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Diff'nt Strokes for Diff'nt Folks


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Different states have different rules.

North Carolina does not allow Recommendations in the required Summary section. Recommendations can only appear in the body of the report.

In North Carolina only Safety, Repair and Further Evaluation items are allowed in the Summary section. Unless it is a mandatory description of the property (supply pipe is PEX and waste is PVC), anything you find is going to be one of these 3 categories. Otherwise basically it is not worth mentioning at all.

Many of what I would consider Repair Items, you Recommend or Suggest. You also push way too many repair items to the maintenance section. Nah. They are not functioning and need to be repaired. Take a stand and declare a need to Repair. That is why they are paying you. They want an opinion they can take to the bargining table and demand the seller fix or give them a reduction in price.

I would suggest you simplify your numerous Definitions to only five areas. Safety Item, Repair Item, Further Evaluation, Maintanence Item, and Recommendations.

Once you simply your definitions, it is much easier to write the report. It simpler for the buyer and seller to understand. You focus on the problems and stop worrying about the severity. It is unsafe, broken or needs an expert to clairify through invasive techniques.

Safety Item: It is safety hazard and should be made safe. ex. There is a abandoned vertical pipe buried in the back yard with no cover. This is a trip, lose your baby, twist an ankle hazard. The pipe is not in need of repair, it is just a safety hazard.

Repair Item: It is not functioning, is damaged, cracked, broken, missing a piece, whatever. Repair For ex: You reported the hose bib handles are missing or damaged. This is not deferred maintenance, it is broken and needs repair.

Further Evaluation: You got a problem right here in River City but I am not able to identify the exact cause. You need a licensed contractor to further evaluate these specific issues, X, Y, and Z as well as design and implement a solution. Ex: The electrical panel in the garage is buzzing. Breakers and panels should not buzz. Further evaluate the entire panel and all its components to determine the source of the buzzing as well design and implement a repair or replacement by a licensed electrical contractor. Ex: You got water stains on the wall under the window. You need someone to find the source of the leak through invasive investigation and repair.

Maintenance: Clean you gutters, change your filters, replace smoke detector batteries, replace washing machine hoses every 5 years, drain water heater, etc on a regular basis. Peeling paint is not maintenance, it is a repair item. The paint has failed and is no longer providing adequate protection. Repair.

Recommendation: Recommend upgrades to prevent issues in the future. Paint, stain or seal all exterior wood structures like fences and decks to prevent deterioration. Install weather stripping around the attic access door to prevent energy loss. Recommend you upgrade all circuts to provide AFCI protection. Recommend using the fewest bends in the dryer hose. Recommend installing window tint film on the sunny side of the house to reduce fading and UV damage to the interior of the house & contents as well as reduce air conditioning load.

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I wonder what N. Carolina would say about my reports.........

I've done away with the whole idea that there's "2" reports, a report and a summary report.

My report is a list of defects, narratively described with pictures. There is a "Descriptions" section at the back where I inventory and describe all the stuff the various SOP's require. It's there if someone wants it.

There is absolutely no discussion of all the extraneous stuff that seems to inflate HI reports.

If they told me I couldn't have recommendations, I'd simply change my viewpoint from recommendations to "defects I think should be repaired or addressed".

How would that fly in NC?

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North Carolina does not allow Recommendations in the required Summary section. Recommendations can only appear in the body of the report.

In North Carolina only Safety, Repair and Further Evaluation items are allowed in the Summary section. Unless it is a mandatory description of the property (supply pipe is PEX and waste is PVC), anything you find is going to be one of these 3 categories. Otherwise basically it is not worth mentioning at all.

I do the same as Kurt.

And I thought Oregon was quirky.

Chris, Oregon

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Different states have different rules.

North Carolina does not allow Recommendations in the required Summary section. Recommendations can only appear in the body of the report.

In North Carolina only Safety, Repair and Further Evaluation items are allowed in the Summary section. Unless it is a mandatory description of the property (supply pipe is PEX and waste is PVC), anything you find is going to be one of these 3 categories. Otherwise basically it is not worth mentioning at all. . .

No offense to anyone here, but it seem to me that the folks who made up the rules in NC got hit upside the head with a stupid stick.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Well, think about who wants/uses a Summary Section: Agents.

Agents only want stuff in the summary section they are have to deal with. So if you want to "recommend" something, then include it in the body of the report. The Real Estate Lobby is very strong and applies a lot of influence on law making around here.

"There is absolutely no discussion of all the extraneous stuff that seems to inflate HI reports." If it is extraneous stuff, then it probably does not need to be there.

"If they told me I couldn't have recommendations, I'd simply change my viewpoint from recommendations to "defects I think should be repaired or addressed". How would that fly in NC?"

"Recommendations" can not be in the Summary section but they can be in the body of the report. Again if the Summary section is really only for the agents, they only want to know what they have to fix. Recommenations are recommendations and not repairs. Basically if you feel strongly about a recommendation, then you need to figure out how to make it a Safety Item or Repair Item.

You are thinking like an HI not an Agent. Agents do not want to have to pick through a report looking for items. They want a single section that only lists the stuff they care about. All the rest of the stuff in the report is just in their way. So they convinced the Licensing Board to require a Summary Section and it can only contain Safety Items, Repair Items, and Further Evaluate items. The body of the report can include as much other stuff as the inspector cares to pad the report with. The licensing board does specify what must be included as a minimum in the report. Typical descriptions of plumbing type, electrical sizes, roof type, etc.

Here is a link to a Compliance Worksheet they use when the review reports to confirm they meet the min. standards of the licensing laws.

http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Engineering/H ... ksheet.pdf

The licensing board has a mandatory 4 training each year. They pick the topic and write the course. Basically it is a report writing class. Well how to write a report that would the board happy. Each year they want lengthier descriptions of the problem.

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You're incorrectly thinking I don't understand how this works.

This is one of the only areas that I agree with agents. Almost all HI reports are unintelligible, and almost impossible to determine what it is the inspector is trying to say.

I agree about the extraneous stuff; it's not necessary. Most HI reports are full of it. That's how and why used the word.

I don't know why anyone would have a recommendation in their report if it wasn't a concern (i.e., repair/safety/further evaluate). It seems it would be relatively easy to compy with the realtors requests for reportage, as they make a fair amount of sense.

Houses are not complicated. Reports shouldn't be either.

Just curious.......what would be the sort of thing that someone would put in a report as a "recommendation" that wouldn't be considered a defect?

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Just curious.......what would be the sort of thing that someone would put in a report as a "recommendation" that wouldn't be considered a defect?

I would think things like adding GFCI protection where not originally required, adding pans beneath washing machines, and other things that were not required when the home was built, but is now.

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Sounds like a case of the tail wagging the dog. It should be the North Carolina home inspectors telling the agents what will be in the report and telling the agents, "Get used to it, we don't tell you how to sell houses, stop telling us how to be home inspectors."

They tried that crap here and almost succeeded with the first version of the law that the Senator tried to get passed in 1996. We organized, fought them and we won. So far, since passage of the law Washington Realtors (the name of the state's realtor association) is saying that how we run our affairs is none of their business.

Guess we'll see as licensing progresses.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Sounds like a case of the tail wagging the dog. It should be the North Carolina home inspectors telling the agents what will be in the report and telling the agents, "Get used to it, we don't tell you how to sell houses, stop telling us how to be home inspectors."

They tried that crap here and almost succeeded with the first version of the law that the Senator tried to get passed in 1996. We organized, fought them and we won. So far, since passage of the law Washington Realtors (the name of the state's realtor association) is saying that how we run our affairs is none of their business.

Guess we'll see as licensing progresses.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

I'm envious of Washington's law. I don't know why HI's don't do just what you said, but since most HI's are petrified of upsetting their realtor referral base, they just suck it up.

I still don't understand why one couldn't turn "recommendations" into "defects". Attic insulation is an excellent example......

"The house is minimally insulated; this will substantially increase heating and cooling costs. You should install more insulation."

How is it that high utility cost is not a "defect"?

Honestly, most realtors like my reports. Not what's in them, mind you, but how they're structured.

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If the house is minimally insulated I agree it is a defect and I state more insulation is needed. However, often times I find R-30, where the DOE recommend R-38, in that case I recommend adding more and point the to the DOE website for more info. I sometimes tell people with R30 that if they are staying in the house for 3 - 5+ years to up the insulation. But if it is a starter home and they think they will move in the next few years, don't bother.

Thread Drift:

Last fall I took my own advice and increased my attic insulation from R-25ish to R-50ish. It sure does make a difference. In the spring when it is nice outside (60 - 75) durng the days, but still drops down to the 30 - 40 at night, we leave our furnace off and in the morning it was still be 65 - 70 inside the house. My electric bill for July was only $100 and we keep the a/c at around 75ish all the time. I also have a SEER 16 a/c which helps a lot.

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Well, think about who wants/uses a Summary Section: Agents.

Agents only want stuff in the summary section they are have to deal with. So if you want to "recommend" something, then include it in the body of the report. The Real Estate Lobby is very strong and applies a lot of influence on law making around here.

I guess so. Forgive the coarse expression but it sounds as if they've made you guys into their little bitches.

You are thinking like an HI not an Agent. Agents do not want to have to pick through a report looking for items. They want a single section that only lists the stuff they care about. All the rest of the stuff in the report is just in their way. So they convinced the Licensing Board to require a Summary Section and it can only contain Safety Items, Repair Items, and Further Evaluate items. . . .

Do you guys have to raise your hand and ask permission to go to the bathroom?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Different states have different rules.

North Carolina does not allow Recommendations in the required Summary section. Recommendations can only appear in the body of the report.

In North Carolina only Safety, Repair and Further Evaluation items are allowed in the Summary section. Unless it is a mandatory description of the property (supply pipe is PEX and waste is PVC), anything you find is going to be one of these 3 categories. Otherwise basically it is not worth mentioning at all.

Are you sure about that? After talking to quite a few inspectors in North Carolina, I was under the impression that what you're saying is what the Agents wanted, but not what they finally got. Looking at the form you posted it says:

In the summary..

"Are there any improper recommendations to upgrade or enhance?"

To me, this does not say anything about recommending a repair or replacement of an item. Are you going off of another source, or just the worksheet?

This seems a bit ambiguous to me and is from current legislation http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bill ... 1007v5.pdf:

PART IV. HOME INSPECTION REPORTS

6 SECTION 4.1. G.S. 143-151.58 is amended by adding two new subsections to

7 read:

8 "(a1) Summary Page. – A written report provided under subsection (a) of this section for

9 a prepurchase home inspection of three or more systems must include a summary page that

10 contains the information required by this subsection. All other subject matters pertaining to the

11 home inspection must appear in the body of the report. The summary page must contain the

12 following statement: 'This summary page is not the entire report. The complete report may

13 include additional information of interest or concern to you. It is strongly recommended that

14 you promptly read the complete report. For information regarding the negotiability of any item

15 in this report under the real estate purchase contract, contact your North Carolina real estate

16 agent or an attorney.'

17 The summary page must describe any system or component of the home that does not

18 function as intended, allowing for normal wear and tear that does not prevent the system or

19 component from functioning as intended. The summary page must also describe any system or

20 component that appears not to function as intended, based upon documented tangible evidence,

21 and that requires either subsequent examination or further investigation by a specialist. The

22 summary page may describe any system or component that poses a safety concern.

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"In the summary..

"Are there any improper recommendations to upgrade or enhance?"

To me, this does not say anything about recommending a repair or replacement of an item. Are you going off of another source, or just the worksheet?"

Not really sure what your questions is...

The compilance worksheet is used by the licensing board as a first pass through a report to ensure it meets the basic min standard for reporting. It is really more of a guideline than a legal document.

There is great debate about "improper recommendations to upgrade or enhance". Lets say a house was built in 1960 and does not have GFCI or AFCI. The theory goes that GFCI and AFCI were not available and not required when the house was built so it would improper to call these out as Repair Items. They could be listed as Safety Items and placed in the summary section. They could be listed as Recommendations but only included in the body of the report.

As mentioned earlier, the state requires 4 hours mandatory training annually. During these CEUs, the state spends more time to explain what it thinks it means. The licensing board meetings are attended by home inspectors who ask pointed questions of the board and the board sends the question to committee to be hashed out. Home inspectors can volunteer to be on the committees. I have attended a number of committee meetings and licensing board meetings. There are several key people on the board who have strong ties to agents and see their role to make the real estate agent views met in the home inspector licensing. Other key board members are more home inspector oriented.

In reality, home inspectors write reports daily. Only if someone complains to the board do reports ever get reviewd by the board. In theory, the board picks inspectors from random and requests 3 reports to be reviewed for quality control on an ongoing basis. The people who would do that are too busy working the backlog of formal complaints against inspectors to randomly perform "quality checks".

Changes to the licensing law were just passed last week by the house and senate and are awaiting approval by the gov. They made some minor changes to the summary page statement. Most of the law changes have to do with pre-licensing training and qualifications. NC House Bill 1007

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You stated: Quote: North Carolina does not allow Recommendations in the required Summary section. Recommendations can only appear in the body of the report.

My quote in the previous post is from the new Bill 1007. I don't read it as preventing an inspector from recommending a repair on the summary. I don't read the worksheet as saying that either. Am I just missing something obvious?

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You stated: Quote: North Carolina does not allow Recommendations in the required Summary section. Recommendations can only appear in the body of the report.

My quote in the previous post is from the new Bill 1007. I don't read it as preventing an inspector from recommending a repair on the summary. I don't read the worksheet as saying that either. Am I just missing something obvious?

It is my understanding that we cannot use the words RECOMMEND or RECOMMENDATION in the summary section. We can and should call out items to be repaired.

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