There are five (5) different types of Home Inspection Report formats:
Checklist Report (Worst,Tells You Nothing)
Modified Checklist Report (Poor,Tells You Very Little)
Narrative Report (Not Clear, No Pictures)
Non-Diagrammed Picture-Narrative Report (Pictures Not Diagrammed to Pinpoint Issue on Picture, No Approximate Costs for Repairs to Determine if You are Paying Too Much)
Diagrammed Picture-Narrative Report with Approximate Repair/Replacement Costs (Best, Easily Understood, Clear and Concise, Approximate Repair Costs Included, Can Be Used To Renegotiate Price of Property)
To determine the type of report format you will receive you need to see one which most inspectors put on their website.
DON’T take for granted that it is a certain type, you want to see the real thing!
If one is not on the site and you are still interested ask to have one emailed to you. It should have a date on it and be a recent report!
Types of Reports
A . Checklist Reports
Many inspectors that prepare the report during the actual inspection use some type of check list report. A checklist report gives limited assessments of some items, but little additional information. A roof may be described as new, old, fair, poor, worn, leaking, etc. No information is typically provided regarding remaining life expectancy, type of problems, ramifications etc. The following is an example excerpt from a checklist report:
NEEDS REPAIRS Roof X Siding X Grading X
In reality, a Checklist Report provides you with very limited information. A Checklist Report requires that you draw conclusions regarding the inspection findings. A checklist report is also limited in its ability to communicate information.
B. Modified Checklist Reports
Many inspection reports prepared at the time of the inspection are a Modified Checklist Report. The Modified Checklist Report is a Checklist Report with space added for writing comments. A condition may be chosen and information added. For example:
Roof X Cupped roof shingles
Siding X Vinyl siding cracked
Grading X Grading toward house
Adding even one sentence or phrase provides more information than is found in a Checklist Report. The Modified Checklist Report is normally prepared on-site and normally hurried through in the inspectors handwriting (which may or may not be legible) and lacks important information.
C. Narrative Reports (Normally difficult to understand without pictures)
Narrative Reports include written narratives that explain the scope of a problem.
“The first floor was not level due to the main metal support post being tilted. The tilting of the metal post was caused by a substandard footing underneath the post in the floor of the basement. A new footing, installed according to current code, needs to be placed under metal pole and proper leveling done.”
Narrative statements should explain the problem/condition, what the causes are, ramifications and recommendation. The only item missing from this type of report is the all important diagrammed pictures which by far make the report easier to understand. Pictures give the report clarity with visual viewing of where the problem exists and what it looks like.
D. Non-Diagrammed Picture-Narrative
Narrative reports with pictures are good but the pictures are not diagrammed with arrows, circles etc. therefore the pictures are more difficult to figure out where and what the problems are.
“Damaged apron roof flashing” (Where is the damaged piece of flashing on picture??) No designation on picture of where flashing is?? (Picture Missing)
E. Diagrammed Picture-Narrative Report With Approximate Repair/Replacement Costs
“Crack in foundation wall. Approximate cost to seal $50.