Many of the items inspected under the Grounds part of the inspection are not actually part of the house but can be a major problem source. Grades and soils can shift causing water to be drawn toward the house instead of away from it. Poor construction or deferred maintenance can render decks unsafe. Neglected repairs can result in expensive costs and damage to the house and grounds. The type of material used must be identified, the condition of the component or item being inspected described and any recommended further action, if any, specified. 

This is the first of a series of articles that addresses the role of the home inspector in the real estate process and what is actually covered in a home inspection. Each facet of the inspection will be detailed and discussed in future articles. The purpose of these articles is to provide the home buyer and real estate professional a knowledge base so they can select qualified home inspectors and understand the function of the inspection in the due diligence process.

It is common in service industries that the market place dictates the kind and price of the products it wants businesses to provide. This fact is no less true in the home inspection industry. For example, many home inspectors offer mold and Radon testing because it is requested by home buyers or real estate agents. A relative new comer to the home inspection tool bag is thermal imaging, or infrared technology. It is unclear whether home inspectors first introduced this new product or consumers started to inquire about infrared. What is clear is that the price and availability of infrared technology has become affordable and more and more home inspectors are using it. When I was introduced to infrared technology twenty years ago an infrared camera for industrial purposes would cost $15,000 to $20,000. The same or better technology today cost $3,000 to $5,000 and is considered to be a low end camera. Used cameras can be purchased for as little as $2,000. An unfortunate result of this increased availability of IR technology has been an influx of untrained inspectors performing infrared inspections. This coupled with unrealistic or uninformed expectations from clients has created a general state of confusion concerning the real capabilities of infrared technology.

For those of us who have been in the real estate services business for a decade or better, we remember the glory days when we would show up for the home inspection with the prospective buyer. The house would be spotless, all the proper accent lighting would be on, the thermostats would be set at the most comfortable setting, music would be playing in the background and the smell of something good would be coming from the kitchen. This inspector remembers several occasions when a plate of fresh baked cookies was left on the kitchen sideboard with a note saying to enjoy. Whoa, what happened?

Explanations for what goes bump in the night 

Have you ever been sitting at home relaxing on a quiet evening and all of a sudden you hear a sound? It might be a constant tapping, a whistle or even a loud pop. Before you panic, here are some explanations for unusual sounds that houses make.


Tapping: Perhaps the most common sound encountered in homes is a steady tapping. In most cases this sound can be attributed to the expansion and contraction of building materials.