The following items/areas are covered in a typical inspection:
- Attic (if present and readily accessible – some structures are not built with any attic)
- Plumbing, including fixtures
- Heating and Air
- Exterior and Grounds
- Structure and Foundation (If there is a crawl space under the building, it will be inspected if properly accessible)
- Doors, Windows and Interior walls, ceilings, floors.
- Built-in kitchen appliances
The details of how these items are inspected are explained in the InterNACHI Standards of Practice.
Additional items that may be inspected upon request:
- Swimming Pool
- Guest House or additional structure
On the Day of the Inspection
If you attend the inspection (as is recommended) the home inspector will meet you at the property. Access to the property should have been arranged, typically by the Real Estate Agent or seller.
The inspector will request that you sign the Inspection Agreement if not already done. This lays the groundwork so that both parties, inspector and client, are working on the same page and the parameters of the inspection are known and agreed to, and helps to protect all concerned. If you are not already familiar with the process, the inspector will give you a quick introduction to what will happen and how it works.
Some people prepare a list of questions for the inspector beforehand. If you do, the start of the inspection is a good time to address this, so that the inspector knows up front what concerns you. Some of the questions will not be answered until after the inspection is completed, of course.
The inspector will perform his inspection, covering the items required in the Standards of Practice, making notes and taking pictures as he proceeds. It is best to allow the inspector to do his job uninterrupted as much as possible, but it is not uncommon that questions come up during the inspection which he will be happy to answer. Also, if you see something that concerns you, by all means point it out to the inspector right away.
When the inspection is done, the inspector will discuss his findings with you and answer questions regarding the property. The report will be finished off-site and will be delivered electronically, you will receive a link where you can read the report online and/or download it as a PDF.
After the inspection, if you have any questions about the report or the house, please call or email the inspector and ask. He will be more than happy to answer anything he can – we consider it important that you understand the report and the condition of the property as fully as possible. We would rather get lots of questions than leave the report only partially understood.
It is important to understand that a home inspection does have limitations. It is not technically exhaustive, and the inspector is not an expert in every trade and specialized field. You should expect some items to turn up that were not covered by the inspection. This is because the inspection will not reveal every problem that exists or could exist with the house. It will only cover those material defects that were observed at the time of the inspection. The purpose of the inspection is to assist in the evaluation of overall condition of the home. It is possible that the inspector will recommend further evaluation of items or systems by professionals or experts in the appropriate field in order to provide you with more detailed information to allow you to be more fully informed about the property.
The inspection does not include engineering or structural analysis. The inspector is not expected to report on cosmetic issues or minor repairs needed. This inspection can only cover those items that are exposed to view without difficulty and not concealed. Furniture, personal items and other obstructions are not moved. The inspector is not permitted by the Standards of Practice to dismantle, disturb, or destroy any portion of the home. There is no destructive testing. The inspector provides an inspection of the general condition of the major components AT THE TIME OF THE INSPECTION. Many things can happen that affect the condition of the property after the inspector leaves. These cannot be covered in the scope of the inspector’s responsibility.
Despite the limitations noted above, people often get more information than they were expecting, and the findings can be quite extensive. Many times I have been told that the inspection “saved the day” due to what was uncovered.