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  1. #1
    michael ivie's Avatar
    michael ivie Guest

    Default How long is long enough

    I read this today just poking around the net.
    This is from About.com under home buying.

    "A home inspector should be able to e-mail you a copy of a sample report. If it's three or four pages long, don't hire that person. While lengths of reports may vary, comprehensive reports average between 20 and 50 pages and contain color photographs highlighting defects or problems"

    What is the average length of a report?
    Is this some bad info?

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  2. #2
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Mine averages 20 to 30 pages with approximately 30 to 50 pictures. This is emailed only. If I printed the report each time it would be shorter.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Quote Originally Posted by michael ivie View Post
    I read this today just poking around the net.
    This is from About.com under home buying.

    "A home inspector should be able to e-mail you a copy of a sample report. If it's three or four pages long, don't hire that person. While lengths of reports may vary, comprehensive reports average between 20 and 50 pages and contain color photographs highlighting defects or problems"

    What is the average length of a report?
    Is this some bad info?
    Well, it all depends on what is on those three or four pages! I think that The Home Team is famous for the 3-5 page report.

    My report will run at a minimum of 12 pages but most will average between 20 and 25 pages with photos.

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

  4. #4
    michael ivie's Avatar
    michael ivie Guest

    Default Re: How long is long enough

    I think the number 50 is what caught my eye.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    My average is about 20 on a clean house up to 40 or so on a POS.
    I just reviewed a previous report on a house that took me 33 pages while the previous guy did it in 9. I will have to admit that he did cover most of the issues in pretty good detail but he did not use photos.
    I like to use photos, he didn't; personal choice.
    The main thing is to cover everything, give your client a good value. I know some guys have 50 page reports, but sometimes lots of that report is boiler plate that may not really apply to the particular house. The "empty" report in TX is 5 pages.
    I personally think it needs to be long enough to fully report all issues in an understandable format without trying to recreate "War and Peace."

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    On average a report of mine will be 25-30 pages. The shortest one I've done in a while was 14 pages and it was in "mint" condition as the agent called it.

    The longest one so far was 112 pages but it was a 3 day inspection too.

    rick


  7. #7
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Ah quantity vs quality. Truthfully darn near everything could be covered in 3 to 4 single spaced pages with normal paragraph breaks at 10 pt font excluding photos. However, when you add the boilerplate, disclaimers, maintenance recommendations, how wonderful your inspector is, and all the other fluff, well 30 pages seems about right.

    I read inspection reports all the time in my line of work and I can tell you there is no new way of telling folks they're putting their life savings into a POS or ? We have honest, to the point, no-holds-barred reports and then we have inspector "light" the real estate agent's "user-friendly" report. Some times I get near physically ill reading their BS, but then again I'm on the clock so it ain't so bad.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    My report normally runs 12 -17 pages with just a few pics. thrown in from time to time. The summary runs 1-4 pages depending on condition. The photo summary with comments cross referenced back to report pages usually adds at least 6 pages. Totals out to 20 -30 pages most of the time. One report from a couple of weeks ago went 40 pages, but that was due in part to the heavy rains we have had here for the past couple of weeks. A good heavy rain always makes it easy to spot those roof and basement problems, and this one had all of 'em.
    A lot of the time I feel that I may be going overboard on the details in the reports and the number of pictures that I use, but I would rather take extra pics now and review them at the office later than to miss something......
    Alton


  9. #9
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    The longest one so far was 112 pages but it was a 3 day inspection too.
    The longest report I remember doing was 498 pages.

    I printed 3 copies. Myself and two other inspectors worked together on that inspection for two days. Then myself and one of the other inspectors one day on the report.

    Not to worry WC Jerry, there were only the normal few pages of CYA stuff.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    498 pages is not a report.

    Thats a coffee table book entitled, "What Not To Do To A Home!"


  11. #11
    Patrick Norton's Avatar
    Patrick Norton Guest

    Default Re: How long is long enough

    My reports average 15 pages. I believe in keeping it short and to the point so the customer can read and understand the report in a reasonable amount of time. I try not to over CYA the report. I only use pictures when the client is not present or cannot see a defect personally.


  12. #12

    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Michael,
    It not only depends upon the condition of the house and whether you include pictures and a lot of disclaimers...but it also depends upon where you are in the country. Reports in California are usually going to be in the 15-20 page range or less because of no basements and inspectors usually do not get on the roofs. In the Midwest the typical report is going to be 25-35 pages. Over the past 10 years that we have been involved in this industry across the country I would have to say the reports are getting longer on average. A 50 page report would be on the long side in most areas of the country. Jerry Peck's reports are not the norm since he does a completely different type of inspection compared to the typical home inspector.

    Jeff Knight
    Knights Software Solutions, Inc.
    www.knightssoftware.com
    "Leading handheld home inspection software for the past 10 years."


  13. #13
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Jeff
    I beg to differ and as a relatively long time report reviewer of CREIA membership reports along with my EW work I see hundreds of reports (all CA) and the only inspectors who don't enter a "walkable" roof is usually the franchise inspectors and their reports are mostly RE agent friendly and run 15 to 20 pages. Many old timers refer to them as “inspector light” inspection reports where as individual mom & pop inspection reports average around 25 to 40 pages and they usually enter a walkable roof during their inspections. Also, contrary to popular belief there's plenty of homes with basements in northern CA, mostly in the SF bay area. In fact basements have come back into vogue as our new home owners want to maximize their lot coverage plus having 3-4 car garages, media rooms, wine cellars, and au-pair facilities.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    ------In fact basements have come back into vogue as our new home owners want to maximize their lot coverage plus having 3-4 car garages, media rooms, wine cellars, and au-pair facilities.
    No Butler Napping Nooks?

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Jerry,
    That is good to hear that more CA inspectors are walking on roofs now....I just know from the past that some roofs in CA were not walked on because of the possibility of breaking clay tiles etc. and yes...I know there are basements in certain areas of California...I was just saying they are LESS common then here in the Midwest.

    Jeff Knight

    Last edited by Jeff Knight; 04-02-2008 at 12:26 PM. Reason: spelling
    Knights Software Solutions, Inc.
    www.knightssoftware.com
    "Leading handheld inspection software for 15 years."

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    498 pages is not a report.

    Thats a coffee table book entitled, "What Not To Do To A Home!"
    Rick,

    Most of mine averaged 150+ pages, guess those would be 'The Reader's Digest Condensed Versions'?

    By the way, I really like that title you came up with "What Not To Do To A Home!".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Judging a report's quality or quantity by the number of pages is pretty poor so to answer the OP's question, Yes, that is poor info.

    You could use lots of big picture or only a few small ones and greatly change the overall size of the report.

    Things I've always tried to stick to are the following:

    Try to keep the disclaimers and all the blah, blah about what you didn't do in the contract. A bunch of fineprint in the report makes it difficult to understand and read

    Try to keep the check boxes, grids, symbols and other junk to a minimum. Again, it makes reports confusing and hard to follow. I'm not saying don't have any but there should be more to the report than just a table and check boxes.

    Try to keep the report focused on info specific to the the house you're inspecting. Background info is good but nobody wants to wade through three paragraphs about houses in general to find one sentence about THIS house.

    Have a reporting style and stay consistent. For me it's; state the problem and location, state why it's a problem and/or how it affects the house, then tell them what to do about it.

    My reports are usually at least 12 pages and as many as 30 or more. Average is probably around 20.


  18. #18

    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Judging a report's quality or quantity by the number of pages is pretty poor so to answer the OP's question, Yes, that is poor info.

    You could use lots of big picture or only a few small ones and greatly change the overall size of the report.

    I completely agree. Just because your report is 35 pages does not necessarily mean it is a better report then a 25 page report.


    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Try to keep the disclaimers and all the blah, blah about what you didn't do in the contract. A bunch of fineprint in the report makes it difficult to understand and read

    I disagree some here since most inspectors that use our system have what we call a Category Comment before each Category of the report that is usually a few sentences explaining what they do or don't do in that Category. An example would be at the beginning of the "Kitchen" Category saying that we don't inspect refrigerators, microwaves etc. It is just more convenient for the client to find that info there instead of reading through a 5 page contract explaining what they do or don't do in each room or section of the house.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Try to keep the check boxes, grids, symbols and other junk to a minimum. Again, it makes reports confusing and hard to follow. I'm not saying don't have any but there should be more to the report than just a table and check boxes.

    Agree completely...does anyone like the HomePro book and all it's symbols ?

    Jeff Knight

    Last edited by Jeff Knight; 04-03-2008 at 09:52 AM. Reason: typo
    Knights Software Solutions, Inc.
    www.knightssoftware.com
    "Leading handheld inspection software for 15 years."

  19. #19
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    I know what you mean and I could/should have worded that better. My report does have specific things we don't do like you mention. And I'll often list things that are in a certain house that aren't inspected (wells, septic, hot tubs, low voltage wiring).

    What I'm really thinking of is when the all the limitatios of the contract (visual inspection, conditions and the time of the inspection, etc) are re-hashed at the start of each section.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    What I'm really thinking of is when the all the limitatios of the contract (visual inspection, conditions and the time of the inspection, etc) are re-hashed at the start of each section.
    My reports did not do that, that information was there one time, before the actual report information started. I felt there was no need to repeat it over and over.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  21. #21
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    Default Re: How long is long enough

    My reports run between 20 - 30 pages depending on the number of photos. There is a certain amount of "bulk" just doing the SOP stuff of telling what materials were there, and where things are, and how I inspected something.

    By the way, when I was in California, I walked almost all of the roofs, including wood shingles and shakes. I had very few tile roofs in my part of the world, but I did walk a few of those. After all, they walk on them when they install them. just have to be careful.
    JF

    I could also do a report on a 3x5 card too, if I really wanted to prove something.


  22. #22

    Default Re: How long is long enough

    Some of the crappiest reports I have read are very long and filled with disclaimers, etc. I say judging a good inspector by the size of the report is a bad way to go about it. (my reports are 20-30 pages, but only because of a ton of pictures).


  23. #23
    Martin Potokar's Avatar
    Martin Potokar Guest

    Default Re: How long is long enough

    While there are some good posts here, I think we're missing the boat! The old adage, 'Quantity Is Not Quality' applies just as much here as it does to most anything else we do. While I have to admit that I've never seen a home inspection report of any substance containing 3-5 pages, I've also seen many that are 20-40 pages loaded with photos and disclaimers that really aren't any better. What's going to determine the length of your report is going to be dictated to a Great Degree by 1) your ability and experience to provide a quality inspection to begin with, and 2) your ability to effectively communicate your findings to the client with as much detail as you can. BTW, this approach will also serve to significantly limit your liability. Moreover, if you rely upon giving your client a 300 page book or CD explaining home inspection deficiencies written by some self-acclaimed Guru who's inspected 10,000 properties, Forget It! In the majority of cases they don't have the time nor the interest to read your Encyclopedia on Home Inspection. In fact, back in 1985, I was given a Home Pro book by one of my clients who never bothered to open it. And if you think for one moment this is going to save your !@#$% given a mediocre inspection and/or report, you're in for a rude awakening. Once again, perform a quality inspection to begin with then use your best judgement to effectively communicate your findings to the client. Also, don't get carried away with photos. Rather, only take/include photos that you really need to substantiate a major deficiency and/or justify important observations in your report. Last but not least, make sure your client IS PRESENT for his/her inspection! Trust me, you won't regret it!



  24. #24
    Randy Clayton's Avatar
    Randy Clayton Guest

    Default Re: How long is long enough

    I've read most of your posts and agree with some keep all of your "CYA" stuff in your agreement form.. The main body of the report should be what findings where found at that time; and pictures though not a must are very helpfull. I think a through report can be done evan with our requirements in TX. can be done in 20 pages. 400 plus is obserb onless your doing the vaticon or something???? Why are you evan there writing that kind of report hell I'll do that kind of report sitting on my ass at home;just send me your check and tell me were to send the report.
    The more I hear the more rediculas this has become!!!!!


  25. #25
    Ian Janssen's Avatar
    Ian Janssen Guest

    Default Re: How long is long enough

    I have to say, that I have heard in my area about long reports, in excess of 40 pages and the clients find this overwhelming. My report is usually about 25 pages and 2-3 pages of photos to refresh the memories of the clients in areas that were pointed out to them during the inspection. I have never had a complaint about the length of my report.


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