Home Inspection Reports Explained
In the early years of the Home Inspection Industry, Home Inspection Reports consisted of a simple checklist or a one or two-page narrative report. In the inspection business, descriptive phrases are called “narratives”.
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Both checklist and narrative reports are still in use today. From the point of liability, narrative reports are widely considered safer, since they generally provide more information and/or state information more clearly. Many liability issues and problems with the inspection process are due to misunderstandings about what was to be included in the report or about what the report says.
Take the time to examine the Standards of Practice followed by your inspector. If he is unaffiliated with any professional inspection organization and his reports follow no particular standards, find another inspector.
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Generally speaking, reports should describe the major home systems, their crucial components and their functionality, especially the ones in which failure can result in dangerous or expensive-to-correct conditions. Defects should be adequately described and the report should include recommendations.
Recommendations may be for specific actions to be taken or for further evaluation, but they should address problems in such a way that the reader of the report will understand how to proceed.
Inspection reports should include a summary report listing major problems to ensure that important issues are not missed by the reader. It’s important that the reader be aware of safety issues or conditions which will be expensive to correct.
Modern home inspection reports are typically computer-generated, with an inspector choosing from a pre-written set of narratives so sometimes they read a little oddly. There will always be conditions which can’t be foreseen and for which there will be no boilerplate narratives available. Different inspectors have differing abilities when it comes to describing what they see.
Many inspectors have websites which include sample Inspection Reports for prospective clients to view. Take the time to look at them. Also often included is a page explaining the scope of the inspection. The inspection contract is usually included and it should give you a good idea of what will be included in the report.
In conclusion, to have realistic expectations about what information will be included in your home inspection report:
- Read the Standards of Practice
- Read the Scope of the inspection
- Read the contract
- View a sample Inspection Report
This article was provided by:
David Kreger, Owner/Operator
Buffalo Niagara Home Inspection Services
NYS License # 16000029423