1.1.  A general home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property (as delineated below), 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.

  1. The general home inspection is based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and not a prediction of future conditions.
  2. 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.

1.2.  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.

1.3.  A general 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.

2.1. Limitations:

  1. An inspection is not technically exhaustive.
  2. An inspection will not identify concealed or latent defects.
  3. An inspection will not deal with aesthetic concerns or what could be deemed matters of taste, cosmetic defects, etc.
  4. An inspection will not determine the suitability of the property for any use.
  5. An inspection does not determine the market value of the property or its marketability.
  6. An inspection does not determine the insurability of the property.
  7. An inspection does not determine the advisability or inadvisability of the purchase of the inspected property.
  8. An inspection does not determine the life expectancy of the property or any components or systems therein.
  9. An inspection does not include items not permanently installed.
  10. This Standards of Practice applies to properties with four or fewer residential units and their attached garages and carports.

2.2. Exclusions:

  1. The inspector is not required to determine:
  2. property boundary lines or encroachments.
  3. the condition of any component or system that is not readily accessible.
  4. the service life expectancy of any component or system.
  5. the size, capacity, BTU, performance or efficiency of any component or system.
  6. the cause or reason of any condition.
  7. the cause for the need of correction, repair or replacement of any system or component.
  8. future conditions.
  9. compliance with codes or regulations.
  10. the presence of evidence of rodents, birds, animals, insects, or other pests.
  11. the presence of mold, mildew or fungus.
  12. the presence of airborne hazards, including radon.
  13. the air quality.
  14. the existence of environmental hazards, including lead paint, asbestos or toxic drywall.
  15. the existence of electromagnetic fields.
  16. any hazardous waste conditions.
  17. any manufacturers’ recalls or conformance with manufacturer installation, or any information included for consumer protection purposes.
  18. acoustical properties.
  19. correction, replacement or repair cost estimates.
  20. estimates of the cost to operate any given system.
  21. The inspector is not required to operate:
  22. any system that is shut down.
  23. any system that does not function properly.
  24. or evaluate low-voltage electrical systems, such as, but not limited to:
  25. phone lines;
    2. cable lines;
    3. satellite dishes;
    4. antennae;
    5. lights; or
    6. remote controls.
  26. any system that does not turn on with the use of normal operating controls.
  27. any shut-off valves or manual stop valves.
  28. any electrical disconnect or over-current protection devices.
  29. any alarm systems.
  30. moisture meters, gas detectors or similar equipment.

III. The inspector is not required to:

  1. move any personal items or other obstructions, such as, but not limited to:  throw rugs, carpeting, wall coverings, furniture, ceiling tiles, window coverings, equipment, plants, ice, debris, snow, water, dirt, pets, or anything else that might restrict the visual inspection.
  2. dismantle, open or uncover any system or component.
  3. enter or access any area that may, in the inspector’s opinion, be unsafe.
  4. enter crawlspaces or other areas that may be unsafe or not readily accessible.
  5. inspect underground items, such as, but not limited to: lawn-irrigation systems, or underground storage tanks (or indications of their presence), whether abandoned or actively used.
  6. do anything that may, in the inspector’s opinion, be unsafe or dangerous to him/herself or others, or damage property, such as, but not limited to:  walking on roof surfaces, climbing ladders, entering attic spaces, or negotiating with pets.
  7. inspect decorative items.
  8. inspect common elements or areas in multi-unit housing.
  9. inspect intercoms, speaker systems or security systems.
  10. offer guarantees or warranties.
  11. offer or perform any engineering services.
  12. offer or perform any trade or professional service other than general home inspection.
  13. research the history of the property, or report on its potential for alteration, modification, extendibility or suitability for a specific or proposed use for occupancy.
  14. determine the age of construction or installation of any system, structure or component of a building, or differentiate between original construction and subsequent additions, improvements, renovations or replacements.
  15. determine the insurability of a property.
  16. perform or offer Phase 1 or environmental audits.
  17. inspect any system or component that is not included in these Standards.
  • accessible: In the opinion of the inspector, can be approached or entered safely, without difficulty, fear or danger.
  • activate: To turn on, supply power, or enable systems, equipment or devices to become active by normal operating controls. Examples include turning on the gas or water supply valves to the fixtures and appliances, and activating electrical breakers or fuses.
  • adversely affect: To constitute, or potentially constitute, a negative or destructive impact.
  • alarm system: Warning devices, installed or freestanding, including, but not limited to: carbon-monoxide detectors, flue gas and other spillage detectors, security equipment, ejector pumps, and smoke alarms.
  • appliance:A household device operated by the use of electricity or gas. Not included in this definition are components covered under central heating, central cooling or plumbing.
  • architectural service: Any practice involving the art and science of building design for construction of any structure or grouping of structures, and the use of space within and surrounding the structures or the design, design development, preparation of construction contract documents, and administration of the construction contract.
  • component:A permanently installed or attached fixture, element or part of a system.
  • condition: The visible and conspicuous state of being of an object.
  • correction: Something that is substituted or proposed for what is incorrect, deficient, unsafe, or a defect.
  • cosmetic defect:  An irregularity or imperfection in something, which could be corrected, but is not required.
  • crawlspace: The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the lowest floor’s structural component.
  • decorative: Ornamental; not required for the operation of essential systems or components of a home.
  • describe: To report in writing a system or component by its type or other observed characteristics in order to distinguish it from other components used for the same purpose.
  • determine: To arrive at an opinion or conclusion pursuant to examination.
  • dismantle: To open, take apart or remove any component, device or piece that would not typically be opened, taken apart or removed by an ordinary occupant.
  • engineering service: Any professional service or creative work requiring engineering education, training and experience, and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such professional service or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, design and supervision of construction for the purpose of assuring compliance with the specifications and design, in conjunction with structures, buildings, machines, equipment, works and/or processes.
  • enter: To go into an area to observe visible components.
  • evaluate: To assess the systems, structures and/or components of a property.
  • evidence:  That which tends to prove or disprove something; something that makes plain or clear; grounds for belief; proof.
  • examine: To visually look (see inspect).
  • foundation: The base upon which the structure or wall rests, usually masonry, concrete or stone, and generally partially underground.
  • function: The action for which an item, component or system is specially fitted or used, or for which an item, component or system exists; to be in action or perform a task.
  • functional: Performing, or able to perform, a function.
  • functional defect: A lack of or an abnormality in something that is necessary for normal and proper functioning and operation, and, therefore, requires further evaluation and correction.
  • general home inspection:The process by which an inspector visually examines the readily accessible systems and components of a home and operates those systems and components utilizing this Standards of Practice as a guideline.
  • home inspection:See general home inspection.
  • household appliances: Kitchen and laundry appliances, room air conditioners, and similar appliances.
  • identify:To notice and report.
  • indication:  That which serves to point out, show, or make known the present existence of something under certain conditions.
  • inspect: To examine readily accessible systems and components safely, using normal operating controls, and accessing readily accessible areas, in accordance with this Standards of Practice.
  • inspected property: The readily accessible areas of the buildings, site, items, components and systems included in the inspection.
  • inspection report:A written communication (possibly including images) of any material defects observed during the inspection.
  • inspector: One who performs a real estate inspection.
  • installed: Attached or connected such that the installed item requires a tool for removal.

material defect:  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