Definition of an RI Home Inspection

Home Inspection

What IS a Home Inspection?

A Rhode Island home inspection, as performed by me, a Certified Master Inspector, is a thorough visual inspection of all accessible systems of a property. I use tools, test equipment, and extensive training to translate signs I see into language you can use. A simple example would be a stain on a ceiling, is not only a ceiling stain, but also a sign of water being somewhere it’s not supposed to be, like a leak from plumbing or a leak in the roof system. I see signs like this everywhere, and they are not all that obvious. I use a standard operating practice with specific inclusions and exclusions.

Because in Rhode Island, there are no state mandated laws dictating what is or isn’t included in a home inspection, every home inspector can legally provide a home inspection and be anywhere from very thorough with high quality inspection reports including pictures and detailed narratives, (like I provide, look at a small sample I’ve posted), to “Mr. Magoo” and hand you a half page checklist at the end for a report. In an effort to make the industry better and have standard scope of home inspections, many home inspectors affiliate with national, non-profit associations to help achieve the highest standards of service. I associate with interNACHI; therefore I abide by their standard operating practice, developed and continuously evolving to create the best service available.

For all intensive purposes, the RI home inspection and home inspection report create a “snapshot” of the condition of that property at the time of the home inspection.The client can then use the report to make educated decisions on purchase or course of action of a property.

A general RI home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property (as delineated at www.nachi.org/sop ), performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process.

  • The general home inspection is based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and not a prediction of future conditions.
  • The general home inspection will not reveal every issue that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the date of the inspection.

A material defect is a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people. The fact that a system or component is near, at or beyond the end of its normal useful life is not, in itself, a material defect.

A general RI home inspection report shall identify, in written format, defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. Inspection reports may include additional comments and recommendations.

What I Inspect in a Standard Inspection

I operate your heater weather it a boiler, furnace, heat pump, I also check the filter. I test temperature (air or forced water/steam) and basic air flow of the system. I evaluate the system and try to determine its age. I can’t test AC units in cold temperatures, generally below 60 degrees. I cannot light pilots or de-winterize systems.
I evaluate all areas of visible plumbing; operate all accessible fixtures check for leaks, adequate water pressure, adequate drainage flow, and hot water. I evaluate your water heater, and try to determine its age. I do not inspect septic tanks or cesspools, I have a contractor I refer you to on this; you can hire him independently. I cannot light pilots or de-winterize systems.
I do open every panel unless there is danger on it is inaccessible. That’s about 99% of them. I look inside and evaluate several items in each one. I test every accessible receptacle and evaluate all visible circuits. Note: the home will be required to have the fire marshal inspect it as well; he will also check this.
I inspect your roof. I’m looking at the shingles, flashing, and gutters. If the roof is too high, too steep pitched, there isn’t good footing for my ladder, or its unsafe to access, or covered in water or snow/ice/moss, I will not go on the roof, but will evaluate it using my “Spectoscope”, a remote zoom digital camera that extends up 38 feet, gaining me an ideal view of most inaccessible roofs, no other RI home inspector is using this tool. I also have high-powered binoculars to look from the ground.
I inspect grading, and the yard for hazards. I inspect decks, vegetation, out buildings, retaining walls, walkways, stairs, etc.
I inspect your garage as I inspect the home, and I test all safety features.
I check all fixtures and cabinetry and appliances. I check for basic function. For example: I can’t evaluate that the oven temp is accurate, but I check to see that the range works.
I go in to every attic that I can (most of them). I look at insulation, the underside of the roof, chimney, venting. I cannot remove shelving to gain access or an abundance of items for liability reasons.
I inspect your foundation and structure for signs of shifting, cracks, water penetration, moisture readings, and amateur repairs.
I fully inspect the interior, including operation of all/most accessible doors and windows. I check moisture levels, if there are any signs of staining. I check for safety items on floors, walls, and stairs.
I inspect siding, trim, soffit, fascia, doors, windows, bulkheads, etc.

 

Safety

I put safety at the top of the list, and always look for safety concerns everywhere.
There are many misconceptions out there as to what a home inspection is and isn’t. Lets make it simple.

It is NOT a warranty or guarantee.  My Buyers inspections do come with a 90 day warranty. I make observations, but can’t see into the future.

It is NOT an appraisal. I get asked on many occasions what the house is worth, or what it’s worth considering the findings of my inspection. I state facts on conditions and defects, nothing more or less.

It is NOT a tool to reference the property on another date. Conditions change, and if there’s been a reasonable amount of time lapsed, a re-inspection may be prudent.

It is NOT a technically exhaustive inspection. For example: I will operate your HVAC via normal controls, I will evaluate basic air flow, temperature changes etc…but not disassemble the unit to look inside. I am not responsible for dis-assembly of systems.

Inspectors will NOT move personal property to gain access to areas such as attics, etc…have access ways clear prior to the inspection.

Your home inspector DOES NOT WORK FOR THE REALTOR, I work for you, so your best interest is paramount, getting the most accurate information is the goal, nothing more, nothing less.

For our full listing of my standard operating procedure, what is and isn’t inspected, visit www.nachi.org/sop