Inspection report

What is an inspection report?

An inspection report is written by a home inspector after a thorough evaluation of the home’s condition, including the electrical system, plumbing, roof, foundation and other structural features. Prospective homebuyers often hire a home inspector and review the report before deciding whether to buy a property.

Deeper definition

A home inspection report is an often lengthy document that an inspector prepares after conducting a visual examination of a house or building, including all of its major systems. The inspector conducts a thorough, top-to-bottom evaluation of the property, assessing everything from the foundation and the framing to the roof. The inspection report can include dozens of pages explaining the home’s condition.

Because a home inspector conducts a visual inspection, the inspection report will contain only information pertaining to what the inspector could see. For example, the report may not cover a septic system, because this would require digging into the ground to get a closer look. Similarly, anything behind or inside the walls won’t be included. The report also won’t cover things that aren’t structurally part of the home, such as appliances, alarm systems, satellite dishes or outdoor sprinkler systems.

A basic home inspection report does cover things like insulation and ventilation, heating and cooling systems, all parts of the roof such as the shingles and the flashing, in addition to doors, stairs and railings, walls, ceilings, and connected structures such as porches, balconies and driveways. It also includes electrical components such as breakers and fuses, and plumbing components such as indoor pipes. However, it might not include potential hazards such as pests or asbestos, which may require separate inspections.

An inspection report is not the same as a property report, which provides a comprehensive profile of a property with details such as its sales and listing history.

Inspection report example

Abby has her eye on an older, single-family home in a charming historic district. She hires a home inspector and waits on the inspection report before deciding whether to buy the place. Abby gets the inspection report a week later and learns that the home’s wraparound porch is structurally unsound. The inspector also noted potential safety hazards in the home’s electrical system. Based on the report, Abby decides she doesn’t want to buy the house because it would cost too much to fix the problems that the inspector found. The inspector included photos of his visual inspection in the report.

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