Home Inspection Guide

Today, most purchase agreements are subject to a home inspection being performed within a specific time period. The home inspection is not intended to include cosmetic features. Your real estate agent will recommend the type of inspection(s) to performed and licensed inspectors. The following is a overview of systems or components of a “general” home inspection.

 The home inspection report should include a summary and any potential defects. Licensed professions may conduct additional inspections, such as well, septic, pest, radon, lead paint, environmental or mold.

If you anticipate having more than just a ‘general’ or ‘mechanical’ inspection performed, you may consider hiring one firm to conduct all the tests. This could save time and money.

I. Roof Inspection

The inspector will probably use drone camera and thermal heat loss equipment to enhance the inspection of the exterior.

1. Roof and roof systems.

(a) Roof, Gutters, Eves, Vents, Flashing, Skylights, Chimney, and other Roof Penetrations.

(b) The general structure of the roof and condition of the roof materials and flashing.

(c) Roof-covering materials, such as asphalt shingle, wood shingle, wood shake, concrete or clay tile, metal, slate, synthetic slate, tar and chip.

(d) Possible heat loss from roof.

II. Exterior Inspection

(a) The exterior wall-covering materials and flashing, trim, soffits and fascia.

(b) Exterior wall coverings, such as vinyl, stucco, aluminum siding, cement-fiber panels or siding, exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS), wood panels or siding, masonry, brick and stone, or other.

(c) Exterior doors and Windows

(d) Walkways and driveways

(e) Stairs, steps, stoops, stairways and ramps

(f) Porches, patios, decks, balconies and carports, fencing and gates

(g) Railings, guards and handrails. Spacing between balusters, spindles and rails

(h) Vegetation, surface drainage, retaining walls and grading of the property, where they may adversely affect the structure due to moisture intrusion

(i) Evidence of wood in contact with or near soil

(j) Inspection for heat loss via infrared imagining equipment.

III. Basement, Foundation, Crawlspace & Structure

(a) Foundation. Basement, crawlspace, slab-on-grade, concrete block, or poured concrete

(b) Basement inspected for possible water penetration

(c) Crawlspace inspected for insulation, water penetration, dampness, or mold

(d) Structural Components. Evidence of foundation movement, such as sheetrock cracks, brick cracks, out-of-square doorframes, and unlevel floors.

IV. Heating And Air Conditioning Systems (HVAC)

1. Heating system inspected for proper operation, location, and functionality.

2. Energy source such as natural gas, electricity, fuel oil, propane, geothermal, solar, solid wood, pellets, coal, kerosene. Ensure the main fuel supply shut-off valve is operational.

3. Method of heating such as warm-air, hydronic, steam, electric, other.

4. Cooling. Is the cooling system operational under normal conditions? The cooling method can be described as: a central air conditioning system, a split or ductless air conditioning, a packaged air conditioner, an evaporative cooling unit, a window air conditioner, a through-wall unit, a portable unit, or other.

5. Thermostats. Are they operating properly?

6. Age of equipment and visual inspection for mold.

7. Inspection for possible air flow blockage in duct work.

V. Plumbing

1. Main water supply shut-off valve. Location and operation.

2. Water Supply. Public or private?

3. Water heating equipment, including the energy source, venting connections, temperature/pressure-relief (TPR) valves.

4. Interior water supply. including all fixtures and faucets

5. Toilets. Proper operation and inspection for leaks – either tank or floor.

6. Sinks, tubs and showers. Drainage and possible leakage. Mold around chalked areas.

7. Drain, waste and vent system.

8. Drainage sump pumps with accessible floats. Operational. Discharge area.

9. Sewerage Disposal. Private or Public

10. Private Water Systems. Pressure tank and adequate supply. Additional bacteria test may be recommended.

11. Private sewerage system – Septic Systems. Additional testing may be recommended.

V. Electrical

1. Main Service. Service mast, service conduit and raceway.

2. Amperage rating

3. Electric meter and base, service-entrance conductors, main service disconnections

4. Panelboards. Current protection devices (circuit breakers and fuses), service grounding and bonding.

5. Wiring Type. NM (nonmetallic sheathed), type UF (underground feeder), type AC (armored cable), aluminum branch circuit, knob and tube

6. Switches, lighting fixtures and receptacles, including receptacles observed and deemed to be arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI).

7. Ground-fault circuit interrupter receptacles and circuit breakers.

8. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Hardwire? Battery Backup? Battery Only? Possible code restriction to convey title due to outdated smoke detectors.

VI. Fireplace

A complete fireplace inspection may be an additional charge.

1. Lintels, damper doors, cleanout doors and frames, hearth, hearth extension or chambers and cleanouts.

2. Fireplace type described as either masonry solid fuel burning, factory-built solid fuel burning, decorative gas burning, solid fuel-burning stove, solid fuel-burning fireplace insert.

3. Carbon monoxide detectors required.

VII. Attic, Insulation & Ventilation

1. Insulation to be inspected in unfinished spaces, including attics, crawlspaces and foundation areas.

2. The type of insulation may be either fiberglass blanket, blown-in fiberglass, loose-fill fiberglass, mineral rock or slag wool, blown-in cellulose, loose-fill cellulose, spray-foamed or foamed-in-place, structural insulated panel, concrete block insulation, foam board or rigid foam, insulated concrete forms, natural fibers, other.

3. Depth of insulation in the unfinished attic floor area or roof structure

4. Mechanical exhaust systems in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry area for drafts or non-operational units.

VIII. Interior

1. Inspection of all floors, walls and ceilings, stairs, steps, landings, stairways and ramps, railings, guards and handrails

2. Inspection of garage doors and the operation of garage vehicle door openers, using normal operating controls. Manual or electrical garage door openers.

3. Windows to be inspected for proper opening, sealing and fogging and material defects.

4. Doors to be inspected for proper operation and alignment.

VIX. Optional Systems & Components

1. Dishwasher inspection using normal operating controls

2. Food waste disposal (garbage disposal). Check for functionality.

3. Ranges, Cooktops and Ovens inspected for normal operations.

4. Microwave Oven inspected for normal operation and venting.

5. Trash Compactor inspection for normal operations.

6. Doorbell checked.

7. Alarm system – security system.

8. Lawn and garden sprinkler system.

9. Swimming Pool, Hot Tub, and Spa check.

10. Outbuildings

11. Outdoor Cooking Equipment