Inspection Report

The home inspection report is the actual product.

Clients who pay for a home inspection are really buying the inspection report. After the inspection process is over, the report is the deliverable. What should the client expect it to look like? Each item listed should follow the FIR format, which stands for Findings-Implications-Recommendations. That is, the item identifies a specific defect, explains what that defect means or what it could lead to, and recommends an action or actions to remedy it. Think of the inspection report as a snapshot of the house's condition on the date of inspection. Not only does it help the client formulate a plan of action, but it also serves as a baseline reference as changes and corrections are implemented.

Inspection reports are the best differentiators of home inspectors.

Inspection reports vary widely in form and content. They are the best means for telling home inspectors apart. The simplest format is a glorified checklist without narrative or photos. It might provide sufficient information to a contractor but not to the lay homeowner. Similarly, the practice of constructing reports simply by filling in the blanks of templates implies that like symptoms always stem from like causes and ignores the context of a larger picture.

On-site report printing at the close of an inspection is a service provided by some home inspectors as a client convenience. However, on-site printing affords inspectors no time to personalize the document with photos and specific insights, nor does it allow them to research more deeply into a particular situation. In contrast, customized inspection reports take time to prepare, though they are usually completed within twenty-four hours. Yet they offer detail, photo documentation, relevant references and hyperlinks, and other personalization.

Before you hire a home inspector, we recommend that you view the inspector's sample report.

What you should look for in a home inspection report.

In an inspection report, there should be both a complete documentation and a summary. The full body of the report should be thorough and detailed, with each item outlining Findings, Implications, and Recommendations. Look for an icon or color-coding legend to help you identify categories of defects and their level of seriousness.

The summary should highlight in one place all of the major defects. It provides the scope of the inspection results in one glance. However, don't ignore the less serious problems; if left unaddressed, minor defects tend to become major.

How should an inspection report be organized?

An inspection report's usefulness as a reference tool is directly proportional to how well its information is organized. If it is clear and readily searchable, the report not only helps the client make short-term purchasing or selling decisions, but also serves as a long-term homeowner guide. Check sample reports to see how quick and straightforward it is to find information. Can you scan for certain kinds of defects, such as safety concerns, conditions conducive to insect damage, repair-and-maintain issues, or situations that require further evaluation? On the other hand, are you able to find grouped all the problems associated with a particular location or system? Finally, consider how well and how extensively items are documented with photographs.

About the Home Inspection WA inspection report:

We typically spend at least as much time preparing the report as we do inspecting the house. We use clear writing; we make extensive use of photos along with clarifying arrows, circles, and captions; and we often provide references to background information. Our reports are organized by location and system, and are presented in the same categorization order as used in our home inspection checklist.

We use graphic icons to symbolize the following levels of concern:

  • Safety
  • Major Defect
  • Repair and Replace
  • Repair and Maintain
  • Minor Defect or Safety
  • Maintain
  • Evaluate
  • Monitor
  • Serviceable
  • Comment

And icons to represent the following problems related to wood-destroying insects & organisms:

  • Infestation
  • Damage
  • Conducive Conditions

We normally issue our inspection reports online by providing the client with a proprietary link, but we will gladly print a hardcopy if asked to do so. The online report provides a toggle to go between the full report and the summary, and there is also a provision to download the report in .pdf format.

We invite you to review our sample Home Inspection Report 1 and Home Inspection Report 2.