What’s included in a Townhome or Single Family Home Inspection?

Roofing: We start at the top and work our way down. Each side of the roof is inspected individually as each could have defects unrelated to the other slopes. The roof is designed to protect all the components of the building. There are numerous roof styles and materials. Each style and material is inspected carefully for wear, leaks, defects and other deficiencies. Roof problems that go undetected can cause serious harm to other components of the building.    We carefully evaluate the condition of the material used and document any defects which need correction.  Roof are generally inspected from the roof edge and/or with a zoom camera unless physical walking the roof provides a better evaluation. Each roof is different and evaluated accordingly.                  


Structure: The long-term durability of the home starts with the structure. The two main components of the structure are the foundation and the wall system. Each of these components is critical in providing the building with long lasting comfort and stability. Major defects in the structure can be extensive and very costly to repair.  


Exterior: The interior components are protected by the exterior of the building. Exterior components of the building include:  roof, siding, trim, doors, windows, garage, decks, patios, gutters & downspouts and the landscaping including the grounds. Each item is inspected for the condition and how it relates to the dwelling. Defects in exterior components such as windows, doors and siding can affect other component of the building.


Landscape: Inspection of the areas surrounding the home is very important. We inspect grading, drainage, patios, landscaping, retaining walls and any alterations which affect the proper drainage of the property. Patios and surrounding soil should be pitched away from the building to keep the foundation free of ponding water which will have an adverse effect on the structure of the building. Trees and vegetation need to be kept away from the building components to prevent wear, or damage to the foundation from root growth and possibly present a safety hazard.    


Swimming Pools: If a home includes a pool, we do a courtesy visual inspection at no additional charge and observe the pump system and pool surfaces for potential defects. This is not a structural certification or a ”Leak” inspection which should only be done by a Pool specialist. If mechanical malfunctions have occurred in the past, or if leaks are suspected, we recommend that you contact a Leak detection company. Please see our Vendor Link page for more details and contact information for a third party specialist. Hot Tubs are not inspected.


Attic:  We inspect attics very carefully for the quality of the construction, the insulation, water penetration, venting, rodent entry and exposed electrical wiring hazards. We inspect for hidden signs that indicate problems as well as a safety concern.         


Mechanical Systems: HVAC & Electrical:  A comfortable and safe living environment is provided by the mechanical systems of the building. Each system has many components and there are many types of systems. We evaluate the condition of the type of system in the building and test for possible deficiencies that may require a licensed professional to repair or possibly replace defects we find.  We perform a temperature test on both the supply & return air vents and analyze the air quality and air distribution system.


Plumbing:  A plumbing system consists of three systems. Water supply, drain waste and disposal, mechanical , fixtures and equipment. We inspect and operate all fixtures and run several gallons of water through the plumbing system, checking the overall condition of the system. Leaking pipes, dripping valves, clogged pipes, corrosion, reversed hot and cold water supplies. Limited hot water or inadequate water pressure are indications of a defective plumbing system.  Septic systems are not inspected other than visual observation and testing of the toilets. Septic systems in Florida should be tested on a scheduled basis through a septic company.  


INTERIOR: On the interior of the home, we observe walls, ceiling, and floors; steps, stairways, balconies, and railings; Counters and a representative number of installed cabinets; and a representative number of doors and windows. We then operate a representative number of windows and interior doors; and report signs of abnormal or harmful water penetration into the building or signs of abnormal or harmful condensation on building components. We are not required to observe: Paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments on the interior walls, ceilings, and floors; Carpeting; or Draperies, blinds, or other window treatments, however will make comments as to cosmetic issue that may affect the overall value of the condo purchase.


KITCHEN: Our Kitchen Inspection typically includes examination of the following:-

Cabinets -Sink components including faucet, drain, disposal and under sink plumbing-Counters-Room light fixtures, switches and outlets -Floor, wall and ceiling surfaces-Windows and doors-Major appliances such as range and hood or downdraft, dishwasher, microwave, built-in conventional ovens and cook tops,- Refrigerators- Garbage disposal 


BATHS: One of the most important rooms of the home.

In accordance with the Standards of Practice, we will not comment on simple cosmetic deficiencies, evaluate window coverings, steam showers or air-entrainment systems such as those in whirlpool tubs and Jacuzzis. Saunas are not operated but will be examined for visual defects. The inspector does not perform leak-testing of shower pans or shower enclosures but will comment on obvious leakage when fixtures are operated during the inspection.

The Inspection of bathrooms typically includes examination of the following:

Windows, skylight, exhaust fans, doors (condition and operation)-Wall, ceiling and floor condition-Moisture meter survey for moisture trapped beneath vinyl or tile floor coverings around toilets, tubs and showers.

CABINET-Exterior and interior-Door and drawer function

SINK-Basin and overflow (overflow not tested)-Faucet valves and stopper (condition and operation)-Water supply shut-offs (not operated)-Waste pipe (condition and trap configuration)-Adequate water flow and drainage

TUB and SHOWER-Tub condition -Moisture meter check for moisture behind any wall or floor tile -Faucet valve and shower head (condition and operation)-Shower diverter (diverts water from tub faucet to the shower head) Shower enclosure (condition and operation)-Adequate water flow and drainage

TOILETS -Condition and operation-Secure connection to floor-Tank connection to toilet – Leakage at flapper valve-Water supply valve condition (not operated)

ELECTRICAL-Switch operation and placement -Outlet placement, proper wiring and Ground Fault Protection

ROOM VENTILATION (mechanical or window)-Presence and operation -Proper vent termination


UTILITY ROOM: Washer, Dryer hookups and electrical services, vents, cabinets, utility sink, walls, ceiling, floor and doors.  

FIREPLACE: Identify type, enclosure, and stableness of chimney stack. Inspection of the chimney typically includes examination of the following: Visible foundation- Exterior coverings- Spark arrestor- Cap-Visible flue tiles- Connection to home- Flashing at roof- Any necessary bracing- Adequate height above roof

ELECTRICAL: We observe the service entrance conductors; grounding, main and distribution panels; Amperage and voltage ratings of the service; Branch circuit conductors; The operation of a representative number of installed ceiling fans, lighting fixtures, switches and receptacles located inside the house, garage, and on the dwelling’s exterior walls; The polarity and grounding of all receptacles within six feet of interior plumbing fixtures, and all receptacles in the garage or carport, and on the exterior of inspected structures; The operation of ground fault circuit interrupters; and Smoke detectors. We describe the service amperage and voltage; service entry conductor materials; service type as being overhead or underground; and location of main and distribution panels. We report any observed aluminum branch circuit wiring. We report on the presence or absence of smoke detectors, and operate their test function, if accessible, except when detectors are suspected of being a part of a central alarm system. The home inspector is not required to: Insert any tool, probe, or testing device inside the panels; Test or operate any over current device except ground fault circuit interrupters; Dismantle any electrical device or control other than to remove the covers of the main and/or auxiliary distribution panels; or Observe: Low voltage systems; Security system devices, heat detectors, or carbon monoxide detectors; Telephone, security, cable TV, intercoms, or other ancillary wiring that is not a part of the primary electrical distribution system; or Built-in vacuum equipment. 


HVAC:  We inspect the interior air handler for operation and functionality, the air filter for cleanliness, and coils for mold issues. We will inspect the exterior Condensing unit for functionality, noise, damage and insulation tubing when accessible.  We read the serial numbers and determine the age of the unit when available.

Finally we check the differences in air temperature measured at supply and return registers to ensure that it falls within the acceptable range of between 14 and 22 degrees F.

What we don’t do?  According to the InterNACHI standards, practice and safety procedures, the home inspector is not required to operate heating systems when weather conditions or other circumstances may cause equipment damage; Operate automatic safety controls; Ignite or extinguish solid fuel fires; or Observe: The interior of flues; Fireplace insert flue connections; Humidifiers; Electronic air filters; or The uniformity or adequacy of heat supply to the various rooms.

PLUMBING:  We observe: Interior water supply and distribution system, including: piping materials, supports, and insulation; fixtures and faucets; functional flow; leaks; and cross connections; Interior drain, waste, and vent system, including: traps; drain, waste, and vent piping; piping supports and pipe insulation; leaks; and functional drainage; Hot water systems including: water heating equipment; normal operating controls; automatic safety controls.  supply piping, venting, and supports; leaks; and Sump pumps.

We describe: Water supply and distribution piping materials; Drain, waste, and vent piping materials; Water heating equipment; and Location of main water supply shutoff device. We operate all plumbing fixtures, including their faucets and all exterior faucets attached to the house or condo, except where the flow end of the faucet is connected to an appliance.

The home inspector is not required to: State the effectiveness of anti-siphon devices; Determine whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private; Operate automatic safety controls; Operate any valve except water closet flush valves, fixture faucets, and hose faucets; Observe: Water conditioning systems; Fire and lawn sprinkler systems; On-site water supply quantity and quality; On-site waste disposal systems; Foundation irrigation systems; Spas, except as to functional flow and functional drainage; Swimming pools; Solar water heating equipment; or Observe the system for proper sizing, design, or use of proper materials.

GARAGE: If your condo includes a garage, we Inspect the General Structure- Floor, Wall and Ceiling surfaces- Operation of all accessible doors and door hardware- Overhead door condition and operation including manual and automatic safety component operation and switch placement.- Proper electrical condition including Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection.- Interior and exterior lighting- Proper separation from living space.- Proper floor drainage. Fire rated door into the primary home.


STAIRWAYIf you are purchasing a two or three story home, this may be important! Our Inspection of stairways typically includes visual examination of the following: Treads and risers- Landings- Angle of stairway- Handrails- Guardrails- Lighting – Headroom- Windows – Walls and ceilings. If you have special needs or concerns, just bring it to our attention and we will be happy to investigate it for you and report on our findings.