How to Read Your Home Inspection Report
Your Home Inspection Report is where your Inspector captures all the findings they made while conducting an inspection. Whether you’re a homeowner, purchaser or a realtor, understanding the information provided in your home inspection report is vital to making informed decisions. In order to be informed though requires that you can interpret your report effectively. This ensures you gain valuable insights about the property’s condition, just as your Inspector intended for you.
If you’re not an avid reader, like myself, jump to the bottom of this blog for a video overview instead. A video walkthrough of your report is a part of our standard service. It’s understandable that a lot of information gets passed on to you during the inspection. To help minimize any information loss we capture the highlights, and point you in key areas of the report.
The Importance of Reading Home Inspection Reports
- Before we delve into the details, let’s understand why home inspection reports are essential for homebuyers and realtors alike. A home inspection report provides a detailed assessment of a property’s condition, highlighting potential issues and safety concerns. It allows you to identify any existing or potential problems. This enables any negotiation of repairs or pricing adjustments before finalizing the deal.
As the soon to be owner of the property you want to read your home inspection report because it offers guidance for maintenance, good construction practices, and provides you with a general understanding for your home. While a home inspection report can seem exhaustive it’s not meant to be a daunting and immediate to do list. Instead, use it to plan for home care that’s needed now and to plan for updates that will come due in the future.
Of important note is that neither a Home Inspection or Home Inspection Report provides a pass or fail of the property. We leave that to building inspectors operating under local jurisdictions in the construction industry. A General Home Inspection is done to provide you with an accurate and useful summary of the property to help you in making as informed a decision as possible.
How to Access Your Home Inspection Report
While you’re free to go after your home inspection is complete your Home Inspector is still on the clock. Using the information gathered during the inspection they follow-up by creating or updating, finalizing and uploading your report.
Once the report has been uploaded you will receive an email notification with a link for accessing your personalized home inspection report. Depending on the home inspection company you use this may also contain specific login credentials for you to use. With us, this same email will also contain the link to your home inspection report overview video.
Navigating the Home Inspection Report
- At the time of writing this we’re using Spectora as our reporting platform. As such, the focus here will be on the layout of the report when using their software. However, you may find others to be similar.
With Spectora, your report is interactive online, allowing for easy navigation and providing a user friendly interface. When you first load your report up you’ll be in the Full Report section looking at the general overview. Immediately, this will highlight key findings from the inspection, and provide a means of navigating through the report.
Across the top you have 3 options for how to proceed with viewing the report:
- Across the top are 3 tabs to change how you view your report: Full Report, Summary and Deficiencies
- On the right is a tab to create PDF’s. You have the option of creating a full report or a summary report.
NOTE: YOUR HOME INSPECTION INFORMATION WILL SHOW HERE
- The first, is the full report, which as it suggests contains everything the report has to offer. This will identify areas that were inspected, any limitations, maintenance, general building information, and deficiencies. For some this view may be too extensive or exhaustive for their preferences.
Next, is the summary option. This focuses your report down to the specific findings of the inspection for all areas noted as requiring maintenance, recommended prompt attention, and deficiencies that require more immediate action. The summary is a comfortable starting point for most.
The final option is for viewing the deficiencies only. These are your key areas that your Calgary Home Inspector has deemed it’s in your best interest to focus on immediately. Often these are life safety, health related, or critical to the building’s operational performance. If you’re a realtor, then this is the area you want to hone in on to help your client address or possibly negotiate.
On the left is a sidebar which allows you to jump to specific areas within the report simply by clicking on the headings. As you move through the three variations of how your report is delivered this area will also adjust to reflect areas that fall into higher priority categories.
Should you desire to have a PDF copy of your report that’s also an option. On the far right is a button to produce the report as a PDF for download. It gives 2 selections: the first, again is the full report, while the second is a summary report of areas the Inspector has flagged. This summary PDF report is comparable to the second summary tab in the interactive report online.
HOME INSPECTION REPORT TERMINOLOGY
- When reading your home inspection report you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the terms, rating system and where information is stored:
Explanation of Ratings
I = Inspected. This means the system or component was inspected and found to be functioning properly, or in acceptable condition at the time of the inspection. No further comment is necessary but whenever possible additional information about materials used in the construction and how to care for or maintain the home.
NI = Not Inspected. This indicates that at least part of a system or component could not be inspected or could not be inspected as thoroughly as desired. This amounts to a limitation and will include an explanation.
NP = Not Present. This indicates that a system or component was not present at the time of inspection. If the system or component should have been present, a comment will follow.
D = Deficiencies. This indicates that an action is recommended. Deficiencies are colour coded to indicate the importance of the deficiency.
Blue – Means that it is an observation of a system or component and maintenance should be performed. This falls short of being an actual defect but it will still be included in the report summary.
Orange – Means that it is recommended that a system or component be repaired or replaced.
- Red – Means that a system or component has a defect and immediate attention is required.
Next, you’ll want to note that there’s multiple tabs you can cycle through to find different information about a particular area. These tabs include Overview, Information, Limitations and Standards.
HOME INSPECTION REPORT TABS
- Overview – a summary of the inspection findings. This identifies areas that were or were not inspected, and notes areas with deficiencies.
Information – this heading may contain various types of information. It may include processes or means used for inspection, information not specific to a deficiency, or general building information.
Limitations – when applicable this heading will contain information regarding any limitations the Inspector faced during the inspection. Personal storage is a common issue inspectors face that is listed here. It often prevents the inspector from having complete access to a space.
Standards – highlights the standards of practice which the home inspector is required to follow when assessing the noted area. For instance, a home inspector is only required to inspect a roof from the ground or eave level. An inspector who walks the roof, or uses a drone is exceeding the standards of practice for a Home Inspector.
Technical jargon can make it difficult to read the home inspection report that for people outside the building and construction industries. However, a couple common terms to be familiar with are:
Deferred Maintenance: Refers to issues that have not been addressed promptly, leading to worsening conditions over time.
Material Defect: Denotes a problem that significantly affects the property’s value, presents safety hazards, or requires immediate attention.
Tips to Effectively Read Your Home Inspection Report
Review the Summary First: Begin with the summary section to grasp the most critical points and overall condition of the property.
Pay Attention to Specific Areas of Concern: Dive into the detailed findings for any particular section to get a comprehensive understanding for that aspect of the property. Is Electrical a major concern for you? Then jump straight to that section and immerse yourself in the information available there.
Examine Visual Documentation: Refer to the images and videos provided in the report to visualize the inspector’s observations and better comprehend the identified issues.
Prioritize Material Defects or Major Deficiencies: Focus on the items in Red that require immediate attention and could affect the property’s value or safety. Summarized under the deficiency tab.
Consider Deferred Maintenance: Take note of deferred maintenance items and plan for necessary repairs or improvements to avoid further deterioration.
Understand Recommendations: Study the recommended actions by the inspector to address identified issues properly.
Your Home Inspection Report Overview Video
- Your Calgary Home Inspectors want to ensure you fully comprehend the inspection report. We feel this is best achieved by creating a personalized video that serves as an additional resource to explain the report’s key findings visually. This custom overview video will help you navigate through the document efficiently and understand the property’s condition better.
In the video, the inspector will cover the following:
- A general explanation of the inspection process.
- A walkthrough of the property’s main areas and any specific concerns.
- Visual references to highlight critical issues and their locations.
- A recap of any key discussions had in person during the inspection.
Final Notes on How to read your home inspection report
- Understanding how to read your home inspection report is an essential step in the home buying process. With the help of Spectora’s home inspection reporting software and a custom overview video prepared by the inspector, I’m confident you’ll have a firm understanding of the property’s condition and make informed decisions. Remember to take note of major deficiencies, maintenance, and the inspector’s recommendations. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to negotiate and ensure your future home is in its best possible state.