Overall Home Condition Rating Systems

FYI - I wanted to throw out the topic for pros and cons of incorporating an rating system for the condition of the homes we inspect. For the record I am on the fence about this. I created this rating table that that breaks down the the house in two components, Structural Condition and Building Repairs. The rating from each category would be added to get the overall rating for the building. I anticipated using a graphic like the energy rating system to graphically show the score. For example, if the structural condition was Good (4.00) and the number of building repairs needed were Above Average for its age (2.50), then the overall score would be 6.5 or between Average to Above Average condition.

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Cool beans, Randy!..thanks for the graphic idea. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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What if you inspected a home with a ton of limitations preventing you from seeing most everything on that graph? Or select few limitations? Or how about we’re not structural engineers so how can we say the house is “structurally” rated as “good or great?”

These are subjective ratings compared to a brand new house being a 10, 5 for no structural issues observed and 5 for no building repairs observed. The caveat is you need some inspection experience to have a well rounded concept of what’s normal say for a house 10 years old versus one that’s 100 years old. Keep in mind I am throwing this out to see if anything sticks to the wall. If the consensus among inspectors is this is crap, then this goes no farther then this message board. If it has potential then I would get some real estate agents input. If they don’t like it I will scrap the whole thing.

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I think it would depend on how much home construction experience you have that would determine if you would use the rating system or not, personnel choice. But could be controversial.

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I would remove the New simply because a new house doesn’t necessarily means that its got no structural issues and None for repairs because I haven’t seen a house with no repair items after + 20 years of inspecting.

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I think it’s too subjective, and would be complicated for most clients/agents to fully understand and would likely create confusion and considerable explanation.
My experience is KISS. Keep it simple stupid. It works or it doesn’t.
An overall grading system in print in my opinion would not add any value to the client.
I like the thought process though.

I like the idea. I don’t have anywhere near the kind of experience to confidently use this rating system and stand behind my assessment. For me I wouldn’t use it.

I do to. Needs some fine tuning, but I overall like the concept. I think the structural condition is a bit much as they always have “good bones” so-to-speak (especially if you ask an agent lol).

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LOL. Although I like the idea of the rating system a lot, what kind of input or feedback are you expecting from a sales-minded party in the transaction? I ca give you a truthful answer right now, if you really don’t know, but somehow I already think you do :wink:

It’s an interesting concept. I could imagine a day where something like this could be used as part of a realtor’s marketing plan and could drive pre-listing inspection demand. Example; seller has pre-listing inspection completed and then inquires about how to get their score up before listing the home.

I’ve done similar rating systems for employee reviews in the past. We started with 10 just like you, then went to 5, then to 3. Through experience when you are rating something or someone it can be super subjective. As a client I would ask what makes it a 7 instead of an 8. FYR We laid out what the expectations were prior to the year/starting work. The 3 we ended up using were simple 1.Does not meet expectations. 2. Meets Expectations. 3. Exceeds Expectations. All employees understood those 3 better than a system that uses 10 options.

If everything was perfect except the roof was shot and got a 0 would the house get a 9.5?

I have changed the rating list from New to Excellent.

Unfortunately, because there is no standard that defines what is very poor, poor, below average, average, etc… if you give the same house to 20 random inspectors you will get 20 different scores. Even the same inspector will be somewhat biased from house to house and will assign a different rating even though the house could be identical to one before it. I honestly do not see how this could help a client. If anything, it may provide a false sense of condition, for better or worse.

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I tend to agree with that.
There would have to be a set standard like Assessors use to compare the conditions of the property that becomes an accessible tool among HI’s.

John,
If the house was 25 years old I would probably rate the structural component as Good (4.0), if no structural repairs were needed and I saw nothing but a few common shrinkage cracks in the visible foundation. The need to replace the original shingles on a 25 year old house is common where I live. Assuming all the other building repairs on the house were normal for its age I would rate the repairs, including the roof as Average (3.0). The overall score would be 4.0 + 3.0 or Above Average (7.0).

If the house was 2 years old I would probably rate the structural component as Very Good (4.5), if no structural repairs were needed and I saw nothing but a few common shrinkage cracks in the visible foundation. The need to replace the original shingles on a 2 year old house is not common where I live. Assuming all the other building repairs on the house were normal for its age I would rate this repair on the roof as Significant (1.5). The overall score would be 4.5 + 1.5 or Average (6.0).

Keep in mind Structural Condition includes foundation, floor framing, wall framing, and roof framing. Building Repairs includes the condition of all items not considered structural. Using a life expectancy chart look for items that have failed or need replacement before their normal lifespan. I suggest you look at the list of Repair/Replace items you flagged in your report and see how many never reached their normal lifespan. I would select the overall rating based on the item or items that have a significant replacement cost. For example if you reported the garbage disposal, dishwasher and AC unit all need replaced on a 2 year old house. I would pick the big ticket item (AC Unit) and give a Building Repair score of 1.5 since this is a significant cost for an item that failed long before its normal life expectancy. In general well maintained houses that managed exterior drainage will likely be in good condition regardless of age and rate above 5.0. Likewise poorly maintained houses with poor exterior drainage will likely have an overall score below 6.0

Simon & Marcel,

I agree inspectors with 5 years of experience would likely have different ratings than an inspector with 25 years of experience, but the same is true for the overall quality of their inspection reports. Ultimately the benefit for a rating system like this is for the buyer or homeowner who will likely never live in more than 5 houses in their lifetime. I am sure most inspectors get asked “Would you buy this house?” , which all inspectors should avoid answering that question. However most inspectors will answer the question “Do you think the house is in good condition?” This rating system is like a report card you received in school. It just gives you a reference on the condition compared to other houses you have inspected. I would only show the graphic below with a disclaimer something like this:

The overall condition assessment above is provided as a courtesy for this home and is based on the condition of visible structural components and the items needing repair or replacement at the time of this inspection. Ratings of individual components are subjective and based on 25 years of building inspection experience. Various other non-structural or cosmetic damage unrelated to this assessment may have been observed throughout the home, some of which may be discussed in general in this report. However, a detailed inventory of all cosmetic and nonstructural damage was beyond the scope of my assessment.

Interesting concept but I can see issues being created by clients interpretations of the presented information. Would be interested in seeing the thoughts of the legal professionals who advise home inspectors on their take. Personally, I would not utilize the “rating” in a report given to the Client for fear of it being used against me when Client “I Suz You” has a disagreement or different interpretation.

Hey Randy,
I’ve followed this forum for almost 2 years and I’ve seen numerous post from you. To add, I read your input with respect, because you seem to deserve that and that’s what I intended now.
I wish it was simple like that and I desire to provide a clear and concise “rating” like that too! Fact is, your 6.5 ain’t my 6.5 and maybe I don’t understand anything beyond that number. You say…hey! 6.5 is WAY above average and you should be happy to have it. I say…tell your wife, she’s a 6 1/2.