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Report Writing Rules &Tips

Rule-2.Complete and Concise. Clearly write what you did and did not during the inspection.


Improve your HOME INSPECTION REPORT writing skills.

The purpose of this website is to enlighten you as to how you write reports. Not the report format but the observations and recommendations you write.

As you read through this website you’ll be briefly exposed to many procedures, which have been used by both successful and unsuccessful inspection professionals.

Enjoy your read and invest in the Defensive Report Writing Guide. The best $10 you'll ever spend!


Unprotected Wiring

When writing your report always describe the problem 1st, followed by your recommendation.
Don't write... "Wires should be protected', then assume the client understands what course of action.
Do write... "Unprotected wiring observed at the basement sub-panel. This is a safety issue. Consult with a contractor to discuss the best course of action to remedy the safety issue".


Knob and Tube Wiring Method

Many inspectors believe the Knob and Tube Wiring Method was only used in the early 1900 and they believe wrong.

The Knob and Tube Wiring Method is a method of wiring installation where the wire is supported away from combustible material by the use of ceramic knobs and when passing through combustible material a ceramic tube is installed in the wood member. The purpose is to protect the combustible material from hot wires which can create a fire.

The Knob and Tube Wiring Method was allowed by the NEC® through the mid seventies for new installation and can continued to be used and extended with a newer wiring method such as thermoplastic sheathed cable.

There are two main rules when inspecting the installation of the Knob and Tube Wiring Method, they are, can not be on larger than a 15 amp circuit and for heat dissipation reasons it can not be encapsulated with insulation and the only insulation which may be in contact with the wiring is fiberglass batts.

What do I report to my clients?

If the presents of the use of Knob and Tube Wiring Method is discovered, you should inspect, if possible the 2- installation rules above. You should notify your client of the use and recommend further professional evaluation. You should only tell your clients the primary reason for its discontinued use is due to the interference with thermal protection for the home.

References: NEC® and CREIA http://www.creia.org/files/public/knob_tube_locked.pdf


Defensive Report Writing Guide

Improve your HOME INSPECTION REPORT writing skills.

The purpose of this guide is to enlighten you as to how you write reports. Not the report format but the observations and recommendations you write.

As you read through this guide you’ll be briefly exposed to many procedures, which have been used by both successful and unsuccessful inspection professionals.

Limit your liability!

Most consumer complaints can be eliminated with a properly written report.

Included within this publication are universal “Dos and Don’ts”, misunderstandings of descriptions, definitions and corrective recommendations. You will read how Court Judges, Arbitrators and Attorneys act and respond.

Within this guide you will find many real world examples.

Absolutely the best 10 bucks I spent! Improved my confidence and saved report writing time.
Fred Freer,

We show you how to write a home inspection report.

Inspectors shall be objective in their reporting and not knowingly understate or overstate the significance of reported conditions. A component is not defective unless it is failing to perform its intended function. Not because you would have constructed it another way. An example is roof to sidewall flashing. The flashing is continuous although you would have preferred step flashing.

Included in this guide are chapters on;

  • Your industry expected responsibility
  • Common Report Writing Mistakes
  • Preparing and Delivering Reports
  • Dos and Don'ts
  • Report Writing Rules to use everyday.

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Home Buyer Checklist

Home buyers ask, How do I minimize the risk of purchasing a home especially a foreclosure which is listed to be sold  "as is"? Just because the listing states "as is" does not mean you can not have the home inspected. Before making the final decision a professional home inspection should be performed but prior to that you should perform your own walk-through inspection. We have prepared a simple 9-page checklist you can use which asks you all the questions you will need to know prior to making your offer.

When contemplating purchasing a new home everyone has the same question. Is this house a money pit? This home buyers checklist will self alert you of warning signs from the neighborhood to water stains. Because this is something you do yourself your costs are minimal and will arm you with the real questions to ask of your sales person, home inspector and anyone else who will guide you through this process.

Our staff of real estate professional was recently contacted about answering this need. What does the potential buyer need to know to go forward? A task force composed of agents, home inspectors, and investors assembled and created this checklist.

Watch the slide-show of checklist screen shots. Slide-show is two minutes long.  Watch Now

We have created 2-versions available for download. One version for the real estate profession which is editable (MS Word Template) so they can brand the checklist for distribution to their clients and contacts. The second version is for the home buyer which is not editable but can be reprinted for unlimited uses.


The editable version for professionals sells for $9.95.

The home buyer version sells for $3.95.
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T&P Valve Drain Tube

The Thermal and Pressure Relieve valve (T&P) is a safety valve to protect the water heating vessel from over heating and exploding. In order for the discharge not to harm people, pets and other property items the drain tube discharge must discharge to a safe location.

Quite a few of the inspectors will use a boilerplate answer provided to them by the software manufacturer or what the inspector considered a reliable source. These answers will eventually get the inspector in hot-water. Remember, you are responsible for what information content you provide. Here are a few examples: "T&P drain tube should discharge no closer than 6-inches to the floor or greater than 24-inches". and another is: "T&P drain tube should extend down and discharge into the overflow pan." Do you really believe these are good advice?

Here is our recommended statement. It is not based on the National Plumbing Code or the 1&2 Family or any other municipal codes or ordinances. First describe the issue then provide a recommendation.

"Water heater safety valve (T&P) does not discharge to a safe location. A discharge tube should be installed to terminate in a safe location as determined by and installed by a licensed professional."

Rational: First we identified a SAFETY issue. Then we provide a solution for the safety concern wherein the liability for actual correction of the safety issue is passed to a professional installer and away from you, the inspector. You did your job and any court would agree with you.


What's wrong with this?

Here is what the inspector wrote under the heading of "Basement Water Heater TPRV and Drain Tube: Missing... Drain tube not present at TPR valve. Recommend a qualified contractor install and extend pipe to within 6 inches of the floor.

Reads OK, right? I don't think so. First let's review the observation...Can someone with limited knowledge or an 8th grade education easily understand?

How about writing like this... ""Basement Water Heater safety valve discharge is unsafe!" Is that not easier to understand? Plus it required 5-less-words.

Read more...


When to use a Hyphen

Most of our readers know, we are all about report writing, easily understandable by the reader requires the use of proper grammar. This article features hyphens. Other articles like when to use 7 or seven are located in the members area.

You may want to print this cheat-sheet and have on your desk.

Hyphens are used to link words and parts of words. They are not as common today as they used to be, but there are three main cases where you should use them:

  • in compound words
  • to join prefixes to other words
  • to show word breaks

Hyphens in compound words

Hyphens are used in many compound words to show that the component words have a combined meaning (e.g. a pick-me-up, mother-in-law, good-hearted) or that there is a relationship between the words that make up the compound: for example, rock-forming minerals are minerals that form rocks. But you don’t need to use them in every type of compound word.

Read more...

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