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What to Expect from a General Home Inspection Report.

We thought it was important to tell you about our home inspection reports. We believe in educating our clients and hope this blog post helps you better understand the inspection report, which is an important part of the home inspection process.


Bayside Home Inspections, LLC uses a comprehensive home inspection software program called 3D Inspection Software. In our review of the products available to home inspectors, we felt 3D Inspection Software provided the most comprehensive and organized approach to presenting the information obtained from a home inspection.


Report Ratings


Our home inspection reports are categorized by a rating system that includes five main areas: Serviceable (S), Maintenance/Monitor (MM), Safety/Health (SH), Major Defect (MD), and Can't Confirm (CC). During the home inspection, detailed notes are taken in all key areas as outlined by the American Society of Home Inspectors Standards of Practice. These notes are then transferred into the reporting system and categorized by these ratings.


Below are the definitions for each rating category.


Serviceable (S)


Items noted as "Serviceable" during the home inspection describe systems or components found to be in acceptable condition and performing as intended at the time and date of the inspection. Helpful tips and related information concerning various systems or components may also be noted in the body of the report for items rated as "Serviceable."


Maintenance/Monitor (MM)


Items noted as requiring "Maintenance/Monitor" may identify a deficiency found during the home inspection that may require a cost to repair. Such items would be considered minor in nature. In most cases, routine service or normal household maintenance of these items would be recommended.


Typically, items rated as "Maintenance/Monitor" reflect normal aging and wear. Repairs over time are also common and result with older systems and components. Although these items may still be performing their intended purpose during the inspection, we would recommend monitoring them as their remaining useful life expectancy may be limited and additional repairs or replacement may be required in the near future. For "Maintenance/Monitor" issues found during your home inspection, it is advisable to consider budgeting for those additional expenses.


Examples of Maintenance/Monitor Issues: Re-caulking needed, inoperative doorbell, deck surface maintenance issues, lint buildup at exterior dryer vent, door hardware adjustments needed, missing screws on electrical panel cover, missing caulk in tub/shower surrounds, poor carpentry finishing, burnt out light bulbs, sink stoppers not sealing properly, etc.


Safety/Health (SH)


For items rated as "Safety/Health" issues, the inspector is drawing your attention to items that present safety or health issues. These are items found to be in a state that compromises the safety and health of individuals and/or their environment in the home. Some safety and health risks may be more or less serious in nature, however, recommendations to correct these conditions as required would be advised to ensure proper safety and health. Further evaluation and needed repairs should always be performed by a qualified licensed contractor or technician.


Examples of Safety/Health Issues: Faulty wiring, poor ventilation in attic and/or crawlspace, faulty GFCI receptacles, missing wire clamps on clothes dryer presenting a potential shock and/or fire hazard, missing screens on fronts of fireplaces, electrical outlets not properly grounded, smoke detectors not in working order or not responding to test button, etc.


Major Defect (MD)


Systems or components listed in this category are found to be non-functional, not operating properly, and in need of major repairs or costly replacement. It is strongly recommended that the cost of these types of items be considered prior to settlement. Obtain the services of a qualified licensed contractor or technician to further evaluate the full extent of the repairs/replacement cost and scope of work associated with these subsequent major defects is always recommended.


Examples of Major Defect Issues: When faulty wiring is found in an inspection, it is both a safety hazard and major defect. At times, some issues will be in both categories due to the nature of the issue. Other examples include roofing problems, heating/cooling system defects (e.g., not responding to normal controls), plumbing issues (e.g., leaks), poor insulation or ventilation issues, poor drainage around the structure, fan cover/filter missing on kitchen appliances/poor ventilation, loose flashing, etc.


Can't Confirm (CC)


In some cases, a rating of "Can't Confirm" is selected due to certain conditions and/or circumstances that may exist at the time and date of the inspection that make it hard for the inspector to confirm the issue. For example, inclement weather may hinder the inspection and/or items may not be in operation, not visible, or not accessible. The inspector may be unable to fully determine the exact cause of an identified item or condition, or know whether or not the underlying cause has been repaired or what effect the future may have on an existing condition if not attended to. It is strongly recommended for these types of items, the buyer pursue confirmation as to the operation or condition of these unknown items with the seller or a qualified licensed contractor prior to settlement.


Examples of Can't Confirm Issues: Large amounts of stored items in an area of a home limiting visibility to the inspector, crawlspaces under minimum height standards restricting access, limited head room in attic space limiting inspector to get in to attic space to inspect, turned off utilities limiting proper inspection (e.g., sometimes found in short sales, foreclosures or vacation homes that have been winterized).


Inspection Report


The initial pages of the inspection report include summary pages that summarize upfront the key issues found during the inspection. They are sorted by the major ratings listed above. Items found to be "Serviceable," are not pulled out into the summary pages. The summary pages are intended to help clients preview overall key findings from the inspection.


Beyond the summary pages, the inspection report includes a more detailed description within each major category below, to include all areas found to be serviceable. Pictures are also included to illustrate key findings and issues found during the inspection. The major categories include:


  • General Information

  • Exterior and Foundation

  • Roof

  • Attic

  • Garage/Carport

  • Electrical System

  • Plumbing System

  • Water

  • Laundry Area

  • Heat/HVAC System(s)

  • Cooling System(s)

  • Kitchen/Appliances

  • Bathrooms

  • Interior Rooms

  • Smoke Detectors/Carbon Monoxide Detectors


Within in each major category, there are numerous levels of subheadings and details provided to present a detailed and comprehensive inspection report (e.g., type of foundation, roofing materials, age of structure, materials and conditions, types of appliances, number of heating systems, number of air conditioning systems, etc.)


Bottom Line? Every home is different. Therefore, every home inspection report is different. Our reports take into consideration the individualized nature of each home inspection and are not "cookie cutter" reports. As a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), we take pride in providing our clients with a high level of expertise and professionalism. We follow the American Society of Standards and Practices from beginning to end during the home inspection process - to include our reports.


Our reports are provided to clients within a 24 hour turnaround time. PDF versions of the reports are emailed to the client. Hard copies are available upon request. There is no extra charge for the inspection report. It is included in the price for the general home inspection.


Additional reports are provided for other inspection services requested, such as wood destroying insect inspections (WDI), water sampling and radon measurement/testing.


For more information about our home inspection services, please feel free to call us at (302) 500-0130. As always, we welcome your calls and questions and look forward to providing you with your next home inspection.


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