Jump to content

Thoughts on report comment


Recommended Posts

My customers are out of state and did not attend the inspection. It looks like someone took a spray can and painted a section of the ceiling in the master bedroom and patched a damaged area in another bedroom. There is no other indication of any problem and I found nothing of concern in the accessible attic areas or roof.

What is your opinion on including the below comment?

"Ceiling in master bedroom appears to have been touched up with a spray on paint; I could not access the attic directly above this area due to the vaulted ceiling. There has been a patch to the ceiling in the back center bedroom. I found no evidence to indicate an existing problem.â€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So what you are saying is that there might be a problem then you say you found no evidence of a problem. Hmm... thats the way I think a client might see it.

Also when you say that " I found no evidence to indicate an existing problem" does that apply to both conditions or the last one? That statement is ambiguous.

I think they will buy your assessment of no problem over the areas that you could access and look at but will most probably be concerned about the painted area that you couldn't get to.

I would separate the two conditions and address them separately.

They are probably going to want to know why only a portion of the ceiling got spray painted and are going to think it was to cover a moisture stain. If the owner is availible I would ask him why.

Chris, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Ceiling in master bedroom appears to have been touched up with a spray on paint; I could not access the attic directly above this area due to the vaulted ceiling. There has been a patch to the ceiling in the back center bedroom. I found no evidence to indicate an existing problem.â€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've often told my customers to "ask the seller about the paint patches @ the ceiling".

"What is the history of the patched area? Did it leak?"

That sort of thing. You note that you saw it, you're curious about it, you don't know what it is, and you tell your customers to pursue a line of questioning w/the seller.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see a lot of homes with vaulted ceilings that are a lower slope than the roof above. These typically have a "normal" attic for part of the house and then a much tighter space where the vaulted sections are. You can see across them but impossible to access much beyond arm's reach. Mark's may have been one of those.

I would have added..."I tested both areas with a non-invasive moisture meter and found no indication of a current high moisture content. I recommend you ask the seller about the history of these areas"...or something along those lines.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by ghentjr

"Ceiling in master bedroom appears to have been touched up with a spray on paint; I could not access the attic directly above this area due to the vaulted ceiling. There has been a patch to the ceiling in the back center bedroom. I found no evidence to indicate an existing problem.â€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by kasterko

Originally posted by ghentjr

"Ceiling in master bedroom appears to have been touched up with a spray on paint; I could not access the attic directly above this area due to the vaulted ceiling. There has been a patch to the ceiling in the back center bedroom. I found no evidence to indicate an existing problem.â€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You need to understand that he posted a paragraph and asked for comments. I simply took that paragraph and gave it the treatment many non-inspector readers of his report would give it. Further down after my comment another inspector wrote that he would have tested the stains with a non-invasive moisture meter. Would an invasive moisture meter been more accurate? But I guess my bent for tongue-in-cheek responses was misunderstood.

Neither the originator of the statement, nor the helpful response, (except for Kurt and Scott), said anything about leaks. The attempt to describe the conditions left out the simple fact that both the spray paint and the patch were probably from roof leaks and no one counseled the buyer to find out when and if the roof had been repaired or replaced, or if there was another explanation for the leaks.

I am far and away not the best report writer. But what Walter keeps beating his drum over is the simple fact that in writing reports many hi's miss the point and making the point was what I always tried to do in my narrative reports. What was the point of the comment? I think the point was that the roof leaked and someone tried to hide it. That point was not made.

"Ceiling in master bedroom appears to have been touched up with a spray on paint; THIS LOOKS LIKE IT WAS DONE TO COVER EVIDENCE OF A LEAK. I could not access the attic directly above this area due to the vaulted ceiling. There has been a patch to the ceiling in the back center bedroom THAT ALSO IS FROM AN OLDER LEAK. (THE NEXT SENTENCE CONTRADICTS THE PREVIOUS STATEMENTS) I found no evidence to indicate an existing problem.â€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely separate the two like Chris said.

You could conclude a similar comment with something like this;

"I did not find anything that would suggest why a patch was needed so I cannot give the reason for it. The current owner may have the answer".

I think its important when we really don't know, say so. The tricky thing is figuring out how to say "I don't know" in a knowledgeable way and still try to provide information and direction to the client.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again thanks to all. I fully realize that by posting these types of questions I am opening myself up to blunt criticism, which is pretty much the point. This is a very effective tool in improving. By swallowing my ego and presenting my weaknesses here on TIJ I become a better inspector. But at the same time I risk being considered a complete idiot. But don’t fret I’m completely secure. I have a great deal of respect for many of the frequent TIJ contributors, and sure I would like there approval, but if I only present my best side and hide my weaknesses I gain nothing.

Bottom line in this case is I did not know what was going on with the ceilings. The attic and roof coverings offered no clues; I was unsure how to best write it up. Now I have some great advice, and am better prepared for tomorrow.

P.S. Just in case your wondering the picture is not me.

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by AHIS

I fully realize that by posting these types of questions I am opening myself up to blunt criticism, which is pretty much the point.

I usually see that most responses are intended to help improve an inspectors ability. The tone of some of the responses is a result of GOMS (grumpy old man syndrome) but the intent is the same.

But at the same time I risk being considered a complete idiot.
I've never read a question here that made me think the person asking was an idiot.

P.S. Just in case your wondering the picture is not me.

Mark

I'll cancel the meth addict intervention we were planning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by AHIS

What is your opinion on including the below comment:

"Ceiling in master bedroom appears to have been touched up with a spray on paint; I could not access the attic directly above this area due to the vaulted ceiling. There has been a patch to the ceiling in the back center bedroom. I found no evidence to indicate an existing problem.â€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by kasterko

What a helpful reponse......Wy try to embarace someone asking for help?

OOOPPPS! Oh well, I just blushed. I was in a hurry and less than thrilled about the response from a person I believe to be a long-time inspector. I thought it was uncalled for.

My reply should have read:

What a helpful response......Why try to embarrass someone asking for help?

Or maybe I should have left it alone.

Let me gently offer a not-so-humble opinion: Nobody benefits by the blessing of bad reporting. One of the big problems in the HI biz is mangled, scrambled HI writing. These days, I make my honest dollars mostly by pointing out to interested folks that some HI wrote pages and pages of gobbledegook and/or useless generic boilerplate, none of which was of any use to the poor client and some of which actually harmed the client, by keeping him confused and/or ignorant. And that being the case, the report didn't meet any reasonable standard of care. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

So, we can go all milquetoasty and pat each other on the head, or we can just face up to the fact that many, if not most of us, need to write better.

The first step is to just state the simple truth and own our comments, rather than hiding behind a curtain like the guy who played the Wizard of Oz.

I know that middle-aged folk don't like to have their writing critiqued or their mistakes corrected. Even so, I offer this analogy one more time: Everybody here has probably built a simple shop project. Say a footstool. We all know what a decent footstool should look like.

Now, if one sets out to make a footstool, but he bangs it together using bent rusty nails, and he uses a rock for his hammer, he's going to make a mess. When that happens, right-minded folks who see his footstool should just say straight-up: "That's a mess. Go back and do it again until you get it right."

There's no honor or glory in looking at a bad thing, and calling it good.

One last analogy: If you want your kid to learn how to hit a ball, don't yell out, Good cut!" when he misses the ball by a foot.

WJid="blue">

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...