Learn about the roles of home inspectors before buying and selling


Tennessee’s real estate market is seeing record home sales and demand that are helping to bolster the strong willing state economy. Amidst the frenetic pace of the housing market, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) Division of Regulatory Boards reminds consumers to educate themselves about the role home inspectors play when it comes to selling homes.

“While buying or selling a home can be an exciting time, consumers and realtors alike run the risk of overlooking crucial information regarding the role home inspectors can play,” said Michael Schulz, Executive Director of the Home Inspectors Licensing Program. “Our team wants to help educate consumers about the role home inspectors play and don’t play when it comes to buying and selling a home.”

A new blog post highlighting the work of home inspectors can be found here.

TDCI is a valuable consumer resource for home buyers and sellers, as the agency licenses more than 2,000 home inspectors through the Home Inspectors Licensing Program, in addition to over 39,000 professionals from active licensed real estate through the Tennessee Real Estate Commission.

Home inspection 101

What does a home inspector do? Home inspections are an educational asset that can help buyers make informed choices about the home they are buying. A licensed home inspector is an independent professional, other than the real estate agent or mortgage lender, who provides a visual appraisal of the property.

What is a home inspection? The inspector visually inspects the structural components of a house (foundation, floors, roof and walls), windows, heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical systems. When the inspector has completed their inspection, the inspector then creates a detailed report explaining areas of the home that require repairs or could potentially become problematic in the future. A complete list of the duties of a home inspector by law can be found here.

What does a home inspector do not to train? Many consumers mistakenly believe that home inspectors have more duties than the law requires. Home inspectors are not required to:

  • Walk on the roof of a house.
  • Enter the crawl space of a house.
  • Check for mold or microorganisms although the report may note their presence, but likely requires specialist follow-up.
  • Offer or perform any act or service that is against the law.
  • Offer or perform any other function requiring a license such as engineering, architectural, plumbing or electrical work.

Is a home inspection required by law in Tennessee before selling a home? No. While a home inspection is a good idea for a buyer to better understand the current condition of a home, a home inspection is not required before a home is sold or purchased. .

Is a Home Inspection Required Before Getting a Mortgage? No. Consumers sometimes confuse a home inspection with a home appraisal because there may be some overlap in terms of information. The home inspection is for the benefit of the buyer only. A home appraisal is required before a mortgage lender approves a mortgage.

How can I make sure I am using a licensed home inspector for my home inspection? Before scheduling a home inspection, visit verify.tn.gov to check the licensing status of thousands of home inspectors and other licensed professionals regulated by TDCI. Consumers or professionals who have questions about home inspectors should contact TDCI’s Home Inspector Licensing Program at Home.Inspector. [email protected] or file a complaint online.

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