WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN INSPECTING

GENERAL:

The intent of a general inspection is the following: attic areas & roof framing, building (home) interiors, electrical, exterior, foundation, basement, under-floor areas, heating & cooling, plumbing, and roof covering.  The inspector will also let you know if there is evidence of any issues that would require further inspection by a specialist.  Think of it this way – you go to a general practitioner for a physical.  If a specialist needs to be called in, they will let you know.  Cost ranges from $325 to $400+ depending on the inspector and the size and amenities of the home.

SEWER LINE: 

the intent a sewer line inspection is to inspect the main sewer line.  An inspector puts a camera through the sewer line and provides a color, narrated dvd of the inspection.  If repairs are recommended, the inspector will also provide a written professional opinion and approximate repair costs.  Sewer lines can wear out over time or be damaged by tree roots and seismic activity.  I generally recommend this one straight out of the gate (not for condos, as it would not be your responsibility), as a sewer line is not looked at by a general inspector, and is your responsibility until it hits the public sewer one at the street.  The approximate price for this inspection is $350.

FOUNDATION:

The intent of the foundation inspection is to determine the condition of the foundation.  This includes the foundation area, the exterior perimeter (with moisture issues being the most common to adversely affect the foundation system). Interior, and underneath.   You will also be told if the property has been retrofitted for earthquake safety (while definitely preferable, please note that bolting is not a requirement, but an upgrade) You will then get a summary of findings.  This inspection will cost approximately $175 to $500

GEOLOGICAL:

The intent of a Geological inspection is to provide geological observations of the subject property to aid in evaluating the risks associated with that property.  It will educate you about geological conditions that influence the present and future performance of the land and existing structures.  This will usually include detailed research of available records on file with the department of building and safety.  The report will include surfical and overall stability of the land.  Local and regional geologic structure, engineering, geology, debris flow hazards, seismicity, and site drainage.  This is particularly important on hillside properties, or properties of large acreage, but less so in flat areas.  Most geologists offer both verbal and written options.  Discuss with your geologist the best option for you.  This will range from $500 to $2000+ depending on type of report and scope of work.

CHIMNEY:

The intent of a chimney inspection is to check all portions of the chimney and wood stove. If the chimney needs cleaning, this will be done at the time of the inspections  You will then get a summary of findings.  The cost will range from $100-$190 per chimney. .

DRAINAGE:

The intent of a drainage inspection is to check on proper drainage, reducing the risk of future moisture related damage. Even if the property has a french drain, these drains can be clogged and stop functioning properly.  A Drainage Inspection is some times recommended when your Home Inspector sees signs of previous water intrusion in the subarea of the home.  Findings can include managing gutter run off, clearing and grading away from the building, french drains and more. 

POOL/SPA:

Buyers purchasing a property with a pool or spa often opt for a separate inspection to determine the condition of the pool/spa and equipment.

MOLD:

The intent of a mold inspection can be preventative, or more often is suggested upon discovery of mold or a major water leak.  .

RADON:

Radon is a hazardous naturally occurring gas that results from decay of trace amounts of uranium found in the earths crust.  A radon measurement specialist can provide a precise radon level reading or you can buy a do-it-yourself radon test kit for under $100.

ASBESTOS:

Asbestos is often found in the ducting of older homes. Your Home Inspector can usually let you know if there is asbestos material found in the home.  If so, you may elect to have it inspected for safety and request an estimate for its removal.  

LEAD-BASED PAINT:

Lead based paint is a concern in homes built before 1978.  The intent of a lead based paint inspection is to determine if there is lead based paint present and where the lead based paint is.  Testing for Lead will cost between $100-$250

ROOFING:

If it is obvious that the roof is older, it is recommended that you get a roof inspection to make sure that the roof is water tight.  A roof inspection will cost between $95 -$150.

SURVEY:

BOUNDARY SURVEY –  Property pin marking is not the same as a boundary survey.  A survey establishes the true property corners and property lines of a parcel of land.  Easement lines may also be located.  If requested, the cost of this type of survey will be determined by the lot size and verification of existing monuments.

ELECTRICAL:

Electrical inspections also generally occur as a follow up to a physical inspection.  If your inspector notices that the electrical defects seem significant enough to warrant a look by a specialist, and they will let you know.  You can expect to pay $150  to $300

PLUMBING:

Similar to an electrical inspection, this is usually a follow up to a general inspection  when needed.  Your general inspection will cover the plumbing, and if there are multiple plumbing issues or other reasons your general inspector feels a plumbing specific inspection is necessary, they will let you know.  This should cost anywhere from $150  to $300

ARBORIST/LANDSCAPING:

Tuolumne County and other rural counties have trees effected by several years of drought, followed by bark beetle infestation.  It is recommended that you have the trees inspected.  

HVAC:

HVAC stands for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning.  The systems will be tested by the general inspector.  If found to be not working, needing adjustment, or servicing, he may recommend an inspection by a specialist.  This should cost $200 to $300.

SEPTIC:

If the house is not connected to a public sewer system, but rather has a septic system, you will most likely want a septic inspection.  It is important to know that the tank is in good working condition, is the appropriate size for the house, and that the leach lines and tank are working properly.  Engineered septic systems are now required to have annual inspections. The cost of an inspection  runs between $500 and $700. Often buyers negotiate for the seller to pay the cost of pumping the tank.  

OTHER INSPECTIONS:  Refer to your Home Inspection for other recommended inspections. I recommend that you go to the Tuolumne County Building Department to get copies of all permits. The current owner may be unaware of previous additions done without permits.