Putting cosmetic items in your inspections

Since I am a newer inspector, I make it a point to document items like a obvious crack in the ceiling. I also go on to say that it appears to be minor, and it is for your information. Well the house I did a couple days ago was full of problems. 88 pages of pics and report. Of course the buyer did not buy, and the sellers agent was pissed, and she called to say I killed her deal, and went on to tell me that I should not have put cosmetic items in the report, like that was the reason it got bombed. The dangerous deck, electrical issues, and the leaking plumbing were ok, just not cosmetic comments. Do some other inspectors put cosmetic items or not?

Forget the realtor, for a moment.

“Cosmetic” items are not a part of my report, but are certainly a part of my inspection.

Drywall cracks have a cause. I am not necessarily looking or reporting on the cracks as much as I am seeking what is causing them. Same with driveways, sidewalks, etc.

An out of plumb doorway can be poor workmanship and “cosmetic” or can be a sign of a serious structural issue.

Let the “cosmetics” be the signals…not the targets…in your report.

When it comes to cosmetic issues I always tell my clients to notate any they wish in the report as it is their report and I only work for them.

I report what I see as an issue but they may decide that the big paint scratch in the back closet is an issue to them and it is their report.

I am happy to take a picture and insert it in as something they wish to discuss with the seller.

I may follow SOP but I am there to serve my client.

I use something like:

OBSERVATION: Crack was noted. Crack did not appear to be a significant structural issue.

There is a general comment in the interior wall covering section stating
“Minor cracks in the walls, unless noted in the room-by-room descriptions, are considered normal shrinkage or settling”

Depends on what service the Client wants. Of my many inspections, for the ones that are relevant to the question, here are my answers:

LIST - no
BASIC - no
TECH - yes
RENT - yes

As thorough as I like to be putting every cosmetic or truly minor and obvious item can make the report totally unwieldy.

Example is one minor crack (corner) of window glass. I have in my agreement and make a point to point out these to the client as an example of really obvious things I won’t report unless the quantity of similar items makes them significantly costly. The issue is whether the cosmetic is a sign of something more serious. WHich is of course why my clients hire me.

I rate my defects for urgency so my client has a fairly easy time of identifying the serious stuff.

As for the agents getting PO’d. Tough for them. The client has a contingency clause and in most states/areas it is their call as to what makes a significant defect and exercising their RIGHT to bail. If the real estate saleperson didn’t want that to happen they should have counseled thier client the seller) to do a better job in dealing with tose “cosmetic” issues.

I’d say it’s not what they want, but what they are willing to pay for…

This is RR’s point.

Cough cough

My service is premium to all clients.

This is what they want you to do for them. They may be unhappy if you leave one out!



yes I do

Pay me enough Joe I’ll repaint the walls :slight_smile:

If I did that in a home I or the client didn’t close on, it would be my last final walk through for that builder, not that their not probably minor cosmetic defects, man, that is way out of line in my opinion.

No craftsman, or Spaniard can make everything Perfect, there is no such thing.

I tell them a home is not the space shuttle. There will be minor deviations from perfection.

There is certainly a “standard” that a lot of new construction home buyers are clueless to.

----Good one Joe…you’re a good Inspector and a Good Man I’d bet–:wink:

I’m not so sure, Dale.

Have you ever watched John McKKKenna make a perfect fool of himself?

Oops. Thread drift. Sorry.

Pretty close to a tie the way I see it.:mrgreen:

I don’t sweat the small or cosmetic stuff liked I used to. When I was a new Inspector, I felt the need to make sure I was writing up every thing I could find in the home out of fear that I was going to miss something.

I think what it boils down to is the delivery method we use to convey these minor or cosmetic issues. If you are writing every issue as a “repair” item, then I could see where the report would be long and over the top.

The usage of clear and concise definitions and a report glossary help a great deal with these maintenance items. I tell my client up front that I’m not focused on minor or cosmetic issues, rather I’m primarily concerned with major ticket items or adverse conditions.

Your not going to please everyone, but if you keep things in perspective then it seems to work out well for all parties involved.


It’s OK… he says the same thing about you.

I know John.

He lumps us all together.

To him we are part of the vast right wing conspiracy.

That would be anyone who disagrees with him or doesn’t love Obama.:roll: