The Charleston Home Inspection
The visual Charleston Home Inspection may take several hours due to occupancy, condition of home and accessibility of areas being inspected. The Charleston SC Home Inspection is not a code compliance inspection but rather a detailed visual inspection of the physical condition of the home. Any areas determined to pose a hazard for the inspector will not be inspected. Electricity and water must be provided to properly inspect these systems. I will have the proper tools and instruments to provide the seller or buyer with a report that reflects the current condition of the home.
First is the Verbal Debrief on site. Given immediately after the Charleston South Carolina Inspection is concluded to either you the client or your representative. I do a slide show on a laptop of every photo taken at the Charleston Home Inspection. Normally too many pictures are taken to include in a completed report and many are not needed (maintenance recommendations for example) Video is also taken of any component which is not functioning as intended and might be difficult to verbally describe (a garage door which tracks poorly when actuated for example) At the conclusion of the on site debrief you should have a very good feeling about the properties condition and any additional areas of concern.
That evening I send you the completed inspection report. I use HomeGauge brand reporting software; This is the most comprehensive home inspection reporting available. Your report will review the condition of the home's heating system, central air conditioning system, interior plumbing, electrical systems, roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, and all visible structures. This report will contain photos and details of the inspection detailing the home's overall condition. The report can be provided via fax, in an email as a pdf file, it can be accessed online, or it can be provided on CD.
You can view a sample HomeGauge report with photos in an easy to read narrative style here:
All general home inspections include a comprehensive, computerized report and summary within 24 hours of the inspection. Same day report availability (my report to you the evening of the inspection) is my Standard, and occurs 99% of the time if you have a valid email address.
When Can I Do The Inspection
A to Z Home Inspections strives to inspect your property within 48 hours of your call to my office; most inspections will take 2-3 hours to complete. I will schedule inspections during daylight hours 7 days a week to satisfy your needs.
The Inspection Agreement
Prior to the Charleston South Carolina Inspection, an agreement must be signed between my company and the client. Please take time to print out the linked agreement below and read it prior to my arrival. Any questions you may have can be answered at that time. If time permits or you are unable to attend, the Inspection Agreement can be faxed (toll free) to 1-866-485-8318. You may also detail your questions in the comments section of the request information link on the Contact Me page.
Buyers and sellers should consider obtaining inspection reports only from professional experienced home inspectors. Inspection reports generated by builders or contractors are often used by them as marketing tools and a means to generate business for maintenance and repairs and do not always represent the actual conditions of the property.
Who Should Attend
Although no one must be present during the inspection, I advise clients to attend all inspections. When you attend, you can ask questions and voice any concerns you may have about the property. If you cannot be there your Realtor or a relative must be to receive the on-site verbal report, then any questions can be addressed after you view the reports. If the home is occupied a Realtor must be present to assist.
Full Home Inspection includes:
• Roof, vents, flashings and trim.
• Gutters and downspouts.
• Skylight, Chimney and other roof penetrations.
• Decks, stoops, porches, walkways and railings.
• Eaves, soffit, and fascia.
• Grading and drainage.
• Basement, foundation and crawlspace.
• Water penetration and foundation movement.
• Heating systems.
• Cooling systems.
• Main water shut off valves.
• Water heating system.
• Interior plumbing fixtures and faucets.
• Drainage sump pumps with accessible floats.
• Electrical service line and meter box.
• Main disconnect and service amperage.
• Electrical panels, breakers and fuses.
• Grounding and bonding.
• GFCI's and AFCI's.
• Fireplace damper door and hearth.
• Insulation and ventilation.
• Garage doors, safety sensors and openers.
• And much more...
Review the NACHI Standards of Practice for complete details.
Review the South Carolina Standards of Practice
MOST COMMON DEFECTS
I been getting a lot of calls from people asking "what are the most common things you find?", so I've listed the following common findings (no importance implied by order)
Whole House is Poorly Maintained – Deferred maintenance represents a potential high cost situation to bring the home back into a satisfactory condition. If the present homeowner did not properly care for the home over the years, then someone will need to play catch up on the deferred maintenance or upgrade the home - sooner or later; preferably sooner - My home inspection report can often be utilized as a checklist in order to get the home back up to standards.
Poor Drainage around the Structure - All roof water needs to drain away from the structure at its perimeter to prevent water intrusion back beneath the slab or into the crawl space; downspout extensions can be installed to rectify most site drainage problems. Grading (sloped away from the foundation) is also very important in this situation.
Electrical Issues - Insufficient overload protection to the electrical service and amateur (and often dangerous) wiring connections are my most common everyday issues. Recently, failure to install AFCI breakers to protect bedroom circuits has been overlooked a lot. Electrical system problems are usually safety related and may require immediate attention by a licensed Electrician.
Inadequate Insulation & Attic Ventilation – Poor insulation and poor ventilation causes excessive utility costs and lack of occupant comfort. Most older homes require additional insulation which then may requires a ventilation improvement. In other situations... in an effort to save energy, many homeowners have “over sealed” their homes with insulation with no regard to ventilation, resulting in excessive interior moisture due to the inadequate ventilation. Significant moisture and excessive heat build-up within the attic cavity can lead to rapid shingle deterioration, Mold build-up, peeling of exterior paint, rusty nails, energy loss and rotting and failure of both structural and non-structural elements.
Heating/Cooling System Defects - Improper installations, inadequate maintenance, exhaust and combustion issues, aged components, and malfunctioning safety controls are the most frequent issues I encounter on a daily basis. Roof Issues – Improperly installed and aged roof surfaces occur frequently. I frequently find poorly installed or missing flashing at the transition areas. Repairs may be simple or (at times) the entire roof may need to be replaced.
Minor Structural Damage - Minor structural damage means the house is not likely to fall down, but someone should correct with the problem before it becomes a more serious issue. Such damage is usually caused by water seepage into the foundation, floor joists, rafters or window and door headers are found unstable. First you need to fix the cause of the problem (a leaky roof or improper drainage outside the foundation, for example), then repair or replace any damaged structural members. Inadequate caulking or weather stripping is most common. Obviously, the more extensive the damage, the more expensive it will be to repair.
Plumbing Issues – The most common defects are leaking gaskets, deteriorated cast iron waste pipes, leaking and outdated problematic systems like polybutylene and galvanized piping and any incompatible piping materials. Failure to correctly ‘high loop’ dishwasher drain lines is a recent recurring find on newer homes. Repairs can often be made by a licensed Plumber but on occasion, partial replacements of entire systems may be needed.
Air and Water Penetrating Cracks and Window Perimeters at Exterior – Foundation cracks and separations at windows can allow water into the wall cavities which is conducive to rot and Mold growth.
Attic or Crawl Space Structural Damage – Cut, modified and broken trusses, rafters and floor joists are often found and on occasion I also find structural components completely missing. Usually carpentry repairs are needed, however I find it is rarely an imminent safety hazard.
Termites and other Wood Destroying Organisms – Due to the local environment and the permissive conditions, termites flourish here in South Carolina. Almost without exception, wood boring insect damage can be corrected. Costs will always depend on how excessive the insect damage is. Termite damage found in any sill plate areas will likely be very costly to repair.
Fire Safety Issues - Related to electrical issues and fireplaces that are often neglected.