Great Home Inspection Reports

inspecting report solid state home inspections

Home inspection reports come in many different shapes and sizes. There are long-form hand written reports which read more like novels, checklist style forms completed on site, and numerous electronic reporting systems with combinations of long-form writing and checklist items. For home inspection clients, it is worth looking at a sample of a potential inspectors report to make sure it both meets your expectations and understand if it covers everything you want it to cover.


Home Inspection Report Minimums

All the professional home inspection associations require some minimal form of written report for clients. The minimums requires by the associations require inspectors review a specific number of areas of the home and identify/describe the systems found, comment on any observed deficiencies, and often identify how the systems were observed.


These minimums can be pretty scarce. For example, an inspector may observe a typical asphalt shingle roof on a home and the entire roofing report may only say, ‘Asphalt Shingles Present observed from ladder edge’ and the report would meet the ‘minimum’ requirement. However, achieving the minimums, won’t typically impress your client and gain you referrals for the future.


Checklists

With checklists, there is some added confidence for the client that the inspector reviewed the areas of the home well enough to complete the report as the client can see what the inspector chose to check and what they opted not to check. For example, an observation of the same roof as the example above may have:

  • Main Roof Materials Present: ✅ Asphalt shingles, Wood Shingles, Concrete Shingles, Metal
  • Method of Observation: On Roof, ✅ Ladders Edge, From Ground with Binoculars
  • Observations of Material: Brittle, Cracked, Curling, Cupping, Missing pieces, ✅ Eroding Granules


Now, the client knows a lot more than they did, plus, the ability of the checklist allows for some common observed conditions to be reported (eroding granules). Checklists have some advantages for inspectors that they allow common observations to be easy to report, they however don’t do a good job of explaining deficiencies to clients or what clients need to do about these deficiencies.


Report Narratives

Report narratives can be in long-form narratives (fully written sentences and paragraphs) or in more point for methods. The advantages of written narratives are often a more clear description of the inspectors observations. For example:

     “The main body of the roofing material is asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are a common material used in this application and can have normal service lives of 15-25 years depending on the quality of materials installed and the method of installation and maintenance. These shingles appear to be aging normally however, closer observation from a ladder at the edge of the roof shows some signs of eroding granules. This is typically one of the early signs of material wear. Consult with a roofer for more information on expected remaining life span of this materials but inspector does not expect it to fail in the immediate future.”


The client now has a much better understanding of the roof system from their inspector. They know that the roof system is a common material and that it is not new, but the inspector is saying it won’t fail immediately. Long form inspections are very time consuming for inspectors to produce which is why most inspectors use a checklist style system.


Special Comments/Deficiencies

Unless a home inspector only doing a long-form narrative report, there will be a need to call out special concerns of deficiencies to the client when these are observed. A deficiency should identify what the inspector is reporting is wrong, what the implications are of the problem, and next steps for the client to undertake. A good comment could be:

     “Inspector observes active signs of a water leak in the attic including wet rafters and insulation. Repair is necessary to prevent interior damage and deterioration of building structure. Have roof system reviewed by a roofing contractor immediately.


The home inspector has clearly told the client what they observed, why it needs to be fixed, and what to do about it.


Pictures

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, it is a major surprise that so many inspectors don’t include pictures in their home inspection reports. Pictures can help to make an observed deficiency much more clear for the client (or the tradesperson they take your report to for assistance). They also allow the inspector to more clearly show exactly which handle is the main water shutoff or to include which corner of the house drainage was a concern on without the client needing a compass.


Final Thoughts

I believe a good home inspection report is detailed in explaining to clients what was observed and provides clear and detailed reporting on any deficiencies observed. At Solid State, we use type-written reporting with typically dozens of pictures of the inspected home to make understanding our report as easy as possible. We also leverage next-generation reporting tools and methods to ensure this is all done promptly and with the highest level of customer service.


If you want a great report to help you know if your next home is Safe and Solid, give us a call at 604-722-1227 to book your inspection today.


 By James Bell - Owner Solid State Inspections Inc.