Standard Home Inspection
What to Expect During our Standard Home Inspection
Attending the home inspection from beginning to end is probably the most important thing you do during this entire home buying process. We encourage our clients to stay with the inspector for the entire home inspection. A typical home inspection will take 3-5 hours to perform, depending on the size and condition of the home, and how many questions our clients have (by the way: we love questions). For first-time home buyers, our home inspections provide an excellent education on home ownership and home maintenance. For the more experienced buyer, we’ll focus more on major issues and general building science. We take digital photos, and videos throughout the inspection and include them in our inspection report. Following the inspection, our inspectors will write the report that afternoon and email it to you by the evening in both HTML and Adobe Acrobat format.
Click here for a Sample report – this is not a ‘doctored’ report, this is an actual report with the address and client information removed. If you don’t like looking at the report in this format, click the following link for a .pdf version of our Sample Home Inspection Report.
All of our home inspectors are licensed in the State of Illinois (IDFPR). As such, we are bound by the Standards of Practice of the IDFPR. These standards are the minimum and only state what we HAVE to inspect. Not HOW to inspect. This is why we use special equipment on each and every inspection. Items such as black lights, combustion analyzers, and gas leak detectors are just a few. The list below incorporates the IDFPR Standards of Practice but also incorporates part of the Chicagoland Home Inspectors, Inc., list of Best Practices for a home inspection. This list is written in the same order as our inspection reports. We think this is a pretty boring list, but we occasionally get asked about some of these specific items, so here are the items included in our inspection of single-family homes and townhomes:
- We walk roofs to inspect them. Some common-sense exceptions would be unsafe roofs, roofs not accessible with a 12′ ladder, snow-covered, etc.
- If we cannot walk the roof, we will send out an inspector with a drone or pole camera to get the best view possible. And we place a 5 Year Leak Warranty on the roof.
- Gutters and roof drainage systems. We’re big proponents of gutters.
- Flashing. Lack of kickout flashing is also typically reported.
- Skylights, roof caps, roof vents, plumbing vents, and other roof penetrations are inspected.
- Chimney crowns
- Chimney walls
- Chimney flashing
- Fuel-burning fireplaces, stoves, and fireplace inserts. This usually means wood burning fireplaces or gas fireplaces.
- Fuel-burning accessories installed in fireplaces, such as gas logs.
- Wall coverings (aka ‘siding’)
- Guards (aka ‘guardrails’)
- Drainage and grading that is likely to affect the building
- Retaining walls
- Vegetation that is likely to affect the building
- Foundation walls
- Vent terminals and air intakes
- Exterior faucets
Basement / Foundation / Structure
- Foundation walls
- Basement floor
- Crawl spaces
- Sump Systems, including the sump basket, sump pump, sump cover, and extension piping.
- Floor structure (posts, beams, joists, etc.)
- Basement insulation
- Signs of basement moisture / water intrusion are always a concern for buyers, and we always inspect for this. We use Protimeter Surveymaster moisture meters to check for elevated moisture levels when they’re suspected.
- Exterior electrical components, including the service drop, service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways.
- The main panel and any subpanels. We remove panel covers to inspect the wiring inside. For the record, this is not something that sets us apart from our competition; every licensed inspector in Illinois should do this as standard practice, and any home inspector who claims to follow IDFPR Standards Of Practice should do this.
- Service grounding
- Interior electrical components, including the majority of outlets, switches, and lights.
- Ground fault circuit interrupters
- Arc fault circuit interrupters
- Smoke and CO alarms are recommended when not present
- Drain, waste, and vent pipes
- Water distribution pipes
- The visible portion of the water main, which is the water supply pipe that brings water into the home
- Water heaters
- Water heater vents. We perform worst-case scenario draft testing at natural draft water heaters.
- Clothes washers and dryers
- Floor drains
- Gas lines. We have electronic gas leak detectors to locate gas leaks, but gas leaks are only reported by using a liquid-gas detection solution. This prevents reporting any false gas leaks.
- We report the locations of the main gas and water valves, and typically point these out during the inspection.
- Installed heating equipment such as furnaces, boilers, and space heaters. Carbon monoxide and combustion gas testing of furnaces and boilers are standard for us.
- Furnace filters are inspected and clients are shown how to change the filter.
- Registers are all checked for operation with an infrared camera, whether an infrared inspection is included or not.
- Vent connector and vent
- Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs) or Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs)
- Central and permanently installed cooling equipment
- Temperature difference testing is used to determine if cooling equipment is operational
- Condensate disposal
- Ceilings – A thermal imager is used on all inspections.
- Walls – A thermal imager is used on all inspections.
- Doors – A thermal imager is used on all inspections.
- Windows – A thermal imager is used on all inspections.
- Skylights – A thermal imager is used on all inspections.
- Stairs, handrails, and guards
- Counters and cabinets
- Vent fans
- Kitchen appliances
- We access nearly every attic to inspect them. If we can walk or crawl through the attic without trampling the insulation, we’ll do so to inspect the attic.
- Framing and sheathing
- Exhaust fans and ducts
- Locating attic air leaks typically requires some minor disturbing of insulation. We’ll disturb a little insulation to look when attic air leaks are suspected.
- Overhead doors
- Including torsion springs for proper tension and expansion springs for safety cables.
- Garage door openers, including auto-reverse features
- All of the other stuff that most folks would probably expect; doors, stairs, walls, floor, electrical, etc.