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Do you guys write in present tense or past tense? I find it difficult to write in present because I am writing the report off site.

Would you say something like, "The shelf below the sink was found to be water damaged", or would you say "Water damage is present at the shelf below the kitchen sink"?

Problem I see with present tense is that you can't report on the conditions at the time you are writing the report, you aren't there.

But, if you report in past tense, there may be some confusion on the client's part on whether this problem still exists.

For instance, "The roof was leaking". Was it leaking while you were there or was there just evidence that it had leaked in the past?

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Originally posted by homnspector

Do you guys write in present tense or past tense? I find it difficult to write in present because I am writing the report off site.

I always used present tense, unless the thing I was describing had a real chance to change since I looked at it. My own humble opinion is that past tense in an HI report just sounds weird.id="blue">

Would you say something like, "The shelf below the sink was found to be water damaged", or would you say "Water damage is present at the shelf below the kitchen sink"?

Gasp! Choke! I'd have written, "I found water damage at the XYZ." Found to be? Is present? Do you talk like that?id="blue">

Problem I see with present tense is that you can't report on the conditions at the time you are writing the report, you aren't there.

That's a reach. Just write in present tense. It makes more sense to the reader.id="blue">

But, if you report in past tense, there may be some confusion on the client's part on whether this problem still exists.

For instance, "The roof was leaking". Was it leaking while you were there or was there just evidence that it had leaked in the past?

How 'bout, "There's a roof leak at the chimney flashing," or something like that? That roof ain't gonna fix itself.

WJid="blue">

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A home inspection must be a record of a "snapshot" of time. You record what that time was/is.

I would not write anything "was found to be". "The roof leaks." "The shelf under sink is water stained." etc.

Some would be critical of this short simple approach, but it seems to be working for me. I write much like I am speaking to the client. I don't like to read reports with extra stuff and I think my client doesn't either.

The perfectionists on this board will disagree. I have learned to limit boiler stuff and don't try to write a book. Sometimes, it is just one sentence - "This house is a POS", call your agent.

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"Gasp! Choke! I'd have written, "I found water damage at the XYZ." Found to be? Is present? Do you talk like that?"

That's funny, good point.

I think you're right, present does sound better. Its a little difficult for me not to slip into past tense when writing off site. Sometimes I (really irritatingly) accidentally mix tenses like "there is water damage under the sink. No active leakage was noted".

Anybody know the Heimlich maneuver?

[:-sick]

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I would agree with these guys. Present sounds better.

Was found to be/is present: these types of phrases are wordy and pompous sounding.

I advocate straightforward sentences: X is broken/Z leaks. The fewer words the better, as long as you communicate what's wrong with the house. Try giving yourself a word maximum so you don't go on and on needlessly.

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