What is a home inspection, and what exactly does a home inspection cover?

According to the InterNACHI Standards of Practice (SOPs):

“A home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property, performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process.”

Note: InterNACHI is the world’s leading association for home inspectors. We follow InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice for our home inspections.

Why Are Home Inspections Performed?

Home inspections are most commonly performed at the request of a home buyer prior to purchasing a new home so that the buyer is informed about the overall condition of the home as well as any major defects.

Home inspections may be performed at the request of a home owner in preparation for selling the home. This allows the seller to repair any unknown issues before listing the home for sale. In addition to expediting the sale process by reducing the number of possible repair requests, this may serve as an advantage when advertising the home for sale.

A home inspection may also be performed at the request of a home owner, whether on a personal residence or investment property, as part of an overall maintenance strategy. The bottom line is that modern homes are equipped with many complex systems and it’s not always easy to access these systems or to know what might be a developing issue. Routine maintenance inspections, often performed annually, allow a property owner to remain informed about the condition of the home and to plan ahead for any significant problems that may arise.

What’s Included In a Home Inspection?

A detailed home inspection that is conducted according to InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice (SOPs) reviews many systems in the home in an effort to identify any observable defects. The following list covers some of the things that we look for during a home inspection.

  • The roof covering materials, gutters, downspouts, vents, flashing, skylights, chimney, and other roof penetrations; and the general structure of the roof from readily accessible panels, doors, or stairs.
  • The exterior wall covering materials; the eaves, soffits, and fascia; a representative number of windows; exterior doors; flashing and trim; adjacent walkways and driveways; stairs, steps, stoops, stairways, and ramps; porches, patios, decks, balconies, and carports; railings, guards, and handrails; and vegetation, surface drainage, retaining walls and grading of the property, where they may adversely affect the structure due to moisture intrusion.
  • The foundation, basement, or crawlspace, and structural components.
  • The heating system, using normal operating controls.
  • The cooling system, using normal operating controls.
  • The main water supply shut-off valve; the main fuel supply shut-off valve; the water heating equipment, including the energy source, venting connections, temperature/pressure relief (TPR) valves, Watts 210 valves, and seismic bracing; interior water supply, including all fixtures and faucets, by running the water; all toilets for proper operation, by flushing; all sinks, tubs, and showers for functional drainage; the drain, waste, and vent system; and drainage sump pumps with accessible floats.
  • The electric service drop; the overhead service conductors and attachment point; the service head, gooseneck, and drip loops; the service mast, service conduit, and raceway; the electric meter base; service entrance conductors; the main service disconnect; panel boards and over-current protection devices (circuit breakers and fuses); service grounding and bonding; a representative number of switches, lighting fixtures, and receptacles, including receptacles observed and deemed to be arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) protected using the AFCI test button, where possible; all ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles and circuit breakers observed and deemed to be GFCIs using a GFCI tester, where possible; and for the presence of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Readily accessible and visible portions of the fireplaces and chimneys; lintels above the fireplace openings; damper doors by opening and closing them, if readily accessible and manually operable; and cleanout doors and frames.
  • Insulation in unfinished spaces, including attics, crawlspaces, and foundation areas; ventilation of unfinished spaces, including attics, crawlspaces, and foundation areas; and mechanical exhaust systems in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry area.
  • A representative number of doors and windows by opening and closing them; floors, walls, and ceilings; stairs, steps, landings, stairways, and ramps; railings, guards, and handrails; and garage vehicle doors and the operation of garage vehicle door openers using normal operating controls.

As you can see, we inspect a lot of things while performing a complete home inspection. This list is far more comprehensive than what a potential home buyer will be able to inspect during a typical walkthrough of a home. We typically spend at least a few hours – longer on larger homes – and take the time that is necessary to perform a thorough and detailed inspection.

Following the home inspection, we provide a detailed and easy-to-read report with plenty of photos to help you understand any areas of concern that were identified during the inspection.

Schedule Your Inspection

Whether you are a home buyer who needs a new home inspected before purchase or a home owner who needs a maintenance or presale inspection performed on your property, Frontier Inspections, LLC is ready to help. Reach out to us by email at frontierinspectionslls@gmail.com or by phone at 307-670-3706 to schedule your inspection.

Thank you for considering Frontier Inspections, LLC for your home inspection needs! Please let us know if you have any questions.