A home inspection report is a document prepared by a home inspector, or building inspector, who checks over various aspects of a home. The goal of the inspector is to identify any structural or mechanical problems, and to recommend improvement. A home inspection report can be done at any time, but is most commonly requested by a potential buyer before closing on a real estate deal.
There are two main divisions a home inspection report will cover -- structural and mechanical. With structural issues, the inspector will look for things considered unsafe, or in need of repair. This may include detailing any mold, or areas where there is potential for mold, looking for termites, wood rot, plumbing, and cracked foundations. The mechanical portion will look at things such as the plumbing, central air conditioning, and the heating system.
After the home inspector completes the walk through, the home inspection report will be prepared and given to the person who paid for it. If this is a potential buyer, then it is likely a copy will be shared with the current homeowner. The report will usually make recommendations on how to clear up any potential issues. It will then be up to the buyer and seller to negotiate who will pay for the costs of the repairs, if it is agreed they are needed.
Many states do not certify home inspectors, but there are a few associations that home inspectors may belong to. For those concerned about making sure they get a quality home inspection report, checking for memberships in these associations may be an important step. Checking with the local Better Business Bureau, or asking for references are also ways to make sure that the home inspection report you will receive will be trustworthy.
While the home inspection report will detail a variety of problems, attending the inspection is also an option. Most inspectors will appreciate someone who goes on the walk through with them simply, because it will be easier to explain the problem if the client can see it, rather than just read about it. Thus, the individual not only receives a written report, but also has an oral home inspection report given immediately.
Home inspectors will usually not include any price estimates for repair. This is not in the scope of their work. Those homeowners who ask may receive a very informal estimate, based on the inspector's past experiences. This should not be taken as an accurate estimate, but may simply give the interested parties a rough idea. The only estimate that really matters is one that comes from an individual qualified to do the job.