Tips on Reading an Inspection Report
When interviewing a home inspector, ask the inspector what type of report format he or she provides. There are many styles of reports used by property inspectors, including the checklist, computer generated using inspection programs, and the narrative style.
Some reports are delivered on site and some may take as long as 24-58 hours for delivery. All reporting systems have pros and cons.
This property inspection report may include an inspection agreement (contract), addenda, and other information related to property conditions. If any item or comment is unclear, you should ask the inspector to clarify the findings. It is important that you carefully read ALL of this information.
This inspection is subject to the rules ("Rules") of the Texas Real Estate Commission ("TREC"), which can be found at www.trec.texas.gov.
The TREC Standards of Practice (Sections 535.227-535.233 of the Rules) are the minimum standards for inspections by TREC-licensed inspectors. An inspection addresses only those components and conditions that are present, visible, and accessible at the time of the inspection. While there may be other parts, components or systems present, only those items specifically noted as being inspected were inspected. The inspector is NOT required to turn on decommissioned equipment, systems, utility services or apply an open flame or light a pilot to operate any appliance. The inspector is NOT required to climb over obstacles, move furnishings or stored items. The inspection report may address issues that are code-based or may refer to a particular code; however, this is NOT a code compliance inspection and does NOT verify compliance with manufacturer's installation instructions. The inspection does NOT imply insurability or warrantability of the structure or its components. Although some safety issues may be addressed in this report, this inspection is NOT a safety/code inspection, and the inspector is NOT required to identify all potential hazards.
In this report, the inspector shall indicate, by checking the appropriate boxes on the form, whether each item was inspected, not inspected, not present or deficient and explain the findings in the corresponding section in the body of the report form. The inspector must check the Deficient (D) box if a condition exists that adversely and materially affects the performance of a system or component or constitutes a hazard to life, limb or property as specified by the TREC Standards of Practice. General deficiencies include inoperability, material distress, water penetration, damage, deterioration, missing components, and unsuitable installation. Comments may be provided by the inspector whether or not an item is deemed deficient. The inspector is not required to prioritize or emphasize the importance of one deficiency over another.
Some items reported may be considered life-safety upgrades to the property. For more information, refer to Texas Real Estate Consumer Notice Concerning Recognized Hazards or Deficiencies below.
THIS PROPERTY INSPECTION IS NOT A TECHNICALLY EXHAUSTIVE INSPECTION OF THE STRUCTURE, SYSTEMS OR COMPONENTS. This inspection may not reveal all deficiencies. A real estate inspection helps to reduce some of the risk involved in purchasing a home, but it cannot eliminate these risks, nor can the inspection anticipate future events or changes in performance due to changes in use or occupancy. If is recommended that you obtain as much information as is available about this property, including seller's disclosures, previous inspection reports, engineering reports, building/remodeling permits, and reports performed for and by relocation companies, municipal inspection departments, lenders, insurers, and appraisers. You should also attempt to determine whether repairs, renovation, remodeling, additions, or other such activities have taken place at this property. It is not the inspector's responsibility to confirm that information obtained from these sources is complete or accurate or that this inspection is consistent with the opinions expressed in previous or future reports.
ITEMS IDENTIFIED IN THE REPORT DO NOT OBLIGATE ANY PARTY TO MAKE REPAIRS OR TAKE OTHER ACTIONS, NOR IS THE PURCHASER REQUIRED TO REQUEST THAT THE SELLER TAKE ANY ACTION. When a deficiency is reported, it is the client's responsibility to obtain further evaluations and/or cost estimates from qualified service professionals. Any such follow-up should take place prior to the expiration of any time limitations such as option periods.
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. The inspector's knowledge and experience is how the size and characteristics of the cracking is determined.
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.