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Don Halligan, CMI
Certified Master Inspector

515-576-5327 Office

515-227-9124 Cell

Proudly Serving Fort Dodge and Surrounding Areas Since 2010

Here is a brief overview of what a Comprehensive Home Inspection Includes:
Examination of every component of the house according to our Standard of Practice and then produce a report covering the findings. The typical inspection lasts 3 to 4 hours and I encourage you to be present during the inspection to get a firsthand explanation of the findings and ask questions. Also, any problems I uncover will make more sense if you see them in person instead of relying solely on the report. If you cannot be present for the entire inspection being present at the end of the inspection to go over any findings is recommended.

I will note:

• whether a problem is a safety issue, major defect, or minor defect
• which items need replacement and which should be repaired or serviced
• items that are suitable for now but that should be monitored closely

I will tell you about routine maintenance that should be performed, which will be a great help especially if you are a first-time homebuyer.
While it is impossible to list everything I could possibly check for, the following list will give you a general idea of what to expect.

  • Exterior

• Exterior walls – I will check for damaged or missing siding, cracks and whether the soil is in close contact with the bottom of the house, which can invite wood-destroying insects. However, a pest inspector, not the home inspector, will check for actual damage from these insects. I will let you know which problems are cosmetic and which could be more serious.
• Foundation – If the foundation is not visible, and it usually is not, I will not be able to examine it directly, but I can check for secondary evidence of foundation issues, like cracks or settling.
• Grading – I will let you know whether the grading slopes away from the house as it should. If it doesn’t, water could get into the house and cause damage, and you will need to either change the slope of the yard or install a drainage system.
• Garage or carport – I will test the garage door for proper opening and closing, check the garage framing if it is visible and determine if the garage is properly ventilated (to prevent accidental carbon monoxide poisoning). If the water heater of furnace is in the garage, I will make sure it is installed high enough off the ground to minimize the risk of explosion from gasoline fumes mingling with the heater’s flame and that the appliance is properly protected from impacts.
• Roof – I will check for areas where roof damage or poor installation could allow water to enter the home, such as loose, missing or improperly secured shingles and cracked or damaged mastic around vents and chimneys. I will also check the condition of the gutters and downspouts.

• Interior

• Interior Walls and Ceilings – I will check the interior walls and ceilings for signs of water damage, holes, cracking or loose plaster/drywall.
• Interior Doors and Windows – I will check for proper operating doors and windows, missing or damaged hardware, broken glass, proper safety glazing where required, misaligned openings and weather seals.
• Attics – I will check the attic space and estimate the amount of insulation present, check for adequate ventilation, damaged roof sheeting, rafters and truss systems.
• Basement/Crawl Space – I will check for problems with the foundation, concrete floor, columns, beams, sub floor, insulation, ventilation, sump pump systems and windows.
• Plumbing – I will check all faucets, showers and toilets, look for visible leaks, such as under sinks and test the water pressure. I will also identify the kind of pipes the house has, if any pipes are visible. I will may recommend a secondary inspection if the pipes might need to be replaced and how much the work would cost. I will also identify the location of the home’s main water shutoff valve.
• Electrical – I will identify the kind of wiring the home has, test outlets and make sure there are functional ground fault circuit interrupters (which can protect you from electrocution, electric shock and electrical burns) installed in areas like the bathrooms, kitchen, garage and outdoors. I will also check your electrical panel for any safety issues and check your electrical outlets to make sure they do not present a fire hazard.
• Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) – I will look at your HVAC system to estimate the age of the furnace and air conditioner, determine if they function properly and recommend repairs or maintenance. I can also give you an idea of the age of the home’s ducting, whether it might have leaks, if your home has sufficient insulation to minimize your energy bills and whether there is any asbestos insulation.
• Water heater – I will identify the age of the heater and determine if it is properly installed and secured. I will also let you know what kind of condition it is in and give you a general idea of how many years it has left.
• Kitchen appliances – I will check kitchen appliances that come with the home to make sure they work, but these are not always part of the inspection.
• Laundry room – I will make sure the laundry room is properly vented. A poorly maintained dryer-exhaust system can be a serious fire hazard.
• Fire safety – If the home has an attached garage, I will make sure the wall has the proper fire rating and that it hasn’t been damaged in any way that would compromise its fire rating. I will also test the home’s smoke detectors.
• Bathrooms – I will check for visible leaks, properly secured toilets, adequate ventilation and other issues. If the bathroom does not have a window and/or a ventilation fan, mold and mildew can become problems.

A home inspection can’t identify everything that might be wrong with the property – I only check for visual cues to problems. For example, if the home’s doors do not close properly or the floors are slanted, the foundation might have settled or cracked – but if the crack can’t be seen without pulling off drywall in the house, a home inspector can’t tell you for sure if it’s there.

After the Inspection:
Once you have the results of your home inspection, you have several options.

• If the problems are too significant or too expensive to fix, you can choose to walk away from the purchase, as long as the purchase contract has an inspection contingency.
• For problems large or small, you can ask the seller to fix them, reduce the purchase price, or to give you a cash credit at closing to fix the problems yourself – this is where a home inspection can pay for itself several times over.
• If these options aren’t viable in your situation (for example, if the property is bank-owned and being sold as-is), you can get estimates to fix the problems yourself and come up with a plan for repairs in order of their importance and affordably once you own the property.

Bottom Line
Let me as a professional do the work for you, a home inspection will cost you a little bit of time and money, but in the long run you’ll be glad you did it. I can reveal problems that you may not have recognized and be able to get the current owners to fix before you move in, saving you time and money. If you are a first-time homebuyer, an inspection can give you a crash course in home maintenance and a checklist of items that need attention to make your home as safe and sound as possible. Don’t skip this important step in the home-buying process – it’s worth every penny.