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  1. #1
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    Default Hand written reports/ or software?

    I have been using HG inspection software to do my reports since I started 5 years ago.
    I was trained using hand written reports..but chose to use this software for a better look.
    Although I have gotten very proficient with this great software..i still envy the time saved when i see an inspector hand over his" checklist/comment" paper report to the client"..and be done for the day..
    People seem to feel that they got what they needed ...it's over.. and they are satisfied. (and have there report in hand already.)

    I on the otherhand need to take my work home..while the other guy is enjoying his evening.
    Anyone doing handwritten reports please give me some advise, and a place to find a good preprinted form.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    I started off doing handwritten reports and that lasted for about 5-10 inspections tops. You can't insert pictures into handwritten reports and they do not look anywhere near as good as computer generated ones. It may work for some inspectors but in this day and age, there is no excuse for not giving your clients a computer generated report. They look better and are more professional looking. And I can't imagine a handwritten report is going to get you the type of repeat business you'll want in terms of referrals.

    If you're looking to hand your client a report at the end of the inspection, maybe you should like into a different type of report writing software program that provides this capability. I don't think anybody here enjoys doing the reports but it's a necessary evil of the job. I can't remember the last report that I was able to complete in less than 2 hours.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    All those many moons ago, I started with that ITA checklist report. A few years later, I created my own handwritten report that was customized to what I see here. A few years ago, an agent told me that some of her clients would prefer a software, photo illustrated report. I queried many of the agents who refer me and all echoed that sentiment. So, I started offering an illustrated report, but for a higher price to compensate me for the additional time but still competitive with what many area inspectors charge for similar reports. These agents asked me to keep the less expensive paper report for their budget minded buyers.

    About 80% of my business is still the paper report. I carry a sample of the illustrated report with me, and occasionally, a client will upgrade to it after seeing what it looks like.

    The illustrated report is far superior, but it's nice to hand a client a report and be done too. And it's easier to do two inspections with paper reports a day, than it is with illustrated reports. Two illustrated reports in a day makes for a very late night.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    This is a good example what type of business model you want to use.
    Handwritten reports? Pretty sure computers and printers aren't that expensive.
    Checklist reports, crap as far as I'm concerned. Assuming that the clients are happy when they get some POS checkbox crap is a pretty big and dangerous assumption. Sure the other guy is done for the day but he's probably also writing his lawyer a regular check.
    I should just stop now, I'm far too biased on this ...

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    The thought of giving buyers the option of a checklist report or a more expensive computer generated report with pics is appealing but I get work from buyers who saw one of my reports sitting around in a house I previously inspected. And I just don't see how a checklist report can provide all the same detail without incurring writers cramp in your hand.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    This is a good example what type of business model you want to use.
    Handwritten reports? Pretty sure computers and printers aren't that expensive.
    Checklist reports, crap as far as I'm concerned. Assuming that the clients are happy when they get some POS checkbox crap is a pretty big and dangerous assumption. Sure the other guy is done for the day but he's probably also writing his lawyer a regular check.
    I should just stop now, I'm far too biased on this ...
    and ignorant......

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    The thought of giving buyers the option of a checklist report or a more expensive computer generated report with pics is appealing but I get work from buyers who saw one of my reports sitting around in a house I previously inspected. And I just don't see how a checklist report can provide all the same detail without incurring writers cramp in your hand.
    A checklist with commentary is not as good.....but despite my recommendations for the illustrated report, most clients choose the paper report.....
    Three calls to schedule inspections today; only one wanted the illustrated report, one opted for additional services with the paper report, and one just wants the paper report. I frequently have customers opt for the paper report and ask me if they can take their own photos. "Of course you can". For an average inspection the difference is $60. Contrary to popular commentary in this forum about the weaknesses of paper reports, they are very defensible and in my not so humble opinion, mine is the best of that type.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    I've tried all three types, triplicate hand written reports (from back in the dark ages before cheap computers and digital cameras), on site computer generated and printed reports, and reports at the office from my desk top.

    Each have their advantages and disadvantages.

    I currently do my reports in the office at the end of the day and am tiring of late nights and early mornings to pound out the reports but I also don't like trying to concentrate on doing a report with a client or agent looking over my shoulder.

    Maybe as technology gets better I could teach this old dog a few new tricks and do the report on site but nothing I have seen so far lets me produce a report that I am satisfied with in the field (at least not in a timely fashion.)

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    I think the perfect balance (for the inspector) is to have a computer generated report that has enough programmed verbiage to make completing the report nothing more than a click...click....click. One can dream.

    I really enjoy inspecting and talking with callers on the phone setting things up. Reports however are loathsome. I can get them done when I'm under the gun and need to get out the door by a certain time. If I don't have an inspection the next day, they sometimes drag out to 3-4 hours because I take breaks and do other things.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    I have a continuing ed class scheduled next month through our association (TPREIA) that is billed to have all the latest and greatest software providers. I will be looking for the magic bullet...

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  11. #11

    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    We do paper reports on site, and also carry a portable printer so while we're writing up the summary and going through the report, the pictures are printing. We leave the inspection and 95% of the time we are done; sometimes we have to email the full picture set or scan and email the report to someone else. But it's a system that works great for us. I do object to the generalization that paper reports are "POS". We work hard at making our reports as comprehensive and understandable as possible. We include a whole lot of supplementary materials (brochures and flyers we've written ourselves about decks, dryer vents, smoke alarms, etc.) and those contain a lot of the "boilerplate" stuff that these monster computer-generated reports do.
    One of these days we may go computerized, but ONLY if there is a system that does NOT rely on being connected to the web, and allows us to leave the site with the job fully done and delivered. Until then, we'll stick to what we're doing.

    Welmoed Sisson
    Inspections by Bob, LLC, Boyds, MD
    "Given sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine."

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Given a choice, for the clients, 'paper now' wins over 'digital later' almost every time.
    Paper reports in a nice binder with extra sheets of this and that cost a fair bit, $10-12 for the carbonless paper.

    My clients get a digital report but they also get a booklet onsite with a hand-written summary page. Very important is neat legible hand writing. They get a disc of high res pics onsite as well. Included is the contract, invoice marked paid, costs of repairs, and a couple of info sheets. Older houses get more info sheets. I make it very clear that this is not the complete report, just a summary booklet provided as a courtesy plus a slideshow of the inspection. They walk away with enough info to make decisions, while I have time to get the digital thing done.

    Edit - Since last summer, I have been printing digital reports onsite, 50 pics and a cover page. It is what works for me in this market at the moment. Good software, good templates, and basic typing skils and being able to focus for an hour and a bit. The technology is there now.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 02-23-2014 at 07:39 PM.
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Get HomeGauge. Put your boilerplate in it. Learn how to use it effectively on site. Be done when you leave the house. Upload and/or e-mail when you get to an internet connection.

    -

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Welmoed Sisson View Post
    I do object to the generalization that paper reports are "POS"
    I would just say cheesy instead. This is 2013; paper and faxes are a thing of the past.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by neal lewis View Post
    I would just say cheesy instead. This is 2013; paper and faxes are a thing of the past.
    Ever stood outside a courthouse at 9 AM? Suitcases stuffed full of paper.
    Ever seen an engineering report for a highrise condo? That can be easy 60 sheets of paper.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    That's a lot of hand writing and check boxes...


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    When I used ITA reports, I brought a photo printer to the inspection and printed out sheets with photos and made notes on each photo and included with the NCR reports. So photos are easy to insert with paper reports on site.

    However, I did change to computer reports, and used to bring a printer and print on site and insert in a nice binder and hand to the client at the end of the inspection.

    Several years ago, I gave up the printer and went paperless. I now upload the report to the internet while I am at the inspection (for the most part). I'm still finished when I leave the house, but now its paperless.

    I could never go back to paper reports. While they may give the clients the information they need, and they will meet the SOP, they are not what most clients now expect. Most clients expect electronic reports now. We have to change to keep up with the times.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Luckily the decision is an easy one for me..... Since I can barely read my own handwriting it's all computer all the time.

    There may be a regional component here but I haven't seen or heard of a handwritten report is at least 5 years. I don't think you could survive in my area without a computer report with pictures. There may still one or two "old dogs" around here that survive on their reputation. I just can't imagine trying to gain marketshare while producing a handwritten report.

    As for being done quickly... I'm 90% or more done with my reports around 90% of the time I leave a house. I setup my laptop on the kitchen counter and just stop by frequently to write the report. Usually, when I leave I just have to proofread and throw in a few of my last findings.

    I'd say around 2/3 of the comments I put in the report are something I have written before and just pull from my comment bank. They often need a little customizing for the exact house and situation but the bulk of the work is done. Of course there are still those comments that must be written from scratch. IMO there is no way to turn a report worth anything without just writing things from scratch sometimes.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Just do your HG reports onsite. I've done it that way for years.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    I am very thankful for the help from everyone above.

    Most of my clients cannot speak English.

    I feel that a simple chcklist would put them at ease, rather than a report with pictures.

    Will someone please send me a samle of a good checklist report?
    PLEASE?













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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by CHRIS KRUSE View Post
    I on the otherhand need to take my work home..while the other guy is enjoying his evening.
    Chris - I fully identify with you. I resisted the computer approach until 3 years ago. Now evenings are spent on reports. I have to admit the reports are now a much better presentation but are a killer on time. I had one job yesterday and with just the inspecting and writing I spent over 7 hours. No way did the fee justify the time. The other problem is that clients often spend little effort gleaning through the info as opposed to the time you slaved over creating it. I could certainly charge more but the local market will not accept that.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Chris, fwiw, I too have many non-English speaking clients. And even though I have a paper report option, some will choose the illustrated software report for a very good reason. Anyone can look at a photo, regardless of their native language. I think you make a mistake by only offering paper reports. And most higher end buyers will expect an illustrated report and that is a market that I assure you, you don't want to miss out on.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Chris - I fully identify with you. I resisted the computer approach until 3 years ago. Now evenings are spent on reports. I have to admit the reports are now a much better presentation but are a killer on time. I had one job yesterday and with just the inspecting and writing I spent over 7 hours. No way did the fee justify the time. The other problem is that clients often spend little effort gleaning through the info as opposed to the time you slaved over creating it. I could certainly charge more but the local market will not accept that.
    I don't use a lot of boiler plate crap in my illustrated reports. I hate trying to slog through those reports to find the pertinent nuggets of information, and I think most people are like me. While, my typical illustrated report is around 30 pages, a problem house can go over 50 pages without any boiler plate. ( I like larger photos in mine)

    And like most of you, it takes two hours minimum to complete one. I turn off the TV, turn on the music (it's rock music for me), and pound the report out. I don't know how an inspector can do an equal quality illustrated report on site (within the normal time frame of an inspection), but hey, maybe some of you have figured out something that I haven't.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I've tried all three types, triplicate hand written reports (from back in the dark ages before cheap computers and digital cameras), on site computer generated and printed reports, and reports at the office from my desk top.

    Each have their advantages and disadvantages.

    I currently do my reports in the office at the end of the day and am tiring of late nights and early mornings to pound out the reports but I also don't like trying to concentrate on doing a report with a client or agent looking over my shoulder.

    Maybe as technology gets better I could teach this old dog a few new tricks and do the report on site but nothing I have seen so far lets me produce a report that I am satisfied with in the field (at least not in a timely fashion.)
    Hey Jim,

    After talking to 30+ home inspectors and reading through threads like this on LinkedIn and other websites and hearing about the pain that report creation is, I came up with the idea to create a software/service combo to help home inspectors get their reports done A. in a timely fashion B. without the use of checkboxes or bad templates C. in approximately the same amount of time that the "cookie cutter" inspectors take D. without sparing details and E. in your own voice and communication style.

    This isn't an existing product yet, but I've been talking to a lot of inspectors about it and getting good feedback about how it should work. I'd love to get your thoughts on it if this perks your interest at all. And if you have ever wished you could create your own home inspection product, this is your chance :)

    To anyone who is interested: check it out, sign up with your email and I'll personally follow up with you (no spam, I promise)

    Here's the link (the forum is automatically using the title from the website it seems): Easy Home Inspection Software

    Thanks guys.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre Lebrun View Post
    Hey Jim,

    After talking to 30+ home inspectors and reading through threads like this on LinkedIn and other websites and hearing about the pain that report creation is, I came up with the idea to create a software/service combo to help home inspectors get their reports done A. in a timely fashion B. without the use of checkboxes or bad templates C. in approximately the same amount of time that the "cookie cutter" inspectors take D. without sparing details and E. in your own voice and communication style.

    This isn't an existing product yet, but I've been talking to a lot of inspectors about it and getting good feedback about how it should work. I'd love to get your thoughts on it if this perks your interest at all. And if you have ever wished you could create your own home inspection product, this is your chance

    To anyone who is interested: check it out, sign up with your email and I'll personally follow up with you (no spam, I promise)

    Here's the link (the forum is automatically using the title from the website it seems): Easy Home Inspection Software

    Thanks guys.
    Sounds like a video report idea.

    A video still needs editing.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Sounds like a video report idea.

    A video still needs editing.
    Hey John, there's no video involved - the final product would be a written report. I'd encourage you the check out the link I shared: Easy Home Inspection Software . I elaborate more on the product concept there. If you think it wouldn't work though, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'm looking for feedback both positive and negative.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    I need it to work in real time, so that I can pull my report off the cloud and hand it over.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I need it to work in real time, so that I can pull my report off the cloud and hand it over.
    That would be awesome, right? Realistically, I think I could promise people something in the range or 2-3 hours.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Not for me.
    Since that thread was posted I've changed to HIP and am happy.
    Most reports are finished except for adding photos and final editing when I leave the site.
    Dictating a report would not be advantageous for me since I don't talk to myself or others when inspecting!
    I've also thought about the various speech recognition programs out there and have nixed that idea for the same reasons.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Not for me.
    Since that thread was posted I've changed to HIP and am happy.
    Most reports are finished except for adding photos and final editing when I leave the site.
    Jim, I was quite happy with HIPro but I am actually happier with PalmTech for one simple reason - it allows me to drag and drop pics from a file or the camera card straight into the report. This simple thing has cut my reporting time so that I can add pics onsite, standing at the kitchen counter waiting for the peeps to arrive. I was reviewing my pics anyway, looking for something I might have forgotten to enter in the report. Now I drag the icon into the report, then if need be open it in the report, see it full size, add a comment and an arrow maybe, save, just that fast.

    Hello Dom. Drag and drop is faster than searching thru folders, and clicking 2 menus. Please add drag and drop to your program as an option.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    I use MANY photos, (just ask Dom, I think I may have the record) so I upload the entire folder and choose and caption the photos while placing them in the appropriate locations. This forces me to make quick decisions to use or not use a photo in the actual report and also archives even the ones I choose not to use with the report which saves me time and space. I have a habit of archiving all photos from an inspection and used to have to create a separate folder and upload twice. Sometimes the photo that I did not use is more important than the ones I did use. (Conclusive defense when I can prove there was no water spot or whatever when the client calls the year after an inspection.)
    HIP may not be for everyone but it works for me.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    One fact that appears to have been missed in favor of electronic reports, They can be delivered electronically. This is great for me, since most of my clients are from other parts of the country and the world. At best a paper report would have to be scanned, to be delivered electronically, generally requiring a trip back to the office anyway.
    I like electronic reports due to the flexibility and quality. However, I don't like the additional hours spent back at the office uploading photos and polishing the report.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    In the end, via referrals, you get the kind of clients you want, and they get the kind of inspections and report they want.

    But... I will say this... based on my own experience on moving to a one inspection a day, report the next day model: there are very few people who want to pay 2-3K for a hand-written report.

    And I sure prefer getting paid that for two or three days work. rather than trying to slog through 4-6 inspections and reports for the same.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post

    But... I will say this... based on my own experience on moving to a one inspection a day, report the next day model: there are very few people who want to pay 2-3K for a hand-written report.
    I would agree...... around these parts, there are very few people (if any) willing to pay 2-3k for any report of any description on any home. Heck, it's darn near to impossible to get somebody paying millions for a commercial property to plunk down $3k for an inspection.

    Amazing how different the markets are around the country. A buddy in Ogden, UT says that few people get inspections, but nearly everyone gets home warranties.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    This is a very informative thread! I'm just stating out, but I use 3D Inspection on a tablet. The inspection is 90% finished on site. I go home and finish it and email it as a pdf. The reports look great.


  36. #36

    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    I have been in business for two years and using a custom template I created in Microsoft Word for that time, while my reports look very good and professional the downside is they take me anywhere from 3-6 hours to create depending on the home. I have been researching a good software app to at least cut that time in half and am likely going to go with Home Inspector Pro just because it seems the most popular (doesn't necessarily mean it's the best though)

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have been in business for two years and using a custom template I created in Microsoft Word for that time, while my reports look very good and professional the downside is they take me anywhere from 3-6 hours to create depending on the home. I have been researching a good software app to at least cut that time in half and am likely going to go with Home Inspector Pro just because it seems the most popular (doesn't necessarily mean it's the best though)


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I use MANY photos, (just ask Dom, I think I may have the record) ...
    I included MANY photos in my reports when I did inspections too ... and, no I am not going to compare number of photos included as it does not matter who includes the most photos of items, what matters is that your report matches what you client expects, and in my market, and with my reports, my clients expected MANY photos - photos of basically everything, and that is what they got.

    Some of my reports were described as 'table top display' books ... like those architectural books you display on your table top.

    Photos also work for new homes because the contractors and builders can't pass off saying the issue "doesn't exist" because there is a photo showing it does exist.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    I do 98% of my reports on site and are emailed before I leave the inspection. I have a "Z PAC" from Verizon that is just a mobile hot spot but it doesn't disconnect every time some one calls. I have an Eye -Fi card for my camera that puts the picture in the report wen I take it. Took some getting use to but would not do an inspection with out I now. I use Whisper soft ware and it works great with both items. Did 60 inspections at month and could not have survived if I had to do reports at night.


  39. #39
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Quote Originally Posted by stanley frost View Post
    I do 98% of my reports on site and are emailed before I leave the inspection. I have a "Z PAC" from Verizon that is just a mobile hot spot but it doesn't disconnect every time some one calls. I have an Eye -Fi card for my camera that puts the picture in the report wen I take it. Took some getting use to but would not do an inspection with out I now. I use Whisper soft ware and it works great with both items. Did 60 inspections at month and could not have survived if I had to do reports at night.
    What software do you use for your report writing?


  40. #40
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    rockport texas
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: Hand written reports/ or software?

    Whisper. Love the software, can't beat the support


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