A Good Inspection is a Thorough Inspection

A good home inspection takes time. How much time depends on the age of the property, how well it is maintained, and the size of the property. A good inspection is a thorough examination of all the major systems identifying the materials used, the approximate age and general condition of those systems. A good inspector will systematically poke and prod the systems of the home removing all panel covers, opening all hatches and water closets, crawling into attics and crawl spaces, bringing light to the dark places of the house that go unexposed without an inspection. At the end of the inspection the home buyer (especially one that went on the inspection) will have a general understanding of how the major systems work, but more importantly the home buyer will know which systems need to be updated or replaced now or in the near future.


The inspection includes examining the supply, waste, and vent lines of the plumbing. The running and drainage of all water fixtures. The sump pump and hot water heater. Common plumbing problems include leaks in both supply and drainage, blocked drainage, the smell of sewer gases, and the outdated lead piping and galvanized steel piping.

HVAC Systems

The inspection of the heating and air conditioning system includes the heat and cooling sources (boilers, furnaces, electric baseboards, compressors), the radiators and vents, flues and chimneys. Common problems include aged furnaces, boilers and compressors, uninsulated vents, and leaking radiators, pipes and condensate lines.


The inspection of the electrical system includes the service entrance wires, the interior of the service panel, proper grounding of the system, breakers and junction boxes and switches and outlets. Common issues with electrical systems include over-burdened electric panels, improperly wired outlets, old cloth insulated wiring and systems not properly grounded.


The inspection of the interior includes the major ceiling, wall and floor finishes. The windows, doors, and stairwells. The appliances and the fireplace. Common problems include cracks in the finishes, moisture stains on the finishes, windows jamming or with water penetration, fireplace with creosote and broken dampers.


The structure includes the foundation and the framing members. Basement walls should not bow or bend and should be free of major cracks. Columns, beams, joists and rafters should be well supported and free of rot and major rust. Crawl spaces should be dry and stable.


The attic needs to be well ventilated and insulated. Attics are vulnerable to mold. Electricity must be properly installed (with metal conduit), heating vents should be insulated, and bathroom and kitchen vents must vent through (not into the attic).

Exterior Siding

Including the windows and doors must keep the outside elements away from the interior of the home. The exterior is most vulnerable at the meeting of walls, doors, windows and roofing materials. The exterior siding should always have at least an 8 inch clearance from the soil.


The roof needs to keep the water out. The inspection includes the condition of the roof covering; roof drainage; the flashing and chimney, skylights, plumbing vents etc. The roof is most vulnerable at the valleys, eaves and any protrusions through the roof.