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Home Inspection FAQ

What is included in a home inspection?


Basement and Structural Components:

  • Foundation
  • Visible piers or footings
  • Basement walls. We inspect the walls for cracks, settlement and evidence of dampness or moisture intrusion.
  • Crawl Spaces
  • Beams, columns, joists, trusses and sheathing or decking
  • Sump pumps and baskets
  • Evidence of moisture intrusion or damp basements. We use industry standard moisture meters to confirm suspected moisture intrusion.

Exterior Components:

  • Garage
  • Windows
  • Doors, including vehicle door operators.
  • Wall coverings including siding, trim and paint
  • Soffit and fascia
  • Wall and deck flashings
  • Caulking and sealants
  • Decks and balconies, including the structural components
  • Porches
  • Steps and stoops
  • Handrails and guardrails
  • Walkways
  • Driveways and parking surfaces
  • Patios
  • Visible portions of the foundation walls
  • Trees, shrubs and vegetation that are likely to affect the structures or site utilities
  • Vent terminals, intakes and wall penetrations
  • Retaining walls
  • Fencing
  • Drainage and site grading

Roof System:

  • Shingles
  • Low slope or flat roof membranes
  • Flashings, including kick out flashing, valley flashing and termination components
  • Roof penetrations, including vents and chimneys
  • Gutters, downspouts, scuppers and internal roof drains
  • Skylights
  • Structural components related to the roof system
  • We typically walk the roof when safe to do so. We carry 24 foot extension pole cameras to photograph the roof when access is limited.
Electrical System: 
  • Visible portion of the electrical service entrance
  • Service and distribution transformers if present
  • Mains disconnect
  • Service distribution panels and sub panels. Panel covers are removed to inspect the internal wiring and panel components.
  • Circuit breakers and/or fuses
  • Service grounding
  • Branch circuit components, including outlets, switches, fixtures and visible wiring.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupters
  • Arc fault circuit interrupters
  • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are tested via the test switch.

Plumbing Systems:

  • Visible portion of the water service entrance
  • Supply piping
  • Drain, waste and vent piping
  • Floor drains
  • Gas lines
  • Water heaters
  • Water heater venting
  • Toilets
  • Sinks
  • Tubs
  • Showers
  • Faucets
  • Clothes washers and dryers
  • Heating System
  • Furnaces
  • Boilers
  • Heat pumps
  • Permanently installed space heaters
  • Rooftop Units or packaged units (RTU)
  • Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs), commonly referred to as air exchangers
  • Filters
  • Vent connectors and vents
  • Duct work
  • Registers and grills
  • We report the age of all heating equipment when the data plates are readily accessible and serial number cross reference data is readily available.

Fireplaces:

  • Chimneys, including masonry, flashing, caps and crowns
  • Rain caps and screens
  • Visible portion of the chimney flue. Since a limited portion is visible, we generally recommend professional cleaning or sweeping of wood burning fireplace flues prior to use.
  • Firebox
  • Hearth or extension
  • Gas fired inserts

Cooling System:

  • Permanently installed cooling equipment, including condensers (central air), heat pumps and packaged units.
  • Refrigerant lines
  • Condensate drain system
  • Air handlers
  • Filters
  • Duct work
  • Registers and grills
  • We report the age of all cooling equipment when the data plates are readily accessible and serial number cross reference data is readily available.

Interior Components:

  • Evidence of water damage or moisture intrusion
  • Visible insulation
  • Ceilings
  • Walls
  • Floors and floor coverings
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Stairs, handrails and guardrails
  • Countertops and cabinets
  • Trim carpentry
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Vent fans
Attic:
  • Evidence of water damage or leaking roof
  • Structural components
  • Hatch or attic access
  • Knee walls if present
  • Insulation
  • Air or vapor barrier
  • Ventilation
  • Exhaust fans and ducts
  • Heating or cooling ducts if present

What items are excluded from a home inspection?


The following items are generally excluded, but are generally available at an additional fee or by engaging additional consultants. Please refer to the standards of practice for a complete list. 

  • Structural testing or engineering services
  • Concealed items such as insulation concealed behind wall coverings, concealed plumbing, electrical and duct work.
  • Concealed surfaces such and snow and ice covered roofs. We do our best to provide a thorough inspection and carry brooms and shovels to inspect a portion of snow covered surfaces.
  • Concealed foundation walls and structural components. We will look for evidence of settlement or structural cracks in the walls, floors and ceilings above concealed foundations that suggest potential problems.
  • Wells. Water testing is available for an additional fee.
  • Septic systems. The state requires that septic systems are pumped prior to the inspection. A state septic inspector license is required. Most cities require the seller to provide the septic inspection.
  • Accessory buildings such as sheds, barns, shops and pole buildings. This service can be provided for an additional fee.
  • Radon testing. This service can be provided at an additional fee.
  • Environmental concerns including asbestos, mold and Chinese drywall. If we suspect these items we will document it in the report and recommend further assessment by an environmental specialist.
  • Technical analysis of heating and cooling equipment.
  • Heating and cooling components that are not visible or that cannot be observed via normal operating controls.
  • Humidification equipment
  • Irrigation equipment. This service is available at an additional fee.
  • Pools. Heaters and some electrical components are inspected when requested. We recommend a pool specialist to inspect the drains, pumps and other relevant components.
  • Spas or hot tubs
  • Security systems and alarms
  • Playground, fitness and recreational equipment
  • Areas that are not accessible
  • Water treatment equipment such as filters and water softeners
  • Invasive testing or removing wall, floor or ceiling coverings. If we suspect damage to concealed components we will recommend further evaluation or intrusive testing services.
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