Existing homes inspections are the most sought
after inspection in our industry. I will inspect manufactured homes (mobile
homes) also. I inspect all of the homes as if I am buying them for myself. I use
the latest modern electronic equipment in my inspections. I do not just show up
on the job with a pad and pencil and an old beat up flashlight.
What is Inspected?
The property is fully inspected for proper
drainage. This is a major concern for the foundation to perform as required.
This is true for slab foundations as well as pier and beam foundations. I
believe one of the main reasons for foundation failure is improper drainage. It
is important for the ground to be sloped away from the foundation as you do not
want standing water against the foundation or under the house.
As the ground absorbs moisture it begins to swell and rise. All foundations will rise with the ground to some extent. If one side of the ground around the foundation remains wet for a period of time and the other sides remain dry, then the wet side will rise and the dry sides will not. This is where you begin to get cracking of the foundation and walls. Depending on the amount of movement, this can be minor or major.
I will insure that you have the proper grade around the foundation and that the yard is designed to carry excess water away from the foundation. I will make recommendations for a solution if a problem exists.
Large trees growing too close to the foundation is another problem. I will inspect the distances of any trees near the foundation. The root system on some trees can be large enough to go under the foundation and cause upheaval in that area, plus the roots take the moisture from the soil.
The Texas Real Estate Commission requires the
inspector to give an evaluation of the foundation. This evaluation is based on
the visual inspection of the foundation.
Before I give an evaluation on the foundation, I have to take many things into consideration. If visible, the exterior sides of the foundation can tell you a lot. However, there are many times when the yard grade has completely covered up the slab. If it is a brick home, then the exterior walls will generally let you know if there is movement of the foundation. If it is a pier and beam then access under the home will let you physically see if the foundation is constructed properly and the condition of the material.
The inside walls, doors, windows, and floors will give you an indication as to how well the foundation is performing. Knowing what to look for and being able to read the signs is important. I have years of experience in this line of investigation and am confident of my evaluation.
Walls, Doors & Windows
All of these items are thoroughly inspected, as
each will also give you an indication of the performance of the foundation.
Walls, ceilings, and floors are inspected for cracks. The location, size, amount, and direction of cracks are important. They are inspected for signs of water stains. Ceilings are inspected for sags. Floors are inspected for levelness.
Exterior doors are inspected to insure correct doors are installed and weather stripped. They are checked that they are secure. Interior doors are inspected for proper closure.
Windows are inspected for proper operation. Glass is checked for cracks, moisture, safety (if required), whether they are single-pane or double-pane. Windows are inspected for correct egress sizing in all bedrooms, which is important in case of a fire.
Roof Structure, Covering & Gutters
The roof is inspected from both the outside and
inside for visible sags. From the attic, the ridge board, rafters, and purlins
are inspected for proper construction and size. The roof bracing is inspected to
insure it is not braced off of ceiling joists, which can cause sagging of
ceilings. The existence of collar ties is inspected. The decking is inspected
for signs of water damage caused by a roof leak. Vent stacks that carry heat are
inspected for proper clearance to combustibles. The depth of the attic
insulation is also inspected and reported.
The condition of the roof covering (normally composition shingles) is reported. For shingles this consists of granule condition and signs of hail damage. The roof is inspected for proper flashing to prevent roof leaks. The number of layers of shingles is reported.
Gutters are inspected for leaks at all seams. They are inspected for proper attachment and if they are full of debris. The downspouts are inspected for missing sections and the existence of splash blocks.
I inspect the fireplaces very carefully due to
the safety issues involved. The structure of the fireplace chimney and cap is
inspected. The fireplace is inspected from the attic also to insure that the
flue is properly secured and the ceiling is fire-stopped.
The firebox is inspected for cracks, especially if it is a masonry fireplace. The operation of the damper is checked. The inside of the flue is checked for excessive creosote buildup and any obvious blockage. The mortar joints and steel lintel are inspected for gaps and proper construction.
If the fireplace has a gas log started, it is inspected to insure it was safely connected. All fireplaces are now required to have glass doors installed and the absence of such is reported.
Incorrect wiring or improper wiring is a major
issue in many home fires. I visually inspect the wiring for safety hazards and
some code violations. The home is reported whether it is a two-wire system or a
The panel box cover is removed and the main wiring is verified as copper or aluminum. The sizing is inspected as well as loose wiring in the panel. Missing knock-outs are reported. The system is inspected to verify it is properly grounded.
All outlets that are accessible are checked with a circuit tester to insure proper wiring and operation. The home is checked for ground fault interceptor outlets as required.
All lighting fixtures and ceiling fans are inspected for operation and correct installation. Visible wiring on appliances is inspected for fire hazards.
The exposed wiring in the attic is inspected for proper attachment and any fraying. Junction boxes are inspected to insure they have the cover in place.
The inspector is NOT a licensed electrician and will inform you in the report if there are items that should be discussed with a professional.
Heating & Air
The heating and a/c systems are inspected to
insure the correct temperatures are being distributed. The heating system is run
only if the outside temperature is below 80 degrees, and the a/c is run only if
the outside temperature is above 65 degrees.
The unit is reported as to whether it is gas or electrical. The unit is inspected to insure the filter is in place and clean. If the unit is in the attic it is inspected for secure hangers. The condition of the burners and heat exchange is inspected. Proper clearance of the flue pipe is inspected. If in a closet, the unit is inspected for proper clearance, the return air plenum is inspected for trash and any unauthorized materials. Correct installation of condensate lines are inspected. The wiring is inspected on electrical units. Gas lines are inspected on gas units.
The ducts are inspected to insure they are not crushed and are properly insulated. The thermostat is checked for proper location.
The inspector is NOT a licensed HVAC technician and will inform you in the report if there are items that should be discussed with a professional.
Plumbing & Drains
The main house water pressure is inspected, it
should be a minimum of 40 psi and a maximum of 80 psi. The home is checked for
functional water pressure at all fixture locations.
All sink drains and connections are inspected for leaks and to insure the proper materials were used for connections. All faucets are inspected for leaks and for hot water being on the correct side.
All toilets are inspected for correct performance. They are inspected to insure they are secure to the floor. The toilets are checked for cracks and leaks.
The water heater is reported to be gas or electrical. The connections are inspected for corrosion and for a main water cut off. The pop off valve is inspected. The unit is checked for proper locations and insure all requirements are met.
The inspector is NOT a licensed plumber and will inform you in the report if there are items that should be discussed with a professional.
I will inspect all appliances that are to
remain with the home to insure that they are functioning correctly. The wiring
is inspected for fire hazards.
All appliances are inspected for their overall condition. They are inspected for rust, missing or broken parts, and correct installation.
The dishwasher is run through a complete wash cycle to verify correct performance and no leaks. The drain is checked for correct installation.
Bathroom exhaust fans are inspected for correct operation and venting.
The range vent fan is checked through all speeds and the light for operation. The absence of a range vent must be reported.
The range burners are inspected and reported as to whether gas or electric. The operating temperature of the oven is verified.
*Termite inspections done by West Texas Pest Control