Walk through a Home Inspection
First, we get the Client's information including contact information, age and size of home or property, potential concerns of the client. We briefly explain what to expect during our inspection and give the client an opportunity to voice any concerns and ask any questions they may have. All information is kept confidential between the Inspector and the Client.
Don't worry if you can't accompany the Inspector. Our reports are so throrough and detailed, we almost never get callbacks from Client's or Realtor's due to an item which wasn't adequately explained or photographed; However, should you have a question, we are always available and respond promptly if not immediately to your concerns.
Your home inspection will be conducted by a fully certified inspector with extensive construction and home inspection experience. We strive to prevent unexpected surprises after you buy the home and do this by inspecting systematically all the major systems and components of the home using proven techniques that include scientific instruments, experience, and intuition that can only be gained through thousands of inspections and construction projects, including home construction. Our findings are then prioritized from potentially significant expenses and health and saftey issues to minor repairs and maintenance. We strive to keep our reports in laymen's terms and are not here to impress you with 'jargon' or complex explanations. For example, we would choose to describe polyvinyl chloride piping as PVC or plastic piping, etc.
Exterior: Our exterior inspection begins with a walkaround of the home and immediate grounds, documenting the type of materials the home is constructed of, as well as the type drive and walkways, electrical service, roof style, foundation, etc. We then look at the overall condition of the home including building lines, potential drainage issues, evidence of neglect or deferred maintenance, or obvious problems. The next step is to start over and go over the entire home documenting obvious issues, both significant and minor, taking as many photos as needed to explain our findings. We pay particular attention to the foundation, water drainage management, siding and trim, windows and doors, electrical service, and immediate grade at house. We then mount the roof if possible and check the overall roof condition, ventilation, shingles, gutters, and estimated remaining shingle life. Other exterior components include but are not limited to siding, cornice and trim, shutters, soffit ventilation, foundation walls, downspouts, window trim and sills, doors and door trim, porches, decks, patios, walkways, landscaping and trees (general), spigots, and carports and garages. We do not inspect irrigation systems, pools, barns, sheds or shelters, garden ponds, outdoor lighting, etc. unless explicitely requested for a separate fee. We generally defer irrigation systems, pools and spas, outdoor features, retaining walls, alarm and intercom systems to specialists in their respective fields.
Interior: Once the exterior is complete, we move indoors. We will note the type of interior components, such as walls and ceiling materials, types of flooring, windows, and doors, countertops, etc. We will check the accessible electrical outlets and switches to make sure they are functional and wired properly, as well as the general lighting and ceiling fan operation as we make our way through the home. A representative number of windows are also operated to check for function and condition. Cabinets are inspected, as are smoke detectors and interior doors. We check all kitchen appliances for functionality, as well as exposed plumbing under sink, and kitchen outlets for safety adherence to local codes. We check all bathroom fixtures, exposed plumbing, outlet safety and exhaust fans.
Attic: We check the attic for insulation adequacy, lighting and storage space if provided, structural framing, mechanicals and easily visible electrical wiring and connections, as well as ventilation and obvious roof leaks or stains if present. We will observe as much of the attic as is safely accessible, including obvious mold concerns.
Heating and Air Conditioning: In addition to a visual inspection, we also conduct the following HVAC tests:
- We check all air flow registors for adequate air flow
- We conduct a temperature air differential test to ensure there is adequate temperature difference between the intake and supply vents. This is a good indicator of coolant adequacy and functional duct work design. This also ensures the compressor is working as well as the fan.
- If possible, we inspect the interior of the air handler for mold, dirt, and obvious signs of neglect. We cannot inspect heat exchangers for cracks, but do observe flame pattern and conduct a carbon monoxide test at registers if furnace is gas. We also record the date of manufacturer and size of unit.
- We check overflow pans and devices, and drain lines for functioinality.
- We check filters and if feasible the ducts for cleanliness and/or obvious mold.
- We conduct an RLA (rated load amp) test which compares the amperage the compressor is pulling against the maximum rated amperage listed on the unit. This test is not full proof, but can help to determine if the compressor may be nearing the end of its serviceable life, a major replacement expense. This is based on the principle that as the compressor ages, it takes more amperage to operate the aged components.
- We check coolant lines for flow and temperature difference. We do not perform pressure tests, as these test require an HVAC license.
Electrical and Plumbing: We inspect the electrical panel incuding breakers and wiring, main service entrance, exposed outlets and switches, a representative amount of exposed wiring, as well as subpanels for safety and functionality. We also check the plumbing system for functionality, document the type of components used and alert the client to antiquidated or decreased function systems, and look for obvious leaks under cabinets and fixtures, at valves, and in the crawlspace and basement. We also check the water heater for size, type, age, and functionality. We check the heating elements and thermostats for functionaity, and ensure the heater has proper safety devices and overflow devices installed.
Crawlspace: Our last area to inspect is the crawlspace or basement. During this inspection, we check joists and subfloor for evidence of moisture intrusion, termites, structural integrity, etc. We also check for flooring insulation, proper ventilation, foundation adequacy, and presence of visible excessive mold. We look for moisture intrusion and moisture issues, leaks, and excessive vapor transferrence through the foundation walls. We ensure a proper vapor barrier is installed, as well as lighting if required. We check mechanical systems, as well as exposed plumbing and electrical for obvious issues.
After a thorough inspection of the home, we take our findings and draft a compehensive inspection report which carefully documents with photos and detailed descriptions. Our report includes a summary page, detailed photo pages, information pages, and tons of facts about the home. Our inspection and reporting practices are simply the most comprehensive in the industry. Our reports can have up to 100 photos or more, dependingt on the size and compexity of the property. No other inspection company provides the number of photos we do; we believe that as the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." We priority our findings so you will have an idea of what items present a significant financial or health risk, and which items are considered minor in scope. We also provide a home maintenance section with every report. Your report can be emailed in pdf format or uploaded to our website password protected for easy download. We can also print your report out and bind it for an additional fee ($25) plus shipping.
Once the original inspection is completed, and repairs or maintenance if needed, area made, we can conduct a reinspection which is a followup to the original report, and includes photo documentation of the repaired areas, along with an information page and summary page, which "passes" or "fails" repairs made. All reports are emailed and include a free phone consultation.