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1st Mock Inspection Sample Report


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This is my first attempt at writing my report. So before I continue making needless mistakes I am looking for some constructive criticism. I do not want to continue making unnecessary mistakes from the start. I understand that my report will be an evolving product, but I want to start with a solid foundation. Some sections are borrowed material, such as section headers. I still need to take time to individualize this material.

Just looking for opinions on everything that you feel I missed, did not report correctly, or made to big a deal of. Also, any opinions on layout would be appreciated as well.

I was using the HIP evaluation version for this report, which is why it still states ACME Inspection Company. I really enjoyed the software, so I need to talk to Dominic about purchasing it and getting my license number so I can put my own company in the header.

So let me have it, I am ready to learn. [:-graduat

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For the purpose of this report all directional references to the house will be made as if one were facing the front of the house.

Ha! That doesn't help unless we know where one is standing when facing the house.

ACCESS TO SOME ITEMS SUCH AS: ELECTRICAL OUTLETS, WINDOWS, WALL/FLOOR SURFACES, AND CABINET INTERIORS WAS

RESTRICTED BY FURNITURE AND LARGE QUANTITY OF PERSONAL BELONGINGS. ANY SUCH ITEMS ARE EXCLUDED FROM THIS

INSPECTION REPORT.

That means that you didn't inspect the furniture and personal belongings. I think you mean to say that you didn't inspect electrical outlets, windows, wall/floor surfaces, and cabinet interiors that were blocked by furniture & personal belongings.

Front entry door:, Wood, Rear entry door:, Wood

Your punctuation is all over the map. Make some style choices and stick with them.

Appeared in functional and in satisfactory condition, at time of inspection unless otherwise noted.

!!?? What does that mean? This was under the heading of Exterior Doors. How can a door "appear" to be in functional and satisfactory condition? Either it is or it isn't. Be brave. Take a stand. Either the sucker's ok or it's not. Also, avoid the whole it's-ok-unless-it's-not logic circle. That's the kind of wishy-washy, say-nothing crap that can really undermine your customer's confidence.

Rear door has cracked decorative muntins on the inside window pane.

Would it kill you to put the word "the" at the beginning of the sentence? I know it's a style choice, but it's a really crummy one. It makes you sound like an Indian chief from a bad '50s western.

• The exterior garage door framing was pulling away from the interior wall. This needs to be evaluated by a qualified contractor

to gain an understanding of options for repairs and costs.

Name the person who is to gain understanding. Also, it would be nice for you to tell them what kind of qualified contractor to call. They might have no idea.

• The vinyl siding covering exterior walls had areas of moderate damage. Have these areas repaired to prevent moisture

intrusion.

Would that be as opposed to the vinyl siding that's covering the interior walls?

• Fascia at most areas of the home appeared to be original.

Ok, Indian Chief.

Although some distortion from warping or twisting was visible and

paint was deteriorated, it appeared to be in reasonably good condition.

You're saying that the paint (which was deteriorated) was in reasonably good condition. I suspect that isn't what you meant to say. What, exactly is in good condition? The fascia?

And what do you mean by "deteriorated?" Is the paint cracking, peeling, chalking, fading, falling off in sheets, or what?

There's also a logic problem. If the fascias are warping or twisting and the paint is deteriorated, how can they be in "reasonably good condition." That's very confusing. Why not just say that the fascias are twisted and their paint is peeling?

I recommend that maintenance be performed in order to

prevent further deterioration. Maintenance performed now may be much less expensive than repairs or replacement which will

eventually become necessary of maintenance is deferred.

What kind of maintenance? Exactly? Who should do it?

The rear of the house is missing a sizable portion of the soffit. There was an attempt at a temporary repair that is failing. Have

the soffit repaired in order to prevent intrusion by animal life.

How much is a sizable portion? What kind of repair was attempted? How is it failing?

Animal life? Are you serious? Who says stuff like that?

• There are a few areas of greater deterioration in the fascia that need attention. Have these areas repaired to prevent further

deterioration due to moisture intrusion.

Again with the soffits? From the previous comment, I figured that they were ok except for some warping, twisting, & bad paint. Now they're deteriorated too? Confusing.

BTW, your pictures really need captions or circles & arrows or some sort of explanation about what they're supposed to be illustrating.

• The rear door trim components showed moderate deterioration at the time of the inspection and needed routine maintenance.

What do you mean by deterioration? In my world, that means rot. I wouldn't think that repairing rotting trim would be considered routine maintenance.

Exterior caulking is the simplest energy-efficient measures to install.

Singular/plural confusion.

The purpose of exterior caulking is to minimize air flow and

moisture through cracks, seams, and utility penetrations/openings. Controlling air infiltration is one of the most cost effective

measures in modern construction practices. A home that is not sealed will be uncomfortable due to drafts and will use about 30%

more heating and cooling energy than a relatively air-tight home. In addition, good caulking and sealing will reduce dust and dirt

in the home and prevent damage to structural elements.

If that above sentence is referring to the caulking at the exterior surfaces of window, doors & siding, I think that it's just plain wrong. I'd strongly advise tossing that paragraph from your library.

I could go on & on. I suggest that you work on your grammar and logic so that your statements are understandable and not contradictory. As Walter Jowers often points out, it's not enough to write in a way that people can understand. You have to write in a way the people can't misunderstand.

Also, I think it's really dangerous for newer inspectors to use the boilerplate in their store-bought report systems as a substitute for education.

My best advice is for you to toss out every canned comment in your report system and start fresh with your own comments. I don't say this because I think that HIP's comment library is bad. I say it because I think you will be a better inspector when you write with your own words instead of someone else's.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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You know, posting something you've written and asking others to critique it--fully aware that folks will typically hone in on what isn't working rather than what is--requires a certain mix of bravery and humility. I think telling Troy he should abandon all hope of writing a coherent inspection report--which isn't high art--and reverting to a checklist is dismissive and more than a little rude. Especially since he plainly stated, "So let me have it, I'm ready to learn."

Troy, read Jim's suggestions carefully, and also pay attention to what Randy said. You want your writing to have a professional tone, but it'll be much more effective if it's also conversational. Reread your initial post in this thread. The writing is smooth, easy to understand, and makes perfect sense. It sounded as if you were writing the same way you would speak. That's what you should strive for.

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You know, posting something you've written and asking others to critique it--fully aware that folks will typically hone in on what isn't working rather than what is--requires a certain mix of bravery and humility. I think telling Troy he should abandon all hope of writing a coherent inspection report--which isn't high art--and reverting to a checklist is dismissive and more than a little rude. Especially since he plainly stated, "So let me have it, I'm ready to learn."

Troy, read Jim's suggestions carefully, and also pay attention to what Randy said. You want your writing to have a professional tone, but it'll be much more effective if it's also conversational. Reread your initial post in this thread. The writing is smooth, easy to understand, and makes perfect sense. It sounded as if you were writing the same way you would speak. That's what you should strive for.

Well said, John. I hope Troy listens to you.

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Hi Troy,

Good luck. I also use HIPro, and am very happy with it. I don't use any pre-written boiler plates, I quickly found myself spending too much time looking for something that I was going to change anyway. Make sure you proof read what you write, and not what you think you wrote.

I went through your report quickly, and noticed that you refer quite a bit to have things evaluated to determine if they need repair. As Jim stated, something either is, or it isn't. If calling you in to do an inspection is going to require 3 or 4 other guys to come in to determine if it is good or bad, well, it's going to be very expensive to use you.

Pay attention to the input you get here at TIJ, you will find it to be the best.

"it's not enough to write in a way that people can understand. You have to write in a way the people can't misunderstand."

I think the above quote says it all. Remember, you are painting a verbal picture for someone who has no idea what you are referring to, and in most cases, no idea how it works.

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Let me begin by stating that I really appreciate all the input offered here. I especially want to thank Jim K. for taking the time that he did to lay out a detailed outline of where I need to improve. I understand that I have a lot to learn, and that is why I put my first mock inspection report out there for review. I feel the best way to learn is to put what I have out there for examination by those have the knowledge to teach.

I was under no pretense that I had put together a first rate home inspection report. I know I relied on heavily on pre-programmed inspector talk. As it was pointed out in a number of posts, none of it sounded like anything I would ever say, much less the way I would say it.

I want, and will take my lumps now from all that are willing to offer their knowledge and experience. I have no intentions of offering my services to a paying client until I have gleaned every bit of knowledge I can from you all. Again, I thank all of you and will have my next mock inspection ready for review in a few days. To change up an old proverb a little, “When the student is ready, the masters appear.â€

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As I was growing up on the 'farm' in NE Montana ... I remember many of my Dad's learning comments ... one being:

"Never, EVER, stop learning ... the day you do ... you had best be six feet under and toes up!"

One of many that resonate with me daily as I continue to "mature".

VG input from many for Troy and all of us.

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Kudos to you Troy. You have guts. Hang in there.

Another word you can trim down on is recommend.

If something is wrong, just say "fix it".

Who needs to recommend?

I.E

The paint on the window trim is peeling. The exposed wood will rot. Have a qualified contractor fix it.

1. Say what is wrong.

2. Say why it is wrong.

3. Tell them to have it fixed.

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Boiler plate stuff on your computer report is a hard thing to get away from at first because it is a sort of checklist to begin with. Just take the time and make sure whatever goes automatically in the report can't be misconstrued as anything else than exactly what you think the problem is. Make it obvious and stand firm on your opinion, inevitably this is what your client is paying you for and what you might have to defend.

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I was never able to open the link, so I never read the report. What I gleaned from Katen's excerpts is adequate though.

Everyone here has said things that I agree with.

I think there's been over exposure to report writing "systems" and the HI school approach, which is possibly the best example of incompetents being put in charge of education that I've ever seen. My best advice would be to throw them out. You can probabably write a decent report if you would ignore what all the vendors are selling you.

Dirk's comments are probably most succinct. Just write what you see, in simple language. Leave out all the crap. If you were standing there telling your best friend about something, you'd never talk like your report. Never.

A picture, a simple statement of fact, why the fact is a concern, and "fix it". Lately, I've taken to taking out the "fix it" part, and have a single recommendation at the front of the report that says, in essence, "if there's something noted in the report, have it fixed". I avoid the redundant multiple recommendations for further review and repair that way.

My reports have gotten so slimmed down, it's comical to see what I used to write. A few tiny sentences per concern. That's it. That's all anyone wants or needs.

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Troy,

Download this software to tag your photos. It's free, fairly easy to use, and does more stuff than you'll ever need it to do. The down side is there are no manuals, help files, or instructions, and the video tutorials are useless. With a little fidgeting though you should be able to figure it out. http://www.photoscape.org/ps/main/index.php

As far as your report writing, follow the advice you get here, but you should also search the archives for sample reports or visit some of the members websites and read them there. This will not only give you very good examples of how you should be writing, but after reading a dozen or so reports you'll have an up close and personal understanding of exactly why your report needs to be clear and concise. Have the aspirin handy.

Tom

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Troy,

Hang in there! I think anyone who wants to make a successful career as a home inspector has to go through an infection of "inspector speak".

One suggestion that helped me is to read the report out loud. First to myself and then to my wife. When I found myself trying to explain to my wife what I REALLY meant, I knew it was time for a re-write.

I also recorded myself reading the report. After each section I'd try to put myself in the client's mind as he or she reads the report.

When I wrote my first report for a single Mom and did this, I got a rude awakening. I realized that she wanted to know if the place was safe for her kids and I seemed to be telling her all about electric panels.

You've made a good start and with the help of this board can go on to much better communications.

Jeff

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Another trap in which most folks seem to fall (including myself) is thinking that more stuff on the paper equals a better report; more words, more headers, more pics, more colors, more footnotes, more fluff, etc.

Now, we're committing to fluff-ifying every page which leads to non-sensical and hard-to-read reports.

Simple is best, in my humble opinion. It also makes for the best reading.

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I noticed the attic access was with a pull down ceiling ladder in the garage.

I'm also rookie troy, but i always add this comment, maybe I'm the only one that uses it since i didn't see a mention of it by the veterans on the site. I like your bravery in throwing yourself to the wolfs to grade your report, i wish there was a section where we could all do this, there is a lot of seasoned HI here & their input & advice would be very beneficial & priceless to the new guys breaking into the trade.

(The attic ladder, in the ceiling of the garage, is constructed of wood - this would be considered a breach of the fire separation between the garage and residence.)

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. . .

(The attic ladder, in the ceiling of the garage, is constructed of wood - this would be considered a breach of the fire separation between the garage and residence.)

"Would be," or "is" ?

If it's a problem, do you recommend a course of action?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I like your bravery in throwing yourself to the wolfs to grade your report, i wish there was a section where we could all do this, there is a lot of seasoned HI here & their input & advice would be very beneficial & priceless to the new guys breaking into the trade.

Huh?

There is a section for that - this forum category was created specifically for that purpose 7 years ago.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I wonder if there is a way to set up some kind of anonymous posting method. Maybe more people are willing to let their work be judged if they didn't think they were sticking their neck out. We could all learn by more people showing what they do.

I'm sure there is an up and down side to this idea.

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Kurt,

Do you think that people would know it was yours even if it didn't have your name on it?

Back to the original topic:

Troy,

This was a mock report, correct?

Have you done an entire mock inspection and report combined? Give it a try. Wipe the slate clean, find a donor house and go for it. Pretend its the real thing and you have no time to play around. There's a deal going down and people are watching and waiting for you to conclude.

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