Home inspections

Buying a home is often the largest single purchase most people will make.

The decision of which house to buy is based on a number of reasons we pick the home we want to buy: location, affordability, growing family needs or downsizing into a more manageable residence. And some home buyers use their purchase as a means to gain financial security or use the purchase as a springboard to the next home.

No matter what the motivation to purchase is - you should know what you are buying.  People research large purchases all the time. It makes sense therefore to be as prudent with a home purchase as we are with our phones, cars, and vacation locations.  

What is a Scratch and Son Performance Inspection?

A Scratch and Son Performance Inspection examines whether each component of your potential purchase works as it is intended.  

Houses built in 1910 are built differently than those built in 2010. A Performance Inspection doesn’t discriminate against a 1910 built house because we look at each component to assess its ability to do what it should be doing.

Take plumbing as an example: how the water moves up to a second storey bathroom has changed since 1910. There have obviously been some advances in plumbing technology. We have moved from galvanized steel pipes to copper pipes and now often use plastic that snaps together.  Each of these types of pipes are acceptable and, importantly, each complete the same function of getting water upstairs.

A Scratch and Son Performance Inspection looks for leaks, poor pressure or flow, and contamination issues.  This does not change based on the type of pipe that is delivering your water. So, when we inspect a house built in 1922 with galvanized steel pipes, we will focus not on the type of pipe, but if that 1922 pipe is working as it is intended.

What Does a Performance Inspection Look At?

A performance inspection looks at the functioning of all of the aspects of the structure of a home - roofing, exterior building and grade, decks, porches and stairs.  But Scratch and Son goes further than just the structure. We go inside the structure and inspect the performance of the electrical system, plumbing, heating, interior finishes, and more.  

We test as we go as well: testing the electrical system, water pressure, waste drainage, rot, insect damage, and the performance of your furnace and water heater.  

If we can access the space, we will inspect the space, including the roof, attic, basement and crawl spaces.  We will take as much time as necessary to gather all the relevant information needed to generate a thorough report.  

What is the inspection process?

There are three steps to a performance inspection:  

  1. On site inspection - This is when we gather all the information about the house by going through the house thoroughly. The inspection can take up to two and a half hours, depending on the size of the home.  
  2. Research -  We do rigorous research on what we observed during the on site inspection. We examine components like soil type, flood experience, and municipal water pressure.  Appliances all have information panels so that we can research common issues with that particular brand or type.
  3. Delivery of the report -  Although this is the product you purchase, our commitment to you is long term.  It is important that you feel comfortable contacting us with any questions concerning the content of the report.  

What is in a Report?

The performance inspection report is the product that the we deliver to you.  It details the performance of all the components of your home. Our reports include a summary of the inspection and a “red flag” section.  “Red flags” are elements of the home that need immediate attention or are a health and safety concern.

Our report will walk you through the home in a simple, easy to understand way.  It will also tell you what we looked at and what we could not look at.

Our reports are clearly written so you can be confident about the state of the house you are looking at.  

Are There Recommendations in the Report?

Yes! We include recommendations in all of our performance inspections.

In general, under- or poor performing components of the home are reported on with suggested remedies.  The elements of the house systems that could perform better are noted with a detail of what that element should be like based on current building practices.  This is an excellent reference for a future home owner. What you may see in a report is the need to monitor the conditions. We may say that a pipe is suspect and has leaking potential.  If this leak does not pose a health or safety threat or any other impact than a nuisance, we will suggest keeping an eye on it.

We will also recommend that professionals in a particular area be contacted to give a more complete inspection, such as with electrical or furnace performance.  We will identify areas of concern, but sometimes a more qualified expert is needed.

Is an Inspection Report useful after the home purchase?

Our performance inspection reports are a tool for a home buyer, even after the purchase.

Our experience has shown that that most people do not take advantage of their report, and they should be.  Imagine purchasing an adjustable wrench, setting it on one size and only using it for that size of nut. That wouldn’t make sense.  That tool can do so much more. The same is true with our performance inspection report. Yes, using the report to negotiate your home purchase is very useful; however, that report is still applicable once you own the home.  A well-written report can help you plan maintenance tasks, identify areas of improvement, and help you decide the best way to renovate. It can be used as a reference while interviewing contractors for changes to your home and act as a roadmap for updates to major appliances like furnaces, hot water tanks and central air.