The Report

An inspector may use checklist-type worksheets, adding brief remarks as necessary, or he may present a write-up of the overall condition of the property, along with suggested repairs and improvements.

The report should indicate potential as well as existing problems the inspector can readily observe. For example, the original wiring in a home built before World War II is probably not up to handling today's major electrical appliances. An inspector should note such a shortcoming and give you some idea of what would be involved in bringing the feature up to modern standards.


The report should cover the house from basement to roof and include an assessment of the quality and condition of all the following:

■ Yard: drainage, fences, grading, landscaping, paved areas, retaining walls

■ Exterior of house: decks, doors, exterior walls (possibly including insulation), garage, porches, steps, windows

■ Roof and related features: chimneys, downspouts, gutters, hatches, roofing materials and construction, skylights, vents and fans

■ Attic: access, insulation, signs of leakage, ventilation

■ Crawl space or basement: construc tion, settlement, structural stability, termite or rot damage, water penetration

■ Electrical system: capacity, fuses or circuit breakers, grounding, obvious hazards, outlets and switches, wires

■ Plumbing system: drainage faucets, laundry appliances, pipes, sink traps, water heater, water pressure

■ Heating and cooling systems: type, capacity and condition, controls, and distribution of sources of heat and cooling.

■ Kitchen and bathrooms: fixtures, flooring, plumbing, tile, and ventilation

■ Interior of the house: doors, walls, ceilings and floors

Special features such as a swimming pool, tennis court, well or septic system may require a specialist. If you are having a home inspected in winter, some testing may have to be postponed until warmer temperatures arrive; the wording of your contract should set out what obligations the seller must shoulder at that time.

Before removing your inspection contingency, carefully review the written inspection report (see the listing on the previous page).

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