Home Inspection Basics -- What We Inspect

By
Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

 I am often surprised to find that buyers, and even their agents, do not know what to expect from a professional home inspection. Inevitably, there are things that they "think" we inspectors will be looking at when, in fact, that system or component is excluded -- burglar alarms, cable and telephone, yard irrigation systems. Then, on the opposite side of the spectrum, there are those things that we inspect in detail that end up surprising many people -- the fact that we remove the cover from the electric panel, remove the cover on the furnace.

Home inspections vary from state to state, and from association to association, depending on the applicable standards of practice. My description of the inspection process, provided below, is general in nature but it should be helpful for those who are unfamiliar with the field of home inspection. 

In most cases, the home inspector will report on the following:

Site and exterior, including siding, gutters, downspouts, decks, perimeter slope of concrete and soil, earth to wood contact

Roof covering, including verifying ventilation

Attic, including the structural components, insulation and ventilation

Electric system, including the service drop or lateral, inside the panel and checking for GFCI protected receptacles, while verifying the operation of  lights and receptacles

Water heater, including age, function and the overall installation with emphasis on water heater safety

Heat, including function of the systems, age and verifying that there is a heat source in every livable room

Interior, including doors and windows, plumbing fixtures, walls, ceilings, verifying the presence of smoke detectors

Substructure areas (crawl spaces or basements) including structural components, looking for rot and moisture, wood to soil contact, plumbing leaks, pest problems, verifying insulation

King of the house bellingham home inspections

A home inspection is a non-technically exhaustive, primarily visual, inspection of a home and it's systems and components. The order in which systems and components are inspected will vary from inspector to inspector. What is logical and works for one inspector might be awkward to another.

When the inspection is complete, the inspector should, in a reasonable time-frame, provide the client with a written report that describes the conditions that were found at the home at the time of the inspection. The report should include not only those items that were viewed and inspected but the client should, also, be able to tell, from looking at the report, which items were excluded and need to be inspected by a specialist -- wells, septic tanks, etc.

 

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  1. Christine Farkas 06/24/2011 07:58 PM
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Comments 9 New Comment

Rainmaker
1,167,792
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

I don't see anything in your list about lag and carriage bolts!  What gives!?

And what is a "reasonable time frame?"  A couple of months for most things is "reasonable..."

June 22, 2011 12:45 PM
Rainmaker
1,172,480
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspector
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

Jay,

Unlike you, I exclude carriages, wheel barrows and garden carts. I can tell by your photo that you probably do not.

June 22, 2011 03:51 PM
Rainmaker
1,167,792
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Then you are lagging behind the trend.  You really should bolt.

June 22, 2011 05:17 PM
Rainmaker
1,172,480
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspector
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

Jay,

I do not think I have seen bolts more than a couple times. Here, the lag screws is considered find, per IRC. That is considered to be A-OK.

June 22, 2011 05:41 PM
Rainmaker
1,167,792
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

In that comment I was using the word lag and bolt as verbs...

June 22, 2011 08:29 PM
Rainmaker
1,172,480

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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Additional Information

Steven L. Smith, King of the House Home Inspection, provides information for real estate buyers, sellers and real estate industry professionals. Blog posts emphasize issues commonly found in Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County. Smith is Washington State Licensed Home Inspector #207, a state licensed structural pest inspector, ASHI certified inspector #252760 and one of the most experienced inspectors in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest. Steven L. Smith is lead instructor of home inspection at Bellingham Technical College and teaches classes for Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Steve was a two-term member of the state licensing board.