Congratulations on finding a home to buy! Now it’s time for a buyer’s inspection.
Buying a home is considered one of the biggest investment decisions of your life. Your family will grow here, they will laugh and learn here, which is why it is so important that you make informed decisions during the purchasing process.
New buyers in particular can find the buying process to be stressful which is why I act as an advocate for you and only you. Subsequently, the buyer’s inspection is an education on what home ownership is. As a result I educate my clients, and help them make more informed decisions.
What is a buyer’s inspection?
Basically the buyer’s inspection is similar to a physical examination from your doctor, except for your home. This is because home inspectors are generalists in nature. If I find symptoms of problems, I may recommend further evaluation, or a specialist. In short, this type of inspection is a non – invasive visual examination of the home which identifies the current actual condition of a home.
Given that seeing problems with your own eyes helps you understand them better. I specifically encourage all my clients to join me on-site for the inspection. While you are onsite, I will provide simple explanations about major and minor defects and what needs replacement, repair or service. Then I write a concise and easy to understand report which includes lots of pictures and diagrams to help you understand each issue. With attention to your best interests, I only inspect one building a day to provide in-depth research. Finally, after the inspection finishes you will receive the report within 24 hours.
What is Included
I am a proud member of HIABC, or Home Inspectors Association of British Columbia. As such, I follow the HIABC Code of Ethics, as well as the HIABC Standards of Practice, which determines the minimum requirements for a home inspection. For example, the list below includes samples of items in my buyer’s inspection of single family homes and town homes:
- Accessible roofs are walked on during the inspection. Unless the roof is unsafe. For example wet roofs, snow covered, etc.
- Gutters and down spouts. Gutters that aren’t maintained are typical problem areas
- Roof flashing details. For example, poor materials or non-professional repair work.
- Roof vents, plumbing vents, and other roof penetrations such as skylights will be inspected.
- Chimneys and associated flashing details.
- Wall cladding (siding).
- Under-eave areas. To illustrate, this is where I see lots of vermin access points.
- Windows, doors.
- Decks and porches.
- Steps and guards (railings) with attention to the numerous safety issues that I often see.
- Lot drainage, grading and vegetation which could negatively affect the building.
- Retaining walls.
- Walkways, patios, and driveways.
- Foundation walls. If visible, I see many homes where new landscaping is much too high against the home.
- Vents and air intakes for homes with crawlspaces.
- Hose bibs (exterior water faucet).
- Wall penetrations; exhaust fan vents, fireplace sidewall vents, etc.
- Foundation walls.
- Crawl spaces.
- Sump pump systems and extension piping.
- Floor structure (posts, beams, joists, etc.).
- Any visible wall and ceiling structure.
- Insulation and vapor barriers if visible.
- Exterior electrical components, which can include the service drop, service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways.
- Main panel and any sub panels. I remove panel covers to inspect the wiring and breakers that are inside.
- Service grounding.
- Interior electrical components, including a representative number of outlets, switches, and lights.
- Ground fault circuit interrupters.
- Arc fault circuit interrupters.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms.
- Drain, waste, and vent pipes.
- The visible portion of the water main, which is the water supply pipe that brings water into the home and the visible distribution pipes.
- Locations of the main gas shut-offs/meter and main water valves, and if accessible these are pointed out during the inspection walk-through.
- Water heaters and associated vents.
- Tubs and Showers.Tiled showers and tub surrounds are moisture meter tested.
- Sinks, and toilets.
- Floor drains. Often I see these integral drainage components plugged, covered by storage or even omitted!
- Clothes washers and dryers. Tested for basic function and inspection of associated venting and water lines.
Heating & Cooling:
- Fuel lines to the heating units.
- Installed heating equipment such as furnaces, boilers, heat pumps and space heaters.
- Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs) (If applicable)
- Furnace filters are inspected. If required I happily show how to change the filter during the inspection.
- Vents and their connection to chimneys.
- Duct work and associated visible supports.
- Central and permanently installed cooling equipment.
- Condensate disposal.
- Ceilings, walls, floors.
- Doors, windows.
- Stairs, handrails, and guards.
- Counters, cabinets, and closets.
- Exhaust vent fans.
- Kitchen and laundry appliances.
- I enter any attic that I can actually get inside, if I can walk or crawl throughout the attic without crushing the insulation, I’ll do so to fully inspect the attic.
- Structural roof framing and sheathing.
- Exhaust fans/ducts, plumbing vents, wiring, etc.
- Chimneys that pass through the attic. Often I find insulation packed against chimneys, a big no-no.
- Insulation and vapor barriers (if visible).
- Roof ventilation.
- Overhead doors, the door openers, and safety devices.
- All of the other components typically found in garages that have been repeated before; doors, stairs, walls, floor, electrical, etc.
Pictures & Diagrams:
During the inspection I take several digital photos for your report. I also include simple diagrams to help explain situations. For example, here is a diagram on how to shut off the gas at the meter in an emergency situation: