Home Inspection Information
What should you expect from a home inspection? How do you know that you've received all the information that you should have? We've got some information here on home inspection and what should be included, so that you can evaluate any home inspector or inspection company that you are considering.
Most home inspectors who are certified through one of the major home inspection associations (such as the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors) will provide an inspection that confirms with the following points:
- You should expect a review of all architectural details, wall and floor coverings, modern conveniences and many other factors that are important in the buying decision, with the focus being on the structural/mechanical/electrical condition of the property. The inspection should include both inside and outside elements of the home or building.
- While the inspection is NOT designed with the intent to determine all flaws in a property, it should give you or the real estate agent a report of some of the readily accessible major flaws or deficiencies in the significant components and systems of a home. If you really need a much more detailed inspection, you will have to consider the extra time and cost of an engineering survey. Be aware that a truly comprehensive review of the home may require damage to walls or finishes, and most home sellers would not agree to such a process.
- To maximize time efficiency and to ensure all of the major sections of the home are taken into consideration, home inspectors have developed a systematized approach to the inspection. This also allows you to predict and expect that certain parts of the home will be reviewed and in a certain order, which will help to ensure a standard level of quality as well as that parts of the home are not missed.
As the one who pays for the inspection, what can you expect in your report? Most inspectors will follow a standard report format. They should even be able to show you a sample of their work, or a blank report with the subject headings. You should look for the report to cover the following topics and address the following questions:
Is the ridge (peak) showing a sag, or is it straight and level?
Is the roof sagging between the rafters or trusses?
Are there any signs of deterioration of asphalt shingles, such as curling, wasping, broken edges, rounded corners or key holes (slits) becoming wider that normal?
Any loose flashings, at the chimney, roof-to-wall connection or elsewhere?
Does the wooden roof deck appear rotten or delaminated under the last row of shingles?
Are there any roof vents visible?
Is the masonry cap cracked or broken?
Are any bricks flaking or missing? Mortar missing?
Is the chimney leaning?
SOFFITS AND FASCIA
Note whether the soffit and fascia are wood, aluminum or plastic
Any loose or missing sections?
If wood, are there any paint problems? Any visible rot?
GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS
Ensure gutters slope down toward downspouts
Any rust or peeling paint?
Apparent leaks or loose/sagging sections?
Are the downspouts extended away from the foundations?
Look for missing mortar
Are the bricks flaking or cracking?
Look for loose, missing or rotten siding, deteriorated paint.
Does the siding appear new? Does it hide the foundation wall?
Exterior walls bowed, bulged or leaning?
WINDOWS AND DOORS
Look for problems with paint or caulking, and rotted wood components.
Are the windows new or older? Are they the original windows? How old are they?
PORCHES AND DECKS
Cracking or flaking masonry?
Check for paint problems, rotted wood, and wood-earth contact.
Note any settlement or separation from the house.
Inspect the underside, if accessible.
Check for cracks, flaking or damaged masonry.
Note any water markings and efflorescence (whitish, chalky substance)
Any bowing, bulging or other irregularities?
Does the grade slope away from the house?
Any settled/low areas next to the foundation, or cracked walks/driveway?
Is the property lower than the street or neighboring properties?
BASEMENT / ATTIC
Note any evidence of water penetration (stains, mildew/odors, efflorescence, loose tiles etc.)
Note any problems with insulation
Check for deteriorated coverings or cracked ceramics.
Any water staining or other damage?
Sloping or sagging?
Randomly sample to check that the windows and doors work.
Are the walls straight vertically and horizontally?
Look for cracked or loose plaster.
Look for stains, physical damage or previous repair evidence.
Any drywall seams or nails showing?
Check for cracks in the plaster or loose, sagging plaster.
Look for stains, mechanical damage or evidence of previous repair.
Seams or nails showing?
BATHROOMS AND KITCHENS
Check that all fixtures are secure.
Are there any cracks in the fixtures?
Note the condition of the tiles and caulking in the tub/shower area.
Are the faucets working? Do they leak? Sufficient water pressure?
Look for staining and rot under the counter-tops
Randomly sample the operation of the cabinet doors and drawers.
Type, style and age of heating & cooling systems. When were they last inspected or serviced?
Type of water supply piping and drains - any visible rust and corrosion?
Size and age of electrical service - are the outlets grounded? Visible wiring in good condition?
Have there been any upgrades?
A good home inspection will normally cost less than $500, depending on the area that you live and the size of the home. In some cases (such as smaller condominium apartments which don't have basements or attics) it can be as little as $150 to $200. It can save you thousands of dollars; so it's well worth the investment.