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Home Inspections 101 for Real Estate Professionals Instructed by FIRSTNAME LASTNAME. Course Objective. To leave you with: A good understanding of the home inspection process Information about how to manage your client’s expectations of the home inspection

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Presentation Transcript
course objective

Course Objective

To leave you with:

  • A good understanding of the home inspection process
  • Information about how to manage your client’s expectations of the home inspection
  • Information about how to increase your client’s satisfaction and reduce your liability
a home inspection completes the sale

A Home Inspection Completes the Sale

Information gathered from an inspection helps bring buyers and sellers together:

  • Information leads to knowledge
  • Knowledge leads to understanding
  • Understanding leads to agreement

Inspectors should understand their role in the sales process. Buyers, sellers and real estate professionals all have a role in the sales process.

goals of the home inspection

Goals of the Home Inspection

  • To share unbiased information about major components and safety issues
  • To discuss repair, maintenance or safety issues beforehand
  • To move the sale forward
informed home buyers

Informed Home Buyers

  • Most buyers know little about construction
  • Answering questions puts their minds at ease
  • Informed buyers are more satisfied and can better anticipate and plan for repairs and maintenance
  • Real estate professionals can focus on the next sale
common documents associated with a home inspection

Common Documents Associated With a Home Inspection

  • Pre-inspection agreement: Defines the scope of the inspection, standards followed and fee charged
  • Home inspection report: Should be clear and concise and incorporate photos
home inspection report formats

Home Inspection Report Formats

Home inspection report formats vary:

  • Checklist or narrative
  • Combination checklist and narrative
  • Computer-generated
  • Handwritten
  • Oral (from a friend with no report)
  • May or may not include summary
  • May or may not include photos
  • Delivered at time of inspection or later
home inspection report basics

Home Inspection Report Basics

In any case, reports should:

  • Be clear and concise
  • Adhere to the industry standards of practice as per major trade groups (ASHI, NAHI, InterNACHI)
  • Cover all major components
  • Be delivered in a timely fashion (such as within 24 hours)
  • Define terms used therein: (e.g., “acceptable,” “marginal,” “defective,” etc.)

Who owns the inspection report? The client.

professional home inspector

Professional Home Inspector

Characteristics of a good inspector:

  • Trained, thorough and unbiased
  • Courteous and professional, and has the necessary tools and equipment
  • Adheres to industry standards
  • Has good written and oral communication skills
  • Insured, and, if applicable, licensed
insurance coverage for professional inspectors

Insurance Coverage for Professional Inspectors

  • Should carry general liability insurance
  • Should carry E&O insurance
  • Many E&O policies have a “referral” endorsement
what an inspector should do

What an Inspector SHOULD Do

  • Adhere to industry standards of practice and code of ethics (ASHI, NAHI, InterNACHI)
  • Inspect readily accessible systems and components
  • Report:
    • Systems or components that aren’t working properly
    • Recommendations to correct
    • Explanations of the deficiencies
    • Reasons with fact that certain systems or components were not inspected
what an inspector should not do

What an Inspector Should NOT Do

  • Predict remaining life of systems or components
  • Offer advice on methods, materials, costs to fix components unless qualified to do so
  • Offer to make repairs, refer specific contractors or receive referral fees
  • Comment on market value
  • Perform code inspections
order a home inspection

Order a Home Inspection

  • Immediately after reaching a written purchase agreement with a home seller
  • Advise the buyer of what to look for in an inspector
  • Advise the buyer where and how to find a good inspector
explain the scope of the inspection

Explain the Scope of the Inspection

A good inspector:

  • Explains the scope and limitations of an inspection: visual review of readily accessible areas, random sampling of like items, etc.
  • Invites the buyer along for the inspection
  • Explains how long the inspection might take, what it will cost and when the home buyer can expect delivery of the inspection report
  • Touches on his/her training, experience and affiliations
set realistic expectations

Set Realistic Expectations

  • Very few homes are in perfect condition
  • This sale went through even though the house had severe wind damage because the buyer understood what had happened
how to prepare for the property inspection

How to Prepare for the Property Inspection

  • Secure pets
  • Turn off alarms
  • Remove obstructions to:
    • Furnace and water heater
    • Electrical panel
    • Attic
    • Garage
    • Crawl space, etc.
after the inspection

After the Inspection

A good inspector will:

  • Leave things the way he/she found them
  • Verify that the furnace/AC is running and return thermostat to original setting
  • Turn off lights or running water
  • Make sure doors are locked, etc.
grading and drainage

Grading and Drainage

  • Great curb appeal: But the inspector is looking for positive drainage
  • Water is the No. 1 issue with most homes
  • Need positive drainage (slope) on all four sides
  • Most drainage issues are easy to fix
driveway walkway and steps

Driveway, Walkway and Steps

  • Loose or missing handrails (inside or out) are a safety issue
  • Driveways/sidewalks/patios can have tripping hazards:
    • Heaving
    • Differential settlement
    • Excessive gaps
porches stoops decks balconies and patios

Porches, Stoops, Decks, Balconies and Patios

  • Ledger board should be bolted to the structure not just nailed.
  • Railing should have proper height and spacing
  • Railings and hand railings should be firmly attached
  • Support posts and stair stringers should have no earth-to-wood contact
  • Decks can be expensive, but are fairly easy to repair


  • Trees can abrade roofs, as well as heave driveways and sidewalks
  • Tree roots can affect foundations, sewer lines, etc.
  • Other vegetation should be kept away from siding, air conditioners, etc.
roofing system

Roofing System

Inspection of roof:

  • Estimate age
  • Number of layers
  • Type of materials
  • Leaking or not?
  • Types of valleys
  • Flashing


Chimneys are a frequent maintenance issue and can be expensive to repair.

Inspectors check for:

  • Proper alignment
  • Proper height
  • Flashed properly
  • Lined and capped
siding and trim

Siding and Trim

  • There are many exterior coverings, such as wood, vinyl, stucco, brick, stone and synthetics
  • Some are more high-maintenance than others
  • Vegetation can affect siding
windows and doors

Windows and Doors

Inspect for:

  • Operation
  • Alignment
  • Weather-stripping
  • Evidence of leaks


  • A single garage door such as this one receives a lot of use
  • Examining the operation, tracks, springs, openers and fit is important
  • For child safety, auto reverse is a must
pools hot tubs and spas

Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas

  • Swimming pools and hot tubs are high-maintenance
  • Could involve filters, skimmers, gas, electric or solar heat, a pool house, etc.
  • Self-closing gate with a 6-foot-high security fence is a must
irrigation system

Irrigation System

Sprinklers are mostly out of sight, but not out of mind:

  • Underground leaks/erosion can greatly affect driveways, sidewalks, etc.
  • Poorly placed heads can lead to water intrusion in the basement, etc.
  • In the best case, sprinklers are high-maintenance
miscellaneous inspections

Miscellaneous Inspections

Some inspections might require specialists:

  • Well inspections
  • Septic inspections
  • Potability tests
  • Seawalls, private docks
  • Other: termite, radon, mold, etc.
electrical system

Electrical System

Inspectors check for adequacy and safety including:

  • Amperage/voltage
  • Service cable
  • Panel
  • Branch circuits
  • Grounding
  • Wire conductor
  • Smoke detectors


Current standards require GFCI protection:

  • Bathrooms
  • All kitchen countertops
  • Unfinished basements
  • Garages
  • Crawl spaces
  • All outside electrical outlets
smoke detectors

Smoke Detectors

  • National safety standards require smoke detectors
  • Can be battery operated, hard-wired or both
  • Can be monitored by security company
  • Some areas require one outside each bedroom
  • Some areas now require one in each bedroom or living area
  • Inspectors activate test button only
plumbing and fixtures

Plumbing and Fixtures

  • Water is the No. 1 concern: plumbing and plumbing fixtures are a significant part of the inspection
  • Inspector is looking for leaks, adequate flow and pressure
  • Also checking for sluggish or plugged drains
plumbing system

Plumbing System

Plumbing leaks can also damage:

  • Cabinets/vanities
  • Behind shower tile
  • Subfloors, ceilings below, etc.
hvac system

HVAC System

Check for adequate heating (gas furnace):

  • Overall size, age and condition of unit
  • Proper location of unit
  • Adequate combustion air
  • Adequate temperature rise
  • Heat source in each room
  • Condition, size and location of ducts
  • Condition of blower/humidifier
  • Heat exchanger (mostly hidden)
  • Check for flue gases and other leaks around exhaust and in supply air
  • Dirty filters obstruct flow and affect temperature rise
  • Thermostat unit responds to controls
hvac system1

HVAC System

Check for adequate cooling:

  • Overall size, age and condition of unit
  • Outside unit, clean, level and up off the ground, suction line insulated
  • No obstructions interfering with unit
  • Discharging heat-ambient test
  • Adequate temperature drop (14 to 22 degrees F)
  • Blower clean and variable speed
  • Dirty filters obstruct flow and affect temperature drop
  • Thermostat unit responds to normal controls


  • Cabinets: Countertops, tile and backsplashes
  • Stoves: Operable burners, not timers
  • Disposal: Inspect for smooth operation, excessive noise
  • Dishwasher: Condition, leaking, proper air-gap device
  • Ventilator: Recirculating or nonrecirculating
  • Other Built-ins: Microwaves, trash compactors, refrigerators


  • Can be one of the most expensive areas to replace or refurbish
  • With simple maintenance, expensive repairs can be avoided
walls ceilings and floors

Walls, Ceilings and Floors

  • Walls, ceilings and floors can be covered by a wide variety of materials
  • Inspector checks for deflection/tolerance in floors, bowing or cracking in walls, cracks, stains or wet spots in ceilings
  • Operation and fit of doors and windows from the inside