Template: room by room vs system

I’m about to make out my template and curious on your opinions between the 2 options.

To me it seems when I’m in a bedroom and see a defective outlet, I have to back out of interior, find electrical, write up outlet, and put in a comment about the location.

Or if I have each bedroom with their own electrical part, the outlet goes into that. I just don’t know which final report reads better.

Most “Old School” inspectors I know use a “Hybrid Format” with their reporting.


I have a sub category in my interior section just for electrical components. I don’t do room by room reporting.


Most inspectors I know use system reporting. As for your example I use the red sticky dots sold at office supply everywhere. Outlets with wiring problems are identified with a red dot. There is only one comment about miswired outlets That are identified with the sticker. Buy the kind that say “removable” so the client doesn’t wind up with a sticky mess. Green dots (or any color you prefer) identify switched outlets.

Your post suggests you are trying to complete reports on site. I think most of us on this forum will agree that completing the report in the office is the better way. No pressure to keep the inspection moving along. Some will agree it’s even best to deliver the report the next day (within 24 hrs.). I do.

For myself, I just take photographs during the inspection of defects and needed locations as my way of taking notes. Your handwriting might be better than mine and you prefer to take notes. YMMV


Think about the end user.
A customer will ask what is wrong with the electrical system.
The answer can be found in one section of the report.
Which in turn can be easily handed over to a tradesman.

They don’t ask what is wrong with each room.
System by system serves the best, in my opinion.


The software I use (Spectora), I don’t go into each section at all in the app. There is a search function. You type in a keyword or two and the comment you are looking for pops up. I assume most of the other apps work the same way?

As an example, no matter where I am in the home, I type in “open ground” or you can just type “op gr” (no quotation marks) or whatever you get used to. That narrative pops up in the search results, you select it, take your picture, add a location and any other custom text or arrows, circles, etc. you would like, and hit the done button. After hitting done, it takes you back to the search bar area for the next defect. The better you word your narrative titles, the better the search feature works.


I do room by room, but I also do systems. You can do both, and I do it for the exact reason the OP mentioned.



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Gregory, Hi!

Are you not using a Software application to do your inspections?

I use the most practical software application available in the market, HORIZON! It works ‘on-the-cloud’. I access it on my iPhone/Device or Tablet during inspection walkthroughs. It guides me step-by-step so I do not miss anything within any of the NINE dwelling systems. I capture images (pictures) directly onto the application. I also take additional pictures with my iPhone PRO camera. It has a magnifying zoom and can take pictures in the dark alike a sunny day. All the info, pictures, my field notes, etc. go ‘up-in-the-cloud’ and I can download all of it onto my laptop for editing. I use “AI” to further edit and enhance my narratives and I do this in my home office! I take my time and usually commit to delivering the Report within 24 hours after I walk away from the inspection site. No rush!

If you do not want to commit to an annual software fee, you can buy bundles of reports from Horizon, 25 at the time for as low as $10 to $15 each.

Horizon will format and order your data and will generate a very professional looking report. That electrical outlet, it’s picture and your notes/observations will automatically go into the right place in your report. The report is an ‘active PDF. File’ that you and your customers can navigate back and forth with the touch of a finger tip in their Phone device or computer.

Horizon also provides an dynamic digitalized library of knowledge of each dwelling system as an attachment to each report you deliver. Is an ideal educational tool for first time buyers and any handyman that wants to learn how the 9 dwelling subsystems work. Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC, Heating, Cooling, Exteriors and Interiors, Insulation, Foundations, exterior grading, gutters, downspouts, and so on and so forth.

For under $15 a pop! Is a heck of an investment!

This 100% !!


Every inspector has their preferred form. I have been inspecting since 1989 and have made my own form using developer in Microsoft word. I use a tablet on site and my form has systems, exterior, attic and room by room. I tried several software provided forms and didn’t like any of them so made my own. Once I am back in the office I finish the report and always send it the same day.

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I do not do room by room Reporting > Strictly Systems. I figure if a client, their Agent or whoever needs to make up a list for repairs. They should not have to search through the Entire report to pull out Electrical Issues to give to The Electrician, Plumber or HVAC person. Also a lot easier if all the discrepancies for a particular system are all in one place so the contractor fixing plumbing issues does not have to read about a damaged bathroom door, the broken bathroom floor tile or the defective GFCI in the same bathroom Where he needs to install the flapper valve at the Toilet. Or search through all rooms to see where the Plumbing issues are.


The other not-often-mentioned benefit of systems style is that it is much easier to maintain one electrical section of your template as opposed to an electrical section for every room type, which is what you would have to do with room x room system in the software I use. Other software may vary I suppose.


Electrical, plumbing, HVAC all fall under systems in my reports. It’s not based on the room, but the particular issue that is noted. Where it’s located is within the specific systems section. To me, it’s the most simplified approach to report writing.


Another aspect of reporting by systems is that when the client sees “X” large number of pages for one system it is easier to impress upon them the importance of having that system thoroughly inspected and repairs quoted by the Trade that handles that system.

Electrical is a very good example of this with the following actual incident at an inspection.

  • Numerous receptacle outlets around the home totally non-functioning with others displaying other issues.
  • GFCI’s missing where required.
  • Light switches not functioning as they should.
  • Electrical appliances tripping overcurrent protective devices for no apparent reason.
  • Various electrical appliances not functioning and receptacle outlets not accessible for checking/testing.
  • An electrical panel that was a rats nest with many issues in it.

It was very easy for the client to see they needed a licensed Electrician in for a system evaluation and quotes for repairs. The Real Estate Salesperson had no opportunity to make it all rosy as might have been done with a room by room report. Had that been spaced around in a room by room style report the effect of such a large issue can be lost.