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my sample mock report

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I put togeather this sample report. The original printout has pics inserted but I took them out to keep this online version downsized. If you have some time check it out and tell me what you think. BTY the hardcopy printout with pics inserted doesnt have the grid and looks much better then this rtf version. But I but this up to show basic content and layout.

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It is early friday morning, and fridays are always by worst day, so take this with a grain of salt!

The sample report is quite poor. Now that is just my opinion, but I found myself reading it and saying "What the heck is he really trying to say, without covering his behind". The text seems to go all over the board with "The NEC says this" and dangerous and hazard and makes it sound like you are more concerned with covering you butt than just reporting.

e/m me if you want or call and I am happy to talk.

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Bob, The software is set up to export from the PDA as rtf so that was not my choice. I am working looking into how to convert the rtf to pdf once I get the report on the desktop.

Les, no hard feelings at all. Opposing opinions help me look deeper at presentation and perhaps see something I might have missed. Now to say that the report is "quite poor" because of legal text content I disagree. This is an extreemly litigious society we live in. The statements are probably in line with most inspection agreements that are signed by clients arent they? Having the statements in the report helps tie the report and agreement togeather. What does it say in the inspection agreements that you use? The NEC is mentioned maybe twice in the report. Do you believe that is over bearing? In my opinion the legal text shows awareness on my part and only encourages me to do the best I can in supplying an accurate report. Isnt that what the client is expecting? Again I appreciate you opinion and welcome criticism.

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Gotta say, needs lots of work. Here are a few quick thoughts:

I don't like mixing my descriptions with my findings, it makes the reader have to play "Where's Waldo" to figure out what's happening. I'm a summary guy. While some HI's don't buy into delivering a separate summary, the reality is that it makes everyone's life easier when it comes to getting the issues addressed.

Writing things like FIRE HAZARD!!!

is not professional, IMO.

If you don't want to get a bunch of calls from agents, buyers, sellers, tradespeople, etc, write more conversationally and be a bit more descriptive.

" I found an open junction box in the attic, above the master bedroom. Electrical junction boxes need to be covered to prevent arcing and sparking, as well as minimizing accidential shocks. Have an electrician check the connections in the box and install a cover plate". (add a picture-worth 1,00 words!)

Add a comment like this to your comment library, and just edit the location, as needed.

My 2 cents. Flame broil as needed.

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I like mine medium rare.......

I've always found it helpful to start the sentence out w/the location, then describe the condition, then the implication, then the directive.

"The NW corner roof shingles are damaged; they could leak. Fix it".

"The 2nd fl. furnace short cycled; this means it's not operating properly. Fix it".

"The realtor has flames shooting out her arse; this means she doesn't like what I'm saying. Ignore her".

That sort of thing.....

Katen promotes this method (I think), and I concur.

My whole report style is a summary; no one likes reading this stuff, so why have 2 sections of a report? I have a single document, and it, in essence, is a summary list.

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Point well taken Chris. I think what you have said is kind of along the same lines as Les did. Partially anyway. I am learning here so bear with me. So, tone it down on the HAZARD comments and be more descriptive right? The software I am using can put out summary reports as well. I can print either full or summary or both right on sight directly from the PDA. Perhaps the client would have a preference and I could meet whatever the request. Thanks for your input. I can eventualy edit this report and I intend to. This is the one I will reproduce to hand out as hardcopy samples and perhaps a link for a sample. Just curious here and the critisism helps, but can anyone find anything good about it?

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OK, on step 26 in the Attic catagory I will remove "Hazardous" and "FIRE HAZARD!!!" and replace them with "Needs Repair" and add a statement about the importance of containing arcs and sparks within the junction box and the recommendation to contact a qualified electrictian for review. Would that look better?

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Originally posted by AHI

If you have some time check it out and tell me what you think.

As Kurt said, lead with the location. For instance, "In the yellow bathroom..." If you don't lead with the location, your reader is thinking, "Where? Where?" Don't make him wait until the end of the sentence or paragraph.

Never use exclamation marks. Never use ALL CAPS. Never use colored (especially red) text. If you really have to emphasize something, just use bold text, very sparingly. Your report should look like the Wall Street Journal, not a ransom note.

Never start a sentence with "recommend." If you're going to make a recommendation, write, "I recommend..." Gramatically speaking, if you start a sentence with, "recommend," you're telling the reader to recommend something.

Write conversationally, and make no attempt to cover your ass in your report. All ass-covering should be relegated to your contract.

InspectorSpeak, and the ass-covering language it contains, creates distrust/confusion in readers. I've said for years: HIs should write like the folks who write for Family Handyman. Your readership is a homeowner, not a bunch of other HIs.

Kurt is also right about the Katen approach to explanations. Replace buck-passing like, "Have a qualified HVAC technician evaluate and test the furnace" with something more like this: "The furnace is worn out. Replace the furnace."

Or, you could follow the approach I used, which was to write something like: "Hire a good structural engineer, and get him to tell you what it'll take to fix the foundation."

Use Spell Check, but don't trust it. Spell check the report yourself, before you hand it to a customer.

Don't rely too much on boilerplate. To explain something adequately, you're going to have to compose something original now and then.


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John, just the mere fact you subjected yourself to this bunch of characters - says alot about you! Kurt M's style is very difficult "beat". I do a bunch of legal work, so get a little nutty about that stuff. A cover your behind report will bite you someday.

I have read over 100 report from other inspectors this year and yours ain't anywhere near the worst, but as you have implied - it could use a little help.

Write like you talk and don't write BS and your report will be very good. Bonnie's class, here on TIJ, is/will be a good start for all of us, especially the newer people!

She must just die when reading some of our posts!

PS: read something from Walter Jowers. Now, he is not god, but he knows inspector writing better than anyone and he is a nice guy!

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I give you props for coming on here and I'm glad that you are accepting of the criticisms that you received here. So many time, others who've come here and asked for advice, got their noses out of joint because someone criticized what they'd submitted for others to look at. Others lurk and won't come on the site and ask questions, for fear that they'll be the subject of criticism.

What you're doing is submitting to a voluntary peer review - something that a whole lot more folks in this business should consider doing. It's a whole lot better to come here, get one's ego bruised a little bit and learn something that will save one's butt one day, than to end up becoming the subject of a peer review done by someone like Les or Walter in a courtroom, and then to have to sit there and listen to their testimony drive the last nail in the coffin, only because of the fear of getting one's ego bruised.



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Originally posted by Neal Lewis

Originally posted by chrisprickett

Electrical junction boxes need to be covered to prevent arcing and sparking... picture-worth 1,00 words!)

Chris, I have to ask...will the cover really prevent arcing and sparking?

Got me! I should've have said "contain". As soon as I hit send, I knew I was in trouble!

Here's my lame-o excuse: My floors are being redone and I am relagated to working from my laptop, mostly in the "reading room" as that's about the only safe place.

I write a bunch of stuff, an article very week, for a local magazine. Thank God my editor is edjimacated! Hopefully AHI got the jist of my message.

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Went back for a second look.

The first thing that struck me was how every thing was in a box with few words.

The second thing that I noticed was you use the words( not present) due to your software.

This can be corrected I hope as it is useless filler .

I know from my own experience as a relative newbie in the inspection field , that the more jobs you get the more confidence you will have to out grow these robotic report programs.

You can begin by adding more and more captioning to your photos with descriptive detail.This will help you gain the confidence to bring your own personality out in print.

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Originally posted by AHI

I put togeather this sample report. The original printout has pics inserted but I took them out to keep this online version downsized. If you have some time check it out and tell me what you think. BTY the hardcopy printout with pics inserted doesnt have the grid and looks much better then this rtf version. But I but this up to show basic content and layout.


If that link wont work maybe this one will,

http://home.comcast.net/~mailmanusa/Cop ... 62107a.rtf

As others have said, it needs work. I hope that this was made just for us to look at and not for a real person. I have found many items, that just don't make any sense or are just wrong.

You said that it was a "Hip" roof with a Modified bitumen covering. This product is for flat roofs, I don't think that you could put it on and keep it on a "Hip" design.

Another one that stick out is on Ventilation.

You said the home has Soffit vents; Attic fan; Ridge vent. This is great but an Attic Power Vent and Ridge Vents do not go together.

Anyway, it says a great deal about you by posting this report for everyone to tear into.

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Here is your opening :

Due to occupant furniture and possessions it is not possible to open every window, test every outlet or find what every switch operates. Sections of walls, closet interiors will be obstructed. Inspector does not move any furniture or appliances. Every effort is made to check all accessible items and areas. Many items needing repair are marked with stickers to aid in locating the deficiencies.
This sucks if you are doing a vacant house.

This inspection was performed according to the conditions and limitations set forth in the "Inspection Agreement" By using this report you agree to be bound by the terms and exclusions of the "Inspection Agreement". Items and conditions which are not within the scope of the inspection shall include, but are not limited to, the following: swimming pools and spas; private sewer systems and wells; solar heating systems; termite infestation; seawall / docks. No inspection is made for hazardous materials such as, but not limited to, Asbestos, Mold, Lead paint, or Radon. Only items listed on this report are inspected. Any items not listed are therefore, excluded from the report. The report is limited to the components of the property which were visible to the inspector on the date of the inspection. The home inspector can not be responsible for any hidden or concealed defects or problems that occur between the time of the inspection and the time of occupancy. It is the clients duty to inspect for any damage done post inspection and verify major appliance operation during pre closing walk through.

Very poorly worded. Some missing punctuation.
Realizing that all properties experience some degree of wear, cosmetic considerations such as cracked tiles, floor coverings or window treatments are not within the scope of this report.
I would sure be pissed if I paid you to inspect and you ignored cracked tiles.
Some items which may be considered as cosmetic in nature may be noted to assist you in evaluating maintenance items which are in need of attention.
What does that mean?
Some of the items noted on the Inspection Report are considered as general maintenance items and may not be recognized as a condition of your sales contract.
Legal advice. Are you an attorney?
Recommendations for further review may be noted as we do not want to represent ourselves as being more knowledgeable than a qualified specialist./quote]Huh?

Your entire report needs work. You should have a professional writer work on your general paragraph. I shudder to think of what your agreement looks like.

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Those were exactly my thoughts when I read the initial post and before anyone else posted.

I figured I'd wait for others to weigh in before I suggested that it's still not too late for you to sign up for Bonnie Trenga's August writing workshop. I promise you, you'll learn something. Some of us who write all the time thought it might be a breeze. Boy, were we wrong.



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Many of the responses I understand are based on opinion. Mine are as well. So I see this discussion as an contructive debate, nothing more. I still have yet to attend my formal training as required by my state. I m sure I will learn there something that contradict with my opinions as well as others opinions. We will have to wait and see.


Lots of great advice, much I will use. About the red text. It does draw attention, thats the point. Same reason for bold right? I will remove caps and exclaimation points. The red text I plan to retain. To me it sort of inserts a summary report inside of the full report. So much of the stuff people will just glance over anyway. They want to know what you think is wrong. The red text leads them like a beacon. Because of this I have learned from you and others on here that what I say and how I say in red text is very important. I have not had to rely on the boiler plate yet. I am not even licensed yet. I will saythis, the boiler plate is actually teaching me in its own way. I understand your concern to that respect however.


Is this like the gang initiation where I have to get beat up before I earn my worthiness? :-)


You made me think, the move to post here is a proving ground. If I cant handle the punches while shielded behind my computor screen here, how will I survive in the real world.


The software is totally adaptable. I have much to learn about setting it to my style. inserting "not present" is no different than marking n/a on a check list type form. Yes the steps can be edited. I assume and hope I can edit the steps from job to job without returning to a desktop or laptop. Good point anyway.


I thought modified bitumen in general meant an asphalt product. I will edit that material comment to read "asphalt shingles". The house does have continuous soffit vents with full ridge vent. My mistake was saying "attic fan" which I selected from the pick list. The house actually has a "whole house fan". I need to add "whole house fan" to my pick list in that catagory. Thanks for nabbing that. BTW, is whole house fan compatable with soffit vents and ridge vents?


The software drops in specific comments based on previous selection of facts. The first paragraph you copied was dropped in because I selected that the house was "occupied". Had I selected "vaccant a specific comment regarding vaccant properties would have been inserted.

The rest of your comments I believe are subject to your opinion. Nothing wrong with that at all. No way could I ever expect to please everyone. As much as you think its wrong, I suspect some will copy the texts and use them in thier own reporting.

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