I am often asked, "What do you inspect when you examine a home?" Thats a good question and one that most people want answered well. Considering that your home is the largest investment that most of us will make in our lives, it is important that the inspection is thorough. So the short answer is... "A lot!." A better answer might be, the structure, the common safety devices, the basement and crawlspaces, the central heating and cooling systems, the plumbing system, the bathroom and laundry, the electrial system, the kitchen, the fireplace, the building exterior, the attic insulation and ventilation, the roof, the grounds and the parking areas. But to be more specific, i've included a list below that will give a much more specific description.
And I am often asked, "How do you inspect these items?" I usually start at the outside of the home and inspect the grounds, the siding, windows, doors, roof, electrical, and HVAC components first. And, then I work my way into the interior and garage areas, finally getting to the attic areas. In my reports I use a lot of pictures. Pictures are a wonderful tool and tell a great story. So, you will see me walking around with a digital camera, a hand held computer, electrical and humidity testing meters, laser thermometers, flashlights and mirrors. (The mirrors will help me see into areas that are often missed)
I save the crawl space for last. It is a nasty job; and can only best be done after the interior of the home has been toured. If your home has a ceramic shower, I want to know about where the shower pan should be located so I can make a through inspection of that area in the crawl space. I carry disposable coveralls and a big flash light with me to every inspection. The overalls keep me somewhat clean in the crawl space and help me to keep the spiders out. The big flash light comforts me because i am afraid of the dark. (ha, ha...got cha!)
The typical home inspection report that I generate is 20 to 30 pages long. In that Custom Report, not only will i provide a list of all the items I inspected, i'll even list those items I could not get to for one reason or another. In most instances, I'll include how to repair any known defect. If the crawl space is too low to enter (and some fifty year old or better homes are), then the crawlspace can't be inspected, but you deserve to know if it was not entered. If you are having an inspection done on an occupied house and the current residents are pack rats with an attic full of storage items, I might not be able to move the contents to inspect and again you need to know this. I also have to take care not ot damage anything during the inspection.
My reports are thorough and they take time to generate. My standard operating method of delivery is via the internet, usually available over night. Once I have completed your report, you can log onto the account I will give you. Once there you can view the report or print it as many times as you wish for a period of five years. This feature is particually good for couples who may be relocating from another area of the country while one my be here in North Alabama and the other hundreds of miles away. If you dont have internet access, i can also provide printed copies.
And...when I preform an inspection for you, I am working exclusively for you. Your best intrest is my guidie post. My certified report will be based on years of experience, training and testing by national, local and state agencies and will be backed up by my insurance and my bond. Any report on a home you contract me to inspect is your confidential property. You are not required to share the report with anyone, unless you want to. Please accept my invitation to accompany me as we inspect your new home together. It will be a great investment in your time.
the common safety devices
the basement and crawlspaces
the central heating
the central cooling
the plumbing system
the electrial system
the building exterior
the attic and ventilation
the parking areas
and much more
A Typical Home Inspection
As Many As 400 Items are Inspected
Visual inspection of the exterior, interior, building supports, foundation, and including all major structural elements. Determination of the exterior materials. Examine and report on all areas for sagging, cracking, apparent movement, erosion, water penetration, improper supporting, incorrect support of the building structure, moisture runoff and any other problems. Document all recommendations for making the necessary repairs.
Common Safety Devices:
Visual inspection, report on , and testing, if appropriate, of all Smoke Detectors, (CO) Carbon Monoxide Detectors, inspection, testing, and reporting of the condition of all (GFCI) Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter protection devices, report on the presence or absence of fire suppression systems, Alarm, or Fire systems. Inspection of any fire escape systems, tripping hazards, and proper exit markings. Document all recommendations for making the necessary repairs.
Visual inspection of the basement, crawlspace, or visible sections of the foundation/slab of property. Inspection of the condition of the visible foundation walls, floors, and ceiling areas. Identify the presence of, or evidence of previous moisture, cracks, abnormal movement, shifting, or discoloration, or mildew. Report on present or previous evidence of any mold, rot, asbestos, or wood-destroying organism activity. Document the type, and condition of insulation and any systems entering or leaving the space.
Central Cooling System
Operation (if conditions allow) of the central cooling system. Determination of make, model, approximate age and description of the overall components, along with a system test by the use of normal operating controls.
Central Heating System
Operation, and description of type of heating system, report on fuel source, make, model, approximate age of heating source, determination of the condition of system components, including firebox, heat exchanger, flue pipes, visible heat delivery components, pipes, location of safety shutoffs, report on evidence of the presence of buried oil tanks. Testing operation of system by use of normal operating controls.
Inspection and report on all visible portions of the delivery and waste piping systems, in all accessible areas, including attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Operation of all hose bibs, determine location, make, model, and condition of all water heaters, and test for normal operation. Inspection and operation at all water delivery locations, and operation of all drain systems. Look for any obvious hazards or failure in the system in the form of leaks, pressure, and stress the system to normal capacity usage.
Bathrooms and Laundry:
Inspection of each bathroom facility, including operation, of all devices, check rate, flow, and delivery of both hot and cold water. Check for leaking, any evidence of previous leaking, or water-related damage. Check operation and condition of the components inside the toilet tank, and the sealing mechanisms around the base of all fixtures. Verify proper ventilation including operation of any devices (fans, radiant heaters, etc.) and the look for any accumulation of mold and mildew.
Inspection of the service entrance conductors, and the condition of their sheathing. Report the need of repair of any deficiencies in the integrity of the insulation, drip loop, or separation of the conductors at weather heads and clearances. Inspection of the main disconnect and determine service amperage. Inspection of (from the inside) ALL electrical panels. Inspection of the grounding and bonding jumpers and connections. Inspection of ALL accessible switches, receptacles, light fixtures, and ground circuit interrupters with a GFCI tester. Report the presence of solid conductor aluminum branch-circuit wiring if readily visible. Inspection of EVERY accessible electrical outlet for grounding, correct wiring, polarity, and normal operation. Report on any receptacles in which power is not present, polarity is incorrect, the receptacle is not grounded or secured to the wall, the cover is not in place, and if the ground fault circuit interrupter devices are not properly installed or do not operate properly, or evidence of arcing or excessive heat is present.
Kitchen and Kitchen Appliances:
Inspection of all counter surfaces, verify proper fastening of all cabinets and counter tops. Identify make, model, and approximate life span of appliances in addition to testing of all stove burners, oven, disposal, dishwasher, trash compacter, freezer, built-in Microwaves, and ventilated fan hoods. Inspect for any evidence of leaking or a possible leaking hazard and, or evidence of previous water damage.
Fireplace and Wood Stoves:
Inspection of the fireplace/firebox interior, firebrick, grout, flue, damper, chimney, and rain cap. Report on any obstructions, visible firebrick and grout cracks, animals, nests, and debris buildup. Inspection of proper clearances and or flashings.
Inspection of obvious settlement, square-ness of corners, condition of floors, walls, ceilings, doors, windows, wood trim.
Inspection of the underside of the roof decking for any evidence of delaminating, failure of the shingle system, mold, appropriate installation, plumbing stacks, chimneys, inspection of the attic ventilation systems. Report on installed insulation for appropriate type, and amount, and proper installation. Inspect exposed rafters and truss system for correct installation, cracks, deterioration, dry rot, modification, etc. Inspect area for any plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or electrical hazards, or potential problems in the making.
Direct inspection of the exterior surface tiles or shingles of the roof for any signs of deterioration due to elements or age. Inspection of the underside decking where accessible and determination of failure in the form of water penetration anywhere within the system. Documentation of type, of material, approximate age, and approximate length of service life remaining.
Examination and a description of the material, and condition of the exterior wall coverings, trim, exterior doors, windows, skylights, porches, desks, and balconies.
Inspection, and description of property grading as related to the primary dwelling, Condition of driveway and walks, patios, subterranean window wells, retaining walls, fences, trees/shrubs/plantings as related to the primary structure.
Examination of the type of material, and condition of garage, carport, or parking areas, operation of any garage doors, and operation of any garage door openers. Verification, and testing of any and all Photo-Electric and Reverse Door Openers.