A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

Types of Home Inspection Reports Around the Country

Some of you are coming to my blog from outside of Texas, so I wanted to mention different types of reports that exist in this industry.

Well to start off, inspectors in Texas are required to use a report created by the state for any client who is directly involved in the buying or selling of the house. The report has a series of boxes for each section that are marked when something has been inspected, not inspected, not present, and in need of repair. Under these boxes and the item mentioned is a space for describing the inspection of that item. Certain items inspected require us to detail how we inspected it, how it is doing, or its condition, but I have described this report in detail on my own site, so I just want to stick to generalities. This document fits into a style of report referred to as a checklist report. Each component of the home is noted, and checked off when inspected with a notation added for clarification. Sometimes there will be boxes for every single component, or just general areas (which is what Texas requires).

A Rating System Report reminds me of the evaluation form some companies now use for employees. The components are listed beside a 1 to 5 scale. What the scale means will be at the header of the page. The inspector either writes the number given in, or he checks a box representing that number by the component. There should be a space for comments.

A Narrative Report is where the inspector just writes his findings down. It is in paragraph form, and it is written in the order of how the inspector examined the building. You can think of it as an essay about your house. Some narrative reports may follow a more organized path by having the components listed with a checklist or rating system with the narrative. Some reports in Texas do take on this quality.

Texas allows inspectors to follow their own format,once the official report has been completed, so these would be addendums. Some inspectors here use it as a means of communicating greater detail about their inspection, and some use it to describe how they inspect. Other attachments may be laboratory reports.

Which report is best? The one that gives you the information you need. All inspections should address the basics, and areas of concern need to be marked down in some fashion in each. I like the idea of the narrative, because I think it forces the details from the inspector, but the checklist or rating system styles give you the information that you need quickly.

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