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Hello,

I myself am not a home inspector, but I am working on behalf of a home inspector to research the possibilities in the realm of computer generated home inspection reports.

Currently the man I am working with has a 19 page inspection report that is split up among different sections of the property with most of the report surrounding a totally hand written summary. After completing a majority of the report, he leaves the property and finishes off-site.

He is looking to improve upon this process and is hoping for a simple solution to on-site production of the inspection report. Another reason for the switch is simple hard to read handwriting.

The switch to a computer based program seemed promising for onsite completion of the report, but he is not well versed in computer technology and the ease of use. I'm trying to help the transition with small session to help, but I feel it maybe too difficult to transition over to complete computer generated reports.

I'm currently looking at companies such as Inpector FX, Home Gauge, and Palm-Tech. With a brief run-through of the how this business works it is hard for me to completely grasp everything he requires, so I turn to you as hopefully helping me choose a path for this man.

Thanks for any help in advance.

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Here we go again. . .

John, search the archives here and you'll find plenty of discussions on software; specifically, requests such as yours to create something from scratch.

Best of luck--really. If you can figure the best solution, you'll be a millionaire!

You mentioned your guy isn't versed in computer "technology". You shouldn't have to be a geek to produce a good inspection report.

If a person can't keyboard well, no software will solve his problem. That guy will need to be able to type proficiently first. I think anything you create will be cut at the knees if he can't work his way around the keyboard.

When you figure it out, I'd love to take a peek at it. . . see if it'll solve my own report angst issues.

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Wow. . . idea fart.

We take pics. Email to Jowers while we're still on site.

He pecks away and emails us the final report before we leave the site.

Jowers will be tethered to his headset, laptop, and wi-fi card so he can type away-even at his girl's softball games.

All for a handsome fee, of course.

It's brilliant. Where do I sign?

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Ahem

I've got the patent on that. The problem is; I can't patent Jowers. Go here to post #21.

https://www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum ... RUM_ID=125

It's not as far-fetched as it sounds. Right now, we have troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan that are wearing portable computers with helmet cams and heads-up displays that transmit everything they are doing and seeing to their squad leader onsite and to higher headquarters and their squad leaders and higher, being able to see the entire battle unfolding from their vantage point, are able to direct them.

Military apps don't take long transitioning to civilian apps. It shouldn't be too much longer before this can be done.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by JReynolds

Hello,

I myself am not a home inspector, but I am working on behalf of a home inspector to research the possibilities in the realm of computer generated home inspection reports.

Currently the man I am working with has a 19 page inspection report that is split up among different sections of the property with most of the report surrounding a totally hand written summary. After completing a majority of the report, he leaves the property and finishes off-site.

He is looking to improve upon this process and is hoping for a simple solution to on-site production of the inspection report. Another reason for the switch is simple hard to read handwriting.

The switch to a computer based program seemed promising for onsite completion of the report, but he is not well versed in computer technology and the ease of use. I'm trying to help the transition with small session to help, but I feel it maybe too difficult to transition over to complete computer generated reports.

I'm currently looking at companies such as Inpector FX, Home Gauge, and Palm-Tech. With a brief run-through of the how this business works it is hard for me to completely grasp everything he requires, so I turn to you as hopefully helping me choose a path for this man.

Thanks for any help in advance.

Yes, check out DevWave's software. It's designed to be used either on-site with a touch-screen tablet computer or a palm device or off-site back at the office compiling results from hand-written notes. It's dirt simple to use and the most glitch-free thing that I've worked with in more than 12 years; and I've tried them all.

Keep in mind that I'm a little prejudiced in favor of this product, 'cuz I helped the sponsors develop it. However, I'm a compumoron; and, from day one of our working together on this thing, it was always the goal to produce something that, right out of the box could be used by someone who doesn't know much about computers. It's specifically designed to help someone who's got limited writing and typing skills to be able to at least produce something that doesn't say to the client, "Hey, look at me, I've been out of school so long I've forgotten how to spell, punctuate, and conjugate a verb and it's almost impossible for me to intelligently put my thoughts into words on paper."

Yes, just like Walter says, the boilerplated comments need a lot of work; however, the software will lead him through a thorough inspection and will produce a final full-narrative product that, despite the amount of inspectorspeak in it, is better than about 95% of the other software programs out there. One of these days, we'll get around to completely rewriting the rewrite of the boilerplate and will get rid of as much of the inspectorspeak as possible. It won't be perfect, but it will be closer than most.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I understand that any computer based report requires at least some amount of typing. I plan on getting the man I'm working with started on some lessons and such to improve speed and such. Reviewing a majority of the reporting systems, it appears most are highly customizable.

I was wondering that with the proper amount of work beforehand with pre-entered narratives and such, could you extremely minimalize the amount of typing you would have to do?

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I was wondering that with the proper amount of work beforehand with pre-entered narratives and such, could you extremely minimalize the amount of typing you would have to do?

Sigh, guess I'm not communicating very well, 'cuz that's what I was trying to get across when I described how InspectExpress was developed.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I was wondering that with the proper amount of work beforehand with pre-entered narratives and such, could you extremely minimalize the amount of typing you would have to do?

Yes & No.

Yes you can have a highly boiler plated/auto text report writer but the law of diminishing returns will set in at some point.

More time can be spent finding the right wording and editing it to fit the particular problem than the time it would have taken you to type the whole thing by hand faster.

Also, for some inspections your boiler plate will sound like, uh boiler plate.

Years ago that was how I use to do it. I had an elaborate library of boiler plate in english and spanish and I spent a lot of time editing it and adding to it.

For about the last 5 years I have started with a blank slate and type it on the fly. But now I can type pretty fast. Not as fast as Walter however.

I like the control which it gives me to start with a blank slate, and how it forces me to think and ensure that what I am saying makes sense and covers all aspects that need covering for any particular issue.

It allows me to lump a lot of issues together for a particular component when they share a common recommendation. Otherwise you tend to end up with a less efficient list which can miss the forest for the trees.

IOW, there's advantages and disadvantages for doing it either way.

Chris, Oregon

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My two cents worth - the best reports I've ever done are when I close the office door and bang away at the keyboard. Maybe add a para or two at the end for boiler/liability.

Several years ago we started using a photo commentary style report for all large, commercial or unusual projects. Our clients loved it and those reports were used for negotiations, legal, and instruction/maintenance. To cover our hinnies we split them into Executive Summary, Opinion, Component Summary, Immediate Safety Issues. That protocol does not work well for residential inspections.(yet)

Kurt and I have bantered around the "comic book" style for couple of years, because it would fit our personal style and attitude. The inspector schools make that protocol impossible for most inspectors. Mostly because of the cya and ignorance of most new inspectors. I am NOT berating new inspectors.

I, like Walter, have received thousands of calls from my people and other inspectors, while sitting in the office, asking what to write. My concern has always been my lack of style knowledge regarding my writing.

I enjoy being blunt, sarcastic and good argument. But that persona will not work for many inspectors.

Get DevWave's product and work with it.

A little aside, before I could get out of High School I had to type and take four Latin classes. Now I could get out by just whining.

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Originally posted by Les

Kurt and I have bantered around the "comic book" style for couple of years, because it would fit our personal style and attitude.

It fits a lot of things.

Next time we bump into each other, I gotta show you the report machinery. It's a killer.....

It mixes up all sorts of options for reportage, and is the only thing out there for handing and displaying large #'s of photos easily, and in multiple formats.

Did I say it's a killer?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Okay, on the same subject, for a beginer in the computer reporting field would ou recommend pda usage or laptop usage. I was inclined to go with a lightweight tablet laptop.

To each his own. I started out using a hand held PDA, moved on to a home built tri- pod system with a wireless PDA keyboard , and now just carry my laptop with me throughout the home. Miraculously, my most recent laptop is going strong after 3 years .

My problem with the PDA was the small screen and very slow input.

With the keyboard attachment it was difficult to read the screen (I am young and have 20/15 vision), the PDA could not always read what I was typing in certain light, and the tri- pod was easily knocked over.

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Like Brandon said "To each his own"

There is no best way, there is just the best way for you.

I do no data entry on site. For me it disturbs the flow of the inspection too much, some worse than others. I only have 2 - 3 hours onsite and I use every bit of that time chasing the house around.

For new construction or newer houses I will occasionally do the report on site on request, otherwise I take notes by shooting lots of pics and then take it back to the office and write up the report on a desktop computer that's fast.

I have a really nice laptop also but it still lags behind my desktop.

If you don't suffer from flow disturbance like I do, then you will save signifcant time doing some amount of data entry onsite, but I would have to imagine at the expense of some quality if you need to limit yourself to three hours on site.

There are HI's out there who claim they can do the whole inspection and spit out an onsite report in 2 hours. Realistically, if you are going to do a quality on site report I would think you're looking more at 4 - 5 hours.

If it wasn't for all of the hand holding and state regs, I would think in theory one could design an onsite report writing system that would fit the 2 - 3 hour time frame.

Chris, Oregon

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There are HI's out there who claim they can do the whole inspection and spit out an onsite report in 2 hours. Realistically, if you are going to do a quality on site report I would think you're looking more at 4 - 5 hours.

There is pretty much no way I can finish any report on- site in 3 hours, and do not give out reports on- site anyway's. I enter most of the data as I go, take a lot of pictures, make sure everything is input that is required, and then go home and finish the report (anywhere from 30 minutes to hours for research and report completion).

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I probably haven't finished an inspection in under 3 hours in more than 8 years.

Mike is that chasing the house only? Also I imagine you doing bigger houses than I do.

The newer stock around here in the under 2ksf range vacant can easily be done in 2 hours, but the older stock is a crap shoot. It could take me 3 hours or longer to do a messed up pre - 70's thats in the 1000sf range.

Chris, Oregon

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Hi,

Doesn't seem to matter what it is I'm inspecting; I very, very rarely get done in less than 3-1/2 hours and that includes the small brand new homes and the little condos and with Yung working with me. When she's not helping, I can easily be there 4-1/2 to 5 hours.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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