Your Home Inspection Report
It has become the norm nowadays for all home inspectors to include photos with their report. I am assuming your inspector includes them as well. Just stating an issue is to easily misinterpreted and difficult for potential home buyers to know exactly what the issue is. Especially for buyers that cannot make the original home inspection. A good photo should show exactly the issue and easily seen without arrows or circles. Although some areas may be difficult to get a good picture, in which case an indicator may be needed. Also, along with each photo a brief, simple description should be included. Many home inspectors reports, which includes ours, come with a few pages of maintenance and informational pages. Many of the better, successful home inspection companies I know of have reports that at least 30+ pages. So beware of any report less then 20 pages. The home inspection report is the most critical and heavily used document not only for repairs, but for any future concerns. To completely describe and provide valuable information about a home is almost impossible to do with 20 or less pages.
Home Inspection Report Terms
Below are just a few common home inspection descriptions, terms and verbiage we use, and we know many other home inspectors use as well. Again, a word or 2 may be different but essentially this is what to expect.
Repair As Needed: This is a term used mainly to defer repairs to a contractor. Also, for items such as a sliding closet door that is not properly hung at the time of inspection. It is not good practice for home inspectors to specifically say how to repair issues. Mostly because of the possible legal issues that may arise. Just like many other jobs a home inspector holds an incredible amount of liability with their report and words. God forbid an issue get brought to small claims court, the report is the biggest leg an inspector has to stand on. Our job is to locate, describe and refer our clients for any repairs we find during our home inspection. Any necessary repairs should be determined by the qualified contractor doing the repair.
Typical And Part Of Routine Maintenance: We use this term to inform our clients that the issue is normal. Many issues we find are just normal wear and tear or lack of routine maintenance issues. We recommend not asking for these repairs to be made with sellers. Common areas we note this on our report is exterior wood or trim. Typically we see wood that should be stained/painted. This is typical, and necessary over time. When we put this in our report it is usually just for informational purposes. This does not mean the defect needs to be repaired or replaced, it is just simply in need of routine maintenance.
Not Properly Installed: Pretty straight forward. An example from a home I recently inspected is the dryer vent was not properly connected. In this instance the vent was not connected to anything. This is usually an easy repair. Other areas I see this is electrical fixtures such as ceiling fans/lights or roof vent flashing.
Potential Safety Hazard: This is usually a very serous term. Although the defect may be a simple repair, we use this term to help clients recognize this an issue that should be repaired as soon as possible. Areas we note with this term include: GFCI outlets that are either non-operable or are not installed. Another area is if a home is missing smoke/co detectors. Or gas leaks found at gas appliances such as water heaters, furnaces. This is not necessarily a term meant to scare clients away. This is just meant to place this repair on a higher more expedient area to look into. Again, many areas we find these issues are typically simple fixes.
Inoperable At The Time Of Inspection: Simple to understand right? This is used for items that are found to be inoperable when tested/inspected at the time of inspection. Not to be confused with "not operating properly". Which should describe a component that works or is installed, but not properly. An item that is inoperable does not work at all. Defects commonly inoperable are light bulbs, windows, or specific burners on the stove top.
My blog is intended to provide information related to home inspections in Fresno, surrounding communities and anyone else interested.