Home Inspection Services
A full inspection meets & exceeds the widely accepted ASHI® Standards of Practice. All items covered in the Standards of practice are inspected and evaluated. See the "What's Included" and "What's not Included" sections below for more details.
Following the inspection, you will receive a comprehensive, professional report. The report is a narrative, pre-printed format that may include photos as needed. I use a digital camera for this purpose, which is very useful for reviewing conditions found in remote areas where you may not be able to follow (attics, crawlspaces, roofs, etc.). In this business, a picture really is worth a thousand words.
In general terms, all visually observable deficiencies of the following systems and components, as they exist at the time of inspection. I will not take responsibility for what cannot be seen or is not there.
Structural Components - This refers to the load-bearing parts of the structure. In most houses, that means the roof, walls, floors and the foundation. Some components will be visible /inspectable and some will not. I'm looking at things like general condition, appropriate size and spacing, proper bracing, adequate fasteners, etc. I look for signs of settlement, shifting, questionable design or construction, material or mortar deterioration, moisture damage, and related issues.
Exterior - All materials used on the exterior of the home are inspected, including siding, masonry veneer, fascia, trim, soffits, and all windows and doors, as well as, decks and grading/drainage around the home. I look at general condition, evidence of rot, gaps/cracks, maintenance issues, window and door operation, etc.
Roofing - I try to "walk" the roof whenever possible. Some roofs are just too steep to be safe for walking or weather conditions may prevent it. I check the condition of the materials, valley details, exposed/uncaulked nails, flashings around penetrations (vent pipes, chimneys, etc.) and at wall/roof intersections, the condition of any chimney present, etc. If there are antennas, satellite dishes, or other non-roofing items present, I can only look to see if they may be a potential leak source. I cannot comment on whether they work or are properly anchored/positioned.
Attics and Basements/Crawlspaces - These areas are my least desirable to inspect (extreme temperatures, lack of light, cramped conditions and difficulty in traversing), but are usually the most revealing. In these areas I'm looking at any accessible framing, electrical, plumbing, and heating/cooling components, as well as, insulation, vapor barriers/retarders, ventilation issues, etc. I try to inspect anywhere that I can physically fit.
Plumbing - In addition to exposed piping in the attic and basement/crawlspace, I also inspect as much of the plumbing as I can in the living spaces. Sinks, tubs, showers are included, but swimming pools are currently beyond the scope of the inspection. I check to see if they have leaks, hold water, drain adequately, have improperly configured piping, are secure, etc.
Electrical - Included in this part of the inspection is the electrical service to the home, main panel, any sub panels and accessible switches, outlets, lights and ceiling fans. I check for proper operation, correct wiring at outlets, quality of installation, etc. The main panel, a frequent source of reporting material, is the only component (required by the ASHI® Standards) that the inspector must remove the cover of, in order to inspect properly. Wire sizes and types, wiring configurations, grounding issues, general condition of the equipment, and signs of overheating are among the concerns here.
Heating and Cooling - These systems are of particular concern to many homebuyers. This is understandable, since failure of major components can cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace and no one can predict if a unit has 1 year left or 10. On central A/C systems, I inspect the coils, if accessible, cabinets, refrigerant lines, fan blades, drain pans and lines, wiring and general installation quality of both indoor and outdoor units. I also check what is known as the "temperature differential" as a general indicator of overall system performance. On heating systems it depends on what type of fuel the unit uses. There is very little to look at on electrical units, but a lot to look at on gas and oil units. I check the general physical condition, wiring, distribution methods, elements/burners, vent pipes and hoods. Heat exchangers usually require some disassembly of the unit for proper inspection and is a job more appropriately performed by a professional heating contractor.
A few notes about these systems and inspection: More than in any other area, the line between accessible and inaccessible is often blurred. Judgment calls have to be made on the spot, about what is appropriate to invade or open, and what is an unacceptable risk for potential damage to the property or the inspector. Don't forget, at this point in the transaction, the home is still someone else's property. Also, some types of systems cannot be operated/tested "out of season" due to potential damage to the components, such as A/C units and heat pumps.
What's Not Included:
Items not included are mostly add-on systems and non-permanent or specialized systems/components. There's no way for anyone to keep up with all of this equipment, given all of the variations between manufacturers, designs, technologies, etc. Poor housekeeping, pet odors and the condition of paint, wallpaper, carpet and other finishes are generally not reported unless they suggest a structural problem - for instance, water stains that might indicate a plumbing leak.
Items not covered by the inspection include, but are not limited to, the following:
Geological and soil conditions
Building codes or zoning ordinance violations
Building value appraisal
Repair cost estimates
Below ground septic or drainage systems
Adequacy/efficiency/life expectancy of systems or components (except as required by Standards)
Termites/pests/other wood destroying organisms
Pools/spas/saunas/saunas/steam baths and their associated equipment
Wiring or components related to security systems/intercoms/cable or satellite TV/audio systems/computer systems
Sprinkler systems (fire or lawn)
Water softeners/filters or purifiers
Portable appliances/air conditioners/heaters
Radio or time controlled devices
Elevators or lifts
Recreational or playground facilities and their equipment
All items considered being cosmetic
Any comments in the report regarding excluded items are for informational purposes only and not part of the inspection.
Questions - If you have any, please contact me & I'll be glad to answer them. E-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone 481-1559