San Diego Home Inspection Reports:  What to Expect

By:  Keith Silvas

Home Inspection reports have evolved over the past 30 years from a short checklist summary to a detailed digital report capable of supporting picture and video documentation.  The changes have evolved to meet the growing needs of home buyer’s and the real estate community at large.

Development of Standards

Prior to the 1970’s, home inspection reports did not generally follow any standard guideline.  In most instances, there were little to no oversight or licensing requirements for home inspectors.  As can be expected, due to a lack of standards and low quality reporting methods, the home inspection industry was viewed by many with speculation.

Beginning in 1976, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) developed inspection guidelines concerning the inspection report content which was made available in the form of a Standards of Practice.  As time elapsed, a second and much larger trade association emerged, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), and developed their own standards which are used to this day by inspectors around the world.

As a home buyer, it is recommended that you review and become familiar with the standards of practice that your inspector follows.  We would recommend only using an inspector who is a member of a professional inspection organization which utilizes and recognizes a set of standard practices.  This is the only way to ensure the level of competency and professionalism you deserve and should expect from the home inspection process.

In general, the home inspection report should describe the major systems in the home, critical components and their operation, especially with regards to dangerous or items that are expensive to correct. The defects should be describe and recommendations provided.

The home inspection report should also disclaim and disclose any area of the home not inspected and the reasons why.  Home inspections are generally limited to a visual examination of readily accessible areas, therefore, the parts of the home hidden behind floors, walls, finishes and ceiling coverings should be disclaimed.

A home inspector can be compared to a general practitioner.  As a generalist, inspectors are not experts in every system of the home, but are trained to recognize conditions that would require professional service or further evaluation by a specialist.

A home inspection is not technically exhaustive.  For example, a home inspector will not disassemble a furnace to examine the heat exchanger or troubleshoot and diagnose equipment.  Components in the home will be tested using normal operating functions as well as undergoing a visual examination of related parts.

By reviewing your inspector’s standards of practice you will be aware of the scope of inspection, what is included and what is not.  This will help set the expectations for you as it pertains to your home inspection.

Your inspector should also be utilizing reporting software that allows for the use of pictures and video.  This documentation conveys a clear identification and explanation of the item indicated in the report.  In the modern age of technology, pictures should be considered standard with any home inspection.

Your report should be easy to read.  You shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer in order to interpret the jargon within your report.  You will want to see narrative reporting along side any checklists. The narratives provide the information and suggested remedies for the item indicated in the report.

This evolution in report writing has ehanced the quality and scope of home inspection reports.  This provides home buyers with greater peace of mind when it comes to having a home inspection before buying a home.


Red Rock Home Inspections is a proud member of the International Society of Home Inspectors.  To review our complete standards of practice, click here.

Red Rock Home Inspections services San Diego County and surrounding regions including:  Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos, Fallbrook, Bonsall, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Temecula, Poway, Cardiff by the Sea, La Jolla, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe and more.

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