. Also the fan is not too loud to compete with the music. It also has LED lights, white during the day and blue for night.


3. Snap Power Outlet Covers. They are your simple outlet cover, but also have an LED light on the bottom with a sensor to turn on when it gets dark. They are very efficient and don’t use much energy. The best part is that there is ZERO wiring involved. There are these little whisker thingies in the back that draw just enough power to run the light. All you do is screw in the center and thats it. No joke you can install them in 10-15 seconds. They sell other models too for switches and USB chargers. Check them out at Snappower.com


4. Nest Thermostat. No need to get up and change the thermostat. Also no need for Dad’s around the world to get up and check the thermostat to make sure someone didn’t change it!!! Dad’s just know when it’s been changed, we’ve had that technology for years.  The Nest Thermostat learns from your preferences and adjusts the temperature to match, saving you money on heating bills.  Plus you can sync it with Alexa or Google Home and never have to get up again.  You can change the temp from the couch, or from vacation in Mexico.  The Nest also has more options to turn your home into a true “Smart Home”.  $249 at Lowes.


5. Door Locks with Pass Code. I always suggest to new home buyers to change the locks, or at least get them re-keyed. It will give you peace of mind that there aren’t any keys out there to get into your house. Go one more and add the deadbolt with a Pass Code. Just seeing one of these might be enough to deter a potential thief. There are many different makes and models, the one below is by Schlage and they make a great product. This model is only $124.00 at Lowes.


6. Dimmer Switches. Nothing new here, these have been around for a long time. They are great for every room in the house. They cost more than a standard switch and also the bulbs cost more, but they are pretty sweet. Some of the fancier new ones also are wireless and can be controlled from your phone, you know, to set the mood, or whatever. The one below is only $12.99 at Lowes and even cheaper if you buy in bulk.7. Motion Lights. Again, nothing new here but it is great to see these on any home. They are a great addition for safety. Coming home late they can light up your walkway so you don’t trip and fall. If you are not at home and a potential burglar trips the light they will probably try and rob another home. Again there are many options available. My favorites have 2 or 3 bulbs that you can point in different directions and aim them where you want. The one above is only $60.

Any of these are a great addition to your home or potential new home. They are also a nice gift for Father’s day, hint hint. I enjoy pointing these out to my customers when I see them during inspections and they like seeing them too. Sometimes they don’t even know they are there until I find them.  As always if you are adding one of these to your home and are not comfortable installing yourself, hire a professional or call us and we can set you up with the right people.

Feel free to share and add any that you like on our Facebook page.

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As a licensed home inspector part of my job is inspecting the electrical system of each house I am hired for.  That involves popping the panel and looking on the inside.  It is my favorite part of the job.  I get excited to see what is under there.  A dirty, crowded and messy panel can indicate other issues throughout the house.  However, a nice clean, organized and neat panel with everything labeled correctly is great to see and inspect.

What is a “double tap”?  This is an issue that I see in 90% of the houses that I inspect.  A double tap is simply 2 branch circuit wires that are connected to the same circuit breaker.  This can create too much load going into the breaker and cause the breaker to trip.  Each circuit breaker is supposed to have only one wire.

See it in the picture above?  It’s hard to see but here it is up close.

double-tap-blog-pic

However, some breakers are specifically designed to have 2.  It depends on the manufacturers instructions.  Also some “double taps” are perfectly fine.  A lot of the time it is just the doorbell wire, a low load wire that needs to get juice from somewhere and doesn’t over load the breaker.

The only way to know if you have a “double tap” is to take the panel off of your electrical box and take a look.  Do NOT do this if you do not know what you are doing.  Any licensed electrician can do this for you and let you know what is going on in there.

As for fixing a “double tap”, hire a licensed electrician to take a look and they can let you know your options.  Sometimes it is fine, and sometimes they may need to add a new breaker to correct it.

For more info or to talk about Home Inspections contact at Knoxinspect.com

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You are ready to buy a new home.  You have gone to the mortgage guy. You got all the papers you needed. You waited for an answer.  They needed more paperwork? Seriously? I don’t know where my 3 year old W-2 is?  Send in more information.  Wait some more. You got the money! You are pre-approved. Yay! Lets celebrate with some drinks and go on Zillow for 4 hours!  OK time to find a real estate agent.  Which one though? Ok got one we are ready to look at houses.  Where do we want to live? How many bedrooms? Can we have a garage? What about taxes? How much space will we need in the future? This weekend there are some open houses we can go to.  How many houses did you look at? Five? Fifteen?  This is the one we must have this house.  Our agent says we need to get an offer in fast.  Let’s do it.  How much do we offer?  Higher or lower?  What is the market value?  Will they accept our offer?  The phone rings… they accepted your offer!  Congratulations!  Now what???

You have made all of these decisions and completed everything so far and it has been a long long process.  Do not make a vital mistake and SKIP a Home Inspection.  You have researched everything and talked with your agent about the house and you feel confident in your decision.  Maybe there are a few issues that you have seen in the house that you know about and have a plan to fix or replace, maybe there are no issues that you can see.  What if it’s a new house?

The home inspection is the most important part of the entire home buying process.  Skipping this step can cost you major money and headaches down the road if there are any issues with the house you buy.  A lot of times the small details that can indicate an issue are missed by the buyers and even the sellers that have lived in the home for a long time.

I will not speak for all Home Inspectors because they are all different and do things their own way.  I can only tell you how I operate an inspection for my clients.  I will get into different things that I look for in each home in separate blogs to come soon so for now I will just focus on what I do for each of my clients.

When you call me I will first ask you a few questions about yourself.  Are you selling or buying? Congratulations you are buying a home!  What can you tell me about it?  If you can send over the listing that is the best and I can get you an accurate price quicker.  If you don’t have the listing not a problem.  I will just ask a few more questions and I can get you an estimate immediately.

I will then send you over a standard pre-inspection agreement for you to review and sign.  Every client must read and sign this, it benefits all parties.  This agreement covers the entire process of the home inspection.  It states what I will and will not inspect and has a lot more information about the inspection process for you to learn about.

Finally we will schedule a date and time that works for you and your agent.  I am very flexible with my scheduling and also schedule your time as quickly as possible.  There are almost always “inspection clauses” written into the home buying agreement and it has a time limit on it.  Each one is different but it is normally 7-14 days.  That means you have that set amount of time to hire an inspector and get the inspection done.  You can also have other professionals come in and look at the house in this time too.  Maybe you want to update all of the floors and electrical fixtures after closing, you can have a contractor and electrician come in and give you an estimate during this time too.

At the time of your inspection we will review the agreement and go over the pricing.  Once that is done and signed I work for you.  I work for ONLY you.  I do not work for your agent, or the listing agent.  I will go through the entire house with you and answer any questions that you have.  We will go from the exterior and move from the ground up, then move to interior and go from the basement to the attic and everywhere in between.  You can ask as many or as few questions as you like.  I will give you my honest opinion on everything.  I will tell you like it is.  If I don’t like the look of the fastenings on the deck I will tell you.  If I really like your stand by generator or the extra insulation in the attic I will tell you that too.  I will tell you the good, the bad and the ugly.  I want you to know as much as possible about your potential new home before I leave.

I will not leave until I have seen everything necessary and have answered all of your questions.  I have had agents in the past try and rush me along and finish early but like I said, I don’t work for them.  I do my best to get each inspection done in 2-3 hours.  Each house is different and each customer is different so there is no real set time for each inspection.  Some go smoother than others and some might take a little longer.

I will take some notes and I will take hundreds of pictures.  All of the information that I find during the inspection will be in your personal report that I will start working on as soon as I get back to the office.  It takes a few more hours for me to finish it and then I will email it over to you, and your agent if you want as soon as it’s done.  Your report can be long, sometimes a hundred pages or so, but it is all together in one easy to read PDF file.  There is a table of contents so you can click on each system and jump to that part of the report.  The most important issues will be at the end in the “General Summary”.

From here it is up to you and your agent to discuss any of the issues that may have come up in the report.  Say for example that there is a leak in the attic or a faulty electric circuit branch.  My report can be used in negotiations with the home owner.  Do you want these issues fixed prior to closing?  Or do you want to fix them yourself and have the cost deducted from the total price of the home?  These are issues that your Real Estate agent will help you with.  Reference back to the pictures in your Inspection Report for any repairs that are made so you can see the before and afters to ensure the work was done properly.

I am not done working for my clients when I email them over their report.  I am available to answer any questions they may have anytime.  There are so many things to look for in your new home that you might forget something and then remember it later.  No problem, give me a call and we can talk about it.  For example:

“Hey Riley, what is a ‘double tap’?  It’s on page 62 of my report, I know we talked about it but can you tell me more?”

“Which way does my filter go on the furnace?  I see the arrow but I forgot which way it’s supposed to point?

“My Radon air test results came back and it is high.  What do I do now?”

I am available to help out anytime just give me a call or email.  I will also do follow up inspection or just inspect an area that you are concerned with, just ask.  For more information contact me at Knoxinspect.com

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