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What Type of Reporting Method Do You Use?


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Originally posted by Reality

This is something that I wonder about myself. I start Home Inspection school next week. In the next few months, I'll need to decide on what kind of report writing to use. What produces good reports, but isn't too complicated to use? What would you suggest that I buy?

I use Inspect Express. I tried other demos and spent over 6 months making my choice. It has worked very, very well for me. Very intuitive, produces a great looking report (at least my clients think so), has partial or full narrative options (not a checklist) and is very customizable. There are some good ones out there, but get the demo for Inspect Express and give it a whirl before you make your final decision.

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I take a gazillion pics --- record some notes on my digital voice recorder --- go to my home office and compile the report on an openoffice document table template (including som pics --- the rest are just "memory enhancers") -- table format forces pics to stay with comments without a lot of tweaking on my part.

I export the finished report to PDF and email it to my client.

I am thinking of creating the same template for my openoffice spreadsheet program. I think that reprt generation would be even faster there.

Bob White

Abide-Able Home Inspections

www.Abide-Able.com

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I take my photos and notes and go back to the office and do my report on the computer. I go over the report with my client before I leave and ask if they have any Questions. I find I make fewer mistakes that way and not under pressure to harry up, and also have a chance to look over the photos I took. The report is made into a PDF and e-mailed to the client. I then mail a copy with the photos to the client the next day. I did the hand written on site for years and found I could not explain a problem in detail, because I did not have the space.

Tom

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I'm glad to see that there are more folks that don't give it out @ the site; they go back to the office, compile, & email/electronically deliver.

I haven't delivered a report on site in over 12 years. The only way I've been able to get it right (write) consistently is to go back to the office, put it together without distraction, review in my environment, & then email. As far as I'm concerned, anything else is a burnout & invitation to mistakes.

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Nothing could convince me to deliver on-site. I don't want to knock anyone who does it and can really make it work for themselves, but it ain't for me. If had been doing that I would have made many, many errors of all sizes and shapes that I caught back at the office while calmly reviewing the notes and photos. Once in a while I see 2 here...a little later I see 2 there...but I don't get 4 until I'm writing the report. [:-bulb][:-dopey]

Brian G.

Slowly Creeping Up on Minimum Competence [:-dunce] [;)]

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Hi,

I've done it both ways but find that to do an on-site report I really need to be working with another computer-competent inspector with good typing skills so that we don't get behind. Yung works with me now, but because she doesn't use a computer I gather info on-site and then prepare back home. Now, I do occasionally do on-site reports by special request, but only as a last resort.

Most of my on-site deliveries were done when I was working with another computer-competent inspector. We both wore FM intercoms with voice-activated headsets, so that while one of us was inspecting the other was busy slamming away at the computer. It was pretty slick because I'd mentored the guy. Every once in a while, when he was presenting I'd be sitting in the kitchen working at the computer and I'd hear him miss something or stumble a little bit while he was explaining an issue and I was able to ask him questions about various things. He wouldn't answer directly, instead he'd go about explaining to the client exactly what he was looking at, thus providing me a mental picture of things and I could say something like, "If it looks like XXXX it's wrong and they need to know XXXXX, whereupon he'd present the issue that way or I'd literally dictate the explanation in order to keep him flowing. The clients didn't hear my dictation and it kept him from embarrassing himself.

Sometimes, I'd here him remark about something, and, knowing his knowledge about that subject was pretty limited, I'd get up and walk over to where he was, look the issue over and provide my two cents. While it lasted, we were like a well-oiled machine. It reminded me of an attending physician listening to an intern present symptoms and then making corrections or adding to the diagnosis if necessary. When we OJT a new MP in the army we do something similar but without the FM intercoms and right there in front of folks. When I was a slicksleeve it used to make me uncomfortable and I'd stumble on stuff that I knew really, really well, so I liked this method. It kept this guy from being embarrassed and still provided the clients a very good inspection.

Walt Jowers of Nashville does something similar with his inspecting partner Rick. I remember reading his comments about his process many times on the ASHI forum.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Since I went to computerized reports about 6 years ago, I have always printed and delivered my report on site. I guess this was a natural evolution from delivering handwritten reports on site for the previous 10 years.

I strongly urge the buyer to be at the inspection and I ask him to review my printed report while I finish up other chores like a WDI report or lawn sprinkler inspection. I use the buyer to help me catch errors and it also lets me know whether or not he understands the report. It is rare for me to think of something I missed later, but if I do I just email any additions to the buyer.

I do ask most buyers if they want an email copy in addition to the printed copy they reviewed and many appreciate the electronic copy. I email it ASAP upon returning to the office.

Out-of-town and absent buyers get emailed reports within an hour or two of my returning to the office.

It really feels good to be finished with the inspection and reporting when I leave the job site.

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Basic Tenant of Military leadership: Know yourself and seek Self-Improvement.

How you format and deliver a report really comes down to your own writing and organizational skills. I have completed over 5000 home inspections and have trained about 10 other guys. We have always delivered on site. Originally, I fell into using a lap top on site because of my terrible hand writing and grammar (I are a collage gradeate. No, really). At that point (just after the Crustaceous period ended) it was so new that it was part of my marketing plan. Once I figured out how few changes I made in reviewing at home, I bought a cheep printer and the rest is history. I am convinced that it works for me because of my skill set and personality.

I want to be very careful to say that I do not think ill of anyone that does not deliver on sight. I understand the rational for reviewing it at home and posting or emailing that evening. What ever works for you is whatever works for you.

If you do not deliver at site, I will repeat the question that I put to my sponsor as an apprentice over 12 years ago: How often do you change a significant point while editing at home? On site delivery is not for people that are not highly decisive in their language and evaluation. (No criticism intended) However, if you find that 99% of your edits at home are changing "happy" to "glad" then what is the point? Try site deliver, it may make you more efficient.

As an additional point, do the math: you can do two a day and sometimes three a day if you are really good with a computer. I fully realize that some inspectors are vociferous in their opposition to three a day, however, that is also an issue of skill set and personality. In the end, you will never pull off a three a day week unless you are either a single workaholic or computer savvy.

I have tied into a few clients over "problems" through the years (nothing major), but none of them would have been prevented by better editing.

The one negative to delivering on site is the Realtors get spoiled. I am very tired of getting a call at 2 pm asking why they have not received a copy of the inspection I finished at 12:30.

In the end the decision is a quality and marketing decision. Your quality, personality, diplomacy and professionalism will go a lot farther in winning business than whether you deliver on site or later.

If you are considering on-site, look at Inspect-it Pro or 3D Solutions.

No home inspectors were injured during the production of the foregoing message, however, a few may have been offended……Sorry.

[;)]

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I think this little survey shows the evolution of home inspection reporting. It is a good cross section of inspectors from around the country.

Hand written reports are a thing of the past with 5% or less doing them.

Onsite computer printed reports are dying down with 19% now doing them.

Mailing reports is in the same boat as handwritten reports with 5% still supporting the USPS.

Emailing of reports is the leader with 63%. This is the most cost effective manner of production and delivery for the inspector.

Uploading to a website. This surprised me with only 9%, I thought it would have been higher. I have tried it and did not like the extra steps and time involved so I went back to emails.

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Glenn,

If you would be so kind as to let us see your site delievered report, it would be greatly appreciated.

I collect data on site with a Dell Axim, go home to 'dress it up' (ie add pictures, bold and italic print, edit etc) then upload to my web site.

For an actual report go to

http://www.aboutthehouseinspections.com/download.asp

Darren

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I take field notes and prepare entire report at home using Palm Tech software for Windows - no handheld devices. My turnaround time is 24 hours maximum. I get a little apprehensive sometimes with everyone following me around the house like a parade. I don't think I'll ever prepare an on site report. If you're new I wouldn't even think about it.

Erol Kartal

ProInspect

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This may be a little off topic, but a speaker at a state NAHI meeting last year had some data that, IIRC, came from the insurance industry. The data indicated that an overwhelming majority(>75%) of successful lawsuits filed against inspectors nationwide were filed against inspectors who provided on site reporting. Has anyone else heard of/seen similar data?

For me, I need to take my findings and photos back to the office and organize and research. From the beginning, the inspectors that impressed me as the most knowledgable, professional and successful used full narrative reporting, and I have emulated this. I cant see how I could produce a narrative report on site within an acceptable time frame. 10 years down the road maybe, but at this point I cant afford to be hurried or pressured ( and I am better than average with computers and keyboards).

It looks like the guys on this forum who use on site are very experienced and established and I can see how this would work for them.

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Originally posted by Tim H

This may be a little off topic, but a speaker at a state NAHI meeting last year had some data that, IIRC, came from the insurance industry. The data indicated that an overwhelming majority(>75%) of successful lawsuits filed against inspectors nationwide were filed against inspectors who provided on site reporting. Has anyone else heard of/seen similar data?

No but it wouldn't surprise me one bit. A great chunk of that 75% are likely to be new inspectors that are pressured by real estate agents to 'hurry up'. They're going to miss things if they succumb to the pressure. I've been there.

Erol Kartal

ProInspect

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I don't generate the report on-site but compile it shortly after leaving. It takes me about 1.5 hours to write the report (3D software), insert pics, etc and I would just as soon be gone from the property and away from the client to think and work well. Writing the report immeadiately after the inspection, I can usually write the report from memory without having to refer to my notes, a real time saver. I skim the notes after completion to be sure I didn't miss anything. I have tried, on days where I do 2 inspections, to go home and write the reports. I find it very confusing. So, I sit in my car and write the report then head to the second inspection.

I post the reports to the web site and mail a bound hard copy via USPS (usually 4 or 5 dollars).

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I don't do onsite reports, as a rule. In a very few instances, I have done them. I do always carry a portable printer-just in case!

I liked Glenn's take. I think it really depends on the person. For me, off site report generation is done for several reasons;

1. I'm more focused at my home office than at someone's kitchen table. And I have my resources at hand.

2. I was a "one-man-show" for several years, and off-site report generation allowed me to multi-task (answer calls, emails, eat lunch, etc)

3. I don't like being rushed

4. I save a ton of money on paper and ink because I send 99% of my reports via email.

5. I'm much more comfortable doing a report in my pink bunny slippers.

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