What does my home inspection process look like?
Every home inspector is different and may do their home inspection very different which is fine. I believe a home inspection should be conducted what ever way works best for the home inspector to capture all required inspection items. With that being said here's how I like to start the process. After the appointment has been set and I arrive at the agreed time. Once outside of my truck I like to take a photo of the home for the cover photo for the clients report. I then ring the door bell and knock on the door as well I'm careful to not to accidently startle a home owner. I know this is a little off track , but I was fooled one time thinking a home seller was home by the sound of a vacuum. Well after knocking and ringing the door bell multiple times I finally opened the door proceeding carefully announcing " Home Inspector" anybody home? If you guessed Robotic vacuum ding, ding, ding your 100% correct. It was definitely a laugh to myself for a minute. All right let's get back on track now.
Once I have the home unlocked where do I start ?
The first thing I do is start turning on all the mechanical fans, exhaust vents, and all exterior lights, exterior ceiling fans and I open the garage door. Once I have all that on I head out to exterior. The only time I change this routine is if it's raining. That way I'm not dripping wet tracking through someone's home.
Getting started at the exterior items of the home.
Once outside I walk out to the street and began my inspection. I have to say I take a lot of photos this is good documentation for the home buyer. I proceed and find the water meter and than walk the sidewalk and driveway looking for any defects that cross my path. I press on looking at the foundation a complete pass around the entire home taking any needed photography. Than I work around the home again looking at drainage patterns damaged gutters, missing splash blocks or gutter extenders ,high soil, vegetation, trees to close to homes, tree roots to close to foundation.
Than I start focusing my attention to the windows looking for damage, cracked glass, separating or missing caulking, missing screens, failed seals at windows if they are double paned, missing window flashings, rusted window lintels and of course separation due to foundation movement at windows.
Than I give the walls my undivided attention documenting types of materials and what damage may be present. Like cracks in brick or stone veneer sometimes failure of the complete wall will be found. Siding defects or incorrect installation. Believe it or not I have found on new construction homes the incorrect installation of Cementicious lapped siding many times. I concentrate may efforts in looking for any areas where moisture could enter into the structure. Yes I'm looking for moisture damage wood siding if present. At this point this has been my third trip around the structure.
My next focus will be on the upper portion of the walls looking at the freeze boards, soffit venting, gaps or any other defects or damage that may be present at these areas. Observe gutters for any evidence of leaking, loose connections, improper slope etc.
No I'm at the roof level evaluating the roof and gutters for any defects I can see from the ground level. After the walk around the perimeter I determine if I can safely walk the roof and guess what I have determined I can. On the roof I will be looking at any shingle damage incorrect installation of shingles or flashing, exposed nails, lifting flashing and shingles, missing shingle, flashing, kick out flashings. Shingle granular loss and much more.
Once down it's time for the electrical section. I remove the dead front cover and start to document any flaws or pacific shock hazards. After the electrical panel has been checked out I than test all outside and garage receptacles testing to see if all are wired correctly and GFCI function or are missing. Testing the door bell etc.
Next step I go evaluate the condensing and gather all the information on the condensing unit. Are the refrigerant lines properly insulated. What's the max and minimum breaker rated for the unit. Serial 3, Model #, what type of refrigerant the unit runs on. Why's it important to note what type of refrigerant because in 2020 R-22 refrigerant becomes illegal. That could be informative for the buyer.
Plumbing time taking the water pressure checking insulation at exterior plumbing is important. Making sure all exterior hose bibs function and are not leaking. If present I will check the sprinkler system. Gas meter.
I next check out to see if all mechanic vents are blowing/ opened at exterior that I turned on earlier at the beginning of the home inspection.
Than I proceed to test and check out the functionality of the garage door and document everything that will need to be included into the home inspection report. Now I have completed the exterior and give you my basic work flow.
Now I switch my inspection talent to the interior of the home.
Some home inspectors go room by room and go from a clockwise or counter clockwise path through the home. I take a different approach I start off with the plumbing system. It's important to stress the plumbing system and I like to do this first thing so if there's a leak in the ceiling or walls the moisture has had time to drip through the insulation to the drywall. There is no right or wrong way ,but this is the approach I take. I start in the kitchen and fill every sink turn on dishwasher. I than fill all sink basins, tubs, and flushing toilets at bathroom at a time. While flushing all toilets and draining all sinks, tubs, showers, running water in these areas I'm carefully looking for leaks.
Once done with the plumbing systems I move onto the appliances testing and inspecting each and every appliance on my list which include Dishwasher, garbage disposal, Oven and cooktop, Microwave, Rang hood exhaust, Dryer vent,
I check out the electrical receptacle making sure all GFCI's are tested and at all required areas and test all other receptacles if accessible. I go through each room turning all lights on and ceiling fans. Looking for any defects present.
The next phase I carefully go through room by room looking for any defects at wall and ceiling areas paying close attention to stains and cracks. Any stain observed will be tested using a moisture meter.
Next up I go through every room in the home and opening and close all doors and windows in the home looking for any damage at interior or exterior doors.
Opps forgot to tell you I turned the A/C system down when I first arrived. I like to have the A/C on for most of the inspection. I test the a/c temperature difference and document the temperature difference. Letting the client know if the unit is cooling properly.
I take the foundation measurements of the home at this time to provide additional information about the foundation documenting all the taken measurements so they can be included in the written report.
Lets say this home inspection is taking place in our hot Houston summers so at this point I have a good temperature difference from the inside to outside temperature if the a/c is working correctly and this is just what I need to do a thermal imaging scan of the home. I go through each room of the home including the attic looking for any anomalies that may tell me to check for moisture. Leaking air at ducts. If an anomaly indicates possible moisture I check it with a moisture meter and check any stains for moisture as well. I may find areas of missing insulation or hot spots at the electrical. I also scan the electrical panel as well.
Next stop attic looking at insulation, Framing, passage way, moisture satins and much more. At the end I turn on the heater watch the pilot at start up if gas and let the unit cycle. Retrieve all the information for heating and evaporating coil evaluate the units as I go through attic checking drain pans and water heaters if present at attic area.
At the end of the inspection it's time for me to go over the findings. Sometimes the client followers me through the inspection and I fill them in as I evaluate all the areas which is fine it’s great for the client to get the information first hand and know exactly where the issue is. As I started before there's no wrong way to conduct your home inspection, but I do believe some things need to go in a particular order to provide the most optimal condition to get the most out of the inspection. For instances you wouldn't want to start the inspection off be doing a thermal imaging scan or you could miss some plumbing leaks. Well thank you for sticking around with this Houston Texas home inspector good day. need a home inspector contact me.