What I inspect and how … When I do a home inspection
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When I do a home inspection I am not working for the lender, banker, realtor, seller, appraiser, contractor, builder or anyone else. I am working for you and your family - keeping your best interest and safety in mind.  I am going to tell you what I found, didn’t find, what is important, what is minor / cosmetic.  We are going to have a conversation (if possible), about the home you are about to buy. I photo document the entire home - exterior and interior.  I can accumulate 200 to 400 photos.  Only photos that I include with the report are those of findings of concern.  The remaining photos go into a file for that address. I do only one inspection per day and that starts at 8:00 AM. Typically an inspection takes about 2 to 2 ½ hours - some have taken as much as 5 hours. When the inspection is complete, I take my data and build the report that afternoon, you recieve the report the same day, normally before 9:00 PM.  The report is digital, I use HomeGauge report writing software, it is available for up to 5 years online - can be saved / printed if you wish. What do I inspect: Exterior: grade, walls, windows, doors, walkways, driveways, roofing, gutters, soffits, facsia, hose bibs (faucets), duplexes (outlets). Interior: garage, duplexes, attic ladders, windows, doors, built-ins, cabinets, plumbing, wall switches, floors, walls, stairs, ceilings. Roofing, I use one of two drones if I am not able to walk the roof. For the electical (outlets) at exterior and interior I use a Klien Tools RT250 GFCI Outlet Tester, this also provides voltage information.  Other testers I use as needed are, Southwire voltage/continuity tester and a Southwire 401405 AC/DC Voltage tester. Three other tools I use are a Flir moisture meter and a Flir thermal camera - these are used on a as needed basis. To confirm if a moisture stain is active or if it’s just an old stain.  The third one is temperature gun, also a Southwire. What do I look for: While at the exterior, I am looking for significant cracks at walls, trip hazards at sidewalks / driveways, rot - decay at siding, trim, windows and doors. Condition of windows and doors. Lighting fixtures and outlets ensuring proper operation. At the interior, including garage and attic space if accessible, I check ALL readily accessible duplexes (outlets) windows and doors. Please note - in occupied homes - I do not unplug computers, electronics, medical equipment, timers. However I will unplug a lamp or nightlight. I check all wall switches to ensure proper operation and no unusual heat. I check the service panel to ensure there is proper access, check the breakers for over heating, pull the cover off and check the wiring at the breakers. Check all cabinets, floors, walls, ceilings and built in appliances. Check plumbing for leaks, loose connections and reversed connections (hot - cold switched around), attic ladders, attic space including joists, rafters, supports, roof decking (that is visible / accessible). Water heater and furnace venting (flues), other roof penetrations. Check the HVAC sytem for proper operation, heating - cooling. Check Hot water systems, for rust, corossion, leaks.  I do report on make, model #, serial #, size, type and age of each unit if possible. Just as the exterior - also looking for cracks, rot - decay or other significant damage at the interior. Windows / doors:  The common thing here is caulking / sealing and weather stripping.  Then there is operation of the window itself.  On many older homes the windows are painted shut – this is a problem.  Windows are great for letting light in, seeing outside, etc. but the primary purpose of a window is a form of escape in the event of an emergency and if a child cannot open the window, I write it up Brick Veneer exterior walls:  Yes they get cracks, most of the time it’s from typical settlement of the structure.  But the concern of seriousness depends on length and width of the crack and if there is any related cracks on the inside of the home. Grade:  Which way is the ground sloped and how high up is the vegetation on the slab wall?  If I can’t see at least four inches of slab around the home, I will write it  up as a potential grade issue.  Why? Because water has the potential of  entering under the sill plate.  Thus creating another situation of rot and decay at the interior of the wall system.  You won’t notice this until significant damage is already taking place. Plumbing:  That little leak, the one we seem to ignore for some unknown reason.  Here is the fun part, it will go away, no kidding, but to be replaced by a larger one.  And if it just remains small and depending on what it is  leaking on a lot more unwanted and unnecessary damage can occur.  I report on all  leaks. Electrical: This is where I find most issues.  Outlets with open grounds or reverse polarity are the most common. Then there is double tapping at the breakers, meaning two wires on one breaker that is designed for only one wire. Corrosian at the terminal connections at breakers.  Uncovered / open / overcrowded junction boxes,  find broken bare wire in attics and under homes (pier and beams). What I no longer inspect: Mobile homes, apartments, multi-family homes (duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes), Pier and Beam (homes that do not have a solid concrete foundation). I do not inspect commercial / industrial properties. Mobile homes, P&B homes have proved to be too much of a liability, too many things can be easily missed, many times they are not completely accessible underneath due to water, debris, snakes, animals that don’t like to share their space, that limits or prevents access. For this, much of the underside cannot be inspected.  I also became trapped under a Pier & Beam home - took me an hour and a half to dig myself out - and resulted in tearing my shoulder in three places.  Apartments are simply out of my perview as a home inspector. Multi-family homes became a problem with tenenants that did not want to cooperate with the inspection process - became hostile. For these reasons, the resonable expectation of the buyer (consumer) would not be met - and that to me is bad business.
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