What Will Be Inspected

Structural Components

Your inspector climbs onto the roof, pokes at the foundation, and crawls into attic and crawl space looking for water condensation or penetration. Walls and ceilings are examined for leakage and damage. Floor cracks are noted, as is separation from the baseboards.

  • Ridge and fascia board lines appear straight and level
  • No visible signs of structural pest infestations
  • Sides of house appear straight, not bowed or sagging
  • Window and doorframes appear square (especially bowed windows)
  • Visible foundation in good condition - appears straight, plumb, with no significant cracks

Exterior Faults

Close inspection of the exterior may reveal where additional caulking is needed to prevent water seepage. Broken seals on glass, deteriorating tread steps, decking and settlement cracks are a few of the items that require professional repair. Even the garage door is tested whether it's electronic or manual.

  • Adequate clearance between ground and wood siding materials; no wood-to-earth contact
  • Siding: no cracking, curling, loose, rot or decay
  • Masonry veneers: no cracks in joints, no broken, spalling or flaking components
  • Stucco: no large cracks
  • Vinyl or aluminum siding: no dents, damage, no bowing or loose siding
  • No vines on surface of structure
  • Exterior paint or stain: no flaking or blisters
  • Wood frames and trim pieces are secure, no cracks, rot or decay
  • Joints around frames are caulked
  • No broken glass (window or storm panes) or damaged screens, no broken double-pane, insulated window seals
  • Proper grading drainage away from house
  • No leaks from septic tank or leech field
  • Yard, landscaping, trees and walkways in good condition
  • No branches or bushes touching house or overhanging the roof
  • Exterior structures (fences, sheds, decks, retaining walls, detached garages) in good condition
  • Railings on stairs and decks are adequate and secure
  • Driveways, sidewalks, patios, entrance landings in good condition, and pitched away from structure
  • Downspout drainage directed away from structure

Roofing

The roof is examined closely for loose shingles or tiles, and the flashing is tested for tightness. Tree limbs touching the house provide a passageway for rodents and also can threaten the house during violent storms. Gutter debris is noted, and all drains are tested for a tight connection to the house. Skylights and chimneys also are examined for proper sealants.

  • Composition shingles: no curling, no cupping, no loss of granulation particulate, no broken, damaged or missing shingles, no more than two layers of roofing
  • Wood shingles or shakes: no mold, rot or decay, no cracked/broken/missing shingles, no curling
  • Flat roofs: no obvious patches, no cracks or splits, minimal blisters and wrinkles, no silt deposits (indicates improper drainage), sealed tar at flashings
  • Flashing around roof penetrations
  • No evidence of excess roofing cement/tar/caulk
  • Soffits and fascia: no decay
  • Exterior venting for eave areas: vents are clean
  • Gutters: no decay or rust, joints sealed, attached securely to structure, no bending or sagging, no sections of gutter or downspout missing, gutters clean
  • Chimneys: straight, properly flashed, no evidence of damaged bricks or cracked joints, mortar/cement cap in good condition

Plumbing

All piping is tested, including drains, vents and waste systems. Water ingress and egress is examined, as are the interior fuel and water distributors and the sump pump, if present. All drains are examined for signs of leakage.

  • Visible pipes: no damage, no evidence of leaks, drain pipes slope slightly down towards outlet to septic/sewage system
  • Water heater: no signs of rust, vented properly, sized to produce adequate quantities of hot water for the number of bedrooms in the house
  • Water pump: does not short cycle
  • Galvanized pipes do not restrict water flow
  • Hot water temperature between 118 - 125 degrees Fahrenheit

Electrical

All the electrical components are examined to ensure they fit and are operating safely. Conductors, grounding equipment and distribution panels are tested for efficient operation. The location of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors also is noted in the inspection report.

  • Visible wiring: in good condition, no "knob-and-tube" wiring, no exposed splices, cables secured and protected
  • Service panel: adequate capacity, all cables attached to panel with cable connectors; fuses or breakers are not overheating
  • No aluminum cable for branch circuits

Heating/Air Conditioning

The entire heating and air conditioning system is tested to verify it's in working condition, and the appropriate filters are examined for accumulation. Supply pipes are examined for corrosion. Chimneys must be clear of bird nests, and the chimney frame, whether it's brick or made of other components, is to be sound.

  • Appears to operate well throughout (good air flow on forced hot air systems)
  • Flues: no open seams, slopes up to chimney connection
  • No rust around cooling unit
  • No combustion gas odor
  • Ductwork in good condition

Insulation/Ventilation

Attic crawl space insulation and vapor retarders are noted on the inspection report. All venting fans that aren’t working also are included. Under-floor insulation, if accessible through the basement, also is examined for deterioration.

Attic

  • No evidence of decay or damage to structure
  • Sufficient insulation and properly installed insulation
  • Adequate ventilation, clear path into attic for air entering through soffit vents, all mechanical ventilation operational
  • No plumbing, exhaust or appliance vents terminating in attic
  • No open electrical splices

Basement or Mechanical Room

  • No evidence of moisture
  • Exposed foundation: no major cracks, no flaking
  • Visible structural wood: no sagging, no damage, no decay

Crawl Space

  • Adequately vented to exterior
  • Insulation on exposed water supply, waste and vent pipes
  • Insulation between crawl space and heated areas, installed with vapor barrier towards heated area
  • No evidence of moisture damage

Interiors/Appliance

All doors, floors and cabinets are inspected. Also all of the built in appliances are operated and inspected.

Interior Rooms

  • Floors, walls and ceilings appear straight and plumb and level
  • Flooring materials in good condition
  • No significant cracks in walls or ceilings
  • Windows and exterior doors operate easily and latch properly, no broken glass, no decay; windows and doors have weather-stripping
  • Interior doors operate easily and latch properly, no damage or decay, no broken hardware
  • Lights and switches operate properly
  • Electrical outlets test properly (spot check)
  • Heating/cooling source in each habitable room

Kitchen

  • Working exhaust fan that is vented to the exterior of the building
  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter ("GFCI") protection for electrical outlets within 6 feet of the sink(s) Dishwasher: drains properly, no leaks, baskets, door spring operates properly
  • No leaks in pipes under sinks
  • Floor in cabinet under sink solid
  • Water flow in sink adequate
  • No excessive rust or deterioration on garbage disposal or waste pipes
  • Built-in appliances operate properly
  • Cabinets in good condition: doors and drawers operate properly

Bathrooms

  • Working exhaust fan
  • Adequate flow and pressure at all fixtures
  • Sink, tub and shower drain properly
  • Plumbing and cabinet floor under sink in good condition
  • Toilet operates properly
  • Toilet stable, no rocking
  • Caulking in good condition inside and outside of the tub and shower area
  • Tub or shower tiles secure, wall surface solid
  • No stains or evidence of past leaking around base of bath or shower

Miscellaneous

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors where required by local ordinances
  • Stairway treads and risers solid
  • Stair handrails where needed and in good condition
  • Automatic garage door opener operates properly, stops properly for obstacles
  • Fireplace: no cracking or damaged masonry, damper operates properly