Terminology questions

I apologize if this is a dumb question but… are we allowed to say "this may lead to a material defect?
Rob Forsberg
Brown Dog Home Inspections

Rob, our clients pay us for our opinion. So, you can and should say: “This may lead to a material defect.”, if you believe it will.

If you give an example or two, we may be able to help with narratives.

Best to you.

I don’t see any specific reason why you couldn’t, but it sounds a bit obtuse to me. I usually use more a specific reference (e.g., water penetration observed… which may cause wood rot and structural damage…)

Do you have an example of a statement where you might anticipate using it?


Thanks guys.
I actually am being asked to consult on something. The inspector used that language on what he feels may be a potential problem. It seemed a bit harsh, but I wanted to get some feedback before I got involved. Material Defect just seems to big?
Anyway, I probably will not jump into that can of worms!

Sure, you’re allowed to “say” anything you like, but to put a statement like that in a report IMO would be improper. We are there to report material defects viewed on the day of the inspection, not on a defect that may or may not occur sometime in the future, because you have to ask yourself, where does it end? Example: A leak may result in wood rot, just like an open junction box may result in the house burning down. Would you put that in your report?

Also, the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. :wink:

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Got it!

Used in that way, it’s non-specific catch-all language. It appears to imply that something should be done, but doesn’t give any useful information to help the client/reader prioritize anything.

BTW: It certainl wasn’t a dumb question.


1.2. A material defect is a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people. The fact that a system or component is near, at or beyond the end of its normal useful life is not, in itself, a material defect.

Thanks Kevin. That was kind of my opinion on future issues. I think “if left unchecked, it may lead to issues” is our job. Predicting the future, not so much