What's Inspected During A Home Inspection

A home inspection is is a visual process and is limited to what is readily accessible and observable at the time of the inspection. As the home buyer,  you can and should request that the homeowner (if the house is occupied) provide well lit access to all areas of the home including the basement, attic and crawl spaces. In addition, if there are excessive homeowners belongings in these areas, you should request the homeowner move the items in question so the home inspector can view and reach all structural components. For example, if the home owner has stored belongs along the foundation walls in the basement, the foundation walls from the interior, and the sills and headers on top of the foundation walls will not be readily accessible and observable and will be excluded from the home inspection report. Home inspectors are not required to and do not move home owners belongings. If the homeowners have stored items blocking the access to the eve crawl spaces,  the rafters, sheathing, ventilation and insulation in these areas will be excluded. 

The home inspection process is broken down into seven areas;

1) The Exterior of the Home: The wall cladding, trim, fascia, soffit, entry doors, primary windows, patio doors, garage doors, driveway, walks, steps, railings, porch/balcony, deck and railings, retaining walls, vegetation, topography and drainage. 

2) Roofing: The roof is observed inspecting the roof covering (shingles), gutters, downspouts, extensions, splash blocks, chimney(s), flashings, skylights, plumbing vents all with a focus on possible water ingress. 

3) Structural:  The foundation walls, floors, sills, headers, joists, columns, beams, ceilings, rafter and sheathing. The readily observably and accessible sills and headers are probed and inspected for wood deterioration and evidence of wood boring pests.

4) Ventilation & Insulation:The ventilation and insulation is viewed from the open structural areas of the attic and basement. 

5) Plumbing: The following plumbing items are examined; the water service entry, main water shut off(s), supply piping, drain waste and vent piping, the water pressure and functional flow and drainage, cross connections and the water heater.

6)  Heating and Cooling: The heating system is activated and the following components are inspected; the burner, flue pipe, chimney connection, fuel supply, thermostat(s), distribution, blower/pumps, safety valves and operational function. 

The cooling system is activated (weather permitting) and the following components are examined; exterior casing, exterior fins, the electrical disconnect, ref. lines and insulation, visible interior ducts, condensate drain, thermostat(s) and cooling. 

7) Interior: The interior of the house is examined room by room inspecting the walls, ceiling, floors, windows and doors, electrical switches and outlets, the bathroom plumbing, toilets, sinks, tub, laundry hook ups and dryer venting.