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Understanding Your Home Inspection Report

Home inspections often take place before buying or selling a property, but an inspection at any time will provide useful information about the state of a home — and maybe even alert you to potential problems before they become more difficult and expensive to resolve.

Your home inspector will provide you with an inspection report: A document that describes the current status of your home and highlights potential concerns. This report can serve as a valuable reference that can help you care for and maintain your home for years to come. It is important to understand what information the report contains – and what information it does not.

Home Inspection Tour PDF

View, download, or print our Home Inspection Tour PDF as a quick reference for the areas checked during a home inspection.

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Home Inspection Tour

What’s included during an inspection

Your home inspector will likely focus on 13 key areas.

Excluded from your inspection

Your inspection report is only required to contain certain details about your home. It is important to keep in mind the things you should not expect to find on your report. If you are concerned about certain areas or systems in your home that are not usually covered by a general inspection, you may want to consider hiring a specialist to inspect.

Home inspectors do not examine every area

The following areas and items are not included in a regular home inspection:

  • Elevators
  • Detached buildings, decks, docks, fences, waterfront structures, or related equipment
  • Anything buried, hidden, latent, or concealed
  • Sub-surface drainage systems
  • Concrete flatwork, such as driveways, sidewalks, walkways, paving stones, or patios
  • Automated or programmable control systems, automatic shutoff, photoelectric sensors, timers, clocks, metering devices, signal lights, lightning arrestor systems, remote controls, security or data distribution systems, solar panels, or smart home automation components

Home inspectors do not make certain determinations

Your inspection is not required to determine the following, but you can hire specialized inspectors if you have specific concerns.

  • The presence or absence of pests, termites, or other wood-destroying insects or organisms
  • The presence, absence, or risk of asbestos, lead-based paint, mold or mildew, corrosive or contaminated drywall, or any other environmental hazard
  • Types of wood or preservative treatment and fastener compatibility
  • The cause or source of any condition
  • The cause or effect of deficiencies
  • Any of the following issues concerning a system or component:
    • Insurability or warrantability
    • Suitability, adequacy, compatibility, capacity, reliability, marketability, or operating costs
    • Recalls, counterfeit products, or product lawsuits
    • Life expectancy or age
    • Energy efficiency, vapor barriers, or thermostatic performance
    • Compliance with any code, listing, testing, or protocol authority
    • Utility sources

The inspection will not involve the operation of shutoff, safety, stop, pressure, or pressure-regulating valves or items requiring the use of codes, keys, combinations, or similar devices.

Home inspectors do not certify safety or make future predictions

Inspectors are also not required to anticipate future events or conditions, such as deterioration, household accidents or injuries, the presence of water penetrations, or consequences of the inspection on current or future buyers and sellers.

Lastly, inspectors will not:

  • Designate conditions as safe
  • Recommend or provide engineering, architectural, appraisal, mitigation, physical surveying, realty, or other specialist services
  • Review historical records, installation instructions, repair plans, cost estimates, disclosure documents, or other reports
  • Verify sizing, efficiency, or adequacy of the ground surface drainage system
  • Verify sizing, efficiency, or adequacy of the gutter and downspout system
  • Operate recirculation or sump pumps
  • Remedy conditions preventing inspection of any item
  • Apply open flame or light a pilot to operate any appliance
  • Turn on decommissioned equipment, systems, or utility services
  • Provide repair cost estimates, recommendations, or re-inspection services

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