Not all home inspections or home inspectors for that matter are created equal. I just returned from two inspections on two of my listings with two different inspection companies. What a difference!
The first company, was a local company and presented an Electrical and Plumbing inspection report that was comprehensive, and easily understandable. The items that were working properly were marked "WORKING PROPERLY". The items that needed attention had a narrative to the right of the item explaining the deficiency and offering a corrective measure. Very simple but effective.
The second company, a national franchise, had a rating system. The system was Satisfactory, Fair and Poor/Defective. This system is fraught with potential flaws and promotes misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Why is this a bad system you ask?
First, the descriptive word POOR does not belong in a negotiation. When a sellers home is invaded, and an inspector is using derogatory terms to describe the home, it shuts down communications. Second, the term POOR alarms buyers. Buyers are fearful anyway. Would it not suffice to state the item or system is not functioning as designed, or just say it is defective. When we are negotiating we work very hard at not allowing our buyers and sellers emotions to stand in the way of their goals. We are the buffer. This report fuels emotions. Now we come to FAIR. Fair is still not a stellar term. Is the system or item performing as designed? Is FAIR a maintenance item? Is a FAIR item defective? One of the items on the second report was exterior paint. The exterior paint was marked "FAIR". The buyer wrongly assumed the house needed painting and asked for it to be painted in the repair supplemental. When I called the inspector for clarification the inspector stated he was only referring to any bare spots that may exist. This rating system is counterproductive. National Franchise inspection reports do not conform to the standards set by our state contract.
Our state contract sets a standard for inspected items. The items are to be in NORMAL WORKING ORDER. Normal Working Order is actually a specific standard and means the item or system is operating or performing its function as designed. Normal Working Order is a higher standard than SAFE and OPERABLE. For instance, an older heater or dishwasher may be performing their respective duties as designed. They are SAFE and OPERABLE. But if they are inordinately loud because the motor bearings are worn, they are no longer in NORMAL WORKING ORDER.
Last year an inspection company inspected one of my listings for the Seller and their relocation company. It was inspected within the course of a month under the SAFE and OPERABLE standard and the NORMAL WORKING ORDER standard. The relocation company required the inspector to present an inspection report that determined if the homes electrical, mechanical and structural components were SAFE and OPERABLE. Safe and operable is a more typical requirement nationally and one to which relocation companies adhere.
When the home SOLD less than a month later the same company was chosen by the buyer to do the inspections. What are the odds, and what a difference in the outcome. The Buyers inspection was done to the NORMAL WORKING ORDER STANDARD. There was over $3,000.00 dollars difference in repair items in the two reports. The Seller was livid. Bottom line: If you are in the market for a home inspection ask for a sample report. Make sure that the report is not only comprehensive but is easily understandable. Make sure it uses terms that do not require interpretation.
If you are selling (pre-inspections are a good idea) or buying, stay away from national franchise inspection companies who use generic terms and standardized national reports that do not lend themselves to negotiations.
Below are a few home inspectors I have had good experiences with.
AEI Engineering 918-251-6910
Atkinson Engineering 918-749-2028 http://yellowpages.superpages.com/profile~SRC_portals~C_Inspection+%26+Testing+Engineers~LID_t%2B1IKzopGN60%2BsLcDUFENQ%3D%3D~attres_true~lbp_1.htm
FEI Inspections 918-665-2593
Tulsa Home Inspections 918-740-9144
Wolber Inspections 918-455-1646
KenSellsHomes firstname.lastname@example.org www.greatertulsahomesales.com