Starting on the roof, loose or damaged tiles are noted, sagging roof lines noted to investigate later, gutters and flashing are checked for holding water or rust.
The exterior of the house is visually inspected for rising damp issues and checked with a moisture meter. Cracks in the exterior walls, wood rot in windows and timber trims are investigated. The eaves are inspected for sagging, moisture issues and asbestos.
The fences are inspected for damage, paths, driveways, are inspected for falls and the house perimeter points of termite access are investigated. Retainer walls, gates, down pipes, storm water and drainage are checked, prior to looking inside the house.
Roof cavity areas are inspected next, looking at why if any roof sagging issues were seen or any other structural faults that may be identified. Insulation is checked and tile battens or purlins checked for faults. I have seen termite issues, poor construction and especially DIY efforts from renovations that remove walls, resulting in unstable roof construction. Some times the houses are simply not worth buying, as the illegal modifications must be repaired. Your house insurance will not cover work done by unlicensed trades, so choose carefully that house or be smart and have it inspected prior to purchase if an auction or use your cooling off period if a standard house purchase.
Underfloor areas are then checked for termite activity, plumbing and building defects. I have found some really unsafe under floor areas, that once notified saved clients thousands of dollars.
Bathroom floor areas are checked for falls, walls and flooring checked for moisture issues and cracked or loose tiles. Ceilings are inspected for sagging, paint flake and if the exhaust fan is operable, as is the lighting. Bathrooms and the other wet areas have the greatest issues, so a lot of time is spent in these rooms. Repairs to bathroom areas can cost many thousands of dollars and often they have been poorly renovated, to assist in a fast sale. These bathrooms look great to you, but once I fully check them out the report will show you the defects that need repairs done urgently. Issues such as wood rot, swollen MDF architraves and door frames and the associated hidden mold issues that will be apparent a few months into your home ownership. You may find that your house insurance will pay to rectify the damage but not the cause, leaving you with a hefty renovation bill you never budgeted for.
Other rooms are similarly examined for floor levels, moisture in walls and floors from leaking bathroom areas. Ceilings for sag and electrical switches checked.
Carport and garages often have failing ceiling areas, due to lack of insulation. This is common on more than half of the houses I inspect. If left unattended, the ceilings will collapse over time. This is another area that is not covered by your house hold insurance, as it is classified as lack of maintenance.
Having the right technology and knowing where to inspect thoroughly is paramount for your house inspection. Having an accurate, quality tool for inspecting moisture issues, such as leaking pipes or taps in walls. A thermal camera is used at every job to check air flow and heating, cooling and moisture issues if appropriate. Being a qualified operator of the Termatrac termite radar tool and knowing where to use it to locate active termites is very important. Even the knocking stick is a tool used at every job, to locate loose tiles and find areas to check with the moisture meter, to see if a bathroom renovation that will cost thousands may be required.
I use my laser level for checking bathroom falls, especially in DIY renovations, as often this is an area that will be very expensive to rectify.
I carry with me the usual torches etc that are used to locate hard to see things such as patched or repaired walls, but also a cavity camera for checking hard or near impossible areas to see, when required.
I carry on me an electrical tester for testing live electrical wires that look suspect, as the roof space is often an area of DIY electrical work.
I even have a ferro detector for locating the depth and location of steel rebar and mesh. Often poorly installed mesh can cause concrete cancer and this is almost impossible to rectify without cutting out the rebar or mesh, with large sections of concrete. This is not always an issue just for close to the sea housing.
Of course the most important factor is the experience of your chosen inspector. It is up to you to decide if someone who has bought into a franchise is the right person for you or some one who has spent his life in the building industry.
Look at the reviews on google and decide yourself.
As a small business owner, I will check everywhere I can, to ensure you are buying a great house.