What is a Radiant home inspection?

Every home inspector has their own system of order, techniques and preferences. This is a rundown of what a Radiant home inspection looks like:

I start from the road with a photo of the house and get a feel for the property as I approach. I like to step inside for a quick peek before beginning the inspection. If my client is there I will use this time to introduce myself and ask if they have any specific concerns. After a brief chit-chat, I begin my inspection at the front door and move around the exterior to the right. I poke and tap my way around the house looking up and down inspecting siding, trim, finishes, doors and windows, decks and fences, porches and patios, electrical and water components, outdoor appliances, and eventually make my way back around to the front door.

Now I go up top! The roof inspection is an important (and fun) part of my job. There are some aspects of a roof that can be inspected sufficiently from the ground, but even a small roof problem can be a costly one, so I try to walk on every roof and look very carefully. Shingles, chimneys, sidewall flashings, pipe stacks and other penetrations are of particular concern to me. The final part of the roof inspection happens later–from the attic space.

Next I throw on my crawl suit and get under the house. A crawlspace is a great place for me to get up close and personal with your home. I’m looking for wood rot from insect and water damage, structural issues, problems with ductwork, failed insulation, foundation issues, dangerous electrical situations, air leaks around plumbing penetrations, evidence of excessive vermin activity, and anything else that seems interesting or out of place.

After the crawlspace it’s Halftime. I head back to the truck to clean up a bit, grab a water and get ready for the interior.

When I get inside, I head straight for the attic. The roof inspection is not finished until I check it from underneath. I check the roof sheathing for water staining, wood rot or mechanical damage, and inspect the penetrations for leaks. Moving on, I inspect trusses or joists and rafters, ductwork and the air handler, insulation, ventilation and attic floor penetrations around registers, lights, chimneys and pipes. Much like the crawlspace, the attic usually has a few stories to tell.

Before beginning the interior inspection I open up the electrical panel to take a close look. I’ll spend a few minutes here, but this is the system I find can be most satisfying when done correctly. A well done panel looks beautiful and orderly when you open it up. It’s free of double taps, overheating, missing knockouts, pig tails, loose wires and debris; and has GFCI and AFCI breakers installed on the proper circuits. The rest of the electrical inspection takes place throughout the house with a tester.

Now I can turn up the heat or the A/C and begin inspecting the interior. I start on the top floor and work my way down, clearing bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms from right to left. Now I’m checking boring stuff like floor and wall finishes, window and door operation, hand rails, balusters, stairs, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, fans, etc. The infrared camera comes in handy here because this is when I test HVAC performance, find gaps in insulation, air leaks through windows and doors and any plumbing leaks if present. I finally check the laundry room and garage before finishing with the kitchen.

The kitchen area is usually where the agent and client have found a seat. It’s funny–even when there isn’t a party with food on the counter and drinks at the bar, people still congregate in the kitchen area. I’ll take this time to share photos, discuss my findings and answer any more questions that the agent and client may have. I leave the client and agent at this point to talk about their next steps together and we exchange cards and handshakes.

Once home, I begin uploading photographs and writing the report. By the end of the day the agent and clients will have their completed written report to review. With their newly updated knowledge of the property, agent and client are more prepared to move forward with negotiations, and the clients will have a better understanding of their house and the systems in it when they move in.