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3rd Mock Inspection: Sample report


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Alright gentlemen, here we go again. I tried to incorporate as much of the excellent advice that I received previously

I am looking for advice on content, layout, and clarity of the report.

So let me have it again, and just try to take it easy on each other.[:-slaphap

The only way I can learn is if I receive honest and constructive critiques of my work.

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So let me have it again, and just try to take it easy on each other.

There goes all of the fun.

USE OF PHOTOS:

Your report includes many photographs. Some pictures are intended as a courtesy and are added for your information.

Some are to help clarify where the inspector has been, what was looked at, and the condition of the system or

component at the time of the inspection. Some of the pictures may be of deficiencies or problem areas, these are to help

you better understand what is documented in this report and may allow you see

Is there a reason you have to include the above info. in the report? It seems like filler to me. If you have captions with the photos, or include them in the report with explanations, I don't see the need for it.

In accordance with the NACHI Standards of Practice pertaining to Exteriors, this report describes the exterior wall coverings and trim. Inspectors are

required to inspect the exterior wall coverings, flashing, trim, all exterior doors, the stoops, steps porches and their associated railings, any attached

decks and balconies and eaves, soffits and fascias accessible from ground level. Inspectors shall also inspect adjacent or entryway walkways, patios,

and driveways; vegetation, grading, surface drainage, and retaining walls that are likely to adversely affect the building.

Instead of putting all of this info. in the report at each section, can't you just write in at the top of the report that you are following the NACHI standards of practice, and that this document has been provided to the client?

• The weather stripping is damaged at the front door. Remove and replace the damaged weatherstripping.

I'd change the wording to where it doesn't sound like it is a requirement.

• Improve: The south side of the house has a low spot that is pooling water.

Is the low spot pooling water, or is it allowing water to pool?

• There were a number of issues with the roof covering including: exposed nail heads, algae and fungal growth, mismatched

shingles, extensive granule loss, and missing shingles. This roof is nearing the end of its life and replacement should be planned

within the next year.

Can they wait a year before they fix it? You may want to split up the issues. I don't see mismatched shingles as an issue-- is this cosmetic only? That would be an FYI only in my report. Exposed nail heads aren't likely a huge deal- repairs are possible, unless there are tons of them. Algae and fungal growth can be cleaned. Missing shingles= easy fix. Excess granular loss would be the reason that roof replacement should be called for, yet you grouped all of the minor details in as the reason that the roof needs to be replaced.

Drain is creating a low spot near foundation

Why does this matter? How far should they extend it?

• There is a vent stack in attic that is not properly sealed. The current method of preventing moisture intrusion is ineffective.

Have the vent penetration properly sealed.

I have an idea what you are talking about, only because I am an inspector. I assume that the pipe jack boot is damaged, or there are flashing issues on the roof. You may want to show a picture of the roof issue along with this picture (cause and effect)-- that would be more easily understood.

You may at least want to change your wording to make more sense. Let them know that the pipe is not properly flashed on the roof, and that it is causing a leak.

The seal for high efficiency furnace vent pipe has deteriorated. Have seal properly repaired by qualified HVAC contractor

I'd take out the word properly. If an HVAC professional is performing repairs, it should go without saying that it should be done right.

There were no deficiencies noted in the condensate collection and removal system.

Seems like inspector speak. Can't you just write inspected, or write like you would talk?

The two furnace return filters were dirty. Replace both filters.

You may want to write in present tense throughout the report. In this case, if they were dirty, why aren't they dirty now.

• There was a ground wire connected at water heater. I could not inspect the quality of the connection due to the water heater

not being accessable.

Accessible is spelled incorrectly.

I ran water through the fixtures and drains. Functional drainage was observed.

Would you say it like this?

FYI: You should keep the water temperature set at a minimum of 110 degrees Fahrenheit to kill microbes and a maximum of

130 degrees to prevent scalding.

Just to be safe, you may just want to say that they need to follow the water heater manufacturers installation instructions (sticker should be on the water heater). If you tell people that they can't get burned at 130 deg. and they do, what then? (I believe that 130 deg. is excessive).

The seal has failed on this window. Have

replaced by qualified contractor if this condition is not acceptable.

I don't think you would talk like this. "Have the window replaced if not acceptable to who(m?). You may just want to tell them to replace the fogged up glass if it bothers them.

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All in all, a nice report for a mock report.

I would hesitate to quote the square footage unless you quote the source (listing, county record, measured, etc.) You can get into trouble if you are wrong.

Attic; You noted how you accessed but not what you did. Did you traverse, observe from the scuttle, were there areas you could not see? These things become important down the road.

Slab on grade doesn't correspond with block foundation walls.

Be more descriptive with items like roof framing. '2x4 trusses on 24 inch centers in good condition where visible". I don't hesitate to say "good condition" where applicable.

I like the pictures of the IR thermometer to document the split, I may start doing that.

The water heater is not that blocked, get to it, its important.

It's OK to "mandate". The client is paying for your opinion. Do you want to say, "Correct this problem" or do you want to say, "in my humble opinion this is not done correctly and should be fixed, but I could be wrong".

I prefer, in general, more details. Was there gas service in the laundry room? Was the washer outlet grounded? Are there sinks in the bathrooms? Are vent clearances correct at the furnace and water heater? Are hose bibs frost-resistant? Does the furnace have a high-limit switch, thermocouple, gas valve, blower door switch? Does the condensate line have a trap?

Details, details, details. Forget the brand and model #, focus on the important stuff. What are the things you would want to know if you were buying the house?

There are a ton of things that you need to include if you are inspecting to ASHI standards (I don't know NACHI standards). You need to talk about pipe support, gas, sewer, water. Waste vents, porch columns, blah, blah, blah.

Read the standards carefully and be sure you mention every item that you need to "observe".

I am an avid reader, nobody writes like they talk if they are a decent writer. There's no nuance or fascial expression or body language in writing. You gotta make up for it with descriptive words. Brandon, do you talk in parenthesis?

My 2 cents, worth every penny.

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It's OK to "mandate". The client is paying for your opinion. Do you want to say, "Correct this problem" or do you want to say, "in my humble opinion this is not done correctly and should be fixed, but I could be wrong".

No need to be wishy washy or beat around the bush. You can recommend without mandating.

You can say: Hey, this is a problem because of this. If you don't fix it, this could happen-- if I were you I'd fix it right away.

In my opinion, reports filled with single sentences that basically say "this is wrong, fix it" does not help out our clients much. When someone reads a report full of deficiencies that just say "fix it" , they may have a hard time figuring out what is really important.

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USE OF PHOTOS:

Your report includes many photographs. Some pictures are intended as a courtesy and are added for your information.

Some are to help clarify where the inspector has been, what was looked at, and the condition of the system or

component at the time of the inspection. Some of the pictures may be of deficiencies or problem areas, these are to help

you better understand what is documented in this report and may allow you see

Is there a reason you have to include the above info. in the report? It seems like filler to me. If you have captions with the photos, or include them in the report with explanations, I don't see the need for it.

I say something like (I write a cover sheet for each client, I don't paste it in): "The inclusion of a photo has nothing to do with the importance of an issue. I use photos to help explain those issues that are difficult to describe. Read the whole, boring technical report, don't just look at the pictures."

My vote is to keep the disclaimer but it needs some work. I'll start to show what I mean but I have a short attention span.

Your report includes many photographs. Some pictures are intended as a courtesy and are added for your information.

Some are to help clarify where the inspector has been I went, what was I looked at, and or memorialize the condition of the system or

component at the time of the inspection. Some of the pictures may be of deficiencies or problem areas, these are included to help

you better understand what is documented in this report and may allow you see...

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• There is cloudiness and condensation in the window closest to the garage door. The seal has failed on this window. Have

replaced by qualified contractor if this condition is not acceptable.

Double pane windows provide insulative quality beyound single pane windows. If the seal has failed, they no longer provide the insulation. They have failed. They need to be replaced. The condition is not acceptable.

Consider excluding the photos of the exterior. Sometimes defective items show up in the background that you may have overlooked. The photos in the rest of the report are close enough that the only thing you can see is the defect. The possibilty of an overlooked defect sneeking in is very slim.

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• There is cloudiness and condensation in the window closest to the garage door. The seal has failed on this window. Have

replaced by qualified contractor if this condition is not acceptable.

Double pane windows provide insulative quality beyond single pane windows. If the seal has failed, they no longer provide the insulation. They have failed. They need to be replaced. The condition is not acceptable.

My question here is who gets to decide what is acceptable?. I have put in the report what the condition is, and who to have fix it. I don't think in this case it is a condition that is unacceptable. This window was in a corner of an uninsulated garage. As long as I document the condition and appropriate method of repair I don't think I need to also determine what is or is not an acceptable condition.

Please, let me know if I am way off base here. I would think that there is always going to be a number of conditions in a report that a buyer would be willing to accept. As long as it is not a safety issue, do I need to determine what is an acceptable condition?

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I don't think that you're off-base at all. And yes, there certainly are many conditions that buyers would be willing to accept. Most buyers understand that if they're buying a 'used house', they shouldn't expect it to be made in like-new condition.

Even if that garage window was in the heated envelope, I still probably wouldn't say it needed to be replaced. You're just not going to get a huge increase in efficiency with of a new unit. I don't know what the payback period would be, but I'm sure it would be a long, long time.

I'd say something like you may wish to replace it, along with a caution that the fogging is likely to get worse over time.

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When you install a window it's clear and you can see through it. When it gets dirty, you clean it so that you can see through it again. You expect to be able to see through it. When a seal fails on a double-paned window and there's condensation or mildew between the glass, the window is no longer able to do what it was intended to do - provide you a clear unobstructed view without opening the window. If folks want window with clouded glass they can purchase them made that way; otherwise they should be clear and free of condensation. As far as I'm concerned, no amount of rationalization can justify not calling for replacement or repair of a failed cell.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Regarding the reporting of fogged windows, there's something else to consider. Check your state's requirements for reporting or definition of a defect (if your state regulates home inspections). Also, check the home inspection clause in your state's standard real estate contract.

A couple fogged windows might not be something that would/could be negotiated in some areas. If there are several, the expense could be significant. I know in PA, there was a precedent where about fifteen or so fogged windows in a home were determined to be "a significant adverse impact on the value of the property" and should have been identified as a material defect.

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I report fogged windows. I mention that the condition is cosmetic and if it bothers you, have it replaced.

On another note. I inspect everything I can and do it very thoroughly. When it comes to the report, I focus on SOP required information, and, all the other things that need attention. I don't spent time filling pages up with functional, functional, functional...and the like.

The things that don't need attention are not mentioned in the report. It keeps the report size down. Do any of you do it this way too?

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On another note. I inspect everything I can and do it very thoroughly. When it comes to the report, I focus on SOP required information, and, all the other things that need attention. I don't spent time filling pages up with functional, functional, functional...and the like.

The things that don't need attention are not mentioned in the report. It keeps the report size down. Do any of you do it this way too?

Do you test appliances? If so how do you report it? I believe it was on these items I reported functional at time of inspection. I just want it to be known that at the time of the inspection the respective appliance was: model or type, it was operated and functioned at the time of inspection. How else do you all handle these items?

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Troy,

I don't pay particularly close attention to appliances, there's a reason the seller is leaving them behind. I look for proper connections, anti tip brackets and such, but beyond that a just give a basic description of what was there, like "the fridge is in fair condition, the door seals are cracked and the handles are missing. When I opened the door the light came on, the fridge was cold and the freezer was colder." I have a disclaimer at the begining of the appliance section of my report stating I do not test how well they perform, and I close the section with a similar statement. Any appliance that has reached the legal drinking age gets a statement that it should be replaced for improved performance, safety and efficiency.

Tom

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Troy:

I only inspect permanently installed appliances. I explain to the buyer that used portable appliances generally have little value. Around here, ranges nearly always stay with the house, so I do test them. I've found that if I ask the buyer if the washer, dryer and refrigerator are staying with the house, half have no idea. I tell the them that if they want to run the washer and dryer through a cycle and check the refrigerator to see if it's cold, then go right ahead.

If I do test an appliance, I will put a line in the report stating that it was operated. And I do use the dreaded term appears to be functional. I use it very sparingly, but I do use it. The microwave oven appears to be functional. I only heat a paper towel in it, turn on the work light/night light and run the exhaust fan. I don't check all functions.

I don't record makes, model numbers or serial numbers of appliances. If an appliance is old, I report that it can die at any time. I generally don't recommend replacing an appliance just because it's old. I often see very old Hobart manufactured KitchenAid dishwashers that seem to work perfectly. My own dishwasher is a 20+ year old Maytag. I've never had a problem with it.

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Troy:

I only inspect permanently installed appliances. I explain to the buyer that used portable appliances generally have little value. Around here, ranges nearly always stay with the house, so I do test them. I've found that if I ask the buyer if the washer, dryer and refrigerator are staying with the house, half have no idea. I tell the them that if they want to run the washer and dryer through a cycle and check the refrigerator to see if it's cold, then go right ahead.

If I do test an appliance, I will put a line in the report stating that it was operated. And I do use the dreaded term appears to be functional. I use it very sparingly, but I do use it. The microwave oven appears to be functional. I only heat a paper towel in it, turn on the work light/night light and run the exhaust fan. I don't check all functions.

I don't record makes, model numbers or serial numbers of appliances. If an appliance is old, I report that it can die at any time. I generally don't recommend replacing an appliance just because it's old. I often see very old Hobart manufactured KitchenAid dishwashers that seem to work perfectly. My own dishwasher is a 20+ year old Maytag. I've never had a problem with it.

This is pretty much the same as I do.

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