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Your Home Inspection Report

About Home Inspections

A home inspection, also known as a building inspection or a property inspection, is a thorough visual assessment of a home conducted by a certified professional home inspector at a specific point in time.

While a home may be inspected for many reasons most home inspections occur before a home is sold, to reveal any issues that might become problems for the buyer. A home seller may also choose to have a home inspection done prior to listing a property, in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises during negotiations.

A home inspection will typically include a walk-through tour of the house during which the condition of the property is closely scrutinized, any defects and deficiencies are noted, and recommendations for repair are made. During the home inspection the inspector will look for issues that could have significant impact from a health and safety perspective, or purely from a financial standpoint.

Home Inspection Process Explained

  • A typical home inspection takes two to three hours, and during this time the house is examined from the ground up and from the outside in.
  • A good home inspection should include observation, and when appropriate the operation, of the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical, and appliance systems, as well as observation of structural components: roof, foundation, basement, exterior and interior walls, chimney, doors, and windows.
  • Findings should be provided in the form of a comprehensive inspection report, which includes an objective evaluation of the condition the home clearly outlining any existing defects and potential problems.

When performed by a certified Pillar To Post home inspector this inspection includes:

  • A thorough visual inspection of the structure (inside and out, from foundation to roof).
  • An examination of all major systems.
  • An objective evaluation of the condition of a home.
  • A printed report covering all findings and identifying potential concerns.
  • A high quality binder that includes: your home inspection report, full color photos, a repair and remodel cost estimate guide, home maintenance information, a CD-ROM to help you with simple “how-to” projects around the home, and a package of valuable offers from our Home Alliance partners.

Why Do You Need a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is particularly important when purchasing a home.

Buying a house is likely one of the largest purchases a person will ever make but few buyers are experienced in building construction, and overlooking a serious issue could result in a costly problem down the road. As a result many buyers choose to have a property inspection conducted prior to closing the sale. The inspection can identify any issues so the buyer can discuss these with the seller during negotiations.

At Pillar To Post we encourage our clients to accompany us during the home inspection. This gives buyers a chance to ask questions, and to get detailed information about maintaining the home and its systems. For homeowners this allows them an opportunity to answer any questions the inspector may have. In either case, accompanying an inspector can help a client get the most from a home inspection.

Home Inspection Benefits

Purchasing a “new” home can be a daunting task. An obvious benefit of getting a home inspection is that you will have clarity and understanding of the home you are considering for purchase at a time when you may have doubts. Through the inspection process, you will be able to obtain specific information concerning the various systems and structural components of the home and ask any question that you may have.

Another benefit of a Pillar To Post home inspection is that it can be one of the best pre-sale investments you make on a real estate transaction. The inspector's work benefits both the buyer and the seller, sometimes in similar ways, but often the inspection takes care of opposite sides of the same coin. If the seller purchases the inspection, the cost of the process can be factored into the asking price of the house. If the buyer has the home inspected, it is usually up to him to cover the cost, so either way, the seller is not out the cost of the inspection. Furthermore, if the home inspection points out the necessity for major or minor repairs, the buyer can insist on correcting the problems prior to closing. If any major issues are pointed out during the inspection process, the buyer can adjust the purchase price by an amount that will incorporate the cost of the repairs.

The information gathered during a home inspection can also benefit the buyer by making them familiar with the home. The location of shut off valves, pump switches, heating and cooling filters, and breaker panels is all found in a comprehensive home inspection. Sometimes valves and switches are located in unusual places, particularly in older houses. The inspection process identifies and maps these items and also provides the buyer with important information about maintaining the home to make sure their investment stays safe and functional for years to come.

What is the Difference Between a “Home Inspection” and a “Home Valuation” or “Appraisal”?

A home appraisal is the formal process of estimating a property's value as it relates to a mortgage loan or mortgage insurance. It does not itemize defects or reflect potential problems in the home. Even an FHA home appraisal currently does not attest to the condition of a home. A home appraisal is not a home inspection and the appraiser is not acting as a home inspector when preparing the appraisal report. When performing the appraisal of the property, the appraiser visually observes areas that are readily accessible. The appraiser is observing the condition of the property and its amenities. The appraiser will note any deferred maintenance and adjust accordingly if significant enough to affect the properties marketability and/or value.

A home inspection involves an evaluation of the condition of the home's heating, central air conditioning, plumbing, electrical systems, roof, attic, floors, foundation and structure. The borrower has the right to have a home inspection by a professional home inspector. Whereas the home appraisals primary purpose is to determine the market value of a particular property, the primary purpose of a home inspection is to highlight items that may be in need of repair or replacement.

Home Inspection Checklist

The home inspection checklist is designed to give the real estate agent or prospective purchaser a systematic inspection report on the findings of any readily accessible major flaws or deficiencies in the significant components and systems of a home. It is not designed to, nor does it profess to facilitate, detection of all flaws, problems or occurrences that might exist in any given home.

Home Inspection Benefits: Learn more about the benefits of getting a home inspection.

The Pillar To Post home inspection checklist is used to maximize time efficiency and to ensure all of the major sections of the home are taken into consideration. This home inspection checklist is a simplified overview of systems that Pillar To Post professional home inspectors use when they are inspecting a home.

General Home Inspection

List of Items Inspected:

  • Structural Elements:
    Construction of walls, ceilings, floors, roof and foundation.
  • Exterior Evaluation:
    Wall covering, landscaping, grading, elevation, drainage, driveways, fences, sidewalks, fascia, trim, doors, windows, lights and exterior receptacles.
  • Roof and Attic:
    Framing, ventilation, type of roof construction, flashing and gutters. It does not include a guarantee of roof condition nor a roof certification.
  • Plumbing:
    Identification of pipe materials used for potable, drain, waste and vent pipes. including condition of toilets, showers, sinks, faucets and traps. It does not include a sewer inspection.
  • Systems and Components:
    Water heaters, furnaces, air conditioning, duct work, chimney and fireplace.
  • Electrical:
    Main panel, circuit breakers, types of wiring, grounding, exhaust fans, receptacles, ceiling fans and light fixtures.
  • Appliances:
    Dishwasher, range and oven, built-in microwaves, garbage disposal and, yes, even smoke detectors.
  • Garage:
    Slab, walls, ceiling, vents, entry, firewall, garage door, openers, lights, receptacles, exterior, windows and roof.

Additional Services

  • Radon
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Lead/Radon VOCs-in-Well Water
  • Well Water Quality
  • Wood Destroying Organisms (WDO)/Termites
  • Mold Sampling/Air or Surface Mold Sampling (Where Qualified)
  • Septic Inspection
  • Swimming Pool and Spa Inspection
  • Condominium Inspections
  • Asbestos and Lead Detection
  • Residential Environmental Reports

Availability of additional services may vary according to location and certifications, contact your local Pillar To Post Home Inspector for details.

FAQs

Everything About Home Inspection Overview

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is an evaluation of the systems and components inside and outside a home from foundation to roof top. Home inspectors further conduct a visual inspection of all accessible areas of the home and report on functionality, wear and tear, safety and maintenance.

What are the benefits of a home inspection?

The benefit of a home inspection for a buyer or seller is the opportunity they will have to familiarize themselves with the condition of the home; shut off valves, pump switches, heating and cooling filters, and breaker panels are all information that will be found in a comprehensive home inspection. Please refer to the benefits of a home inspection on our website.

What is the difference between a home inspector and a property or home appraiser?

A home inspection involves an evaluation of the condition of the home's heating, central air conditioning, plumbing, electrical systems, roof, attic, floors, foundation and structure at the time of the inspection. A home appraisal is the formal process of estimating a property's value as it relates to a mortgage loan or mortgage insurance. An appraisal does not itemize defects or reflect potential problems in the home.

How can I find a local home inspector?

Pillar To Post makes it easy to find a local home inspector in your area. Simply select from our home inspectors located in USA, Canada, or look for a local home inspector by entering your zip/postal code in our Find your local inspector search engine located at the top right corner of this page.

Is there a difference between a home buyer's and a home seller's inspection?

No. The home inspector will conduct the same inspection regardless of whether you are a home buyer or a home seller. It is the home inspector's responsibility to report on the home's condition no matter who has requested the inspection.

What are the factors to consider while choosing a home inspector?

The factors that you should consider when choosing a home inspector are:

  • They are certified to perform quality home inspections
  • They have experience in performing home inspections
  • They are licensed (mandatory in some states)
  • They carry Errors & Omission and CGL insurance
  • They have professional training and participate in ongoing training
  • The franchise/company is well known
  • They provide thorough and detailed reporting on site at time of inspection
  • They are welcoming, professional and courteous

How do I know my home inspector is qualified?

All Pillar To Post inspectors are certified by Pillar To Post through our rigorous initial training and testing process. All Pillar To Post home inspectors are also fully licensed in states that require licensing and carry E & O insurance. These license requirements often include additional training and testing as well as yearly continuing education to stay at the top of their industry. Also, our inspectors are members of national inspection associations with similar requirements. You can rest assured that your Pillar To Post inspector is fully qualified and prepared to offer you an inspection that is second to none.

How is Pillar To Post different from other home inspection companies?

With almost 500 locations in 43 U.S. states and 9 Canadian provinces, Pillar To Post is the leading home inspection company in North America. Our goal is to provide you with the best service, the most professional inspectors, and the finest inspection report in the industry. With a Pillar To Post home inspection you'll get a clear, unbiased evaluation of a home's condition quickly and easily. Our professional, certified and fully insured inspectors will answer any questions you may have, and help you build a foundation of knowledge about your home and its systems. Every Pillar To Post home inspection will review over 1,600 different items in a home and report to you on the same day with photos.

How can I schedule a home inspection?

For a Pillar To Post professional home inspection, you can schedule an inspection by clicking Request an Inspection or Request a Home Inspection on your local Pillar To Post home inspector’s website, or by calling us toll-free at 1-800-294-5591.

When should I call to schedule an inspection?

You should call an inspector once you have determined that you wish to either purchase or sell a home. Pillar To Post has made it easy for you to find a local home inspector quickly with our Request a Home Inspection tool.

What is included in a home inspection, what items are inspected?

A thorough home inspection includes a visual inspection of the home from the roof to the foundation. It also includes the inspection of all major functional components and operating systems of the home. A detailed list of items can be found on our Home Inspection Checklist and any additional services can be found on our Additional Inspection Services.

How long does a typical home inspection take?

A typical home inspection takes 2-3 hours depending on the size of the home. During this time, a home inspector can thoroughly inspect your home, provide you with a detailed home inspection report and answer any questions you may have.

Do you get on the roof?

This depends on the particular house, weather conditions and the particular inspector. A roof inspection begins from the ground with a look at the overall condition of the roof. The next step is an inspection of the shingle condition up close on a ladder from the roof edge, through dormer windows and, yes, by walking on the roof. The decision to walk on the roof is made by each individual inspector. He or she takes into account the roof pitch, shingle condition, weather conditions and more.

Another important part of a roof inspection is done from the attic. From here, leaks are often visible as is the overall condition of the structure and roof sheathing. The condition of the roof is determined by all available information.

How much does it cost for a typical home inspection?

The cost of a professional home inspection is based on the size and age of the home and sometimes its location. We suggest you call you local home inspector to request an inspection and ask them to provide you with a quote based on the information about your home.

How do I prepare for a home inspection?

The buyer should attend the home inspection so that they can get familiar with the layout and condition of the home and its components. Prior to attending the home inspection, the buyer should have a list of questions ready to ask the inspector. A seller should prepare the home as much as possible for a thorough home inspection. The seller can follow the Pillar To Post home inspection ready checklist to help them get prepared.

Will you tell me if the house passes or fails the property inspection?

A home inspection is not the same as a code inspection. Those code inspections either pass or fail. The purpose of a private home inspection is to “educate the client on the condition of the home.” When the building inspection process is complete, the client should have a clear understanding of the home, its components and their condition. With this understanding, prudent decisions can be made by the client concerning repairs, replacement and maintenance.

Is your home inspection guaranteed?

Sometimes this question gets confused with "do you guaranty the house." In other words, "when you are through with the inspection, do you guaranty the roof will not leak or that the air conditioner will work for a specific period of time." The answer to that question is "no." That kind of guaranty is called a whole house warranty, and it can be purchased through a home warranty company. What we offer our clients is an assurance that all of our home inspectors will meet or exceed the requirements of their state.

In the states that do not have licensing requirements, we are guided by the ASHI or NAHI standards of practice. ASHI and NAHI are the two most recognizable national inspector associations and both produce rigorous standards of practice. In all states, we meet or exceed those standards. Our guaranty is that we provide our clients with a professional inspection and report that meets or exceeds the applicable standards in all cases.

What if a home inspection reveals problems?

If the home inspector discovers problems, it doesn't mean you should or shouldn't buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. This information is used to inform you of possible future repairs whether it be major or minor.

For items that require repair or replacement, will the inspector tell me the costs of each?

Cost estimates from home inspection professionals who are not in the business of making repairs or replacements themselves can be only that, estimates. Because there are thousands of components in a home it is difficult to provide highly specific cost estimates. The Pillar To Post inspection binder however does include a “Cost Estimate Guide” however can that can get the client in the correct ballpark. For more detailed estimates or even quoted prices, the client should call licensed and qualified contractors.

Will the inspector tell me which repairs the seller should take care of and which ones I should repair myself?

The home inspector's goal is for you to have a complete understanding of your home, including the magnitude of any repair items that may need attention. Without knowledge of the sales price, value of the home or other issues surrounding the purchase, however, the decisions about who should make repairs are best left to the client with the advice of their real estate professional or attorney.

Does Pillar To Post make the actual repairs on their report findings?

Absolutely not. Our Code of Ethics clearly states that we will not offer to make repairs on items noted in the report. Although some inspection companies may perform these services, we believe this diminishes the objectivity of the inspector and transforms the inspection process into a sales process. If a Pillar To Post inspector records an issue in your home inspection report, it is because that is information the client needs to be aware of and for no other reason.

Will the inspector forward the report to other agents and clients involved in the home sale?

When a Pillar To Post inspector performs an inspection for you, our business relationship is with you only. Without your permission we will not produce a report for or discuss a report with any other party. However, if you wish, we will happily produce or discuss the report with any party of your choice.

Can you email me the home inspection report?

Of course. The report can be emailed to the addresses you provide your inspector and will include the full report, the summary, pictures of many repair items and detailed information sheets concerning systems in your home. We also provide a printed copy of the report to you in a three ring binder that includes our proprietary “Living With My Home” CD-ROM. This CD-ROM is full of home repair and maintenance information as well as a link to a sister home owner information website. The printed home inspection report also includes a Cost Estimate Guide as well as a home filing system to help track your costs while living in the home.

Because you are a client of Pillar To Post, you also have access to our “Home Alliance Partners.” These are partner companies who offer special savings to our clients on many products and services you may need when dealing with a move or the purchase of a new home.

Does Pillar To Post offer additional services such as Radon Testing and Water Testing?

Yes. Each Pillar To Post office is independently owned and operated. The additional services offered are determined by each owner. However, most do offer many additional services related to the inspection process. These may include, Radon Monitoring, Water Testing, Septic Testing, Pest Evaluations, Dry Rot Evaluations, Mold Testing both Surface and Airborne (Where Qualified), Floor Elevation Surveys, Environmental Data Reports, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Monitoring and more.

Availability of additional services may vary according to location and certifications, contact your local Pillar To Post Home Inspector for details.

Are radon inspections and indoor air quality inspections part of home inspection services?

While radon inspections and indoor air quality inspections are services that many Pillar To Post inspectors can provide for their clients, these inspections are in addition to the standard home inspection. All inspectors who offer these can perform these tests at the same time as your home inspection or after you move in. We suggest you contact your local home inspector and advise them that you would like a radon and/or indoor air quality evaluation at the time of your home inspection.

Prepare For A Home Inspection

Steps You Can Take Before a Professional Home Inspector Conducts a Property Inspection

From routine maintenance, to detecting conditions that could signify the need for major repairs, there are many simple steps your seller can take ahead of time to prepare their home for a professional home inspection. In addition, on the day of the inspection, attention to a few details can go a long way to ensuring that everything goes smoothly.

Disclosures

  • Disclose past catastrophes such as fires or floods, or if the property was ever used as a marijuana grow house or meth lab
  • Provide building permits and plans for any major renovations
  • Disclose any work that was completed without the proper permits
  • Provide invoices and warranties for major improvements, roofs, furnaces, and appliances

Routine Maintenance – Exterior

  • Repair damaged masonry on walkways and steps
  • Seal any cracks in the driveway
  • Repair minor defects in exterior wall materials
  • Recaulk around exterior windows and doors
  • Replace damaged or missing shingles
  • Recaulk around flashing
  • Clean debris from gutters and check downspouts for proper drainage

Routine Maintenance – Interior

  • Repair leaky faucets and fixtures
  • Recaulk around bathtubs and sinks
  • Have an electrician inspect receptacles and switches and make any necessary repairs
  • Repair any cracked or broken window glass and loosen any windows that are painted shut
  • Arrange service for the furnace and central air conditioning
  • Have the chimney swept
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors and install detectors where missing

On the Day of the Inspection

  • Allow sufficient time for the inspection – the average Pillar To Post inspection takes between 2.5 and 3 hours
  • Be sure that keys are available for any locked doors
  • Allow access to storage sheds, attics, yards, crawlspaces, basements, and garages
  • Provide access to components such as electrical panels, water meter, and gas meter
  • Move objects from around the water heater, furnace, and air conditioner to allow unimpeded access
  • Clear paths of snow and debris
  • Keep pets in a safe location out of the home or in a crate

Inspection Report

Browse the Different Features of a Personalized Inspection Report

The Pillar To Post home inspection report details over 1,600 key components of a home and its condition. For more information about the industry-leading Pillar To Post home inspection report, to find an inspector in your area, or learn about the additional services we can offer as part of an inspection, contact your local home inspector.

Standards of Practice

At the beginning of your home inspection report, you'll find a copy of the standards of practice for one of three national professional associations (ASHI, NAHI or CAHPI) and a legal document known as the visual inspection agreement.

These documents ensure that all Pillar To Post home inspections are conducted in accordance with standards of practice of a national professional association.

Click here for more information

Inspection Details

The core of the report documents the condition of over 1,600 points on the home. In this section you'll find both a comprehensive checklist and comments on specific issues.

Report Commentary / Additional Comments

At the conclusion of the report you'll find the report commentary, a summary of the major findings of the report.

Digital Photos

The Pillar To Post inspection report comes complete with digital color photographs, which support the findings in the core of the report.

The Package

The home inspection report will be presented to you in a three ring binder that contains:

  • The report
  • Seasonal maintenance checklist
  • Cost and repair estimate guide
  • Tags to mark major shut-off valves
  • Home filing system to track future repairs