Home Inspection Reports
What to expect from inspection reports
Home inspection reports have changed to accommodate increased consumer expectations. As a result, reports provide more extensive information and protection to both inspectors and their clients.
Development of Standards
Prior to the mid-1970s, inspection reports followed no standard guidelines. Without minimum standards to follow, the quality of inspection reports varied widely. As a result, the public viewed the home inspection industry with suspicion.
A Standard of Practice became available with the founding of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) in 1976. This provided home inspection guidelines governing inspection reports. Later, a second trade association, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), was the established. InterNACHI developed its own Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics.
Today InterNACHI dominates the inspection industry worldwide. In addition to its Residential Standards of Practice, it developed the only comprehensive Standards of Practice for Commercial Properties. most types of inspection from mould to fire door use InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice.
My inspection reports describe the major home systems, their crucial components and their operability. This especially important in those which can result in failure in dangerous or expensive-to-correct conditions. I describe defects effectively and my report includes recommendations.
My inspection reports also disclaim portions of the home hidden from view. These include areas below ground and floors and behind wall and ceiling coverings. Home inspections are visual inspections
I also note conditions that require a specialist inspection.
Home inspections are not technically exhaustive, so I will not dismantle a furnace to examine the heat exchanger.
The Standards of Practice describe the requirements and the limitations of a home inspection.
Checklist and Narrative Inspection reports
Originally home inspection reports consisted of a simple checklist, or a one- or two-page narrative report.
Checklist inspection reports contain almost no writing. The report is a series of boxes with short or abbreviated descriptions. They might consist of only two or three words, such as “peeling paint”. The entire checklist might only be four or five pages long.
Because of the lack of detailed information, checklist inspection reports are open to interpretation. Buyers, sellers, agents, contractors, attorneys and judges may each interpret the information differently, depending on their experience or motives.
Narratives are phrases that describe conditions found during an inspection. Narrative inspection reports use reporting language that completely describes each condition. In addition, I don’t abbreviate descriptions.
Some inspectors still use checklist inspection reports. Many countries are banning checklist reports because of the limited information they offer has resulted in legal problems.
I produce narrative inspection reports because they are safer and superior as they provide clearer information.
Development of Reporting Software
Handwritten inspection reports are no longer the norm. As computers became simpler to operate and more affordable, inspection software began to appear on the market.
With inspection reporting software, I can choose from a large number of organised narratives. I edit or add the narratives in order to accommodate local conditions and the property.
Using narrative software I can produce a very detailed report in a relatively short time.
Standard disclaimers automatically appear in each report.
Narratives normally consist of three parts:
- A description of a condition of concern.
- Sentences or paragraph describing how serious the condition is, and the potential ramifications.
- A recommendation.
I recommend specific actions or further evaluation necessary. However, recommendations address problems in such a way that you will know how to proceed.
Report Content – Inspection report
Inspection reports often begin with an informational section which gives general information about the home. This includes the client’s name, contact details, weather conditions, and whether the property is occupied and furnished.
Other information listed are disclaimers
My comprehensive inspection reports include a summary report, listing major problems. As a result, you won’t miss important issues. It’s important that you are aware of safety issues or conditions that are expensive to correct. I colour code narrative headings with this in mind.
Furthermore, inspection reports include photographs in the main body of the report, below the narrative that describes them.
A table of contents is also provided.
I break down the systems of the property into sections and areas in the report. These can be “ELECTRICAL,” “PLUMBING”, “HEATING”, “EXTERIOR”, “INTERIOR”,etc., or by area of the home: “KITCHEN”, “BEDROOMS”, etc.
Sample Inspection report
Finally, you can find out more by:
- reading the Standards of Practice;
- reading the Contract;
- viewing a sample Inspection Report; and
- talking to me.
Below I feature an example of a comprehensive Sellers Home Inspection Report with the seller’s permission. Every defect in the home noted with narratives and photographs. Acceptable finishes and elements of the home are also included in the report.
Inspected once, Inspected Right!®