Home inspection reports have become a requisite item in above-board property sales. Their findings are immensely important, especially when the home being evaluated has severe maintenance concerns or a checkered history of unpermitted renovative work.

Before the founding of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) in 1976, which brought about a significant push for industry standardization, there were no shared inspection guidelines or license requirements. This created troubling inconsistencies in service quality, made worse by the fact that there was no reliable way to identify the best home inspectors.

With regulatory bodies like ASHI and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) at the helm, though, process standardization has now become a top priority for reputable home inspection companies. However, while best inspection practices have been established, reporting methods are still diverse. To give you a better idea of what to expect in your home inspection report, here’s a rundown of the noteworthy similarities and differences:

What Should Always Be in Your Report

  • Property and Client Information: Often enclosed at the top of a report, this baseline information includes the client’s name, property age and square footage.
  • Thorough Descriptions of Inspection Findings: Regardless of whether your inspector uses checklist, narrative, software-based reporting or a combination of all three, there should be full, detailed descriptions of all defective fixtures and appliances. These descriptions should also come with photographic evidence of said findings. Inspectors also should describe what a consequence of the situation and of not correcting the finding.
  • Solution Suggestions: Uncovered defects should come with a repair solution or specialist recommendation, if you’ve hired a general inspector. Remember that, while general inspectors can identify defects and vulnerabilities in a wide variety of home systems, they may not always be trained to directly address their findings. In most cases, certifying bodies like ASHI and InterNACHI actively discourage general inspectors from working on homes they evaluate. For example, a general inspector will assess the condition and longevity of your garage floor material, but its repair or replacement is best left to a company that specializes in garage floor coatings.

Where Reporting Methods Differ

One of the biggest differences is how home inspection reports are formatted. The two main reporting types are checklist and narrative, but increasingly, more inspectors are using software-based tools. Narrative reporting is the preferred method in many municipalities, especially as a legal record, because it doesn’t leave as much up to interpretation as a checklist does, since an inspector can specifically detail—and photograph—exact vulnerabilities and their severity.

Some reporting software provide inspectors with location or room-specific templates to ensure that each space’s most common areas of concern are identified from the very beginning. This is meant to ensure more thorough reporting, and remind inspectors where to centralize their focus.

The home inspection industry has grown immensely concerning operational standards and reporting methods, but the entire process can still be daunting for a home buyer or seller participating in it for the first time. If you live in the Columbus and Central Ohio area and would like a thorough, time-tested professional to guide you through the home inspection process, there’s no better place to turn than Habitation Investigation. To schedule your inspection today, call (937) 205-4758 or (614) 413-0075. Or schedule online.