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Standards of Practice

What gets inspected?

A Preinspection Agreement is mandatory in Washington. It must be signed before the inspection. The agreement clarifies and explains everything you should know about an inspection before it happens. Much of it consists of information already in the WA Admin Code chapter for Home Inspections. 


To make it as easy as possible, Don’t Panic Inspections sends clients the agreement by email ASAP. You should read it completely, ask any questions you have, sign, and retain a copy for your records.

The following are inspected when safe and readily accessible:

  • Lots & Grounds (Walkways, Grading, Meters, Hose Bibs, Drains)

  • Exterior (Cladding/Siding, Windows, Doors, Porches, Decks, Steps, Balconies, Eaves)

  • Roof (Materials, Coverings, Gutters, Flashing, Vents, Downspouts)

  • Interior Structure (Basement, Attic, Crawlspace, Insulation, Condition and Components)

  • Garages (Garage Doors, Openers, Structure, Fire hazards, Walls, Ceilings, Floor)

  • Plumbing System (Visible Water Lines, Waste Lines, Faucets, Toilets, Hot Water Heater)

  • Electrical System (Service Type, Panel, Circuit Breakers/Fuses, Outlets, Wires, Ground)

  • Heating System (Fuel Source, Units & Types, Ducts, Controls, Flues, Operation)

  • Cooling System (A/C, Fuel Source, Units & Types, Ducts, Controls, Operation)

  • Fireplaces & Stoves (Types, Fuel Source, their Condition and Components)

  • All Interior Rooms (Walls, Ceilings, Floors, Windows, Doors, Stairs)


The inspection report will note any systems that could not be inspected.

What Does Not Get Inspected?

Don’t Panic Inspections always recommends the proper licensed professional when any toxic or hazardous substances are suspected (for example asbestos, lead, mold, gas, pests, or other unsafe conditions). Often State Law requires a special licensed professional for specific issues. For example, legal identification of termite damage can only be made by a Licensed Structural Pest Inspector (not an exterminator).


Other important exclusions per State Law:


    The inspector will not:


(1) Determine the condition of any system or component that is not readily accessible;

(2) Comment on the suitability of the structure or property for any specialized use,

(6) Operate any system or component that is shut down, not connected or is otherwise inoperable.

(7) Operate any system or component that does not respond to normal user controls.

(10) Offer or perform engineering services or work in any trade or professional service other than home inspection.

(11) Offer or provide warranties or guarantees of any kind unless clearly explained and agreed to by both parties in a pre-inspection agreement.

(15) Perform any procedure or operation that will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector or others or damage the property, its systems or components.


When buying a home, get multiple professional opinions. No one ever said you can only have one inspection done. Don’t Panic Inspections always recommends a licensed professional perform a sewer scope to assess a home’s sewer lines. We might recommend licensed general contractors, roofing contractors, electricians, and plumbers. They can each evaluate, repair, and warranty specific home systems.

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