The days of hand-written triplicate home inspections reports are far behind us. No longer will clients tolerate unprofessional or old-school methods. In this post we examine what YOU SHOULD EXPECT from a quality home inspection report. The problem is MANY HOME INSPECTORS DO NOT USE HIGH QUALITY REPORTING TOOLS LIKE WE DO, or do not fully understand the ethical standards regarding reporting.
Excellent inspection reports
A home inspection report is the documented findings of the inspection conducted by a licensed home inspector in New York State. There are NYS regulations that partly govern reporting, but there is a lot of room for interpretation, which is why NOT ALL REPORTING IS CREATED EQUAL. Here is our TOP 10 list.
The report should...
Not scare the client! First and foremost… I repeat…should NOT SCARE CLIENTS. scaring clients defeats the purpose of the inspection report! The purpose is to inform clients. Not scare them! We inform clients so they can use information to make informed decisions about the property.
Clearly identify the systems and components of the home that were readily accessible and visually observable. For example, the areas of the heating system or the roof that were observed at the time of inspection.
Professionally and clearly communication findings. Many inspectors use jargon to profess their expertise, which gets in the way of the important messages, like prioritizing findings.
Prioritize findings, so that clients know what is most important and can easily understand what is needed now, and in the future. It's imperative to put these findings into context, which is why we also set the expectation before the inspection day. The highest priority items are tagged “Immediate Attention.”
Be electronically secure, and presented on a secure website, with access to both clients and agents, but NEVER emailed. Why? It has been proven time and again that email is an insecure method of transmitting data, and email fraud is all around us!
Recommend to hire an expert if a finding calls for it. Our system has a built-in and easy to use process. For example, a licensed electrician when an electrical problem is encountered. This expert can give an indication of costs to repair - not the inspector. Many inspectors give estimates of work, which is against licensing law in NYS.
Show pictures / videos / infrared / drone, and descriptions that deliver context to pictures, without unnecessary jargon of fluff.
Give advice about home maintenance, like how long appliances last.
Only be shared with a client's real estate agent after consent was granted by the client. The report is the sole property of the client until they share it or give permission to share it.
Be versatile enough so users can share only SOME parts to other parties, like sellers, the seller's agent, or contractors.
WHAT NOT TO EXPECT
Inspection reports will not...
1. Have much to say about systems or components hidden from view at inspection time. For example attics that are blocked or inaccessible, or air conditioners that were not functioning. This may mean returning to the inspection a second time.
2. Give estimates of repair costs or value of real estate, in fact $$$ signs of any kind are not permitted. Or even answering client questions like, "is this house worth buying?" is completely inappropriate and is not up to the inspector.
NOTE: Work closely with you agent and use our Repair Request tool to work out how to handle potential repairs, and the costs that may be associated. Repair costs can be estimated by contractors.
4. Point out or document code violations. Home inspectors are not code enforcement officers.
5. Attempt to document easements, property lines, or any limitation of the use of the property.
Here are a few snapshots of the header in our report. Check out the full report.
Here are a few snapshots information within the report.
Regarding #10 above.