A 5-Minute Guide To Residential Property Inspections


Did you know that state laws and professional associations require residential property inspectors to give a written contract and inspection report to the homeowner or property manager? Or that a contractor and home inspector aren’t the same job?If you’re hiring a new home inspector or hiring one for the first time, IKO Community Management will help break down the basics of what you should consider before signing, what is and isn’t included in the inspection, and more:

What should I consider before hiring?

When finding a contractor to handle the job, it’s important to consider their reliability, communication skills, and local reputation. This begins with the pre-inspection contract. Property management companies and owners should thoroughly read and understand this document before signing.

The agreement should contain the scope and cost of the services that the person intends to perform. If it’s not up to par with what you thought or discussed, it’s time to move onto another company.

What’s included in the inspection?

According to Angie’s List, “licensed [residential property] inspectors are required to provide their clients written reports of the home inspection.”

This report needs to contain detailed information on the subject property and identify the components and systems of the property observed by the inspector. It should be delivered no later than a week after the inspection, and most will include photos.

Basic residential property inspection reports should include the following:

  • Structural components, including foundation and framing of the home
  • Exterior features, including siding, soffits, porches, balconies, walkways, railings, and driveways
  • Roof system, including shingles, flashing, and skylights
  • Electrical system, including service panels, breakers, and fuses
  • Plumbing systems, including pipes, drains, water heating equipment, and sump pumps
  • Heating system, including equipment and ventilation
  • Cooling system, including energy sources and distribution equipment
  • Interior features, including walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, stairs, and railings
  • Insulation and ventilation, including those in the attic and other unfinished spaces
  • Fireplaces, chimneys, and vents

What’s not included in the inspection?

Hiring a home inspector is similar to seeing a doctor for an annual check-up. They’ll cover the basics, but they might refer you to a specialist if they see something wrong, especially if it’s not in their field of expertise. The same goes for property inspectors.

Due to certain licensing requirements, a home inspector is allowed to perform only a visual inspection of what they can see and access. They shouldn’t be taking anything apart, putting holes in the walls, or digging up your yard. Because of this, a typical residential property inspections' report doesn’t include the following:

  • Any components inside the walls
  • Hot tubs and swimming pools
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Central vacuum systems
  • Lawn sprinkler systems
  • Septic systems and underground pipes
  • Fire and smoke detection and suppression systems
  • Security/intrusion and alarm detection systems
  • Television antennas or satellite dishes
  • Detached structure, including a garage or shed
  • Well systems
  • Code compliance
  • Environmental hazards, including radon, asbestos, and lead

Can I be there for the inspection?

Absolutely. Most residential property inspectors recommend that a homeowner or property manager attend, so you can answer any questions they have about the property’s condition. Most will even provide care and maintenance instructions, discuss potential repairs, and schedule another appointment.

We hope you’re more comfortable hiring someone for a property inspection after reading our quick guide. Remember: Ask for a contract and inspection report, attend the property inspection, and take notes for next time.

If you’re looking to hire a property management company to tackle this for you, contact IKO today. You can also download our Property Management Company Evaluation by clicking below:

Download Must-Ask Questions List