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  1. #1
    Seth Dickinson's Avatar
    Seth Dickinson Guest

    Default Technology and Home Inspecting

    I'd like to start a discussion regarding the integration of technology into our industry. What does that mean? Discussing new and improved methods for home inspecting (ex: the evolution of computer generated reports), the creation of new services in addition to current business plans (ex: energy audits, sewer scopes, etc.) and discuss where people think the industry is going next.

    It would be very interesting to find out what people are doing to stay ahead of the curve. I've wondered with the integration of color photos on reports, how long will it be before inspectors video log the inspections and include a dvd?

    If anyone has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

    Hope all is well!

    Cheers,

    Seth Dickinson
    Integrity Home Inspections

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  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Dickinson View Post
    I'd like to start a discussion regarding the integration of technology into our industry. What does that mean? Discussing new and improved methods for home inspecting (ex: the evolution of computer generated reports), the creation of new services in addition to current business plans (ex: energy audits, sewer scopes, etc.) and discuss where people think the industry is going next.

    It would be very interesting to find out what people are doing to stay ahead of the curve. I've wondered with the integration of color photos on reports, how long will it be before inspectors video log the inspections and include a dvd?

    If anyone has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

    Hope all is well!

    Cheers,

    Seth Dickinson
    Integrity Home Inspections
    I used to do a brief video walk thru for out of state clients but nothing to the extent of a full inspection video. I would walk around the outside of the home and then thru the interior and very briefly capture the general lay out and a quick visual of the home.

    As far as incorporating anything what so ever into a home inspection....I hope that no matter what you add you charge for it. It has become so ridiculously common for so many inspectors to add Thermal Imaging, termite inspection, foundation graphs and measurements and yes eve termite sniffing dogs to the home inspection and not charge anything more for their knowledge and equipment and in some cases other licenses.

    I never used to intermix the photos into the report but just add them at the end of the report. Of course that was the old software. Now adays where the software allows you to intermix pics in the report it only makes sense to do so to explain your concerns. Sometimes just by adding a picture it is no longer necessary to have such a lengthly write up about the concern. The only problem with that is the size of your report for emailing. I sent one off Monday that would not be accepted on the other end by two different email recipients. I had to optimize it with my PDF software to get it to send and be accepted.

    You say "integration of technology into our industry"

    Thermal imaging is not our industry but a whole other inspection that scans the homes for a possible myriad of other findings. To just go out and buy a 5000 dollar camera and start throwing pictures from the camera into the report and not charging for them is ridiculous. You are adding a tremendous amount of liability to yourself. Never mind throwing the pictures in. Just the use being known will come back to bite you. It has not happened *YET* that I know of but once it starts the Lawyers will eat it up and see another entirely new source of income. Some will scoff at that remark but mark my words. Once it becomes even more popular it will become a necessary evil to scan every square inch of every home and save every single picture of every square in case someone has some findings after they move in that your "I can see Thur walls" camera can find. Why give it away for free?

    Termite inspections and reports. Adding this for free or practically nothing is absolutely ridiculous. This is not part of a home inspection in the slightest. Most states one must be licensed and insured which means apprenticeship, schooling and testing and of course another serious amount of liability. Why give it away for free or next to free?

    Foundation measurements with a zip level and a graph of the home. This is going to do absolutely nothing for you client with out the full experience and knowledge behind foundation repair or being an engineer. There are far to many foundation repair companies out there that will do this for free or next to free in the home of getting thousands in repair fees. Why do this for free when it does nothing for your client. Extends your time at the inspection and increases your liability?

    Termite sniffing dog and or termite inspection???? Why anyone would rely solely or even partially on a termite sniffing dog is beyond me. Unless one is licensed and tested and insured and also has the ability and equipment to at least do spot treatment and have chemical storage and pumps etc etc and is charging for their equipment, knowledge, expertise, licensing etc etc... Why do it for free or next to free ???????

    Energy audits???? That is not a home inspection. You have to have the class and training and equipment and insurance to market yourself for the credibility and it is just about a home inspection anyway. Well many of the items are. This is not our "field" and should be marketed completely separate from a home inspection.

    So many folks have put out the money in dreams of delusions of grandeur for thermal imaging cameras only to find that marketing that business is another tremendous and separate expense form a home inspection that they just incorporate it into a home inspection to at least get their cost for "training" and the expense of the camera. The cost of a camera nd class is about 6500 at the minimum and upwards depending on the camera. This added expense and liability to be given away for free in a home inspection. You will never recover the money. Some added inspections throughout the year times how many years just to recoup your money only to have to by a new camera in a couple to three years ??????

    My opinion..Insane.

    There is nothing more that should be added into a home inspection.

    In addition to a home inspection? Now that is a completely different story. The only problem with that is the expense involved for a part time gig as another business. I say market your home inspection business. On that website and the rest of your marketing materials note that you offer other services (businesses) such as

    Drain line inspection for $$$
    Thermal imaging for $$$
    Termite inspection $$$
    Energy audits $$$
    Radon $$$
    Lead testing $$$
    etc $$$
    etc $$$
    etc $$$

    All of the above need a lot of expense to get into with training, equipment and licensing as well as insurance. Other than adding better software for your home inspection and adding pictures throughout and maybe even a quick walk around with a video camera (if you already have one) to add a little flash and pizazz and hype to your inspection all other services are not a home inspection. Should never be part of a home inspection. Should be charged extra as in another entirely separate business.

    A new business for each profession. Don't mix them and add into a home inspection. If you mess up on one and it is a separate business and insurance and such they cannot take down your home inspection business.

    There should be a separate business, business plan and insurance for each .... or suffer the future consequences and also destroy home inspection as it is and was never intended to be.

    All those separate businesses and insurances and liabilities might make one think before they leap.


  3. #3
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Lot of good input Ted... I would like to see your take on this in 5 years..... I try to keep an open mind on things. I started with the first Sony floppy disk camera 10 years back. no one had at that time. then moisture meters. and now Infrared. But I do charge for the Infrared. $ 200.00 more per inspection. The camera and the Moisture meter now go hand in hand with the Infrared...

    We will see as time brings new ideas...

    Best

    Ron
    Santa Rosa California Home Inspection - Exterminating & Thermal Imaging
    Santa Rosa Pest Control - Inspection and Pest Control in Sonoma County


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Most buyers around here like the idea of extra services until they have to pay extra for them. From my experience, IR has no market in this area. I haven't received one request or inquiry about IR since it came out.

    If something comes out that can help me improve my inspections but still allow me to perform a visual, not invasive, non-destructive, non-engineering inspection of the readily accessible areas and conditions, great. But if the equipment is going to run anywhere from $2,000.00 - $10,000.00 and require specialized training, I would need to see a demand for it first. Right now, there is no demand for IR in SE Pennsylvania.


  5. #5
    Seth Dickinson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Awesome conversation!

    Ted, I completely agree with your stance on not giving away services for free. However, I'm not sure if I fully agree with separate business for simple things like Radon, Bacteria Nitrate, Pest & Dry Rot, and Thermal imaging.

    We offer such things, but for a price, individually and discounted if conducted during a complete home inspection. Is this the right way to do things? It's worked thus far, but who knows what the future holds.

    I can really see a great debate coming. I believe a lot of people feel that Home Inspections should be just that and nothing more, anything else is out of our realm. While others in the industry believe in versifying their business and setting new standards and have built that into their business plan.

    Great stuff thus far!

    Cheers


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Technology changes and changes the way we inspect and report.
    Back in the dark ages, I started using no camera, 4 part carbon-less report form and hand wrote every report while pressing hard to get the last copy to be legible.

    I changed to computer generated reports shortly after the second revision to the state mandated report form.
    Then added the digital camera which was a whopping 1.3 megs fixed focus that was 3-4times as big as my last camera purchase with 10 megs and zoom.

    Started emailing the reports once enough people were on the internet instead of printing and hand delivering reports the following day.

    I carried a pager that clients had to call if they could not reach me at the home phone because cell phones were like strapping a 2lb ham to your belt and did not work in half the places I went.

    I foresee a time when every HI will have a IR camera and generate reports from his cell phone, project 3d interactive movies on the wall to clients about the trouble in the attic or on the roof that he finds from his jet pack.

    Well maybe the jet pack is a little much but you get the idea.

    Learn and adapt or go the way of the dinosaur and dodo bird.

    Heck, even AD got a whizz bang ray gun IR camera!
    I say adapt what works for you and charge accordingly.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Digital cameras were a HUGE innovation technology wise. I can't imagine another single change that would have such an impact. But, as they say, never say never

    Sewer scopes are pretty common in my area, particularly on older homes.

    IR is virtually unheard of in my area. I'm in the same boat as Nick... never been asked for it. I think there is a definite market for it for energy audits but it's a totally separate beast as a HI.

    Radon is generally rare for people to check for but I'd say it's gaining popularity in my area... very slowly.

    Pest inspections in my area are included in a HI and have been since I've been doing this so there's nowhere to go with that.

    As for what's next? Hard to say. I think with the state of the economy and general slowdown in the housing market things are going to hum along pretty mellow for awhile. Buyers can't/won't pay more in this market and inspectors can't/won't spend much on new gadgets.

    It's okay.... it's giving me time to fine tune my robot invention that does the inspections for me while I sit in front of my computer and control it with my mouse


  8. #8
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Matt

    You say

    "Pest inspections in my area are included in a HI and have been since I've been doing this so there's nowhere to go with that"

    I am assuming that Termite inspection is included means that everyone that has a home also has a termite inspection but the fee is xxx for the home and xx for the termite as in the total charge is xxx amount and you either have the termite license or you are paying someone else for it.

    I always set up the termite ins[pection with the home inspection but it is an additional 70.00 on top of the fee for the home inspection. In essence I guess I could say it is part of the home inspection just due to the fact that I almost always set up the termite with the home. Other than that it is not an included fee. It may come in cash or check to me but I just hand it to the termite inspector.

    JL

    "I foresee a time when every HI will have a IR camera and generate reports from his cell phone, project 3d interactive movies on the wall to clients about the trouble in the attic or on the roof that he finds from his jet pack."


    OK Buck Rogers. You are going over the deep edge.


    It's time for your meds

    Nope, cannot agree with you on the phone deal or the Camera deal but would like to get a jet pack

    As far as the camera. Someone is going to get nailed big time about their IR Camera when mis diagnosing something and then you will see everyone getting separate insurance and charging a fee for a separate service. It is only a matter of time.

    As far as the rest of it. I am not sure why everyone is thinking that adding more technology, more time, more outlay of funds and more outlay toward advertising for the same price as a home inspection is right now and add no extra cost in would be inevitable and the way things are going to be.

    Why wouldn't every single person be thinking that if they are spending many thousands of dollars for equipment and training and insurance and liability, they would be making more money.

    This is in no way the same as using better software or using a better digital camera in the slightest.

    Do you really think that adding ..... All or any of that below for No extra cost is the new future of home inspection and the absolute must thing to do.

    Drain line inspection for $$$
    Thermal imaging for $$$
    Termite inspection $$$
    Energy audits $$$
    Radon $$$
    Lead testing $$$
    etc $$$
    etc $$$
    etc $$$

    1. Lets look at reality.

    2. Setting up a home inspection

    3. The Home inspection

    4. Walk around with the clients

    5. Report

    6. Follow up

    7. Look at closing.com and you will see that most inspections in are area can be had for 250.00 and even less by countless inspectors

    Now add a tremendous amount of cost, insurance, liability, time, etc etc etc for no cost or next to no cost.

    You just spent 4 to 5 hours on that inspection. Lets do the 5 hour thing. That is 50.00 an hour. Now lets start racking all the mornings up that you me and everyone else is sitting on there backsides not inspecting.

    Does not add up to a whole lot a money now does it. And. Everyone wants to add more to it for the same money.

    ?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????

    Thats all I have to say on this subject.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Nope, cannot agree with you on the phone deal
    I just saw Apples latest offering, the "I-pad", which looks about like an I-phone except much larger screen and I definitely see that inspection "apps" could be created to run on something like that which likely also has an integral phone and internet. It would be tough on an old fart like me that has to sit down in front of the desk top and be uninterrupted for a few hours to crank out a report but for the techno savvy coming behind us, lots of innovation will take place at a break neck pace.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    I agree with Jim. [QUOTE}Learn and adapt or go the way of the dinosaur and dodo bird.[/QUOTE]

    Honestly, think back 15 year ago. How many inspectors were doing paper checklist reports and doing over 100 inspections a year. Today, how many inspectors are doing paper checklist reports and doing over 100 inspections a year?

    Today most successful inspectors are doing computer generated reports with digital photos, emailed to the clients. They do electronic radon testing, CO testing, moisture testing, mold testing, IR etc, etc.

    In 15 years there will still be some doing a paper checklist, but every now and then I see a Model T driving down the road too.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  11. #11
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I foresee a time when every HI will have a IR camera.
    At one time this was sometime I HAD IN MY HEAD ... BUT I'M OVER THAT NOW... L.O.L.

    I see that in some areas of the country IR Is big like in my area. I get calls every month to provide Thermal Imaging on building. I just did a 50 unit building is San Jose with stucco problems and window leaks.

    People in this area have money and want information. Other parts of the country do not have the money to spend on this kind of information.

    As to you guy that do termite inspect free with your HI. Report. we charge $200.00 and up I'm my area for termite reports alone.

    It all come down to the area you are working in and what the other guy in your area is going to sell his services for

    Best

    Ron


  12. #12
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Technology should be embraced by anyone wanting to stay in business. Think back to the buggy whip manufacturer. They made a wonderful buggy whip, but failed to adapt to changes in transportation. As such, not many buggy whip manufacturers left anymore, irregardless of how well they made their product.

    Now as far as video borescopes, thermal imaging, and other items I long for in my Professional Equipment catalog, they should be separate from a home inspection. I for one am not going to give away those types of services as a token with every home inspection.

    Find me an easier/faster/better way to do something, and I will certainly consider adopting it if it fits in with my business.

    If your not moving ahead, your fallling behind and eventually will go the way of the dinosaur.


  13. #13
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    You folks are funny with the Dinosaur crap.

    Totally and absolutely brain washed that adding all of this to a home inspection and working for far less and spending much more time at the inspection and adding all the liability is a good thing and must and will happen. Folks....keep dreaming.

    As I said this is nothing like adding better software or buying a better digital camera. This is spending a serious amount of money and actually working for far less than you are right now.

    I just know for an absolute fact that all of you have not gotten your brain cells melted in front of a micro wave to the point of actually accepting that this is the way to come.

    Spend far more money and get licensed in many more fields (or just expensive training), add a lot of time to your inspection and work for far less per hour.

    Tell a college kid that spending 8 years in college is going to get him ten bucks an hour. That is the new tech savvy fool you folks are talking about. I think he would tell you to take the ten and pound it before he put all those years and money out to make less money.

    Do you really want to spend a lot more money and time and get older and make less money ????????????????????????????????????????????????
    Now come down off all the hype and meds and look at reality.

    Think now

    Much more money out
    Much more time involved
    Getting older
    Much more experience
    More liability

    AAAAAAAAND

    Make less money ????????????????????????

    I know you folks are just pulling my leg becasue I know you really don't think that.

    If you do you need to get off the meds.

    Most folks as they get older think of making more, not less.

    What a strange mindset someone has gotten you all into.



  14. #14
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Being retired from home inspections for (gosh, it's been this long?) ... almost 4 years now ... I will say that I intentionally tried to be one of those who were far enough ahead of the curve that the curve was created by keeping up with those who were way out in front, dragging other HIs along kicking and screaming.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Dinosaurs,yeah

    Wouldnt it be great if your doctor still believed in bled letting, or ripping your chest in half to do minor heart surgery. No they chose to keep up with technology looking for better ways to do things.


    A home inspection is a home inspection. Better ladder, you bet I'm interested. Better camera, heck yeah. Ipad - maybe, but not anytime soon.

    I think GPS and my digital camera were great ideas and buys. The reality is they have both saved me both time and money.

    Thermography, probably - but it wont be included in the price of a home inspection.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    Thermography, probably - but it wont be included in the price of a home inspection.

    You would if you priced your home inspection properly.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  17. #17
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    Lightbulb Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Jerry, you hit the nail squarely. It is the pricing of our services that needs to advance. Here's a question: does the use of advanced technology create a better report for the client if it does not result in substantially more and useful information being included in the report? For example, some hand-written reports contain more information useful to the client than some computer generated reports. Which is better for the client? And, as with any technology, the technology we use to complete a home inspection costs money. So, why aren't home inspection fees going up? Instead of going up, they are going down in some areas! The availability or addition of technology does not, in and of itself, add value to the inspection. It has to be properly used. It needs to be properly priced, to support its continued use and development. The results have to be properly presented. In the end, it has to add useful information for the client, or it adds nothing of value to the inspection, in my opinion.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  18. #18
    Richard Soundy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    If you wish to avoid a legal action, carry out a thorough inspection.

    Would not all these new technological devices begin distracting you? It happens on the road/rail/air, it happens in the work place!

    Regards - Richard


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    They won't distract you if they are part of doing your job.

    The digital camera made the biggest impact on how I did inspections, and finished the report. I started with Polaroid, then 35mm, digital made it so much easier, and cheaper.

    Computers and software changed my reporting method and finished product, but also brought with it, many more problems, and did not save me any time at all. In fact, it takes me longer now with a computer based system.

    I got my first GPS for Christmas last month. I can't say it has made my life any easier at all.

    I'm in no rush to get into thermal imaging either.


  20. #20
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Nay...... I just did and inspection on a home and if it was not for Infrared and a Moisture meter. By the way the client paid an extra $ 200.00 for this service. I would have over look some extensive moisture condition to the walls of the home he was buying. Now the seller has the builder fixing the stucco and windows. So the seller is off the hook, the buy is protected. the agent is protected and I walk away with $ 200.00 over my standard inspection fee...

    I do this every day... New tools help in so many ways...

    And the inspectors that sit on the side line with just a flashlight is going to be past by for the guy with the ( WIZ-BAND RAY-GUN )

    A Quote from A.D. MILLER......


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    I as Jack had the opportunity of using new technology with doing a home inspection.

    Like Jack I got a new GPS system for Christmas for my truck. I've used it a few times but it doesn't do the shortcuts I've seen to learn over the years. Looking at it is also distracting. Nothing like almost rear ending several vehicles in one day.

    Maybe I'm just old school and should stay away from the tech stuff.

    rick
    "Life is Good"


  22. #22
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    I as Jack had the opportunity of using new technology with doing a home inspection.

    Like Jack I got a new GPS system for Christmas for my truck. I've used it a few times but it doesn't do the shortcuts I've seen to learn over the years. Looking at it is also distracting. Nothing like almost rear ending several vehicles in one day.

    Maybe I'm just old school and should stay away from the tech stuff.

    rick
    "Life is Good"
    Hey Rick did you see the one show of the Office. when He gets a GPS And is look at it and the drives his can into a lake... L.L.L.

    Keep you eyes on the road and you hands on the wheel...

    Best

    Ron


  23. #23

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    I saw the one where he drove in the lake, very funny!
    We have an area here & if you go by the gps you will end up having to take the ferry across the river. which is fine unless they have already closed or it is windy that day, or for some of the other reasons they may not be running at that time.

    Clarksville Home Inspection
    JW Goad
    TN License #307 | KY License #2402

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Ron,

    I saw that one Ron. The Office is my favorite on tv every week.

    We watched the British version before the series started over here. Its great if you ever have the chance to see it.

    rick


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    I still have my Sony Mavica from 96 which used Floppy disk. I now use Sony's Cybershot Now If I choose I can video,take pictures, and do my reports on my phone. Only one at this time is doing the basic info of systems on my phone.
    I am in the process of updating my 1996 website. It will have a scheduler that clients will fill the information. I click download button and all the Information is inserted into the report with no effort from me. I then click another button and all that info goes directly to quick books.

    As far as all the tools, they are great to have, but majority of Inspections can be done with a Screw Driver, Flashlight, and a circuit tester. Then next are Moisture detector and laser thermometer.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Turn the voice on your GPS. Stop looking at the screen and look at the road.

    Love my GPS. I have had mine for couple of years. No more trying to read the paper directions in tiny font while trying to drive. No more looking for road signs at intersections where one side is named A an the other side is name B. No more driving up and down looking for the mailbox number.

    Punch in the address and it tells me when I will arrive. Now if I need to run an errand in route, I know how it will affect my arrival time.

    I hit a backup one time. Hit the detour button. The GPS guided me through a maze of secondary roads and popped me up right next to the address on time.

    I can't imagine doing this job without a GPS now.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    Turn the voice on your GPS. Stop looking at the screen and look at the road.

    Love my GPS. I have had mine for couple of years. No more trying to read the paper directions in tiny font while trying to drive. No more looking for road signs at intersections where one side is named A an the other side is name B. No more driving up and down looking for the mailbox number.

    Punch in the address and it tells me when I will arrive. Now if I need to run an errand in route, I know how it will affect my arrival time.

    I hit a backup one time. Hit the detour button. The GPS guided me through a maze of secondary roads and popped me up right next to the address on time.

    I can't imagine doing this job without a GPS now.
    Ditto on all of this. But I still print out Mapquest directions for every job just in case my GPS throws me a curveball.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    .....but majority of Inspections can be done with a Screw Driver, Flashlight, and a circuit tester. Then next are Moisture detector and laser thermometer.
    Mike, No ladder?


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    GPS is a must for me. I used city/county map books for years but would no longer be without it.

    If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest
    Benjamin Franklin

  30. #30
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    A Quote from A.D. MILLER......
    RB: Don't quote me if you cannot get it right. Accuracy is the key.

    As for technology, I had a GPS in my vehicle before stand-alone units were made, It was Garmin's Ique which was software installed on a Palm handheld unit.

    I set up my first website around 1995. I was offering to email reports when almost no agents or clients in my area even had Internet access.

    I have been using an array of 5 moisture meters since 1997.

    I bought the first handheld IR thermometer made in 1997.

    I had a database, newsletter and website for my inspection business one week before my license arrived in the mail.

    I bought my first ZipLevel in 1998.

    All of the above tools are extremely helpful.

    Admittedly I waited until 2009 to buy my first IR camera. I am still questioning that purchase. It's not that it is useless; I have found it useful a few times. It is just that I should have waited another year until they were priced more closely to their utility - about $995 or so.


  31. #31
    Philippe Heller's Avatar
    Philippe Heller Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    It's all about competition. If you have been in the business for a while and don't want to play the "drop your price" game, you need to justify why you charge more. Customers don't want to pay for experience so you have to deliver more value.

    When you have low-priced competition you can respond by lowering your price (bad for the whole industry) or increasing the value of your inspections (good for the whole industry). The guys who are still using just a flashlight and a check box form will be gone soon.

    Speaking of liability, I believe that the HI's who do NOT embrace new technology will be the guys who are sued. Hiding behind the statement that "oh it wasn't visible" just won't cut it anymore. A lawyer will ask "why don't you have a simple moisture meter when it is now the industry norm?"

    It is my opinion that our IR cameras have prevented more problems, and thus reduce liability, than had we not had them. We find anomalies in ceilings that could not have been identified without them.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Mike, No ladder?
    That's mandatory....like saying "Mike" no vehicle..........

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  33. #33
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    If you have been in the business for a while and don't want to play the "drop your price" game, you need to justify why you charge more. Customers don't want to pay for experience so you have to deliver more value.
    PH: I have to disagree with you on this point. I do not think that an array of gadgets is as attractive to prospective clients as experience and certification.

    The guys who are still using just a flashlight and a check box form will be gone soon.
    PH: Not so long as their referring counterparts - the greedy, unethical agents with only a car and a driver's license - are still with us.

    Speaking of liability, I believe that the HI's who do NOT embrace new technology will be the guys who are sued.
    PH: Again, I disagree. "Industry norm" is a difficult term to define and even more difficult to prove up.

    It is my opinion that our IR cameras have prevented more problems, and thus reduce liability, than had we not had them. We find anomalies in ceilings that could not have been identified without them.
    PH: While I do not disagree with these statements, I do feel that the IR camera industry has taken unfair disadvantage through their greed-driven overpricing of these devices and the "training" that is probably worth next to nothing.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    It is my opinion that our IR cameras have prevented more problems, and thus reduce liability, than had we not had them. We find anomalies in ceilings that could not have been identified without them.
    Not trying to ruffle feathers but what "anomalies" are you speaking of, Insulation? (provide some picture examples) If you are talking about leakage the eye and knowledge would find it. Expensive piece of equipment to find missing insulation. Yes, I will most likely have one, when it catches on around here, but the ROI isn't there yet.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  35. #35
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    the ROI isn't there yet.
    Amen.


  36. #36
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Re: GPS. Maybe its just my area. We have many roads that are not on GPS (I updated to newest maps on Christmas day). Even the latest paper maps seem to miss many of them. MapQuest is almost worthless for anything that is outside the greater Knoxville area.
    My biggest gripe... it wants me to turn left out of my S/D every time. Turning left may be the shortest route, but takes 3 minutes longer to get to the same point (out to the main hwy).
    It also has a fit when I don't turn where it wants me to to do the turn around on the hwy. They closed off the street where it wants me to turn 2 years ago and I have top go 200 yards to turn around. The GPS wants to direct me on a 5 mile detour.

    However, it was a huge help the other night when I was heading home and it was too dark to see the street signs.


  37. #37
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Re: GPS. Maybe its just my area. We have many roads that are not on GPS (I updated to newest maps on Christmas day). Even the latest paper maps seem to miss many of them. MapQuest is almost worthless for anything that is outside the greater Knoxville area.
    My biggest gripe... it wants me to turn left out of my S/D every time. Turning left may be the shortest route, but takes 3 minutes longer to get to the same point (out to the main hwy).
    It also has a fit when I don't turn where it wants me to to do the turn around on the hwy. They closed off the street where it wants me to turn 2 years ago and I have top go 200 yards to turn around. The GPS wants to direct me on a 5 mile detour.

    However, it was a huge help the other night when I was heading home and it was too dark to see the street signs.
    JF: They certainly are not perfect. It helps if you already know the territory somewhat. That said, it is still safer than driving with your knees while you read the map.


  38. #38
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    That said, it is still safer than driving with your knees while you read the map.
    So I'm not the only one!, I do it while texting and watching the babe in my rear view mirror.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  39. #39
    Philippe Heller's Avatar
    Philippe Heller Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Hi Mike, By anomalies I am referring to any variation wich could be caused by missing insulation, roof leaks, plumbing leaks, leaking heating ducts, etc.

    One interesting result was finding a drain pipe that had been penetrated by a bolt from a flat panel TV mount. The house was vacant and freshly painted. No visual signs of leaks. After running hot water in the master bathroom, I was able to identify the drain pipe running down the wall in the living room below. An unusual plume of water was found using the IR camera. It was easily fixed by a plumber for a couple hundred dollars.

    Had this gone un-noticed, imagine the call in six months when the client called because of the mold behind their entertainment center.

    --------------------

    Some successful "finds" are locating moisture in a high ceiling under a bathroom, with no visible signs of leaks. Also under windows, above fireplaces, etc.

    It is very handy to scan ceilings that are otherwise out of reach and locate very small leaks. Even if you do find a leak by other means without an IR camera, is it plumbing or a vent stack leak?

    By running hot water in a shower pan, for example, I can exclude plumbing if the IR image doesn't get hot, then focus on the roof flashings.

    I am neither promoting IR or judging how others choose to run their business. each market is different. I'm just sharing how we use these tools.


  40. #40

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Most buyers around here like the idea of extra services until they have to pay extra for them. From my experience, IR has no market in this area. I haven't received one request or inquiry about IR since it came out.

    If something comes out that can help me improve my inspections but still allow me to perform a visual, not invasive, non-destructive, non-engineering inspection of the readily accessible areas and conditions, great. But if the equipment is going to run anywhere from $2,000.00 - $10,000.00 and require specialized training, I would need to see a demand for it first. Right now, there is no demand for IR in SE Pennsylvania.
    Nick, If you are waiting for there to be a demand for IR, you are on the wrong end of the horse. You need to create the demand. I put over $2500 extra in my pocket this January alone from just the IR side of my business. (I do not include it in an HI but will offer it as an additional service with its own, separate agreement.) My $5500 camera has paid for itself many times over since I bought it in 2007. It's all gravy now other than the minimal cost of additional insurance on my equipment.
    Dana

    True Professionals, Inc. Property Consultant
    877-466-8504

  41. #41
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippe Heller View Post
    Hi Mike, By anomalies I am referring to any variation wich could be caused by missing insulation, roof leaks, plumbing leaks, leaking heating ducts, etc.

    One interesting result was finding a drain pipe that had been penetrated by a bolt from a flat panel TV mount. The house was vacant and freshly painted. No visual signs of leaks. After running hot water in the master bathroom, I was able to identify the drain pipe running down the wall in the living room below. An unusual plume of water was found using the IR camera. It was easily fixed by a plumber for a couple hundred dollars.

    Had this gone un-noticed, imagine the call in six months when the client called because of the mold behind their entertainment center.

    --------------------

    Some successful "finds" are locating moisture in a high ceiling under a bathroom, with no visible signs of leaks. Also under windows, above fireplaces, etc.

    It is very handy to scan ceilings that are otherwise out of reach and locate very small leaks. Even if you do find a leak by other means without an IR camera, is it plumbing or a vent stack leak?

    By running hot water in a shower pan, for example, I can exclude plumbing if the IR image doesn't get hot, then focus on the roof flashings.

    I am neither promoting IR or judging how others choose to run their business. each market is different. I'm just sharing how we use these tools.

    And I guess, what I am getting out of this, you don't drop your price to meet or beet others but you do get expensive training and buy expensive equipment and give more experience and do not raise your prices at all.

    If that is the case then you are just as bad as the free termite give aways and the price lowering guys and free radon treatment guys and the free foundation analysis guys that take measurements all around the foundation and draw out the home and input all there measurements and then comment on it when they are not a foundation repair company or engineer.

    I hate to say this but you sound like so many that went out and bought their IR camera and then could not make extra money off of it so give it away free free and justify it by saying all home inspectors should have an IR camera and if they don't have way are going the way of T REX.

    moisture meters, IR thermometers, GPS, better software etc etc etc or even a better ladder have nothing to do with a 7,000 plus expense min on training and Thermal imaging cameras and liability and a free give away.

    Why are you throwing justification out there about giving an IR scan away for the home inspection and beating up the guys dropping prices.

    7000, 15000, what ever the cost. You are giving it away and spending more time doing the job and more time explain your findings so I guess you are working for a lot less. You cannot be anymore direct than that. So I guess you are working for a lot Les as well.

    Lets see ... 7000 at the minimum. A hand full or even a dozen more inspections a year gained from the camera (unless you are spending a lot more on marketing and then that is another whole story) ,,,,, say 300 per inspection times a dozen is about half or less of the 7000 minimum. Now if you spent 15000 on your camera and training you are throwing 11 to 12000 away per year and not just a few thousand.

    If you add another service to a home inspection......charge for it. If not and you think you must compete on price then drop your prices like every other home inspector is doing. You will save thousands of dollars by dropping you price.

    As far as the price droppers hurting the entire industry............ You might want to think about that a whole lot. You are are giving away extra services and hurting the entire industry. AND not making any more money for it.

    It sounds like you have been brain washed with countless others and are now you are just trying to find justification

    Now of course I could be way off on all of the above or just plain freekin brain dead. Who knows.

    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE

    Better digital camera, better software etc etc have no comparison.

    As far as the mold behind their wall in the bath..what ever you said....and ???? Neither you or your camera can see thru wall.

    As far as water behind a wall that cannot be detected in any other way....so what not your camera or you can see thru walls..

    Instead of waitng for 6 months for your client to come back at the mold behind a wall. Wait a couple days or weeks when someone pays to have that wall ripped apart.....UH OH...Nothing there. Who do you think will pay for that. After all. You can not tell your client absolutes about findings with your camer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Well. Enough of the end of day rant

    Not meant to offend anyone

    Think about it if you plan on responding. I said nothing out of line, untrue or foolish. All just real life goings on. Just the facts man.


  42. #42

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    Turn the voice on your GPS. Stop looking at the screen and look at the road.

    Love my GPS. I have had mine for couple of years. No more trying to read the paper directions in tiny font while trying to drive. No more looking for road signs at intersections where one side is named A an the other side is name B. No more driving up and down looking for the mailbox number.

    Punch in the address and it tells me when I will arrive. Now if I need to run an errand in route, I know how it will affect my arrival time.

    I hit a backup one time. Hit the detour button. The GPS guided me through a maze of secondary roads and popped me up right next to the address on time.

    I can't imagine doing this job without a GPS now.
    I got one of those new Droid phones. It has Google maps baked in and the navigation is sweet. It even opens up Google Street view and shows me a picture of the actual property when I arrive!

    The GPS is NOT for when you know where you are going, it's for when you don't. I set up the Nav and just drive to the area, ignoring the prompts until I get to the area. It just keeps re-calculating the route as needed, depending on my current position.

    True Professionals, Inc. Property Consultant
    877-466-8504

  43. #43
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana Bostick View Post
    Nick, If you are waiting for there to be a demand for IR, you are on the wrong end of the horse. You need to create the demand. I put over $2500 extra in my pocket this January alone from just the IR side of my business. (I do not include it in an HI but will offer it as an additional service with its own, separate agreement.) My $5500 camera has paid for itself many times over since I bought it in 2007. It's all gravy now other than the minimal cost of additional insurance on my equipment.
    Dana

    And I applaud you. You are the unsung hero in all of this. A man who thinks straight and tells it like it is. Buy it, charge for it. Keep it seperate. Don't give it away

    On a side note the cameras for what they really are and what is really in them????????????????????

    Seriously over priced. It is about nothing more than a moisture meter on steroids. Double, triple the price and it is still nothing more *Physically* than a moisture meter on steroids.


  44. #44
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    GPS rules in large cities. Sure sometimes it will take you on a different way than a route you already know. Ignore it and wait for a traffic jam or something to find the best way around it.

    I have traffic avoidance on mine. Not perfect, but it is pretty good.

    The ability to find restaurants and other vendors is also really good when I go into unfamilar areas.

    The ability to give your exact location to someone in an emergency, priceless. The ability to pull up any hospital, police, etc. Could save your life.

    If you live in the sticks, your probably better off with the reference of turning right at the only stop light in town.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana Bostick View Post
    Nick, If you are waiting for there to be a demand for IR, you are on the wrong end of the horse. You need to create the demand. I put over $2500 extra in my pocket this January alone from just the IR side of my business. (I do not include it in an HI but will offer it as an additional service with its own, separate agreement.) My $5500 camera has paid for itself many times over since I bought it in 2007. It's all gravy now other than the minimal cost of additional insurance on my equipment.
    Dana
    If you can get people to pay you extra for IR use Dana, great. But I do know this. You're in California and I'm in Pennsylvania. Trends start in your state and over the course of years finally make their way to my state. But, there is no demand for it here. None. I have gotten exactly zero inquiries about it. I can't make a demand market exist where there is none. When I start getting requests, maybe I'll get on board.


  46. #46

    Default Re: Technology and Home Inspecting

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    GPS rules in large cities. Sure sometimes it will take you on a different way than a route you already know. Ignore it and wait for a traffic jam or something to find the best way around it.

    I have traffic avoidance on mine. Not perfect, but it is pretty good.

    The ability to find restaurants and other vendors is also really good when I go into unfamilar areas.

    The ability to give your exact location to someone in an emergency, priceless. The ability to pull up any hospital, police, etc. Could save your life.

    If you live in the sticks, your probably better off with the reference of turning right at the only stop light in town.
    You're supposed to turn where "the old Tasty Freeze used to be"!

    True Professionals, Inc. Property Consultant
    877-466-8504

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