In what order do you inspect?

I’m trying to get more efficient with my inspections as far as time is concerned. I’ve done about 20 inspections since I’ve been licensed and they all seem to take about the same amount of time regardless of the house. Most of mine are about 1900 sq ft, some with crawl space and some without…no basements here in Louisiana. It always takes me about three hours (the exception is my very first one took about five hours because I triple checked everything lol). My routine is getting better. But I wanted to hear about other’s routines.
Do you typically go room to room and knock out everything in that room, or do all electrical then all plumbing etc.? I do exterior, then roof, then move inside and get kinda random. Thanks for the help guys.:eek:

I will typically do the exterior, roof, when I go to the inside I setup my laptop in the kitchen and do the kitchen first, then I go high to low (attic down to the basement). If there is a crawlspace (rare for my area) I do that and the garage last.

Hey Colton I live in Fl. and like you we don’t have basement and it take me about 2.5 hours to do an inspection. I start with the roof, and then do everything outside except the sprinkler system but I get to that later, and then move into the garage because most of the important components are there like the electrical panel, water heater, air air handler, garage components and then I go to my computer that I set up in the kitchen and input everything up to that point. Then I start with the kitchen and move to the living rooms than the bedroom’s and finally the attic and then back outside for the sprinkler system which allows me to cool down a bit after sweating in the attic. Hopes this help and good luck.

Set up in the kitchen

  1. Start at the exterior front door and walk counter clockwise around the house
  2. exterior of the roof second trip around the house.
  3. Kitchen, from the kitchen I then inspect the first room off of the kitchen and continue in that fashion untill all rooms have been checked
  4. mechanical room (Water heater, furnace, service panel, water meter…)
  5. attic
    6 crawlspace

I always save any attic or crawlspace for last as I do not want to drag any potential dirt or debris through the house.

Exterior foundation walk around
Crawl space with a complete protection unless really dirty then last.
Attic and ventilation at the hatch.
Dining room
Bathrooms top floor
Downstairs rooms
Laundry and furnace room
Check structure at the ceiling
Electrical panel last.

1st - Grounds, exterior, roof
2nd - to the basement(95% have them in Chicago Area), HVAC, Plumbing, Electric
3rd - Kitchen, 1st Floor
4th - 2nd floor, Attic, usually finish up with the garage

Setup is in the Kitchen. I use a tablet PC convertible; part of the time it’s with me, sometime left in kitchen.

Walking around the exterior first gives you an overall prospective about the property; age, maintenance, exterior foundation, etc. You will then get a head start on what to look for on the inside. I then go to the kitchen, main floor, upper floor, (flush lots of water through toilets, showers, drains) room to room, then on to the basement (main panel) or crawl space. This way you can look for drain leaks. Most of the inspections I do here have basements. Garage/attic is last. I always end the inspection by inviting my client to see the attic. It brings closure. During the process, I take notes on my lap top, and print the reports on site. Total is 3 hours. Larger/older homes take a little longer. If the owner is there, we go off-site or email reports next day.

Pretty much as Dan M. does, and most other inspectors.

Buyers are pretty much up-tight about the procedure, so often I give them a maintenance tip, or a small “funny” to ease the stress. Just a small question often gives you more information about how to handle the buyer, and perhaps add a safety tip to your report if they have kids.

“What to you do professionally?”

“Do you have any children?”

“Gee, this is a nice big master bedroom closet. Where is yours?”

Male buyers always laugh at that one.

“This home has tilt-out thermo windows. Is it OK if I teach your husband how to clean windows”?

I have a bunch of them.

[quote=“gfarnsworth, post:7, topic:64398”]

“This home has tilt-out thermo windows. Is it OK if I teach your husband how to clean windows”?/QUOTE]

I never ask…I just call the husband to the window and start with the instructions. Somewhere along the line I’ll give a knowing wink to the wife…she gets a kick because he’s learning to clean the windows.

Thanks for the ideas. I should clarify one thing though. I take field notes during the inspection so after the 3 hr inspection I still have to go generate the report…that usually takes a little while too. I’m thinking about some software options but can’t really spend a few hundred dollars on a PDA and software right now.

1-Start inspection on computer(Internet)
2-Look at houses approaching house to be inspected
3-Pick a corner on exterior walk all the way around entering conditions as I see them.
4-Garage start one corner go all the way around until I get to where I started (again enter as I go.
5- Roof
6- Lower floor enter door go left or right follow the wall, enter as I go until I come back to main entry.
7- If one level then I do attic and crawl if there is one
8- If two level do stairway. At top go left or right, enter as I go until I get back to where I started.
10- Crawl if one
11- Get papers signed, review collect payment, leave

I let the time of day and weather dictate my procedure…

If it’s an early morning start, I do the inside first allowing time for the grass to dry. However, if it looks like rain, I get the outside done first, then move indoors. If it’s an afternoon inspection, I too like to do the outside first. The attic is always last. I wear shoe covers over my work boots (yes, I like to wear work boots… see other posts about this hot topic) always when I’m indoors. This is why I let the grass dry if I can before I move inside.

As far as my room plan… I do it by group by group, not room by room. This means I may go into the hall bathroom several times… Once for electrical, once for plumbing, once for wall, ceiling and floor, etc. but this is mainly because that is how my program is set up for inspections, and not really my preference.

I spend about 2-1/2 hours for an average inspection. Rarely more than 3 hours at a home.

Roof (so client can review PIA if they did not previously)
Garage (now to the interior with indoor shoes)…
Appliances (need to start dishwasher ASAP but don’t want to leave it unattended while outside)
Then down to basement (fresh from outside so that I can smell any musty, mildew, moldy smells if present)…
Electric (panel etc.)
Plumbing (water heater etc.)
Interior (from basement to top floor towards attic)
Insulation / Ventilation (inc. attic which is the dirtiest part of the inspection).

Roof and exterior sometimes left till last if the weather is nasty and I think it may improve over the next few hours.

basement (most of the time) heater, water heater, electric panel
Attic and crawls are left for last.

Inspections up to 2000 sq ft typically take me 3 hours or so. I don’t always have a set routine. Clients tend to throw me out of any routine. One piece of advice is to check the attic before you walk on the roof. I have seen sheathing decay so bad, that if I had walked the roof first I may have visited the master bedroom before I wanted to.:o

  1.  Street photo
  2.  Go inside turn on dishwasher if it applies
  3.  Unlock all doors if it applies
  4.  Do a lap around home, look at eves for dry rot ect
  5.  Roof
  6.  Exterior 
  7.  Garage if attached
  8.  Bedrooms, living, dinning ect.
  9.  Bathrooms
  10. Kitchen/laundry
  11. After all interior is inspected, I do attic
  12. Turn on all faucets, shower, ect and do crawl space last if it applies

I sure hope that’s not the contract you’re having signed last. That should be done first, before the inspection starts!

Kitchen first always as that is where I set up.
The rest depends on flow of the rooms however the attic and roof are done near the end.
Seeing the interior plumbing and exhaust vent locations will help you when in the attic.

Just today I had a large home in which kids were in locked bedrooms at the time so I did the attic first which was a jungle of trusses only to come down and find a ceiling water stain in a second floor closet with water stain in the light globe…

Forget to wear your depends?

The stains were not brown or yellow so luckily it was not from me this time.:stuck_out_tongue:

Are you even able to climb in attics anymore and what are you doing up past your bedtime or is Lawrence Welk having another Late Night special?

I was in this one yesterday, or maybe it was Saturday…aw he ll, :smiley: one of the two.