What does a home inspector check?
A home inspection is a limited, visual examination of the condition of a home. A home inspection provides a thorough assessment of the home’s safety and condition. It can give you a great idea of how much general upkeep has been taken care of and give a snapshot in time of the home in question. The ten major things a home inspector checks are the Grounds, Structure, Roof, Exterior, Windows, Doors & Trim, Electrical, Plumbing, Kitchen, Bathroom & Interior Rooms.
When a home inspector checks the grounds of a home, most are looking at the way the water moves away from the foundation. The main areas checked are the service walks, driveway, steps, patio, deck or balcony, fence, retaining walls, tree’s overhang or potential root problems, and landscaping.
The structure of a home is at all times resisting gravity, wind, water and seismic movement. The structural components of a home are the foundation, floor structure, wall structure, ceiling structure and roof structure. The structure must reliably resist all forces over time, while maintaining safe living conditions.
The roof of the home is designed to protect the interior, vent heat out so moisture will not build up, all the while keeping structural integrity. As part of the structure of the home, it must stand up to gravity, wind, water, seismic movement and flying debris. It is critical that the roof and exterior be flashed properly and positioned in a way as to drain excess water away from the foundation of the home.
The exterior components of a home have two functions. The most important function is to protect the interior from water intrusion and the second is an aesthetic feature. Exterior components checked in a home inspection include roof coverings and associated flashing, wall coverings, trim, roof drainage system, gutters and downspouts.
Windows, Doors & Trim
A window or a door is an opening in a wall, that if built correctly should not hold any weight. The windows and doors of a home are crucial for allowing air in and out while helping maintain pressure in the home. Poor seals on windows, doors or trim can cause awful problems for the inside of a home. The extra exposure to elements will cause major damage to the interior of a home, that’s why windows and doors are major areas home inspectors check out.
The electrical system of a house, from a home inspection perspective, is the high voltage system. The high voltage of a home is normally 120/240 volts. These systems include the service drop or lateral, service entrance conductors, service equipment, panelboards, overcurrent protection devices, grounding and bonding, branch circuit and feeder conductors and associated conduit, ground fault and arc fault devices, outdoor ac, lights, switches and receptacles. The home inspector generally inspects a representative number of each item listed.
The plumbing system of a house consists of the water supply system, the drain, waste, and vent system, plumbing fixtures and any plumbing appliances. The water supply system brings potable water from a public or private water supply through the water service pipe into the house. From there, the water is distributed through water distribution pipes out to the appliances and plumbing fixtures. The water is then discharged into the drain, waste and vent system where it is conveyed to a public or private sewage system.
When looking at the kitchen there are some key areas home inspectors are looking at. They are the exhaust being vented correctly, drain, waste and vent system, dishwasher connection, garbage disposal, oven/stove, built in microwave, cabinets and shelves. The refrigerator or freezer and trash compactor are generally not in the scope of the inspection.
Most areas in the bathroom inspected, are involved with the plumbing system of the home. Most home inspectors check out the bathtub/shower, faucets or similar valves, under sinks, toilets, exhaust and any other fixture. Some inspectors exclude spa tubs with jets because of lack of ability to properly assess. Any port holes for water connections to the shower or tub are removed to assess the pipe. The exhaust must be vented to the exterior of the home, because this helps keep moisture out of the attic. When moisture gets in spots like an attic, it can wreak havoc on the sheathing of the roof, possibly causing mold and rot.
Interior rooms, commonly refer to the closed in portion of the home separated by walls and doors or openings in the wall. These areas are the living room, bedrooms, halls, sunrooms, dens, foyers, dining rooms, closets and utility rooms if located inside. In some cases, the outside of the house is run down, but the interior rooms have been beautifully renovated. This is where the eyes of a home inspector have assessed everything on the list above and is now checking receptacles, switches, lights, flooring, walls, doors, inside sealing of windows and doors and the ceiling. Many problems already found during the home inspection will sometimes show themselves in these areas of the home as well.
Getting a home inspection from a licensed home inspector is a major part of the home buying and selling process. When someone is selling a home, often they pass on a home inspection. The benefit for a seller to get that inspection completed is it will educate the seller on the items the buyer’s home inspector will be looking for. The seller can remedy any problems before actually putting it on the market, and in turn possibly shortening the length of time of the process. For any buyer, a home inspection is a must. When a buyer does a walk through, they are looking at where the bed will go or maybe where the tv could sit. Rarely ever, are they looking at the crucial areas we talked about above. This is why getting a licensed home inspector to check things out for you is always in your best interest. What does a home inspector check? The good ones check everything, as if it were their home.