There’s a well-developed discussion that attracted a lot of commentary on one of the industry message boards that I visit regularly on what reporting methodology, Checklists or Narratives, is better.
The discussion centers on the question of which one is more likely to provide a defense in the event that a claim eventuates from the inspection. What was interesting to me was that, while the narrative format was by far the preferred methodology, each reporting format had its supporters and both received what I thought were insightful critiques of their respective shortcomings.
In the checklist format, the inspector follows a sequential series of questions about the home and simply checks a box to indicate whether the issue was “Satisfactory”, or “Needs Repair” or was “Not Inspected”. Some forms provide a limited space for annotating the reason that an item “Needs Repair” or was “Not Inspected”.
In the narrative format, the inspector states precisely what was inspected in a narrative form and gives a brief explanation why the item’s condition was satisfactory or not.