A full home inspection is the most common type of inspection we perform at Absolute Safeguard Home Inspection Services. Most REALTORS® realize the value inherent in a full home inspection and they will strongly advise their clients to hire a home inspector whether they are purchasing a home or selling their current home. It is most often, the best money spent when it comes to buying property.
Although a REALTOR may recommend a home inspector, it is the buyer’s responsibility to choose, call and coordinate the appointment with their real estate agent. It can be challenging to coordinate the schedules of the buyer, the REALTOR and the seller although not all of these individuals may be present. Those who attend the inspection usually include the home buyer and seller and sometimes, but not always, the REALTOR®. This varies quite a bit however. Occasionally home buyers will invite family members and relatives to attend as well.
While it is not mandatory for the buyer to be present for the home inspection it is strongly recommended. This is a one shot opportunity for the buyer to observe, ask questions directly. The home inspection offers home buyers a better understanding of the overall condition of the home they are considering, how the mechanical systems work and general maintenance tips. We observe and test all of the mechanical systems and look for defective conditions.
Our home inspection process typically follows a well-organized and documented procedure. We prefer to conduct the inspection alone on the first go-around. This is because the inspection requires in-depth focus, analysis and strict attention to detail and safety since we are often climbing on ladders in winter or attempting to locate components that aren’t readily observable.
Secondly, we take the buyer through and talk about our findings.
After the physical home inspection Absolute Safeguard will send the buyer a confidential report documenting the findings of the inspection. Our reports are easy to read and can either be viewed online or printed out for review. We don’t use jargon or technical language in our reports. These reports become a detailed, organized and easy-to-read home inspection record for our customers. We receive feedback from clients often about how easy they are to follow. Our report may be considered a “snapshot in time”, of the condition of the home’s major systems and components. They are typically delivered via email within 24 hours.
It is our pleasure at Absolute Safeguard to welcome and educate the potential buyer and to answer questions about the property and the report. The buyer should keep in mind that while we strive for accurate defect recognition and in depth reporting, we cannot see into the future, and we cannot insure that the all of the systems, components and structure will stay forever in the condition in which we observed them at the time of inspection. We strong urge all buyers to obtain a home warranty. In addition, in the event we find a defect in a particular component that we suspect needs to be investigated further, we strongly urge the buyer to hire a licensed professional who specializes in that component.
We suggest that home buyers take the time to read the report and ask questions if necessary. Your REALTOR can advise you on how to proceed.
Most buyers will review the seller’s disclosure for detailed information when touring a prospective home they may want to purchase. However, the seller may not be aware of potential concerns in their basement. After all, how can they disclose what they do not know? Most folks value the added benefit of livable space in a basement or at least a basement that has the potential to be re-finished. Since most basements are mostly below ground level, the probability does exist that water may find its way into it. Your home inspector can identify the tell-tale signs of moisture so buyers can factor in that information.
Water in basements is not unusual. In fact it is one of the most common findings we encounter here at Absolute Safeguard Home Inspections. We check the sloping and grading around the foundation. Sometimes if the grading is done improperly it can lead to water penetration.
We take the time to evaluate individual components of the basement such as floors, walls, foundations, posts, beams and wood members, for signs of water penetration or moisture. We look for the unmistakable damp or musty odor and mildew that accompanies a wet or moist basement. We check for moisture stains and efflorescence, a chalky residue of salt deposits left behind by evaporated water.
Basements that are 100% finished and/or are excessively cluttered with shelving and stored items present challenges to home inspector’s because their ability to inspect certain areas will be hampered by these features. Home Inspectors are not allowed to disturb insulation, move personal items, furniture, equipment, plant life, soil, snow, ice or debris which obstructs access or visibility to any components in the home. We can, however, report on what we can see and look for any tell-tale signs or defects and we note in the report areas of limited visibility so the buyer can ask to have these areas exposed for further inspecting.
When inspecting electrical systems home inspectors typically start outdoors. We first determine how electricity is connected to the house, whether through overhead wiring or an underground system. We describe the condition of the electrical service entrance conductor and meter location and any other outdoor electrical receptacles. We test the electrical outlets and receptacles both indoors as well as outdoors for proper operation and we check for the presence of GFCI protection (ground fault circuit interrupters).
Inside the home we locate the electrical panel box and check it for amperage and voltage ratings and whether the system uses circuit breakers or fuses. We remove the cover from the service panel box and we are trained to check and report on several components including the wiring sizes, type and connections and proper grounding. We look for auxiliary panel boxes whether located off to the side of the main panel box or at another area of the house. We document these items and their condition in our report.
Modern technology has enabled us to have access to an incredible variety of efficient heating systems for keeping our homes warm during cold weather months. In order to heat our homes that heat has to come from a heating system and that system needs to be checked and maintained for it to function properly when we need it. There are several types of home heating methods available today. A few worth mentioning include forced air, heat pumps, boilers and radiant heat using electricity or water, gas or oil energy sources.
Each of these different home heating systems requires a different procedure for testing, observing, describing and reporting.
Some of the home heating systems we observe and describe in our home inspection report may include a combination of different types of heating equipment in place.
We test these heating systems using normal operating controls and run through complete cycles several times during the inspection. The test procedures depend on the type of system in place. Radiant heat may even include heating devices installed in floors or ceilings. Electric baseboard heat traveling through the house may be used conjunction with forced air or forced water systems that utilize their own ducts, baseboards or radiators.
Regardless of the heating system in place a home inspector can complete evaluation of the system type and report on its condition.
Kitchens are usually one of the most popular areas of the house for most folks. It should be noted that national home inspection organizations do not require testing household appliances. However, this is where Absolute Safeguard goes above and beyond since we take the time to test all major appliances in the kitchen by running them through an operating cycle to make sure they function normally for you. We report on the visible, defective, conditions that exist at the time of the inspection.
One of the reasons we suggest our customers attend the home inspection is to provide them with an opportunity to become familiar with the appliances, their condition and functionality.
We start the roof inspection outside. We determine first, how we can access it, whether the roof can be traversed on foot and if, in fact, it is safely walkable. Some roofs are too steep, have too much deterioration, are too high above ground level or are tiled with slippery and dangerous material such as slate. In such cases we can use binoculars at ground level and we would use a ladder at the edges and report on as much as is visible from that vantage point.
We can tell what type of material is used such as asphalt or fiberglass shingles, metal and rubber. Some roofs use a combination of 3-4 different types of materials.
We look for any signs of water penetration from the roof at upper levels and into the attic, if the attic is accessible from the roof , and we report on our observations. We observe drainage, flashings, signs of leaks, skylights and chimneys among a host of other roof related items during the inspection.