Residental Appraisal Group

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Appraisal Information and Reports

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Tips on Reading an Inspection Report

When interviewing a home inspector, you may find that inspectors use a wide variety of report formats.  Every reporting system has its pros and cons.  The most important issue of any inspection report is the detailed descriptions given for each component.  A report that indicates the condition as only "Good", "Fair", or "Poor", without an explanation is vague and can be easily misinterpreted.

An example of a vague condition would be: Kitchen sink: Condition-Fair.  This description does not give the homeowner any idea of what is wrong.  Is the problem structural or merely cosmetic?

A good report should supply you with descriptive information on the condition of every component of a home.  An example of a descriptive condtion is:  Kitchen sink:  Condition- Minor wear with rust stains and several chips in enamel finish.  Recommend sealing sink at counter top. 

As you can see, this narrative description includes a recommendation for repair. Narrative reports without recommendations for repairing deficient items may be difficult to comprehend, should your knowledge of construction be limited.

Take the time and become familiar with your report. Should the report have a legend, key, symbols or icons, read and understand them thoroughly. The more information provided about the site and home, the easier to understand the overall condition.

At the end of the inspection your inspector may provide a summary with a question and answer period. Use this opportunity to ask questions regarding terms or conditions that you may not be familiar with. A good inspector should be able to explain the answers to your questions. If for some reason a question cannot be answered at the time of the inspection, the inspector should research the question and obtain the answer for you. For instance, if the inspector's report states that the concrete foundation has common cracks, be sure to ask, "Why are they common?" The answer you should receive will be along these lines: common cracks are usually due to normal concrete curing and or shrinkage. We recommend that you accompany your inspector through the entire inspection if possible. This helps you to understand the condition of the home and the details of the report.

Read the report completely and understand the condition of the home you are about to purchase. After all, it is most likely one of the largest investments you will ever make.