A home inspection is a visual examination of the home's structure, inside and out, and installed components, systems, and appliances. It is designed to provide useful information about the performance of those vital areas. A written inspection report is provided that is often used by home buyers and sellers to further determine the correct value of those home assets.
Due to the high cost of replacement and repair, many home buyers consider the condition of the roof to be one of the most important issues covered in an inspection. The roof's surface, it's drainage systems, flashings, and all roof penetrations are included during the inspection. Deficiencies in one or more of those components will be included in the written report along with a description of the type of roof covering materials.
Visible insulation and venting systems in unfinished spaces will be inspected. Accessible attic and foundation crawl spaces are examined for proper ventilation as are mechanical ventilation devices.
Installed kitchen appliances, such as ovens, stoves, dishwashers, and microwave ovens are visually examined and tested in normal operating modes. Ovens are tested for proper temperature at a setting of 350-degrees and stoves and dishwashers are examined for potential integrity problems and operated in normal modes.
Key Inspection Areas
The condition of the HVAC system is paramount to the inspection process. This equipment is critical to the comfort of the home for the residents and can be among the most costly items to service or replace. The inspector will visually examine the furnace, A/C condensing unit, compressor, and other installed components, except window A/C units.
What is a Home Inspection?
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A visual examination of the fireplaces and chimneys can reveal important information to a homeowner, since this area of the home can pose risks of fire or injury. The inspector will examine the structure and surfaces of fireplaces and chimneys with the intention of identifying issues that may pose a potential fire safety problem. Proper ventilation of gases and combustion are also key to a working fireplace.
Interior structures and components are part of the inspection process. Ceilings, floors, walls, steps and stairways are all examined for deficiencies and safety issues. A representative number of cabinets and interior doors are inspected for functionality and the garage door is tested for operability.
The home's exterior surfaces, such as the brick, wood, and stucco sidings, the fascia, soffits, and roof eaves, exterior doors, porches, and patios are all visually examined. Deficiencies in those systems and structures will be noted in the report.
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Since the electrical system in the home can lead to injury or pose a fire threat, it is critical that a thorough inspection be made of this key area. The inspector will provide a visual inspection of the service drop and entrance, the main and sub-panels, disconnects, service grounding, overcurrent protection, GFCIs, and a representative number of switches, outlets, and fixtures.
The inspector will examine the home, inside and out, paying close attention to clues that may point to foundation movement; such as cracks in exterior and interior walls, doors and walls out of square, attic structure that has shifted, floor cracks or out-of-level floors, etc. While minor shifting and settlement is somewhat common in North Texas, more serious foundation issues can be identified during the inspection.
The inspector will render an opinion as to the performance of the foundation.
The inspector's job in the area of plumbing is to inspect the water supply and distribution systems including fixtures, faucets, sinks, basins, and tubs and showers. Water heating equipment is included in the plumbing inspection as well as drains, wastes, and vents for this system.
Inspection of the structural components of the home is an important part of the process. The floors, walls, ceilings, and roof structures are examined when visible and accessible, including viewing from inside crawl spaces and interior attic spaces. While the inspector does not render an opinion as to the adequacy of the structural systems, a visual examination can detect deficiencies that may need to be addressed.