How to Perform a Thorough Home Inspection: EXTERIOR, part 1
If you prepared well for your inspection (see previous post on effective Preparation, here), then you’ll certainly be able to arrive early to your appointment, with tools charged up, and ready to start inspecting. So then…where DO you start??
Note: If you are not already including photos (and sometimes even video) in your reports, you really ought to start. It’s hard to overstate the enormous difference it makes for a report to include photos–for your client’s understanding, for professionalism, for making it easier to locate issues later that need repairing, and last but certainly not least, to protect yourself as a home inspector (more on that in a future post!). Some of the most common feedback we get from clients of ours is how impressed they are with the reports. This is often part of the reason they hire us, and it’s often a detail they mention in their Google or Yelp review later.
With that said, the very first thing you should do is take your Front of Property picture. In fact, make it a part of your routine to ALWAYS take a picture once you begin a new side of the property. If you are like our inspectors, our photos are our means of taking notes; when you work on your report at home later you’ll be grateful to have had a clear “note-taking” procedure so you can clearly tell which pictures were taken on which sides of the house. So take that Front of Property picture and start inspecting the front of property!
Follow a consistent process
This too could be it’s own blog post, but for now here is a process that is effective for breaking down your inspection into manageable chunks–it’s a process where you’ll make two laps around the house, and looks like this:
However you decide to break it up, there’s so much to look at that it is essential to have and follow a consistent process for your Exterior inspections. In our next post (EXTERIOR, part 2), we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of the sorts of issues you may often encounter.
Don't forget to take a Macro approach!
One final–and very important–note before we wrap up this first post covering the Exterior inspection: Be sure to take a Macro approach while you’re inspecting the Exterior of the property. Because there are so many individual items and systems to look at, it’s easy to get caught up in the “micro” and miss the “macro”.
For example, you may be looking carefully for wood rot and deterioration in the siding and trim…but make sure you take a few steps back from the house. PAUSE. Check for “big picture” concerns. Is the house racking? Have any of the porch columns settled significantly? These are the things you definitely don’t want to miss. So make sure to set aside moments during your Exterior inspection to take in the big picture!
Look out for our next post, where we’ll get specific about the sorts of things you should expect to find during your Exterior inspections!