• Bill Warrell

What Does a Home Inspection Cover?

Your real estate agent recommends a home inspection. So do your parents. So do your friends. You know you should get one because it sounds like a good idea - what exactly is it?


There are quite a few types of home inspections to consider when purchasing a new home:

  • General

  • Wind Mitigation

  • 4 - Point Inspections

  • Termite / Wood Boring Insect Damage

  • Well Water Quality

  • Radon Gas Presence

  • Septic System Reliability

  • Oil Tank Integrity


In this post we'll cover the general home inspection and what is covered by it. It's important to note that a property cannot fail a home inspection as it's not the inspectors job to pass or fail but to simply record and report the current condition of the home. Unlike an appraisal, an inspection does not offer a market value of the property.


The following information comes directly from the American Society of Home Inspectors and lists the areas that an inspector will review:

STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS

The inspector shall inspect:

  • inspect structural components including the foundation and framing

The inspector shall describe:

  • the methods used to inspect under-floor crawlspaces and attics

  • the foundation

  • the floor structure

  • the wall structure

  • the ceiling structure

  • the roof structure

The inspector is NOT required to:

  • provide engineering or architectural services or analysis

  • offer an opinion about the adequacy of structural systems and components

  • traverse attic load-bearing components that are concealed by insulation or by other materials


EXTERIOR

The inspector shall inspect:

  • wall coverings, flashing, and trim

  • exterior doors

  • attached and adjacent decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated railings

  • eaves, soffits, and fascias where accessible from the ground level

  • vegetation, grading, surface drainage, and retaining walls that are likely to adversely affect the building

The inspector shall describe:

  • adjacent and entryway walkways, patios, and driveways

  • wall coverings

The inspector is NOT required to inspect:

  • screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal accessories

  • fences, boundary walls, and similar structures

  • geological and soil conditions

  • recreational facilities

  • outbuildings other than garages and carports

  • seawalls, break-walls, and docks

  • erosion control and earth stabilization measures


ROOF SYSTEM

The inspector shall inspect:

  • roofing materials

  • roof drainage systems

  • flashing

  • skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations

The inspector shall describe:

  • roofing materials

  • methods used to inspect the roofing

The inspector is NOT required to inspect:

  • antennae

  • interiors of vent systems, flues, and chimneys that are not readily accessible

  • other installed accessories


PLUMBING

The inspector shall inspect:

  • interior water supply and distribution systems including fixtures and faucets

  • interior drain, waste, and vent systems including fixtures

  • water heating equipment and hot water supply systems

  • vent systems, flues, and chimneys

  • fuel storage and fuel distribution systems

  • sewage ejectors, sump pumps, and related piping

The inspector shall describe:

  • interior water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping materials

  • water heating equipment including energy source(s)

  • location of main water and fuel shut-off valves

The inspector is NOT required to inspect:

  • clothes washing machine connections

  • interiors of vent systems, flues, and chimneys that are not readily accessible

  • wells, well pumps, and water storage related equipment

  • water conditioning systems

  • solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy water heating systems

  • manual and automatic fire extinguishing and sprinkler systems and landscape irrigation systems

  • septic and other sewage disposal systems

The inspector is NOT required to determine:

  • whether water supply and sewage disposal are public or private

  • water quality

  • the adequacy of combustion air components

  • measure water supply flow and pressure, and well water quantity

  • fill shower pans and fixtures to test for leaks


ELECTRICAL

The inspector shall inspect:

  • service drop

  • service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways

  • service equipment and main disconnects

  • service grounding

  • interior components of service panels and subpanels

  • conductors

  • overcurrent protection devices

  • a representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles

  • ground fault circuit interrupters and arc fault circuit interrupters

The inspector shall describe:

  • amperage rating of the service

  • location of main disconnect(s) and subpanels

  • presence or absence of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms

  • the predominant branch circuit wiring method

The inspector is NOT required to inspect:

  • remote control devices

  • smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, security systems, and other signaling and warning devices

  • low voltage wiring systems and components

  • ancillary wiring systems and components not a part of the primary electrical power distribution system

  • solar, geothermal, wind, and other renewable energy systems.

  • or measure amperage, voltage, and impedance

  • determine the age and type of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms


HEATING

The inspector shall inspect:

  • installed heating equipment

  • vent systems, flues, and chimneys

  • distribution systems

The inspector shall describe:

  • energy source(s)

  • heating systems

The inspector is NOT required to inspect:

  • interiors of vent systems, flues, and chimneys that are not readily accessible

  • heat exchangers

  • humidifiers and dehumidifiers

  • electric air cleaning and sanitizing devices

  • heating systems using ground-source, water-source, solar, and renewable energy technologies

  • heat-recovery and similar whole-house mechanical ventilation systems

The inspector is NOT required to determine:

  • heat supply adequacy and distribution balance

  • the adequacy of combustion air components


AIR CONDITIONING

The inspector shall inspect:

  • central and permanently installed cooling equipment

  • distribution systems


The inspector shall describe:

  • energy source(s)

  • cooling systems


The inspector is NOT required to:

  • inspect electric air cleaning and sanitizing devices

  • determine cooling supply adequacy and distribution balance

  • inspect cooling units that are not permanently installed or that are installed in windows

  • inspect cooling systems using ground-source, water-source, solar, and renewable energy technologies


INTERIORS

The inspector shall inspect:

  • walls, ceilings, and floors

  • steps, stairways, and railings

  • countertops and a representative number of installed cabinets

  • a representative number of doors and windows

  • garage vehicle doors and garage vehicle door operators

  • installed ovens, ranges, surface cooking appliances, microwave ovens, dishwashing machines, and food waste grinders by using normal operating controls to activate the primary function

The inspector is NOT required to inspect:

  • paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments

  • floor coverings

  • window treatments

  • coatings on and the hermetic seals between panes of window glass

  • central vacuum systems

  • recreational facilities

  • appliance thermostats including their calibration, adequacy of heating elements, self cleaning oven cycles, indicator lights, door seals, timers, clocks, timed features, and other specialized features of the appliance

  • operate, or confirm the operation of every control and feature of an inspected appliance


INSULATION AND VENTILATION

The inspector shall inspect:

  • insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces

  • ventilation of attics and foundation areas

  • kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and similar exhaust systems

  • clothes dryer exhaust systems

The inspector shall describe:

  • insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces

  • absence of insulation in unfinished spaces at conditioned surfaces

Got all that? An inspector will be able to lay out an unbiased report of the home's condition for you to make a purchasing decision.

Keller Williams on the Water /  1301 6th Avenue West, Ste 100 Bradenton , FL 34205

Keller Williams Realty, Inc. is a real estate franchise company. Each Keller Williams office is independently owned and operated. Keller Williams Realty, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer and supports the Fair Housing Act.