Tag Archive for: property inspection

Murfreesboro electrical inspection, Smith & Smith Home Inspections

As the owner and lead home inspector for Smith & Smith Home Inspections, I’ve inspected thousands of houses. The main concerns I have when inspecting a property is to find all fire hazards, safety hazards and anything that would put the home occupants at risk. Rental properties are where I usually find a high number of these safety risks and hazards. Here I’ll highlight the safety hazards I discovered in one duplex in Murfreesboro, TN.

Removing a dead front cover, and inspecting the interior of an electrical panel is a very important course of action as a home inspector. At this house’s sub panel, the ground and neutral wires are bonded on the same bus bar. If the load should become unbalanced, and ground and neutral are bonded, the current will flow through anything bonded to the sub-panel (enclosure, ground wire, piping, etc.) and back to the main panel. This is a major shock hazard! It can also cause problems with GFCI breakers, and cause equipment interference issues. You want one path for power to return to the source. If grounds and neutrals are connected at a sub panel, the grounds could take some of the power load and deliver it back to the main panel. This would be very bad. Grounds are never supposed to have any power, except for instances were there is a surge of power. The grounds alleviate the surge by pushing the path of the power to the Earth/ground, so nobody gets hurt.

Neutrals and Grounds Bonded on the Same Bus Bar in Sub Panel

Defected and wrongly wired outlets are the next hazards found. The updates and remodeling of the place did not include the work of a licensed, qualified electrician. The home had outlets with open grounds, outlets with open neutrals, and outlets with the hot and neutral wires reversed. An open ground is when a three-pronged outlet is not connected to the home’s grounding system. This is unsafe because if a fault were to happen, the surge could damage equipment or people rather than routing to the ground. Hot and neutral wires reversed can cause plugged in items to be electrically charged at all times, which could cause short circuits, shock, or fire. When you have an open neutral, there’s a disconnect in the white wire. Electricity can still flow to the device through the hot wire, but it can’t return to the panel. The device plugged in won’t work, but you can still get a shock from it because it’s energized. Most electrical fires are caused by a loose neutral wire.

Outlet with an Open Ground Outlet with the Hot and Neutral Wires Reversed Outlet with an Open Neutral

In case of a fire or an emergency, the occupants of a home should be able to make a speedy escape from the building. This house had keyed deadbolts on the interior side, and windows taped shut, because they were the original 70s, single pane windows, and were super drafty. The front door and back door to the exterior had a deadbolt which required a key for operation from the inside. This condition is unsafe as it may slow or prevent exit during an emergency, and installation of these types of deadbolts is no longer allowed in new construction. Imagine trying to find a key, so you and your loved ones can escape a burning building. There is no logic for having an interior keyed deadbolt. As for the taped windows, bedroom windows double as emergency egresses. To top everything off, in the attic, the walls separating the duplexes were not fire rated. Meaning that fire can easily spread from one dwelling to the other. Plus, smoke detectors were not installed inside every bedroom.

Keyed Deadbolt on Interior Side Window Taped Shut

If you are looking to buy a home or an investment property, you want your home inspector to be experienced in building and construction, InterNACHI certified, and licensed by the state of Tennessee. I am that home inspector. At Smith & Smith Home Inspections, we inspect the entire house, from the foundation to the roof, and we always include thermal imaging and gas leak detection, all at a reasonable, flat rate price. We provide home inspections and radon testing throughout Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Lebanon, Shelbyville, Manchester, McMinnville, La Vergne, Winchester, Woodbury, Columbia, Nashville & The Greater Middle Tennessee Area. Call/text/email to schedule your inspection today!


home buyers murfreesboro tn

Here are Three Most Common Mistakes Every Home Buyer Should Avoid

Common Mistake #1: Thinking you can’t afford it.

Many people who thought that buying the home of their dreams was simply out of their budget are now enjoying a wonderful lifestyle in their very own homes.

Buying a home is one of the smartest financial decisions you will ever make. As a matter of fact, most homeowners would be broke at retirement if it wasn’t for one saving grace, the equity in their homes. In addition, tax allowances favor home ownership.

History shows, real estate values have always risen steadily. Of course, there are highs and lows, but the long-term trend is a consistent increase. This means that every month when you make a mortgage payment, the amount that you owe on the home goes down and the value typically increases. This “owe less, worth more” model is called equity build-up, and is the reason you can’t afford not to buy.

Even if you have little money for a down payment or credit problems, chances are that you can still buy that new home. It all comes down to working with the right people, and knowing the right strategies.

Common Mistake #2: Not hiring a buyer’s agent to represent you.

Buying property can be a complex and stressful endeavor. In fact, it is most often the biggest, single investment you will ever make in your lifetime. At the same time, real estate transactions have become increasingly complicated. New technology, laws, procedures, and competition from other buyers require buyer agents to perform at an ever-increasing level of professionalism and competence. Plus, making the wrong decisions can end up costing you thousands of dollars. This is not the way that it has to be!

Find and work with a buyer’s agent that has a keen understanding of the real estate business and the local market. A buyer’s agent has a fiduciary duty to you. That means that they are loyal only to you, and are obligated to look out for your best interests. A buyer’s agent can help you find the best home, the best lender, and the best home inspector in your area. That inspector should be an InterNACHI certified home inspector because InterNACHI inspectors are the most qualified and best-trained inspectors in the world.

Trying to buy a home without an agent or a qualified inspector is, well… unfathomable.

Common Mistake #3: Getting a cheap inspection.

Buying a home is more than likely the most expensive purchase you will ever make. This is no time to shop for a cheap inspection or the cheapest home inspector. The cost of a home inspection is relativity small compared to the value of the home being inspected. The additional cost of hiring a certified home inspector is almost insignificant by comparison. As a home buyer, you have been number crunching, negotiating offers, adding up closing costs, shopping for mortgages, and trying to get the overall best deals. Don’t stop now! Don’t let your real estate agent or anyone else talk you into skimping here.

Smith & Smith Home Inspections provides inspection services throughout Middle Tennessee. Contact us today to schedule your inspection!