What to Expect from a Home Inspection - Setting Expectations Prior to Your Home Inspection

What to Expect from a Home inspection - Setting Expectations Prior to Your Home Inspection


Andrew Sams


One question that we receive on a daily basis is “what does your home inspection include?”. What does a standard home inspection cover? That’s a great question, and an extremely reasonable one for anyone about to hire a home inspector. Well, the answer differs depending on whom you ask, but it shouldn’t differ greatly if you are asking a reputable home inspector or home inspection firm. I can speak for what is, and what is not included in a standard Alpine Building Performance, LLC home inspection. That information is what we will cover in this post.

To start, let’s address two other questions; “What is a home inspection?” and “Why should I get a home inspection?”.  The purpose of a home inspection is to help a prospective home buyer obtain the best possible understanding of a home’s physical condition, and what kind of maintenance and repairs may be involved in the short, near and long term future of this home. By understanding the condition and functionality of the home, a home buyer will be better informed, educated and empowered to make a sound real estate investment that fits their needs. Every buyer has different needs and sometimes a buyer determines during or after the inspection that a house is, in fact, not the best one for them. With this all said, a home inspection helps determine the physical condition of the home, and a prospective buyer should always have a home inspection performed to help ensure that a well-informed investment is made.

So what do we actually inspect, and in how much detail? Simply put, we visually inspect every major component of the home that we can physically and safely access. On one hand, our inspections are far more involved and detailed than what many of our clients initially expect. This makes everyone happy, including us, and is a reflection of our sincere mission to help educate and empower our clients. With that being said, sometimes there is a misunderstanding when it comes to what is and is not included in a standard home inspection scope. Let’s clarify, shall we?


What IS included in our standard home inspection:

 ·       Roof

·       Exteriors

·       Garage(s)

·       Attic, Insulation and Ventilation

·       Foundation and Structure

·       Electrical

·       Plumbing

·       Heating , Ventilation and Air Conditioning

·       Built In Appliances

·       Doors, Windows and Interiors

·       Thermal Imaging and Moisture Metering if necessary

·       Visual energy efficiency assessment

·       An in person inspection summary and walk-through of the property


 What IS NOT included in a standard home inspection:

·       Radon Testing (Add on service offered by ABP)

·       Sewer Scope (Add on service offered by ABP)

·       Mold Test (Add on service offered by ABP)

·       Construction Permit History (Add on service offered by ABP)

·       Home Energy Audit (Add on service offered by ABP)

·       Asbestos testing

·       Lead paint testing

·       Water quality testing

·       Measuring a home’s dimensions

·       Estimates for repair costs

·       Surveying the property lines

·       Inspecting or operating landscape irrigation systems

·       Inspecting/operating low-voltage electrical systems such as cable, data, phone and security systems

·       Inspecting water softeners or water purification systems

·       Inspecting solar electric (PV) or solar thermal systems

·       Inspecting wells

·       Inspecting septic tanks

·       Any component of the home that is not visually, physically or safely accessible


What about things that the inspector cannot see or access?

No matter how experienced and thorough an inspector is, they cannot, and will not be able to see everything within a given home. A home inspection is by definition, non-invasive (all homes have inaccessible areas such as wall cavities that simply can  not be seen without invasive action. With that all being said, a skilled, knowledgeable and holistically trained inspector can often provide educated theories or conclusions on what may be going on behind the scenes. By utilizing high tech tools such as thermal imaging combined with vast experience and knowledge, we strive to provide our clients with as much information as we absolutely can about each home we inspect.


The inspection report

Any confirmed or suspected defects that we observed are documented within our inspection reports. We also include helpful information about the home from things such as siding material to furnace age, make and efficiency. Our digital and interactive reports (link to sample) include detailed written narratives, high-resolution images and even video. We are always happy to further discuss and explain any of these findings (as any quality home inspector should) whether our explanation occurs at the time of inspection, or after you move into your home.

Purchasing a home is the largest purchase that most people ever make in a lifetime, and we at ABP are committed to helping our clients learn the ins and outs of their homes. We inspect all homes to the same level of care as if we were buying the house for ourselves.

Hopefully this post answered most of your questions about what you can expect from a home inspection. As always, please feel free to contact us with questions.


As a member of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Alpine Building Performance, LLC adheres to the standards of practice (link) set forth within that document. These standards are commonly adhered to within our industry.