How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes

What does a home inspection include?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

There are two categories of things that are included in a basic home inspection: 1) the minimum list of items that must be inspected according to the requirements of the local governmental jurisdiction and/or the standards of the professional association to which the inspector belongs, and 2) the additional inspections that each inspector chooses to add, often to gain an advantage over their competition. 


    We are licensed in the State of Florida and are members of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), so we comply with two sets of minimum standards. The Florida Department of Business of Professional Regulation published standards in 2013 for all Florida licensed inspectors. Other states that require licensing for home inspectors have similar standards. You can read Florida’s standards at our blog post Are there any minimum inspection standards that a Florida licensed home inspector must meet? 

    The Florida standards clarify both what inspectors must examine and what they are not required to report on. The inspector is expected to remove the cover of electric panels, for example, and examine the interior, but is not required to do any electrical testing or probe inside the panels. 

    The list of what is required in the Florida standards is long, and includes structure, electrical, HVAC, roof, and plumbing, along with multiple interior and exterior components. But there are several overriding principles behind all of the standards:

  •  It is primarily a visual inspection.
  •  The inspector is only required to examine components that are readily accessible and installed in place.
  •  Determining the additional life left in components, like the roof or HVAC system, is not required.
  •  Cost estimates for repairs or replacement are not required.
  •  The inspector is not required to enter or examine any area that, in the inspector’s opinion, wold be unsafe. An example would be a wet or excessively steep roof.
  •  The standards are not intended to limit the scope of an inspection, and an inspector can go beyond the minimum standards.

   Inspection standards of the two major national home inspector associations are similar, but not identical, to the Florida standards. They are available at the American Society of Home Inspectors ( and International Association of Certified Home Inspectors ( websites.


    Each individual inspector will have special skills or services that are included in their basic inspection. Some offer a check for recalls on the appliances in the home, while others provide a free infrared scan, repair cost estimates, or water testing. Each inspector is a little different, and it’s a good idea to ask what is included in their regular home inspection and what will cost extra. An inspector may, for example, charge extra to examine the crawl space under a home. Inspectors are especially proud of their high-tech tools, and any discussion of their services will usually include an animated dissertation about their tools and what they are able to find. 

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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

If we already looked at the house very carefully, do we still need a home inspection?

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What do I need to know about buying a foreclosure? 

What should I look for when buying a former rental house?  

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What should I look for when buying a house that is being "flipped" by an investor seller? 

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

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