What is a Home Inspection & what does it include?

What is a Home Inspection and what does it consist of?

A home inspection is a professional, objective, visual examination of the condition of a home. Home buyers should view the inspections as a way to gain valuable information about the biggest purchase of their lifetime. It helps them to determine whether there are any major defects or system inadequacies at the time of purchase.

In most cases, home inspections are performed after a sales contract, conditional upon a satisfactory home inspection, has been accepted by the seller. The home inspection can usually be scheduled immediately or within a few days depending on the clients time frame. The home buyer is typically encouraged to attend the inspection, so that he/she can see first hand the workings of the home. It also represents an excellent opportunity for the prospective buyer to ask questions about the home or to discuss potential changes.

Home inspections should also highlight the positive aspects of a home. In fact, many of the home inspector’s observations or recommendations help to dispel home purchaser anxieties, and provide useful repair suggestions.

The home inspector’s service to the purchaser is primarily one of education. The goal of the inspector is to provide the purchaser with a better understanding of the physical condition of the home in order that they can make a well-informed decision. It is also the inspector’s role to keep his findings in perspective for the buyer. After the inspection is completed, a written report should be prepared for the home buyer, documenting the results of the inspection, which should explain and document the areas of interest that should be addressed.

The home inspection should not be confused with an appraisal, a municipal code inspection, an environmental audit, or a home owner’s warranty.

Our Standard Home Inspections Include:


I will inspect from ground level or the eaves
or transverse if possible:
• the roof-covering materials;
• the gutters;
• the downspouts;
• the vents, flashing, skylights, chimney, and other roof penetrations; and
• the general structure of the roof from the readily accessible panels, door or stairs.


I inspect:
• the exterior wall-coverings, flashing and trim;
• all exterior doors
• adjacent walkways and driveways;
• stairs, step, stoops, stairways and ramps;
• porches, patios, decks, balconies and carports;
• railings, guards and handrails;
• the eaves, soffits, and fascia;
• a representative number of windows; and
• vegetation, surface drainage, retaining walls and grading of the property,
where they may adversely affect the structure due to moisture or insect intrusion.

Basement, Foundation, Crawlspace & Structure

I inspect:
• the foundation; • the basement; • the crawlspace; and structural components.


I inspect:
• the heating system, using normal operating controls and a carbon monoxide testor
To test for any possible leakage from the heat exchanger.


I inspect:
A. the cooling system, using normal operating controls.

I inspect:
A. the main water supply shut-off valve;
B. the main fuel supply shut-off valve;
C. the water heating equipment, including the energy source, venting connections, temperature/pressure-relief (TPR) valves, Watts 210 valves, and seismic bracing;
D. interior water supply, including all fixtures and faucets, by running the water;
E. all toilets for proper operation by flushing;
F. all sinks, tubs and showers for functional drainage;
G. the drain, waste and vent system; and
H. drainage sump pumps with accessible floats.

3.7. Electrical

I. I inspect:
A. the service drop;
B. the overhead service conductors and attachment point;
C. the service head, gooseneck and drip loops;
D. the service mast, service conduit and raceway;
E. the electric meter and base;
F. service-entrance conductors;
G. the main service disconnect;
H. panelboards and over-current protection devices (circuit breakers and fuses);
I. service grounding and bonding;
J. a representative number of switches, lighting fixtures and receptacles, including receptacles observed and deemed to be arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI)-protected using the AFCI test button, where possible;
K. all ground-fault circuit interrupter receptacles and circuit breakers observed and deemed to be GFCIs using a GFCI tester, where possible; and
L. smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors.

3.8. Fireplace

I. I inspect:
A. readily accessible and visible portions of the fireplaces and chimneys;
B. lintels above the fireplace openings;
C. damper doors by opening and closing them, if readily accessible and manually operable; and
D. cleanout doors and frames.

3.9. Attic, Insulation & Ventilation

I. I inspect:
A. insulation in unfinished spaces, including attics, crawlspaces and foundation areas;
B. ventilation of unfinished spaces, including attics, crawlspaces and foundation areas; and
C. mechanical exhaust systems in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry area.

3.10. Doors, Windows & Interior

I. I inspect:
A. a representative number of doors and windows by opening and closing them;
B. floors, walls and ceilings;
C. stairs, steps, landings, stairways and ramps;
D. railings, guards and handrails; and
E. garage vehicle doors and the operation of garage vehicle door openers, using normal operating controls.

3.11. I include a cost estimate summary for each section of the home that was inspected.(Note: No other inspector in this area does this) Thus enabling the seller or the buyer actual numbers relating to the repair costs contributed to each section.

As a minimum, an inspection should meet the Standards of Practice of the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI).

Consumers should be very careful when shopping for a home inspector. The industry on the whole is unregulated and many unqualified people offer home inspection services.