[FONT=Calibri] I just got done reading one of your contract reviews for Chris Franklin and I think what your doing is fantastic, this leads me to an issues that I see often when reviewing report submitted to me for E&O Insurance. I don’t know if this is report a writing program problem or how the inspector is actually answering the questions/observations. [/FONT]
[FONT=Calibri]Here is the scenario, this is an inspection of a 23 year old house.[/FONT]
[FONT=Calibri]Below is the standard check BOX answering of the inspection on the garage door.[/FONT][FONT=Calibri][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=ArialMT] [/FONT]
[FONT=ArialMT]6. Garage Door Parts[/FONT]
Good Fair Poor N/A None
[FONT=Times New Roman]Observations: [FONT=ArialMT]• The garage door appeared functional during the inspection[/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=Calibri]Call me crazy but Good to me, considering there is no better/higher level of condition to be answered would be to me something brand new or impeccable in quality and age??? Fair would be what I would Check of something that is normal for its functional existence based on age, condition meaning it isn’t broke, or really bad.[/FONT]
[FONT=Calibri]The reason I bring this question up is that on this particular report there was also a picture of an old water stain in the ceiling?? And Good was the box checked??? How can a stained ceiling be GOOD when good as in my interpretation in reading a report would be no visible issues/ or perfect??[/FONT]
[FONT=Calibri]So what I’m asking is can you try and get someone to post one of these reports that has this type of check Box system as I would be curious to see if you would agree with me on this?[/FONT]
[FONT=Calibri]Let me know what you think? [/FONT]
It depends on what the box being checked was relating to. Something can be in good conditioned yet stained.
David I see both yours and Nicks point. The inspection is based on the inspectors observation and opinion at the time of inspection so this may lead to a differences of opinion as with you and Nick. So what is your opinion on a report with satisfactory and not satisfactory.
If the stain is due to a previous leak that has been repaired and the ceiling is dry/solid, then technically, the stain is just a cosmetic “defect”. Since we don’t report on cosmetic deficiencies, then why wouldn’t the ceiling be “good”?
Now, to COAs… if we see a stain, we confirm whether it is wet or dry and write it up as such, mainly to avoid calls back.
Bill, I went back and read the actual findings on the stain and it was tested for moisture and it was dry. So as mentioned above it would appear to be cosmetic. I guess trying to put myself in the shoes as a buyer, in this style of reports it just seems that checking good is a way of being safe. But to further explain why I asked this, is that there was no request to the buyer to further inquire as to the cause of the stain or investigate. Was the roof repaired? was it a condensate line in an attic for the HVAC unit?
We are know dealing with a water/roof/mold claim in this house. I just felt that if the box fair was checked, as a consumer I might have asked more questions?
I realize there is no right or wrong answers here but to check every box as good on a 20+ year old home just seems wrong to me. Fair would make sense?
I think the wording of satisfactory is more easy to explain than just saying good. It’s more of a descriptive opinion than just saying good. I like the wording of good to my wife saying FINE, It’s to open ended. Satisfactory tells me IMO that for it’s age and functionality it there are no major concerns at this time of it’s condition. Not satisfactory as looking at this from a non inspector would cause me to question why is it NOT and ask questions, I would also be looking for wording saying have this evaluated by or further investigation may be needed, or it’s beyond the scope of this inspection.
The reality is, there will most likely never be an issue with any of these wordings, unless there is a claim, and then it falls into a judges interpretation…
I don’t use any of those words. I have 4 boxes I can check as approiate Inspected, Not Inspected, Not present, Repair
If I inspected it and there was no repairs necessary I show a pic with caption performing as intended. If it was present and not inspected I state the reason it was not inspected. Not present is obvious even to KW;-) If it needs repaired there will be a pic indicating the problem. I use none of those terms satisfactory, fair condition they are just asking for trouble. I have been in this business for 18 years and have never had a claim
I developed and have used my own check list/narrative reports for years now. The main concern is that you MUST document on the first page of your report what good, satisfactory, not present, etc. terms mean. You must define them. Each one I use has a paragraph defining what they mean.
In judicial interpretations, the “Ordinary-Meaning Canon” is the most fundamental semantic rule of interpretation. Words are to be understood in their ordinary, everyday meanings - unless the context indicates that they bear a technical sense.
While a stain does not necessarily indicate that the reported item is other than “good” (as Nick stated), the source of the stain can be an unrelated and reportable defect.
The danger that you appear to be eluding to would come from ambiguity … and how an ambiguous remark will, in almost every case, be interpreted in favor of the recipient of the report. If the ceiling is stained … but marked “good” … did the inspector warn of a potential leak above the ceiling that could affect it or did he discount it? The court will rule that he eliminated it as a possibility when he rated the ceiling “good” and find this ambiguous statement in favor of a home buyer wanting to sue him.
The danger that you appear to be eluding to would come from ambiguity … and how an ambiguous remark will, in almost every case, be interpreted in favor of the recipient of the report. If the ceiling is stained … but marked “good” … did the inspector warn of a potential leak in the roof or did he discount it? The court will rule that he eliminated it as a possibility when he rated the ceiling “good” and find this ambiguous statement in favor of a home buyer wanting to sue him.
Gary, Charlie, and Jim, thank you for your replies. My hope here was to get the answers that each of you placed. All I seem to hear about are meritless claims but there are real ones out there too. And as important as the pre inspection contract is to protecting you from any claim, the report is just as if not more important. I see a lot of ambiguous statements as Jim mentioned and YES Jim, I think in the case that I’m referring too, though it is a meritless claim on many terms, I’m not convinced that GOOD is going to fly in the court room with out the clarity that Gary does in his reports. This is a $100,000 claim and it’s real and I also hope I’m wrong.
I just hope this gets inspectors rethinking there language and reports just Like Nick isg getting them to do with his reviewing of the agreements.
This subject should be discussed in seminars at every HI meeting.
There is heavy information about how important agreements are, but not much in report understanding and wording. Narratives are important, but how to read the reports must also be included within the report. Many of the lines in my agreement are also in my reports here and there. The reason is that agreements go to the client. They do not go to the REA’s or the REA listing agent. When reports get circulated, legalities and misunderstandings can arise.
Jim’s points are always valid, and should not be taken lightly.
Personally I think Good- Fair-Poor, etc are terms used by inspectors that don’t know how to inspect OR write AND use a butt load of Boiler Plate comments from less than desirable software providers BUT that’s just my opinion.
We noted cracks or movements in the dryall ceiling that in our opinion are not uncommon for a building of this age and type of construction, combined with expansive soils. We recommend keeping these caulked, well sealed and painted to be able to monitor for future movement or leaking. If either condition should ever occur, repairs could be needed.
We also noted older looking moisture stains around the stripper pole in the master bedroom. The water stains were checked with an electronic moisture meter and were dry at this time, AND it had rained substantially twice in the past week. At this point we consider these a cosmetic issue to be painted and monitored … We also recommend having seller verify in writing what happened, when, who repaired it, etc … FULL DISCLOSURE.