How to Decode A Home Inspection Report
An Important Document For Home Buyers….And Sellers
If you want to minimize any unpleasant surprises during the home buying process a home inspection is a must. It is also a good idea to have one when you’re planning to sell your home.
Find the issues before putting your home on the market. And fix them. The buyer’s inspector will find them anyway.
In either case, understanding the inspection report is a must. And we are going to help you demystify the home inspection report.
Here are some insights on what’s included, what’s not included, and how to decode the findings.
The Home Inspection Report
A home inspection report is a document prepared by a home inspector. It will be reviewed with you after the inspection. And a copy emailed to you and your Realtor a few hours later.
It includes information on the condition of the home and identifies issues with major systems. A home inspection does not list quotes for home repairs or replacements.
And keep in mind a long inspection report doesn’t mean there are a lot of serious issues. As a Tucson Realtor team since 2002, we have seen a lot of inspections. And read a lot of inspection reports.
We do this so that we can explain them to buyers, sellers and 3rd parties. We know “An inspector must list every item they find “wrong” with the house—whether it is a significant issue or not.
Also, inspectors take lots of photos throughout the inspection. These are included in their report. This adds to the bulk to the report, but also provides visual evidence to what the inspector has “called out”.
For instance, an inspector might note that a damaged window screen and include photos. Small items like this can often make up the majority of the report. so it’s important not to focus on the number of issues, but rather the severity of them.
Jack Randall, is a Tucson home inspector we have used many times. He indicates, “It’s easy to pad out a report with half a page of boilerplate on each issue.
But it’s more important to educate the client. For example, the implications of R-22 coolant in the air conditioning system.” (R-22 coolant is being phased out. The US government has done this because of the damaging effects on the ozone layer.)
And keeping the focus on findings that are severe, costly, or time consuming to fix.
What’s included in a home inspection report?
A home inspection report will include:
- An informational section that lists general details about the house.
- Table of contents
- A general summary of major issues with the house.
- Details about major home systems, their crucial components, and their operation.
- Any system defects along with pictures will noted.
Some inspectors will include recommendations on what to do. For example, if a system is old the home inspector could suggest replacing it. Or having a contractor specializing in the system to review it further.
The inspection report includes information about:
- Structural components like the foundation and framing of the home.
- Exterior features like siding, porches, balconies, walkways, and driveways.
- Roof features like tile, shingles, flashing, and skylights.
- Plumbing systems like pipes, drains, and water heating equipment.
- Electrical equipment like service panels, breakers, and fuses.
- Heating and cooling systems
- Interior items including walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, cabinets, indoor stairs, and railings.
- The inspection includes insulation, attic, and crawl spaces. Trusses and rafters examined for cracks or breaks
The inspector will identify any issues and take photos to show any problems. When an issue poses a future problem the inspector will identify potential actions. (i.e., broken roof tile or flashing that could lead to leaks or mold growth).
Inspectors we have worked with include a legend in the report. It identifies items with informational comments, observational comments, repair comments, or safety comments.
These comments contain information about the components mentioned in the report. “And what to keep an eye on that might need further attention later,” says Randell.
Any safety issues get a bold highlight. Usually RED.
The critical take away from an inspection is major items needing repair. Cosmetic items – paint, minor drywall cracks, etc – are not “usually requested for repair.
Guest Article By: Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza August 17, 2018 Updated: June 11, 2019
Now, here is what you do with the inspection report…..BINSR
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