Standard Home Inspection
Attending the home inspection from beginning to end is probably the most important thing you do during this entire home buying process. You’re there to learn as much about the property as possible. But you should have already done your homework before the big day.
Before the inspection, review the seller’s property disclosures or building department documentation you received along the way. The listing agent may have pointed out some known issues. Write down a list of questions or concerns you have about the home.
I encourage you to stay with me for the entire home inspection. This is YOUR time to examine the home closely, ask questions and learn about the home you are about to purchase. A typical home inspection can take 3-5 hours to perform, depending on the size and condition of the home and how many questions you may have along the way. I do one inspection a day and the day is yours to learn as much as you wish. I document the inspection with photos and videos that are included in the final report. Following the inspection, the report will be written up and emailed to you within 24 hours.
Schillerstrom Home Inspection is licensed in South Carolina and bound by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Standards of Practice. These standards are the minimum and only state what has to be inspected…not HOW to inspect. This is why I use special equipment on each and every inspection. Items such as black light, thermal imaging camera, a crawl-bot to access hard-to-reach crawlspaces and decks, combustion analyzer and gas leak detector are just a few. The list below incorporates the Standards of Practice but also incorporates my own list of Best Practices for a home inspection. It’s a pretty boring list but sometimes clients ask, so here are the items included in the inspection of single-family homes and townhouses:
- I walk roofs to inspect them. Some common-sense exceptions would be unsafe roofs, roofs not accessible with a 12′ ladder, snow/ice-covered, etc.
- If I cannot walk the roof, I will use a pole camera to get the best view possible. And I place a 5 Year Leak Warranty on the roof.
- Gutters and roof drainage systems. I’m big proponents of gutters.
- Flashing. Lack of kickout flashing is also typically reported.
- Skylights, roof caps, roof vents, plumbing vents, and other roof penetrations are inspected.
- Chimney crowns
- Chimney walls
- Chimney flashing
- Fuel-burning fireplaces, stoves, and fireplace inserts. This usually means wood burning fireplaces or gas fireplaces.
- Fuel-burning accessories installed in fireplaces, such as gas logs.
- Wall coverings (aka ‘siding’)
- Guards (aka ‘guardrails’)
- Drainage and grading that is likely to affect the building
- Retaining walls
- Vegetation that is likely to affect the building
- Foundation walls
- Vent terminals and air intakes
- Exterior faucets
Basement / Foundation / Structure
- Foundation walls
- Basement floor
- Crawl spaces
- Sump Systems, including the sump basket, sump pump, sump cover, and extension piping.
- Floor structure (posts, beams, joists, etc.)
- Basement insulation
- Signs of basement moisture / water intrusion are always a concern for buyers, and I always inspect for this. I use a moisture meter to check for elevated moisture levels when they’re suspected.
- Exterior electrical components, including the service drop, service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways.
- The main panel and any subpanels. I remove panel covers to inspect the wiring inside. For the record, this is not something that sets us apart from our competition; every licensed inspector should do this as standard practice.
- Service grounding
- Interior electrical components, including the majority of outlets, switches, and lights.
- Ground fault circuit interrupters
- Arc fault circuit interrupters
- Smoke and CO alarms are recommended when not present
- Drain, waste, and vent pipes
- Water distribution pipes
- The visible portion of the water main, which is the water supply pipe that brings water into the home
- Water heaters
- Water heater vents.
- Clothes washers and dryers
- Floor drains
- Gas lines. I have electronic a gas leak detector to locate gas leaks, but gas leaks are only reported by using a liquid-gas detection solution. This prevents reporting any false gas leaks.
- I report the locations of the main gas and water valves, and typically point these out during the inspection.
- Installed heating equipment such as furnaces, boilers, and space heaters. Carbon monoxide and combustion gas testing of furnaces and boilers is standard for my inspections.
- Furnace filters are inspected and clients are shown how to change the filter.
- Registers are all checked for operation with an infrared camera.
- Vent connector and vent
- Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs) or Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs)
- Central and permanently installed cooling equipment
- Temperature difference testing is used to determine if cooling equipment is operational
- Condensate disposal
- Ceilings – A thermal imager is used on all inspections.
- Walls – A thermal imager is used on all inspections.
- Doors – A thermal imager is used on all inspections.
- Windows – A thermal imager is used on all inspections.
- Skylights – A thermal imager is used on all inspections.
- Stairs, handrails, and guards
- Counters and cabinets
- Vent fans
- Kitchen appliances
- I access nearly every attic to inspect them. If I can walk or crawl through the attic without trampling the insulation, I’ll do so to inspect the attic.
- Framing and sheathing
- Exhaust fans and ducts
- Overhead doors, including torsion springs for proper tension and expansion springs for safety cables.
- Garage door openers, including auto-reverse features
- All of the other stuff that most folks would probably expect; doors, stairs, walls, floor, electrical, etc.