The Operating Systems, Lower Level, Interior and Exterior Inspection sections are EXTREMELY condensed versions of those found in our home inspection book: Home Inspection Business From A to Z

Real Estate Appraisers are not required to be home inspectors. However, I will include these sections anyway to give you some basic details about home inspections.


Attic Inspection

Most houses will have an attic space that you must inspect if there's access to it due to the potential problems you can find. Just like crawl spaces, don't get lazy and just assume everything's OK in the attic area. Some houses won't have any accessible attic areas. In that situation just do the best you can.

Sometimes the attic area has been finished and there are knee wall openings to the attic. These are small openings in the wall areas of the upper level that allow you to view a small portion of the attic and use it for storage. The access panels to most attics are located in the ceiling of the upper level hallway. Sometimes the access panel will be located in a bedroom closet. Ask the owner about this and don't assume there's no access panel because you didn't see one. It could be hidden.

Real Estate Advice Education House Inspection Appraisal Home Improvement Renovation I always recommend that a handrail be installed inside the attic area surrounding the access opening. This will help prevent anyone walking in the attic area from falling through the access opening. I have no idea why, but I haven't seen any building codes that require this handrail in new construction. What will happen is somebody is going to fall through the access panel and get killed someday and then the local building codes will add this safety precaution. Don't wait for that to happen, recommend they install a handrail now!

Usually you'll find most attics will have some wood board covering over the floor joists so the attic can be used to store lightweight items. If you see any very heavy objects, tell the client it's not recommended due to the excessive weight on the ceiling below. You have to be careful when you're in the attic area and not walk between any of the floor joists. If you do, then your foot will go right through the ceiling below!

Check the condition of the roof ridge beam, roof rafters and the roof sheathing while in the attic area. Look for any water stains that are due to water leaks or abnormal humidity in the attic area. Often there are old water stains from prior roof leaks that have been repaired. Just see if they look moist or recent. Check for any bowing in the wood members of the attic.

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