DIY Home Inspection checklist
Performing Your Own Inspection
You just finished watching 55 back-to-back shows of a HOMES on HOMES, the labor day weekend marathon and you’re pumped. And now… you just had a great idea so you break from your cozy man-chair within the confines of your man-cave tripping over what seems to be a mountain of adult beverage cans, empty bags of chips and whatever that crap is you just stepped in, you scream for your wife not because you need to change your right sock, but because you can’t seem to find that super cool contractor style metal clipboard thinggy, note pad and mechanical pencil. You proceed to tell your wife that theres no need to become spendthrifts and spend money wastefully on a home inspector to inspect the house that just went into escrow that we can just do ourselves.
Well, Im sure there is a percentage of you who have sat through countless episodes of DIY television which has you feeling invincible… confident. Ya, you know the type of confidence I’m referring to, remember back in the day? You just polished off a twelver and now its time to let the beer do the work and ask that super hot chick out only to have her boyfriend bestow onto you the beating of your life that you felt for weeks afterwards, yes that type of confidence. So you feel as if you can single handedly build a house from the footings to the roof and therefore inspect a house from the footings to the roof. So I say to you, why the heck not. I mean with the proper guidance you likely won’t do a worse job then perhaps some of the inspections you would have had to choose from when your real estate agents inspector referral list.
So what is the purpose of an inspection and why do I need one? Home inspections are meant largely to help a home buyer determine the condition of a property on a given point in time. We refer to the home inspection as the single most important component to the transaction. A home inspection empowers the buyer who can thus make a better more informed buying decision. Basically you’re trying to avoid a money pit.
What do you check
A professional home inspector will literally check thousands and thousands of items made up from components and systems. Each one of these items is likely installed to a standard so knowing the standards will first better help you determine if the item is installed correctly or not and secondly, allow you to have a more in depth evaluation of that system if necessary. Allow me to help illuminate this for those of you who may as a lost as a ball in high weeds. What do you see when you look at this image? For some, you may say that its just a pipe sticking out of some wood. Others may say that drywall is missing. But the reality is you need to look 2-3 levels deep and understand that theres a great deal more going here than meets the eye. It’s not all about looking at something and saying, ” ya, that looks broken“. It’s not like that at all… so let me break it down.
- Pipe (B vent from furnace)
- Attic framing (wood)
These are issues present here which any seasoned home inspector / contractor can easily identify. Lets break it down even further. We first have a B Vent pipe from a furnace in this case which was about 36″ or less from this penetration so its safe to say the B vent gets pretty hot right? Well, the minimum clearance of the B vent pipe from anything combustible in this case wood or attic framing and the drywall is no less than 1″. Furthermore, the hole around the pipe which penetrates the attic floor is supposed to be sealed with the use of a listed fire stop spacer and the framing around the opening blocked solid in accordance to building code to reduce the potential of flame spread. So my friends, from this one single image you have a plethora of issues all of which are considered substantial. If you don’t know to look for it, you may never have found it.
How do you check those things that need checking
As home inspectors we have many many different tools by which to inspect a house. We use meters, gauges, plug testers, thermal imagers AKA infrared cameras all of which require a minimum amount of training and familiarity to use and comprehend. As for the building, a basic understand of how a building is constructed and how it performs over the years with the introduction of the natural elements helps greatly. There are also other tests which you may need to perform to help create an issue.
Yes, I can see that “HUH??” look forming on your face now… So let me use a shower stall for my example. There are some showers which have tile at the pan or base. I ask you, how will you know whether or not the shower pans membrane is compromised? Well, you can run water in it and cross your fingers. Or, you can plug the pan with the correct tool, let the water run for an hour or so while you do other stuff, and after which, use your infrared camera and moisture meter to assess the situation. you can now see the need for trade specific tools huh?
Now you need to get yourself a respectable checklist. Where will you find such an all encompassing list? Well, the first place I’d start is the internet and if you don’t feel confident with that, you can always ask your real estate agent if he / she has a copy of an old inspection report that he/she can provide so you may use it as a template or guide. The information within the report may also be helpful as well as it may speak to specific issues with detail and direction. If for whatever reason you need further assistance feel free to contact us for additional support. firstname.lastname@example.org.