I have included a summary in my report for the past 15+ years, or ever since I started inspecting homes.
Why do I include a summary? I guess the main reason is that if as a buyer I needed an inspection I would want to have a summary in my report. As a buyer I would want to know the high points or the problems that were found during the inspection without sifting through pages and pages of a report. I have always treated my clients like I would want to be treated, this could be why I have been successful in my business. I'm trying to make the process as easy as it can be for my client, lord only knows that their head is spinning in all directions during the home buying process.
Some might argue that most folks will only read the summary.
This is kind of like leading a horse to water! Once the report is out of my hands I have no control over it. But in my report I state in several areas, that the summary needs to be used with the entire report as this is the only way that you will get the entire picture of the conditions that were found. I tell my clients and their agents to use the summary as a road map to guide them through the report.
What about pictures in the report? Hopefully your inspection report will include pictures of the findings and hopefully the pictures will be in the body of the report and not the summary.
Why put the pictures in the body of the report and not the summary you might be asking? Well, by not having the pictures in the summary this helps to make the reader go into the report to see them. This is just another subtle way to reinforce the fact that one needs to also read the entire report and not just the summary.
The inspection profession is divided on offering a summary. From what I have been able to tell about 70% of the profession offers a summary. This has shifted over the past several years. At one time very few inspectors provided a summary in their reports, now it is becoming the norm.