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poll on written or software inspections


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I'm like Bruce in that I wrote my own MS Word template. I can't print onsite for a number of reasons, chief among them: 1) I don't know how, and 2) Once infected by a BFC (big, fat check) , I am overtaken by the Gotta-go virus. I write the report in the comfort of home, with benefit of your counsel, my library, and the internet.

Has anyone ever read a report they actually liked? I think that the various State agencies and professional org's have imposed on us so many requirements as to make the best report writing system less than meaningful.

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I wrote my own word template, still carry a shell copy on a metal clipboard for field notes and write it at home. When things slow down I will be switching to a laptop with Homegauge software. I finally found one flexible enough to tweak to look like my current report. I will still finish at home but should only consist of posting the report to the web and mailing. I do not intend to deliver on-site. I like the opportunity to proof and edit with my resources at hand. Rather than raise prices next spring I will stop printing and go to an all electronic format and charge a premium if the client wants a printed report mailed to them.

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The "print on site" mantra is overworked, & is an offshoot of several distasteful predicaments. It is a remnant of checklist report systems still, unfortunately, with us today. It is also a by product of realtors and their endless zeal to make the process move @ lightning speed before anyone can think and act in the proper sequence.

I've been creating my reports on site in a laptop computer since 1992, the year the Apple Powerbook arrived. Shortly thereafter, I tried onsite printing; I quickly threw my bubble jet printer in the dumpster. On site printing is painful. One of the best report writers I know does it, but he's a two man operation, & is able to write while his partner runs around & checks outlets, windows, & the detail stuff. Trying to do it all by yourself is too hard; at least it is for me.

I get the fundamentals down on site in my laptop, then finish up @ the office. Each job takes about 15 minutes of "homework" to complete back @ the office. The value added is the report is created in my environment w/ my research material, & THEN DUMPED ON THE INTERNET AS A .PDF FILE. Their time, their paper, their ink, AND, they can forward it to whoever they want. No more "can I get a copy too?" I've been doing the .pdf thing for 3 years; I've yet to meet anyone who didn't think it was the coolest thing they've ever seen. I've gotten to the point where if someone doesn't have email & understand .pdf's, I don't want them as a client.

I created my own template in Filemaker Pro, a relational database. I run my whole business in FMPro; clients, contacts, billing, accounting, scheduling, the whole shebang in one $300 piece of software. Of course, I only have about 2000 hours of development time spread over the last 12 years, but who's counting?

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I did my own on-site sheets in Word to help me cover everything as a newbie, and still haven't changed (I also carry a voice recorder). I do the actual report back here at the home office on the computer, for all of the sound reasons already stated (time for review, research, etc.). Nothing could persuade me to print on-site. I don't think it's in any HI's best interest (or the clients), unless you only think of your "dollars per hour" breakdown.

I do plan to buy a handheld, a laptop, and new sofware early next spring in an effort to streamline without sacrificing quality. I have other uses for the handheld and the laptop, so whatever system emerges, I'm okay with the purchases.

No one has mentioned it, but hand-written just looks bad. Computer-generated looks professional. The client gets nothing hand-written from me except my signature.

Brian G.

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I creat a report on site using Inspectit Report Writer Plus. Started with Word and transitioned to this software about two years ago. Ninth grade typing class is one of best and only things I've retained from high school - type about 70-80 words per minute now!

I print and deliver reports on site. Clients never complain that they are receiving their reports too quickly but I'm frequently asked when booking an inspection over the phone, "How long do we have to wait 'til we get the report?"

I've been using the Canon BJC 85 printer since the beginning and never had problems, (six years) Been thru two laptops and am still on the same printer! Pretty amazing now that I think about it.

To each his own (or her own). We all work differently.

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I have been using 3D systems software for the past 6 years and am completely satisfied with it, easy to change and customize, and excellent support. I collect data with an iPAQ 3955, and then print (infared beam) a summary page/pages at the completion of the inspection with an HP 450 printer. I feel the summary info is what is important should the client choose to amend the offer, and I can complete the report back in the office with out someone looking over my sholder. Which I the e-mail as a PDF or print a hard copy if that is their choice.

Robert E Lee

GENERAL Home Inspections, Inc

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I use a self modified, constantly updated, version of HOMEXAM. Software is written for the general HI population of the US and Canada. The author keeps track of all things HI. He does not push any product for any society.Things are different in the Great Commonwealth of Massachusetts. All the HIs that trained at Notheatern Univ. used this text.

Go Sox! Jack Ahern Needham on the Charles

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Now I haven't read any reports from those on this board, but it is well known here that we put out the best report. After all, it is the final product. It is not only used for the transaction, but is retained as an informative document throughout ownership of the property.

After each inspection, we dictate the report using a digital recorder. At the end of the day, the voice files and images are e-mailed to one of several typists who have had significant training. They take care of the typing, e-mail, fax, or mail the next day. This works well for me as my verbal skills are much better than my writing. I can also dictate about as fast as the guy in the Fed Ex commercials. The typists have set up some kind of template or master document for each inspector that covers the basic format and common comments, but each report is completely unique.

Other advantages include:

- The report only contains information specific to the property.

- The typists are very good at picking up grammatical and even technical errors and can question the inspector about any issues.

- We employ work-at-home Moms.

- It takes me 45-60 minutes to dictate about 40 pages of text.

- More time to visit TIJ and learn to be a better inspector.

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