The most frequent problem with inspection reports is the descriptions assigned for items or systems. A report that indicates the condition as “Good,” “Fair” or “Poor” without a detailed explanation is vague and can be easily misinterpreted.
If there are problems with something in your home, none of these descriptions gives the homeowner an clear idea of what exactly is wrong. Does the sink have a cosmetic problem? Does the home have a plumbing problem? A good report should supply you with descriptive information on the condition of the site and home. An example of a descriptive condition is:
Kitchen sink: Condition – Minor wear, heavy wear, damaged, rust stains, or chips in enamel finish. Recommend sealing sink at counter top.
As you can see, this narrative description includes a recommendation for repair. Reports without these narrative recommendations for repairing deficient items often lead to more questions than answers.
Once you receive your report, take the time to become familiar with it. Should the report have a legend, key, symbols or icons, read them thoroughly and make sure you understand what each icon represents. The more information provided about the site and home, the easier to understand the overall condition.
At the end of the inspection your inspector may provide a summary with a question and answer period. Use this opportunity to ask questions regarding terms or conditions that you may not be familiar with. A good inspector should be able to explain the answers to your questions. If for some reason a question cannot be answered at the time of the inspection, the inspector should research the question and provide the answer for you. For instance, if the inspector’s report states that the concrete foundation has common cracks, be sure to ask, “Why are they common?” The answer you should receive will be along these lines: common cracks are usually due to normal concrete curing and or shrinkage.
We recommend that you accompany your inspector through the entire inspection if possible. This helps you to understand the condition of the home and the details of the report.
Read the report completely and understand the condition of the home you are about to purchase. After all, it is likely one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make.