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Tips on Reading an Inspection Report

When interviewing a home inspector, ask the inspector what type of report format he or she provides. There are many styles of reports used by property inspectors, including the checklist, computer generated using inspection programs, and the narrative style.

Some reports are delivered on site and some may take as long as 4 - 6 days for delivery. All reporting systems have pros and cons.

The most important issue with an inspection report is the descriptions given for each item or component. A report that indicates the condition as "Good", "Fair" or "Poor" without a detailed explanation, is vague and can be easily misinterpreted. An example of a vague condition would be:

Kitchen Sink: Condition - Good, Fair, or Poor.

None of these descriptions gives the homeowner an idea what 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. Narrative reports without recommendations for repairing deficient items may be difficult to comprehend, should your knowledge of construction be limited.

Take the time and become familiar with your report. Should the report have a legend, key, symbols or icons, read and understand them thoroughly. 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 obtain 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. The inspector's knowledge and experience is how the size and characteristics of the cracking is determined.

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 most likely one of the largest investments you will ever make.

Our reports, whether used to estimate equity, obtain financing, confirm government tax assessments, equitable settlements of estates, litigation, or insurance claims represent a complete report of verified information. The depth of information provided in the appraisal is designed to allow a client or an underwriter to make informed, confident decisions concerning the value of the subject property, current trends and on-going local conditions. Our appraisals meet Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice standards and are accepted not only by financial lenders but also by judicial and regulatory bodies. As board certified experts our job is to give you an unbiased opinion. We are subject to review and cannot favor the buyer, the seller, or allow ourselves to be pressured to make the deal. Reports are certified and given as expert legal testimony. Appraisers who produce fraudulent reports risk losing their license, paying fines and even going to jail.

What if you dont agree with the appraisers estimate of value? Appraisers, like everyone else, make mistakes. If you find an error or have information, which should have been included in the report, let the assigned appraiser know and ask them to consider revising the report and change their estimate of value if necessary.