Buying Guide

Scope of a Massachusetts home inspection

The following areas of a home are required to be reported on during a home inspection in Massachusetts:


Provided safe and readiliy accessible access to the roof, the inspector will report on signs of leaks, in addition to the following roof components:

  • Roof coverings
  • Exposed roof drainage systems
  • Exposed flashings
  • Skylights
  • Exterior of chimney
  • Other roof penetrations (pipes, etc.)
  • Wall cladding
  • Entryway doors and windows (a representative number)
  • Garage door operators
  • Decks
  • Balconies
  • Stoops/landings
  • Steps
  • Areaways
  • Window wells
  • Porches (including hand and guard railings)
  • Exposed trim (eaves, soffits, fascias, rake, corner, and other trim boards)
  • Flashings
  • Driveways
  • Walkways
  • Grading
  • Site drainage
  • Retaining walls
  • Garage doors on attached garages
Basement/crawl space

Exposed portions of:

  • Foundation
  • Basement/Under Floor Crawl Space floor.
  • Superstructure system (girders, sills, floor joists, headers, and sub-floor).
  • Columns and posts.
Attic space
  • Framing (rafters, collar ties, tie beams, trusses, other)
  • Roof sheathing (boards, oriented strand board, plywood, other.)
  • Flooring (presence or lack of)
Electrical systems
  • Type of service (overhead or underground, cable, encased in conduit, other)
  • Service, feeder, and branch-circuit conductor materials (copper, copper-cladded aluminum, aluminum, other)
  • Interior wiring (armored cable, conduit, tubing, nonmetallic cable, knob and tube, flat cable assemblies, other).
  • Exterior of exposed service entrance conductors
  • Exterior receptacles
  • The service equipment, grounding system, main overcurrent device, and the interior of the service and distribution panels
  • The exterior of the exposed branch circuit and feeder conductors, their overcurrent devices, and the compatibility of their ampacities and voltages.
  • Random interior receptacles
  • All bathroom and kitchen countertop receptacles
  • All non-dedicated receptacles in the attached garage and on the exterior of inspected structures and in unfinished basements.
  • Branch circuits and overcurrent devices in the panel enclosures
  • The main service disconnect (30, 60, 100, 125, 150 and/or 200 amp, other service, 120, 120/240, 120/208-volt system)
  • Ground-fault circuit interrupters
  • Arc fault current interrupters
  • Water supply piping materials, including supports and insulation.
  • Fixtures and faucets
  • Functional Flow
  • Leaks
  • Cross connections
  • Traps; drain, waste, and vent piping; piping supports and pipe insulation.
  • Functional drainage
  • Hot water heating equipment, normal operating controls, and automatic safety controls
  • Exterior of the chimneys, thimbles and vent
  • Identify type of energy source (coal, electric, gas, heat pump, oil, wood, other)
  • Heating equipment including, but not limited to burners, valves, controls, circulators, and fans.
  • Normal operating controls
  • Automatic safety controls
  • The exterior of the chimneys, thimbles, and vents.
  • Solid fuel heating devices
  • Heating distribution systems including fans, pumps, ducts, piping and supports, dampers, insulation, air filters, registers, radiators, fan coil units, and convectors.
  • Existence of insulation
  • The presence of an installed heat source in each habitable room including kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Exposed flue piping and the existence of a thimble.
  • The presence of fireplaces and the operation of their dampers.
  • The existence of abandoned oil tanks.
Central air conditioning
  • Cooling and air handling equipment and normal operating controls.
  • Fans
  • Pumps
  • Ducts and piping
  • Dampers
  • Insulation
  • Registers
  • Fan-coil units
  • Condensers
  • Insulation
General interior conditions
  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Floors
  • Steps, stairways, balconies, hand, and guard railings.
  • Countertops and a representative number of cabinets.
  • A representative number of doors and windows.
  • Separation walls, ceilings, and doors between a dwelling unit and an attached garage or another dwelling unit.
Insulation and ventilation
  • Exposed insulation in unfinished spaces
  • Ventilation of attics and under-floor crawl space areas
  • Bathroom venting systems
Source: The Massachusetts Board of Home Inspectors Standards of Practice, 266 CMR 6.04

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