A home inspection is a visual examination of a home’s interior, exterior, structure, and major systems.
The purpose of a home inspection is to find problems that could be costly to repair or harmful to your health. As a home buyer – getting a home inspection before closing a deal is one of the smartest things you can do.
Any home inspection will vary depending on the specific home – as each home is different. However, there are eight essential categories.
Defects on the exterior of the home are usually noticeable – even without the trained eye of a professional inspector. We’ll be looking for:
- Cracks, peeling, loose pieces or damage to the siding
- Stains, old paint or peeling paint
- Clearance between the ground and siding materials on the walls
- If the walls of the home are free from climbing vines & trees are planted far enough away from the home.
Damaged or old roofs can lead to bigger issues, so we will inspect the materials and integrity of the roof and roofing materials. The attic’s condition can affect the roof, and vice versa, which is why inspecting both is necessary.
- What kind of shingles are used
- Condition of shingles
- Proper use of flashing
- Excess roofing cement, tar, or caulk
- Chimney condition (has proper flashing, masonry condition, chimney is straight)
- Insulation is present and installed correctly
- Proper or adequate roof ventilation
- Plumbing, exhaust or appliance vents do not vent into attic
- No evidence of damage or decay to structure
- Staining or water spots on ceiling
- Presence of intact or cut trusses
- General presence of moisture – especially near roof penetrations
If the home’s foundation is damaged, this can lead to costly repairs. Since the foundation of the home is essential to a home’s structural integrity, this is an item that will be inspected during every home inspection.
- Proper grading (drainage) away from base of home
- Downspouts and gutters in good condition and directed away from the home
- Detached garages, decks, etc in good condition & free from rotting or insect damage
- Driveways and sidewalks aren’t cracked/shifting
- No standing water near home or in yard
The interior of the home should be well maintained and free from damage. Every home will have typical wear and tear. However, I will be looking for signs of abnormal damage – which could mean underlying problems.
- Walls and ceilings are painted & in good condition
- Cracks on walls or ceilings
- Windows latch, are intact, & sealed with caulk/weather stripping
- Doors leading to exterior are sealed & open/close easily
- Rooms are insulated & properly ventilated
- Walls and ceilings are free from moisture spots
- Flooring (especially hardwood) are level to the ground & free of moisture or soft spots
The structure of the home is the wooden framework that was built before drywall, insulation and anything else was added. The structure is often called the “bones of the house”, and if it’s damaged or built incorrectly the home may be unsafe.
- Foundation is in good condition – if the foundation is cracked or shifting this will affect the structural integrity of the home
- Door frames are straight allowing doors to swing in and out of the frame with ease
- Window frames are straight on all four sides & without gaps
- Ridge and fascia board lines are level & straight
- Baseboards around all interior walls are flush with the flooring & not lifting or separated
- Flooring (especially hardwood) is flat and not bowed or lifting
- Exterior walls are straight and free of bowing or sagging
Electrical problems can be dangerous and costly to repair if there is severe damage, so I'll be checking the electrical system(s) thoroughly. If I find defects in the home’s electrical systems, I'll recommend having a professional electrician evaluate to determine the severity and cost to repair.
- DIY repair jobs are sometimes obvious – electrical systems should never be DIY jobs and this can cause significant damage to the entire system
- Light switches work & all bulbs light up (a bulb that isn’t lit may just need to be replaced, but can also mean faulty wiring)
- Absence of electrical faults in receptacles
- All cables are attached to service panel with cable connectors
- Visible wiring is in good condition, secured, protected, & without exposed splices
- Branch circuits are free from solid strand aluminum wires which are a safety hazard
- All wall outlets are working & intact (not pulled out of the wall)
- GFCI outlets are installed where required (bathrooms, garages, crawl spaces, basements, laundry rooms & anywhere a water source is present.)
Plumbing problems are some of the most expensive repairs – and not something you want to deal with. I will inspect all plumbing systems and determine if a professional plumber should be contacted for further analysis.
- Visible pipes intact, free from damage
- Pipes are free from signs of leaking or staining on surrounding materials
- Toilets are securely fastened and dry around the base & free of warped or water-stained flooring
- Water heater working properly, free of rust, vented properly
- All faucets (indoor & outdoor) in working condition, sealed, & without leaks
- Water runs clear through all faucets
- All drains are clear, don’t bubble, and drain at reasonable pace
8. HVAC (Heating/Cooling System)
Although some homes don’t have an A/C system installed, most homes have a heating system. I will make sure the HVAC system is working, so you and your family will have a comfortable home.
- Type of Heating system (boiler, forced air, etc)
- HVAC is in working condition
- Flues slope up to chimney, no open seams
- Ductwork isn’t damaged or old
- Separate flues for gas/oil/propane and coal/wood (if applicable)
- Absence of odor from gas
- A/C unit is working (if applicable) and free from rust/buildup/damage
- Vents are clear and properly ventilated
Remember that each home is different, so there may be more items on my inspection list.
However, it’s safe to say that these eight categories will definitely be inspected. Go through each section and make note of any questions for me.
No home is perfect, so I'll almost surely find defects. But that doesn’t mean that the home isn’t right for you. One key difference with CWsquared - Home Inspections is that I am always happy to explain the issues, and even talk about common remediation options or techniques. You can contact me at anytime even if its months or years later.
I'll talk you through my findings and help make sure you understand the current condition and what options are available to remedy any issues. As a young carpenter apprentice, my journeyman would often say, "If man made it, man can fix it." It is surprising how most issues can be resolved easily.
As a certified home inspector, I have you read and sign a contract which provides insurance from the moment I arrive at your inspection to the moment I deliver your report. It also provides coverage for a period of time afterwards. I am not able to provide this protection if the inspection isn't legally binding therefore I do not offer inspections for cash.
Our relationship doesn't have to end with completion of the home inspection. If, at a later date, you have questions relating to the inspection or if you just need some general advice about something related to your home, you are welcome to reach out. I am passionate about building and it would be my pleasure to assist you.
As a solo inspector, I will only do 2 home inspections per day. An average inspection takes about 3 hours with some additional report writing off site. You are paying for a thorough inspection and a quality report. Performing more than 2 per day means that I am choosing quantity over quality. I won't do that.