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Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Here are the standards that we follow from the InterNACHI Residential Standards of Practice for Performing a General Home Inspection. The Standards can be read in their entirety at

home inspection

A general home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property (as delineated below), performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process.

  1. The general home inspection is based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and not a prediction of future conditions.

  2. The general home inspection will not reveal every issue that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the date of the inspection.

A material defect is a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people. The fact that a system or component is near, at, or beyond the end of its normal useful life is not, in itself, a material defect.

A general home inspection report shall identify, in written format, defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. Inspection reports may include additional comments and recommendations.


I. The inspector shall inspect:
  1. the exterior wall-covering material, flashing, and trim;

  2. all exterior doors;

  3. adjacent walkways and driveways;

  4. stairs, steps, stoops, stairways and ramps;

  5. porches, decks, and balconies;

  6. railings, guards, and handrails;

  7. the eaves, soffits, and fascia;

  8. a representative number of windows; and

  9. vegetation, surface drainage, retaining walls, and grading of the property, when they may adversely affect the structure due to moisture intrusion.

II. The inspector shall describe: A. the type of exterior wall-covering materials. III. The inspector shall report:

  1. as in need of correction any improper spacing between intermediate balusters, spindles and rails.

III. The inspector is not required to:

  1. inspect or operate screens, storm windows, shutters, awnings, fences, outbuildings, or exterior accent lighting.

  2. inspect items that are not visible or readily accessible from the ground, including window and door flashing.

  3. inspect or identify geological, geotechnical, hydrological or soil conditions.

  4. inspect recreational facilities or playground equipment.

  5. inspect seawalls, breakwalls or docks.

  6. inspect erosion-control or earth-stabilization measures.

  7. inspect for safety-type glass.

  8. inspect underground utilities.

  9. inspect underground items.

  10. inspect wells or springs.

  11. inspect solar, wind or geothermal systems.

  12. inspect swimming pools or spas.

  13. inspect wastewater treatment systems, septic systems or cesspools.

  14. inspect irrigation or sprinkler systems.

  15. inspect drainfields or dry wells.

  16. determine the integrity of multiple-pane window glazing or thermal window seals.

III. The inspector is not required to:

  1. move any personal items or other obstructions, such as, but not limited to: throw rugs, carpeting, wall coverings, furniture, ceiling tiles, window coverings, equipment, plants, ice, debris, snow, water, dirt, pets, or anything else that might restrict the visual inspection.

  2. dismantle, open or uncover any system or component.

  3. enter or access any area that may, in the inspector's opinion, be unsafe.

  4. enter crawlspaces or other areas that may be unsafe or not readily accessible.

  5. inspect underground items, such as, but not limited to: lawn-irrigation systems, or underground storage tanks (or indications of their presence), whether abandoned or actively used.

  6. do anything that may, in the inspector's opinion, be unsafe or dangerous to him/herself or others, or damage property, such as, but not limited to: walking on roof surfaces, climbing ladders, entering attic spaces, or negotiating with pets.

  7. inspect decorative items.

  8. inspect common elements or areas in multi-unit housing.

  9. inspect intercoms, speaker systems or security systems.

  10. offer guarantees or warranties.

  11. offer or perform any engineering services.

  12. offer or perform any trade or professional service other than a home inspection.

  13. research the history of the property, or report on its potential for alteration, modification, extendibility or suitability for a specific or proposed use for occupancy.

  14. determine the age of construction or installation of any system, structure or component of a building, or differentiate between original construction and subsequent additions, improvements, renovations or replacements.

  15. determine the insurability of a property.

  16. perform or offer Phase 1 or environmental audits.

  17. inspect any system or component that is not included in these Standards.

Inspection Standards of Practice

  1. 1. Roof

  2. 2. Exterior

  3. 3. Basement, Foundation, Crawlspace & Structure

  4. 4. Heating

  5. 5. Cooling

  6. 6. Plumbing

  7. 7. Electrical

  8. 8. Fireplace

  9. 9. Attic, Insulation & Ventilation

  10. 10. Doors, Windows & Interior

Also, as listed in the SOP under 2.2. Exclusions, the inspector is not required to determine property boundary lines or encroachments. SOP

Contact the Straight 4WARD Inspector for all your warranty inspections, don't get stuck with the bill. Give us a call 972-755-9867

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