At Shipley and Associates, Inc., we pride ourselves on our expertise, professionalism and thoroughness. Our inspection is meant to serve as a tool for discovering potential problems and deficiencies with a home, as well as to educate the buyer.  The inspection itself takes approximately 2 ½ to 4 hours. We encourage our clients to be present during the inspection.

Here is a list of the major components and systems checked in our Pre-Purchase Home Inspection:

  • Basement
  • Crawl space
  • Pests
  • Electrical
  • Heating/Cooling
  • Plumbing
  • Bathrooms
  • Laundry
  • Kitchen
  • Interiors
  • Attic
  • Roof
  • Exterior
  • Site

The Inspection Process:

Schedule Your Inspection. 

Call or email to set up your appointment. 


Do you know how much time you have to have the home inspection performed? When you signed your Purchase and Sale Agreement with the seller, your real estate agent and/or the contract designated a timeline for having the inspection done. Typically it’s anywhere from 24 hours to two weeks. We understand the timeline of the inspection contingency. At Shipley and Associates, Inc. we can usually schedule your inspection within a couple of days.

Inspection Day. 

Present at the inspection may include, in addition to the inspector, the home buyer(s) and their real estate agent. It isn’t necessary for the home seller to be present. A thorough inspection typically takes between 2 ½ and 4 hours, so everyone who plans to be present should schedule accordingly.

Pre-inspection Home Inspection Agreement  We use a pre-inspection agreement which can be e-mailed, faxed, or sent via regular mail before the inspection, or you can wait until the day of inspection to read it.  Both home buyer(s) and inspector sign the agreement and both receive a copy.

The Inspection  During the 2 1/2 to 4 hour inspection more than 350 items are checked (see detailed descriptions, below). During the final 15 to 20 minutes of the inspection we finish up with notes and create a summary for you.

The Written Report You will receive a written report within 24 hours of the inspection.  The report includes the inspection findings as well as maintenance and repair tips so you have a good idea of what to expect in the future as far as maintenance and repair. We take digital pictures and insert them into the report with custom narrative comments.

Even though the inspection is over, we are available to answer any questions you may have in the future about your house.

We are here to inform and educate.

Sometimes people think they should know certain things about construction or maintenance and worry that they’ll ask “dumb” questions. No such thing in our book. Part of our job is to help you understand what you are getting into – the good, the bad, even the potentially messy!

It’s important to note that we are not passing or failing a house, or saying what must be done before a house can be bought or sold. It’s up to you to decide which items you might ask the seller to address, if you’ll negotiate based on the results of the inspection, or if you’ll decide this is not the house for you after all. Everyone has a different idea about what is important or unimportant and this can depend on many things including your financial situation, your tolerance for imperfections, or your interest in doing a few fix-it-up projects after your move in.

Each house is unique and some are more so than others; however, the inspection itself is done pretty much the same way regardless of style or age. Here are the major items checked and a sampling of problems and situations we encounter:

Building Site/Yard Areas. How is your house situated on the site? Slope and grading are important with regard to how well the house handles storm water drainage (rain); a big issue in the Greater Seattle Area! We all know water runs downhill, but you’d be surprised by how many builders and home owners know it too . . . and ignore it. Any paving or landscaping that slopes toward your foundation can cause water to collect and drain into your foundation.

Basement/Crawl Space (some homes have both). Regardless of the foundation type, looking for problems with moisture infiltration is important. We look for signs of past moisture problems and its effect on the building. We also look for the potential for problems in the future and give recommendations for drainage improvements if necessary.

Crawl spaces are an important but often neglected part of the structure. It’s not difficult to understand people not wanting to go into crawl spaces; however, most items of concern are the result of people not inspecting their crawl spaces on a regular basis. Sometimes we find, for example, that rodents have burrowed under the foundation and damaged or pulled down insulation to build their winter nests. By discovering their presence early, a homeowner can save a lot of money by filling in holes under a foundation rather than having to remove and replace an entire floor framing system of insulation. Rodents can also damage electrical wires or create unsanitary conditions under the house.

Electrical System. We remove the panel cover to check items such as the size of your service into the building and compare that with the service rating of the panel and circuit breakers. Wiring size to circuit breaker size is analyzed, we look for any signs of over-heating, and make sure your particular panel isn’t under a safety recall. We also check for carpenter ants at this location, a common entry point for these wood-boring insects. Individual outlets are checked for proper wiring and safety. We check for proper GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) protection.

Heating System. Whether by forced air furnace, radiant coils or individual electric heaters, heat is supposed to be supplied to all the rooms of a house. If gas or oil is used, we inspect for problems with carbon monoxide and natural gas leaks. Proper installation, flue condition, installation, and size, are just a few of the things that need to be checked when looking at furnaces and heating systems. There have been notable problems with certain electric baseboard and wall heaters in the past so we’ll determine if your unit is under a safety recall or perhaps at the age where it needs to be replaced.

Plumbing System. Types of materials used, leaks, proper installation. Is the static pressure on your system too high or too low? And if so, what does that mean? Did the seller remodel the house with upgrading the plumbing system and if so, what do they mean by that?

Bathrooms. Does the house you are buying have a bathroom that has been recently “remodeled?” Tubs and showers, toilets and sinks – depending on maintenance and types of materials used, these areas are often subject to problems with leakage. Even a brand new bathroom remodel can cover over a rotting floor or wall surround. Better to find out sooner than later.

Interiors. Some finish materials may be damaged from leakage or contain asbestos. Many people area concerned about mold and we are here to help you understand and check for problems with mold in your house.

Exterior. Is your siding a composite material that may be defective? Perhaps a brick veneer with failing mortar. If the wood siding hasn’t been well maintained, it too could be allowing leakage into the building. The exterior of windows are checked as well, looking for signs of leakage and sill damage.

Roof. A roof can look great and leak; a roof can look worn and not leak for several years. How a roof was installed, the pitch, roof penetrations, chimneys, skylights, flashings – all of these items are checked along with the roof material itself.

Garage. Whether attached, detached, basement, or somewhere in between, a garage is part of the purchase and needs to be checked. Thinking of tearing down an old garage and rebuilding? Better check zoning requirements first.



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