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  1. #1
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    Default How much positive info to put in report

    Gentlemen,

    General question about your reports. How much positive information do many of you place in your final reports to clients? While on vacation, another inspector/friend did an inspection for a client of mine and the agent commented that his report was much different than mine. She said. ''He put a lot of fluff in the report, like positive attributes of the home not just what is wrong''. It made me think. This inspector is at the top of his game and is always busy. However, I put very little in the way of ''fluff'' in my reports; other than, the system functions, is about as positive as I get. I don't make sidebar comments about: newer HVAC system, cement siding, updated kitchens and baths..ect, ect. But now I am questioning that attitude. Perhaps I should temper my report with some positive items of the home. Thoughts?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bronner View Post
    ... Perhaps I should temper my report with some positive items of the home. Thoughts?
    Don't go over to the dark side!

    I recently reviewed a report for some friends of mine. Sprinkled throughout were GREAT NEWS! items.

    Like: "GREAT NEWS! Excluding listed defects, the overall roof surface, blah, blah, blah, was observed to be serviceable when inspected."

    Give me a break. It's not my job to be a cheerleader for the realtors.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Man, I barely have time to list all the defects before I start losing interest. There's no way I'm going to start listing what's good about the house.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Why list the positive attributes of a home? That is the salesperson's job!

    I list what I inspected, what I did not inspect and why and then I report what I discovered wrong during the inspection.

    Fluff = fodder and fodder = manure!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Why list the positive attributes of a home? That is the salesperson's job!

    I list what I inspected, what I did not inspect and why and then I report what I discovered wrong during the inspection.

    Fluff = fodder and fodder = manure!
    The client wants to know the concerns in the home. All the fluff is to bury those concerns in positive comments, in essence selling the hone. A am quite sure this inspector is extremely busy and does all his work thru realtor referrals.

    That is all in "Getting referrals from Realtors 101" There is an advanced course as well. He will miss something substantial someday and get bagged and in court it will ago 49 areas of the report where he was selling the home for the Realtor.

    I will say that it is a wonderful thing to have full gutters on the hone but I say that even if there are bone. In other words, you need to buy full gutters for the home, and I tell them that.

    I want to thank you folks to adding to my lengthy list of why there should be no .......... yeah, you got it already.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    I actually saw a report recently where the inspector commented on the nice color the exterior of the home was painted and how she like the landscaping of the back yard.

    Unprofessional and not what we're there for.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bronner View Post
    Gentlemen,

    General question about your reports. How much positive information do many of you place in your final reports to clients? While on vacation, another inspector/friend did an inspection for a client of mine and the agent commented that his report was much different than mine. She said. ''He put a lot of fluff in the report, like positive attributes of the home not just what is wrong''. It made me think. This inspector is at the top of his game and is always busy. However, I put very little in the way of ''fluff'' in my reports; other than, the system functions, is about as positive as I get. I don't make sidebar comments about: newer HVAC system, cement siding, updated kitchens and baths..ect, ect. But now I am questioning that attitude. Perhaps I should temper my report with some positive items of the home. Thoughts?
    Perhaps your inspector friend is so busy because he is writing his reports with the realtor in mind as well as the buyer. That's embarrassing. Here's some embarrassing report verbiage from a previous thread in the marketing forum:

    "CHIMNEY: METAL - Metal chimneys need to be inspected regularly for rust and damage. These do tend to work just fine for gas appliances".

    HA HA HA HA HA!!! What a joke!

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Perhaps your inspector friend is so busy because he is writing his reports with the realtor in mind
    Ditto.

    The only fluff description I use is "Satisfactory." The last thing I want my report to look like is a listing sheet.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    In my cover letter, I state that a home inspection is a negative process and the written report can be somewhat alarming. I go on to say that the buyer should get estimates in order to have a full picture of what the eventual costs will be.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    My general report pages do not include any 'positive' info. However in my executive summary, usually 2 pages long, I will list a few good things such as a very well built deck, the moisture meter didn't pick up any signs of water intrusion or new appliances.
    My reports tend to be pretty detailed and perceived as negative anyway. Putting a little good news in the Ex Sum helps balance it out a bit.
    I spent a half hour on the phone yesterday with last weeks townhome client. He was pretty flipped out by the amount of defects and the few serious defects. I went through the details of the defects with him. I also explained some of the positives of the property. There are nearby developments where he would be far worse off. He felt much more comfortable afterwards. You don't want to sugar coat a property. We wouldn't want to take the agents job away. However, sometimes it is important to put things in perspective to a client.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    I agree that there really is no need to add fluff to try and brighten up a report. That is just another way of sugarcoating. But having said that, if when inspecting a home(building) I come across something that is exceptional, I have no problem including it in the report. This does not necessarily happen too often, and nothing is worded to sound like a "sales pitch." But everything is included.

    I feel that the inspection is not just to inform the client of bad things about a home, rather it is to inform the client of the condition of the home. If something is deficient, adequate, or exceptional, the client should know. Unfortunately, rarely is something exceptional.

    If a heating system is new (especially in an older home), who wouldn't include in the report that the system is new? Or if the deck is constructed of Ipe, why not include it in the report?

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    When I am talking to my client at the start of the inspection I make it a point to explain that I am there to find the things WRONG at the house, and not to find the good things.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Gentlemen,

    Thanks for all the responses. I pretty ditto everything. I, too, begin each inspection with my clients telling them this, ''This inspection and report is bascially a negative experinece''. ''I am not here to tell you the nice things, that is what friends and agents are for''. If something works it is simply stated that way in the report. If the HVAC system is newer, folks will simply have to see in my report the year of manuf or install. I do make sidebar comments during the inspeciton if i see something nice..normally does not end up in the written report. I agree, fluff has no place in the body of the report..perhaps in a summary or cover page..but not in the report itself...my ulitmate take and has been for 16 years. Just thought I'd see what other inspectors thought. Thanks for all the imput.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bronner View Post
    ''This inspection and report is bascially a negative experinece''
    Yikes! What stage are you setting up with that? I'm sure you want your clients to have a positive experience where they find you knowledgeable and interested in their behalf and that the information that you provide is very useful in guiding them through the negotiation process. Achieving that would be a good thing.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  15. #15
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Eric, not sure what your comment is pertaining to. Perhaps your inspections are all positive but mine are not. We never end up sitting around at the end of the inspection basking in all the positives about the home. I simply lay the ground work for the inspection and set the expectations. It is important that clients know why I am there, and it is not to dwell on good stuff but to inform them of the condition of the home at the time of the inspection. Most clients are in the " I love this home'' frame of mind and by the end of the inspection many are really downcast and wonder whether or not to purchase the home based on all the is wrong. Hence my original query. Telling them that the inspection is bascially a negative experience is simply setting the stage and the level of expectation. Once that is out, off we go to inspection and reality land. thanks again for all the imput. I have learned one thing though on this site...watch what you say...there are any number of folks ready to pounce and espouse their ideas and ways of thinking...glad most of us have thick skin.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    If they want superfluous info tell them to hire Martha Stewart.

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    There are a few "positives" I routinely mention, they usually reference a recent upgrade of a big-ticket item. For example if I come across a properly installed obvious recent tear-off re-roof I will usually at least verbally point out to the client that this is a major expense they are likely not going to incur for the next 10 to 12 years. IMO that sort of information is valuable to the client for financial planning, and it is something they might not have understood unless I pointed it out. (It's sort of the reverse of the comment that I make went I come across a 25-year-old GFAF, and it's made for the same general reason).

    I'll also occasionally mention that there *may* be an upside to something I've observed, when this may not be obvious to the client.

    For example on every house over 30 years old I recommend the sewer be scoped (in my area, saves about every 15th or 20th client a pile of money).

    Where there is evidence that some or all the line has been replaced (for example, a newer clean out in the the parkway), I explain that depending on how much of the line has been replaced, and why, this *could* represent a substantial cost the client will not have to incur themselves.

    And, every once in a while, when I come across something that's really done well (for example a neatly laid out and completely labeled electrical panel, or really nicely detailed siding job) I'll mention it to the client, pretty much in the context of "Now that's something you don't see everyday... "

    But that's about the extent of it.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  18. #18
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    I don't put it in report but will mention good things to the client during the inspection. I love home inspection - I loath reports and paperwork. I don't put any more into the report than I feel is necessary to provide a complete picture of the condition of the property.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  19. #19
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Maybe I am over-reaching just a bit, but not all of my pictures are of "Deficiencies". My report is also my documentation that I did indeed inspect "All" areas of the home. I will take photographs of the Service Panel both with the dead front on and with it removed to show that "Yes, I did inspect your electrical service". Most people want to know if they have the presence of aluminum wiring, so even if there is nothing to report, I may comment on the breaker sizes and wire gauge loads on each breaker. I will also snap pictures of the attic space and comment on the insulation depth, the ventilation, etc. I may not be a deficiency, but it documents that "Yes, I did pick my way through your Attic space". So even though I do not add "Fluff" in my reports, I do comment on things that have absolutely nothing to report that is wrong, just so I can add it to the report as documentation. I am a firm believer in CYB (Cover Your B_ _ _ !)

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
    Jubilee Home Inspections

  20. #20
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Most of the places I inspect are pretty good houses. We don't have the vacant repo shacks like you guys see every day. I describe the place in detail and include piles of pics. So if the roof is new, I tell them the roof is new, and they get 5 or 6 pics to prove it. That's not fluff.
    If there's no vermiculite in a 60's attic, I tell them I looked for it and didn't find any vermiculite up there. Matter of fact, one thing they don't have to worry about.
    My report is mostly description, copper, plastic, 'Appears to be Functional'. I highlight the defects and summarize the defects. During the walkthrough, I say this is bad, this is ok, this needs work. But it would be depressing to dwell only on the negatives. I give them the whole picture, there's work to do there, this part is good. If they feel down at the end, it's a downer house and they should walk away.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  21. #21
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    you have to report on what you see and what you thnk of it. if your a fluffer and like to fluff then that is what the client is going to get. if the client likes what he gets he/she will pass on to others that they liked it. I personally agree that we are not in the fluff business but on a walk thru I don't see anything wrong with saying hey this is nice. It just doesn't need to be put into the report. the important details like condition of the house is what matters. what looks like it is going to need attention etc.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    In the Holmes Inspections TV show the homeowners typically state that "the inspector told them it was a really nice home" and then go on to list things that the inspector said were really great and then throw him under the bus usually saying we wouldn't have bought this house if he would have told us all that was really wrong with it.

    I am sure if you were ever dragged into court the homeowner's attorney would ram those comments so far up your aXXXXhXXXe that the text would be imprinted backwards on your forehead.

    Point being we are paid to tell them of the deficiencies let the Realtor tell them all the fluff! Stick to your scope of practice.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

  23. #23
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    I'd stick to the facts...IMO

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  24. #24
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    I couldn't agree more....Stick to the facts.... The good and the bad. Report on the structural and mechanical systems in the home and report what you see. The client hired you because you are the trained expert that can tell them the condition of the home. Give them what they paid for. You are not selling the home, but you are reporting on it.

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
    Jubilee Home Inspections

  25. #25
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    In many cases, I never meet the client. In most cases, I know nothing about their reasons for buying a home. I almost never know how they intend to use a report. In other words, what I think is a positive comment, may be detrimental. My job is to describe the condition of the home, nothing else.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  26. #26
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bronner View Post
    Gentlemen,

    General question about your reports. How much positive information do many of you place in your final reports to clients? While on vacation, another inspector/friend did an inspection for a client of mine and the agent commented that his report was much different than mine. She said. ''He put a lot of fluff in the report, like positive attributes of the home not just what is wrong''. It made me think. This inspector is at the top of his game and is always busy. However, I put very little in the way of ''fluff'' in my reports; other than, the system functions, is about as positive as I get. I don't make sidebar comments about: newer HVAC system, cement siding, updated kitchens and baths..ect, ect. But now I am questioning that attitude. Perhaps I should temper my report with some positive items of the home. Thoughts?
    I just report on the condition of items as the ASHI standards require and note what needs attention. I am not there to sell home the or point out the highlights of the home. The Realtor can do that.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    You do need to be careful reporting what you may see as "positive aspects" of the property. It could kill a sale...One photo of the pretty neighbor sunbathing in a bikini (while inspecting the broken fence) included in the report will be a good thing to the man of the house...But if the wife sees it, you just may have killed the sale.

    Stick to reporting the broken down fence and keep your camera lens clean.


  28. #28
    Michael Avis's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    I separate subjective opinion from fact. I may report that the "roof is new and appears to be in satisfactory condition" but I leave out my opinion of the color/style of shingle.

    I am never hired for my decorative or artistic chops but my ability to "paint" an accurate picture of the physical condition of the house. If asked my opinion on a kitchen remodel or the like I will share my opinion but it doesn't go into my report.

    I tell my clients at the outset that I am here to sniff out problems and that my reports are an inventory of those problems which is in fact, positive information in that it provides the client with the ability to make informed decisions.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Avis View Post
    I am here to sniff out problems and that my reports are an inventory of those problems which is in fact, positive information in that it provides the client with the ability to make informed decisions.
    Where is the "Like" Button? Worded very good...ah' well


  30. #30
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    When I am asked my opinion of aesthetics, I point out that I am the guy who thinks a paint store is well stocked if it has lots of white paint.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  31. #31

    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    I donít write a narrative report, I identify all the components in the house & tell the condition of each component. (just the facts) The comment sections will include an explanation of any material defects with the property. The summary page will include all the material defects with projected costs for needed repairs or replacement. (my own computer report) During the inspection I will explain to the client everything that I am inspecting & why, educating them about the house they are about to buy.
    I eliminate all the narrative and fluff from my report by providing a Home Owners Manual for the client.

    ASHI Certified #132


  32. #32
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    You guys already said it.
    Putting positive items in a report is goofy.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Michael, so this guy puts a comment with a photo of some distant mountains and says "Nice view from master bathroom". However, he may have overlooked some key inspection items. He's great at marketing, has a friendly and positive disposition, maybe even a nice blog. However, he avoids being perceived as a "deal killer" and bearer of bad news. Who would you want to hire?


  34. #34
    Rich Schaefer's Avatar
    Rich Schaefer Guest

    Default Re: How much positive info to put in report

    Well I am late to the table here but I DO include positive aspects of the inspected residence in my Summary Report. I do both a Full Report and a Summary. I can pick and chose what "types" of narratives I include in the Summary Report, the Full Report includes everything. I typically go over the Summary Report with the client/agents/etc. at the end of the inspection, line-by-line.

    I have a couple of narrative "types" that I generally also printout with my summary report, specifically "Energy Savings Feature", "Safety Feature" and "Needs More Info."

    The kinds of things I would put into these narrative types would be components/conditions that I have identified and checked as a part of the inspection, but may not be obvious to the client/Realtor, not cosmetic issues. Specifically I will identify: Low-E windows, increased attic insulation and the presence of a hot water re-circulator as Energy Saving Features; hardwired, battery backup, interconnected smoke detectors and ARC-Fault breakers as Safety Features, etc.

    I think there are several benefits to the client in this regard - I balance the somewhat overall negative aspects of the inspection with some positive attributes. Also, in most cases, there are important things the client should know about these features. As an example - why doesn't the ceiling fan or light work in the bedroom, oh the ARC-Fault breaker tripped, where is it? How does a hot water re-circulator work and why does it have a timer?

    Anyway my two cents!


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