A home inspection is a visual examination of a physical structure and systems of the building. While an appraisal seeks to determinate value, a home inspection seeks to determine proper function of all aspects of your home.

The purpose of the inspection is for the customer to be informed of as many conditions as possible within the brief periods of time allotted for the inspection.

The scope of this inspection is limited to the visual examination of the safe and readily accessible portions of the structure. This inspection report expresses the personal opinion of the inspector who prepared this report. Brown Bear Inc. inspector will do his best to notice all anomalousness to your house and he / office will contact you as soon as possible. This inspection report is not intended for use by anyone other than customer and Brown Bear Inc. personal.  No third party shall have any right arising from the Inspection Report.

General Home Inspection Checklist Items:

1. Exterior

  • 1.1   Chimney
  • 1.2   Gutter system
  • 1.3   Roofs
  • 1.4   Eaves
  • 1.5   Exposed foundation
  • 1.6   Grading
  • 1.7   Exterior Walls
  • 1.8   Trim
  • 1.9   Windows and doors
  • 1.10 Porches and decks
  • 1.11 Grounds and yards

2. Interior / Structure

  • 2.1 Interior foundation walls
  • 2.2 Wood framing
  • 2.3 Living room / Main hall
  • 2.4 Kitchen and bathrooms
  • 2.5 Bedrooms and other rooms
  • 2.6 Door frames
  • 2.7 Windows
  • 2.8 Attic

3. Electrical

  • 3.1 Main panel
  • 3.2 Indoor wiring
  • 3.3 Outdoor wiring

4. Plumbing

  • 4.1 Supply plumbing system
  • 4.2 Waste plumbing system
  • 4.3 Fixtures
  • 4.4 Water heaters

5. Heating system

  • 5.1 Gas furnaces
  • 5.2 Forced air system
  • 5.3 Humidifier and dehumidifiers
  • 5.4 Hot water tanks
  • 5.5 Electric heat
  • 5.6 Wood stove

6. Cooling system

  • 6.1 Air conditioner
  • 6.2 House fans

7. Safety Equipment

  • 7.1 Smoke alarms
  • 7.2 CO detectors
  • 7.3 Fire Extinguisher

1. Exterior

1.1 Chimney
Inspect outside of chimney for loose bricks, stones, deteriorated or cracked mortar joints, or if stucco; look for cracks or loose sections. Check chimney flashings for leakage. Inspect interior of chimney for creosote and soot buildup. Check chimney caps for loose or broken sections; check for obstructions such as bird nest. Inspect metal chimney for rust, missing rain caps and loose braces.

1.2 Gutter system
Check for damaged gutters, hangers, downspouts and strainers. Look for debris in gutter and downspouts. Inspect gutter alignment to make sure rain water collects properly and drains away from house. We are also looking for spot-paint worn areas or loose mountings.

1.3 Roof
Shingles are very important. This is why we pay special attention to loose, damaged or missing shingles, ridge areas or areas where downspouts from upper roofs discharge onto a lower roof. On flat roofs, we are looking for blisters, bubbles, open seams or bald areas. On metal roofs, flashing can be damaged by snow. We will also let you know if branches are too close to the roof.

1.4 Eaves
Check soffits and fascia for loose and rotted areas and/or for water stains. We will notice paint or stain condition and if necessary, we will recommend repainting / staining rotted areas.

1.5 Exposed foundation
Check exposed foundation areas for evidence of deterioration, movement, dampness and cracking. We will look for deteriorated bricks and mortar voids. Check foundation vent screens for damage. Air vents need to be covered over the winter and opened during the summer months.

1.6 Grading
Very important in the spring time; grading must be 1 inch drop per foot for the first 6 feet away from structure to ensure drainage away from the house.  Inspect for signs of termites or other pest infestation in areas near foundation.

1.7 Exterior walls
Most of the homes in this area have wood exterior walls. Here are a few problems related with the exterior walls that can occur: loose or damaged boards, woodpeckers are present in this area so they can cause serious damages, paint deterioration, old stain. Also we check for settling or other evidence of movement.

1.8 Trim
Check all trim for fit, paint / stain condition. Many times in the spring we find the trim areas are damaged by snow.

1.9 Windows and doors
We inspect door and windows for finish condition, window glazing for loose putty, weather stripping for tight fit and recommend to be replaced if it is old. It is very important to have caulk in good condition where window, door and trim intersect with wall surface.

1.10 Porches and decks
All components will be checked for rot and insect infestation, railing and steps for stability and loose or damaged components. Also we recommend, when needed, to repaint or stain decks.

1.11 Ground and yard
Check driveway and sidewalks for cracking, settling or uplifting. Some of these conditions may be a safety hazard and others may direct surface water to the structure. When we notice these problems; we will contact you. Check retaining walls, fences and other wood structures for rot and insect infestation.  Very important; we recommend a spring clean-up every year around the house for fire safety reasons. Pine needles, dead branches need to be cleaned up 100 feet away from the house; also trees need to be trimmed 10 feet above the ground level.

2. Interior / Structure

2.1 Interior foundation walls
As viewed from the basement or crawl space, check foundation walls for evidence of deterioration, movement or dampness. If we notice any, we will recommend patching all cracks and voids in foundation walls.
Note: Minor foundation wall dampness may be normal in older foundations. This generally results in slow surface deterioration only. All crawl areas should be accessible through an access hatch.

2.2 Wood framing
We check all exposed wood structural components for evidence of rot or insect infestation. This is usually only possible to observe in the crawl areas or basement. We pay a special attention to areas on the vicinity of baths, kitchens or other areas where water could enter.

2.3 Living room / Main hall
All interior walls and ceilings need to be checked for surface cracks. Minor cracks due to normal structure settling and shrinkage is to be anticipated. Large cracks which grow from year to year may be an indication of significant movement. We also will note bulges in walls, ceiling surfaces and monitor any changes.

2.4 Kitchen and bathrooms
All points from living room / main hall apply here. It is very important to check plumbing system, dishwasher, sink (faucets, flexible cords, and sewer line), water line from refrigerator. It is very important to have no leaks in the water system. In the bathroom sinks, toilet (main water line, cracks in toilet bowl or tank, toilet ring leak …) needs to be checked as well.

2.5 Bedrooms and other rooms
Points from living room / main hall apply here too. Also we check behind drapes, in closets and other areas for evidence of condensation or mildew. This indicates high humidity level or moisture penetration. Check walls and ceiling for evidence of water stains; which indicates a leak. Most common in the winter are roof leaks; in the summer time, we check the plumbing. If stains noted, we determine source of stain.
In all the rooms, we are looking for evidence of pests. If we notice any problems, we contact customer as soon as possible.

2.6 Door frames
Door squareness is also an element that we check. A change in the operation of a door may indicate significant structural movement; especially if change occurs within a short period of time (six months or less)

2.7 Windows
Check windows for condensation which may indicate high humidity inside the structure. If condensation is noticed between glass on double pane windows, the seal is not functional and repair is indicated.

2.8 Attic
Here is a few problems that can occur in the attic: water stain on underside of roof sheeting, rot, mildew, fungus on wood components. This may indicate high humidity. Check: to determinate if insulation is not wet, to insure that roof vents are free of birds nest and that all vent screens are in good condition.

3. Electrical

3.1 Main panel
Check main panel for rust or water marks which may indicate water penetration.
Breakers: flip all breakers to “off” and then “on” to ensure that no breaker has seized and to ensure proper function.
Note: all breakers should be marked to correspond to rooms or appliances which they service.
Fuse: tighten all hanging fuses

3.2 Indoor wiring
Check condition of all lamp cords, appliance cords, extension cords and plugs. We recommend to be replaced at first sign of wear or damage.
Ground fault circuits (GFI) – we will test ground fault interrupter electrical outlet GFI monthly. If there are any problems, we will let you know.

3.3 Outdoor wiring
On this chapter, we are looking for: loose or frayed wires that lead to the house, trees or other vegetation are not in contact with outside wiring system, all exterior outlets have weather tight / protective covers; but not only.

4. Plumbing

4.1 Supply plumbing system
It is very important to check exposed plumbing supply lines for signs of leaks. Toilets and faucets should be leak or drip free. Exterior faucets have to be closed all the time; over the winter, it will be good to have covers and in the spring to be checked for leaks. Pipes located in the unheated areas need to be insulated.

4.2 Waste plumbing system
Check exposed drain plumbing lines for leaks; check all basement and exterior drains; clean septic tank as needed (every 3-5 years).

4.3 Fixtures
We will check sump pump operation, screen for debris or dirt. When this occurs, we will recommend a clean-up if necessary. Toilets which run continuously should be repaired. Our inspector will notice any leakage around or under toilet bowl, sinks, showers, tubs and he will recommend actions to be taken. Caulking around all bathrooms and kitchen fixtures needs to be in a good shape. Lawn sprinkler system and all the exposed lines are also elements that we check.

4.4 Water heaters
Pressure relief valve – manual check pressure relief valve to ensure valve is not seized by opening valve at top of hot water tank. When released, valve should return to original position.
Hot water tank – needs to be checked for leaks

5. Heating system

5.1 Gas furnaces
If gas odors can be detected, we will contact Gas Company immediately. Most of the time, Brown Bear Inc. inspector will notice if there are problems with your furnace and he or office will bring that to your attention. Furnaces should be serviced only by a qualified technician / mechanic. This is why Brown Bear Inc. personal will not proceed to repair the problem.

5.2 Forced air system
Our inspector will check all filters on conventional systems for dust / dirt (to keep air moving freely and to prevent airborne dirt from circulating through house) and he will inform you when it needs to be replaced. We do recommend replacing air filters in the spring and fall. Air ducts get loose in time or are damaged – needs to be checked often. Noisy blower will be brought to your attention.

5.3 Humidifier and dehumidifier
Check thermostat settings.

5.4 Hot water tanks
Check valve to the cold water line; check if thermostat is working; check pilot light; check for any leaks around the tank. We recommend keeping the hot water tank on low / vacation when house is not occupied for 2 weeks or more. Check if safety valve is operating.

5.5 Electric heat
Check electric baseboard heaters to ensure adequate clearance from combustible materials. A qualified technician should inspect furnace to ensure all components are operating properly and no connections are loose or burned out.

5.6 Wood stove
Chimneys and flues will be checked for creosote build-up. Also splitter, roof, caulk, weather ring around the chimney pipe has to be in a good shape to prevent leaks in the house. In our area, all wood stoves have to be EPA approved.

6. Cooling system

6.1 Air conditioner
Clean or replace filter; remove debris around compressor. These actions will be done by our inspector during his inspection. A recommendation will be communicated to you.

6.2 House fans
We will bring to your attention when fan blades need to be clean or if there are any problems with your fan. If there are problems, here are some possible causes: lubricate motor; check drive belt; check power wires.

7. Safety equipment

7.1 Smoke alarms
Our inspector will test smoke detectors every month. If they are bad or batteries are low, we are going to replace them or bring them to your attention. When smoke detectors are beeping, the batteries are low. We will note on inspection report if smoke detectors are missing too.

7.2 CO detectors
Carbon monoxide cannot be seen, felt, tasted, or smelled but can be fatal. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in your house, we strongly recommend getting one. Moderate levels of CO exposure can cause death if the following symptoms persist for a long measure of time. Here are a few symptoms: headaches, dizziness, nausea, light-headedness.

7.3 Fire Extinguisher
Check indicator on pressure gauge to be sure extinguisher is charged. Check if lock pin is firmly in place and intact.