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Thread: Smart Phones

  1. #1
    Brad Borden's Avatar
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    Default Smart Phones

    New guy posting. I have been learning from reading all your post. I want to thank you for such a knowledgeable bunch of inspectors. I have been doing termite inspections for 17 years and have added home inspections a year ago. I am having fun and get excited to do a home inspection. I wear a few hats I do termite letters, home inspections, and a full time firefighter.
    Enough about me, I have been using 3D since the start and also for my termite letters. I want to use a smart phone in place of a PDA. 3D says there are people using them for their pocket 3D program. They gave me a web site for windows to view them but I cant make a decision. I was wondering if anyone is using a smart phone for their programs and if they are happy with this technique.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    I don't use my 'smart' phone for reporting but would caution you to check out the claims of what the phones can do before buying one for a specific purpose.

    My Blackberry will eventually do everything they say it will but sometimes I feel like I'll be an old man by the time it does it. Also, when the phone is really bogged down doing other stuff it doesn't function as a phone (as in, it doesn't ring or even go to voice mail - callers just get an error message).

    I originally got it partially to use as a modem for my laptop but soon realized that was just not possible at any reasonable speed.

    Hopefully, your specific application will work better but check it out to be sure before you spend a bunch of $$$$.


  3. #3
    Brad Borden's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Thanks for the info. The 3D program ,as they describe it, you can do your primary notes and insert bookmarks for pictures and then sync your total inspection to your laptop and then complete your inspection. It may seam like its going to be just the same to do my notes and do the inspection at home like I am doing now.


  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    To much messing around to get to the final point. Throw everything away and just carry your cmera with you. A picture is worth a thousand words. Hmm, didn't someone say that once.

    Anyway. Do this and then do that aqnd then add into and take away from and complete over here etc. etc.

    LikeI said once you have looked at something and then took a picture of it you wil remember all. If you don't remember something just scan your pics and OH YEAH, thats what I saw.

    Voice recorders, note pads , blackberrys, other smart phones, all just a bunch of fluff that you do not need in the slightest.

    A brain (I need to borrow one sometimes) a camera and your lap top. Other than stepping off the house for your graph. You have to do that anyway.


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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    I still carry a voice recorder with me.... old habits die hard I guess. Back in the dark ages before digital cameras were around I found the recorder was easier than taking hand written notes. I rarely get anything off of the recorder that I haven't already put in the report from memory or pictures. But, if I don't have the recorder I panic and then forget stuff.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    A brain (I need to borrow one sometimes) a camera and your lap top. Other than stepping off the house for your graph. You have to do that anyway.
    Why do you graph a house for a home inspection? I have never seen this requirement for home inspections.

    I use 3D with a PDA. I basically input the items I find wrong and anything else that I might need to note in the report. I also take pictures to help me when I compile the report. When I sync the PDA to my computer it fills the report with the problems and then I just edit or add as needed. Fairly quick process.

    Now with PDA's being old school and not really being sold or produced all that much, I hope that Carl Fowler and 3D come up with a way that a small laptop can be used like a PDA by syncing with a main computer. It really does cut my reporting time down by using the PDA to just record the problems.

    As for using a smart phone, I think that you will find it difficult to use with any reporting software. I went back to a normal cell phone and now my old smart phone is on the shelf in the bedroom closet. Getting emails and phone calls just did not work all that well. The phone part seems to suffer the most.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Scott,

    I too have been using Pocket 3D since 2003 and it has worked. Not perfectly but it got the job done. Now that my near vision is show its age and my Ipaq screen is getting fuzzy w/o my readers I am getting ready to jump to a Netbook such as the Asus EEE. About $300 weights 2.5 pounds and will easily drop in my tool bag. Syncing is actually built into Windows or by using a 3rd party product such as SyncBack. I am think the transition should be pretty painless. 3D allows you to have the software on two different platforms so its legal use it this way without buying more licenses.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
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  8. #8
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Why do you graph a house for a home inspection? I have never seen this requirement for home inspections.
    Scott: I think he may have meant for the WDI inspections. In Texas, and perhaps elsewhere, a footprint of the home is required to be in the report.

    And to the rest of you guys, maybe your eyesight is better than mine. I have enough trouble seeing things clearly on a 21" monitor. When it gets down to the size of my Blackberry it's tough to read. How in Hell can you do a report on one of these? Like Matt said, it's a promising device - mostly promises to date.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    Scott,

    I too have been using Pocket 3D since 2003 and it has worked. Not perfectly but it got the job done. Now that my near vision is show its age and my Ipaq screen is getting fuzzy w/o my readers I am getting ready to jump to a Netbook such as the Asus EEE. About $300 weights 2.5 pounds and will easily drop in my tool bag. Syncing is actually built into Windows or by using a 3rd party product such as SyncBack. I am think the transition should be pretty painless. 3D allows you to have the software on two different platforms so its legal use it this way without buying more licenses.

    //Rick
    I have an inspector friend that has that notebook, he calls it his "Hello Kitty" computer!

    I'll have to look into the syncing of a notebook to my main computer, it just might solve the problem.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    The price for very small laptops has come down considerably in the last year or so. I picked up a used IBM/Lenevo Thinkpad on Ebay for about $300. It's the smallest machine that has a full size keyboard. It weighs 2.7lbs and is like carrying around a small book.

    For those of you that want to carry it while actually inspecting there's a tablet version (screen flips over and folds down and has a stylus pen) that weighs a pound more or so (also, a couple more bucks).


    IBMs are the ultimate business machines... they're durable, portable and all around high quality.

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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I'll have to look into the syncing of a notebook to my main computer, it just might solve the problem.

    There's a free easy to use back-up and syncing program I happened across a few months ago. It's called "SyncBack" and it works great. I've only used it to backup and not sync but it has the capability to sync two machines.

    I got frustrated with the Windows backup programs... they just never worked right and were not very clear or easy to use, particularly because I have Vista and XP machines on my network.

    If you just Google the name it should come right up.


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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    I have been a Sync back user for several years and its a great program. Best part is I have been using the free version. Great for backing up my customer files.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
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  13. #13
    Terry Sandmeier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Hello Brad,



    I have just purchased a smart phone HTC Fuze as an all-in-one device for inspection input, e-mail, phone, internet, and etc. more functions that I will never use. It has a 2.8" touchscreen w/stylus and a slide out keyboard. The screen is just big enough to effectively input data, I use Palm-Tech, I do not know what a 3D program would look like on a smaller device. I am still trying to get a smooth flow at my inspections using the device it is taking about an extra 30min at the house to input this way. I like to have all my data down while I am at the inspection and I does sync fast and all I have to do is input pictures, saves me 45min at home. I do not know if this is the best way to go yet, but as I work on my process I believe it will be beneficial.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Scott: I think he may have meant for the WDI inspections. In Texas, and perhaps elsewhere, a footprint of the home is required to be in the report.

    And to the rest of you guys, maybe your eyesight is better than mine. I have enough trouble seeing things clearly on a 21" monitor. When it gets down to the size of my Blackberry it's tough to read. How in Hell can you do a report on one of these? Like Matt said, it's a promising device - mostly promises to date.

    Yes WDIs. I guess I was a little unclear about that.

    As far as the bold. Amen. And why do any want to do a report twice. Add this, add that, sync with that, edit, add to. Total report time.......8 hours.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Yes WDIs. I guess I was a little unclear about that.

    As far as the bold. Amen. And why do any want to do a report twice. Add this, add that, sync with that, edit, add to. Total report time.......8 hours.
    Ted: I'd like to add here that I just cannot fathom why someone would even attempt to do a report on site. I assume, after all, that this is the reason for all of these laptops, notebooks, palm-helds, Dick Tracy wrist watch whiz bang things that the over-equipped and under-qualified drag out to each inspection in order to appear to appear to be 21st Century Techno-Wizards. I am willing to wager that with no time, no privacy, and no access to the libraries of necessary information availailable, these super-focused, mondo-beyondo, hyper inspectors can slap together a 20-pager in under 5 minutes.

    Add to that a few intermittent wieldings and arbitrary flailings about of their IR cameras; puffing here and there with their smoke machines in the general directions of the smoke alarms, giving the client's kiddies rides on their crawl space machines; piloting their surveillance helicopters over the roofs, and hoisting their satellite phone antennas on their telescoping ladders, and you have a real phuquing circus. HGTV live!


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Thanks for all the input. In a nut shell I was trying to think of a way to get the busy work done on site and do my home work reporting at home with less time.
    Lots of great replies that I will use.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Ted: I'd like to add here that I just cannot fathom why someone would even attempt to do a report on site. I assume, after all, that this is the reason for all of these laptops, notebooks, palm-helds, Dick Tracy wrist watch whiz bang things that the over-equipped and under-qualified drag out to each inspection in order to appear to appear to be 21st Century Techno-Wizards. I am willing to wager that with no time, no privacy, and no access to the libraries of necessary information availailable, these super-focused, mondo-beyondo, hyper inspectors can slap together a 20-pager in under 5 minutes.

    Add to that a few intermittent wieldings and arbitrary flailings about of their IR cameras; puffing here and there with their smoke machines in the general directions of the smoke alarms, giving the client's kiddies rides on their crawl space machines; piloting their surveillance helicopters over the roofs, and hoisting their satellite phone antennas on their telescoping ladders, and you have a real phuquing circus. HGTV live!
    I have never understood why folks want to complete a report on site either. Some say it is to save time, but I just don't see it. It is going to take the same amount of time to complete a report on-site as it would sitting in the comfort of my office. Another good reasons that I not an on-site report fan is that in the 8+ years that I have been doing EW work for or against home inspectors, I would say that 80% of the problematic inspections had their reports done on-site or were punch list fill in the blank reports.

    I use my PDA just for collecting information on the problems that I find. Similar to writing it down on a notepad, but when I sync it back to my main computer it imports the data directly into the report. I then edit and add photos and additional verbaige as needed. With a very large home I use a laptop that I set up in the kitchen and pretty much do the same thing.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    I'm with you guys.... I don't do on-site reports. I either use the laptop in the kitchen to input data or in my truck between jobs or at lunch. It's just a way to fill the inevitable dead time between jobs or waiting for someone to show up.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I have never understood why folks want to complete a report on site either. Some say it is to save time, but I just don't see it. It is going to take the same amount of time to complete a report on-site as it would sitting in the comfort of my office. Another good reasons that I not an on-site report fan is that in the 8+ years that I have been doing EW work for or against home inspectors, I would say that 80% of the problematic inspections had their reports done on-site or were punch list fill in the blank reports.

    I use my PDA just for collecting information on the problems that I find. Similar to writing it down on a notepad, but when I sync it back to my main computer it imports the data directly into the report. I then edit and add photos and additional verbaige as needed. With a very large home I use a laptop that I set up in the kitchen and pretty much do the same thing.
    Scott: Here, here. Amen, Agreed, except for the PDA which I cannot read without glasses . . .


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Scott: Here, here. Amen, Agreed, except for the PDA which I cannot read without glasses . . .

    Did I just hear YOU say Amen ????????????????????????? What is this world coming to?????????????????

    As for doing a report on site. I dfo!!!

    I find there is nothing better than doing it on site because no matter what note you take or picture you take ther is absolutely nothing like being able to pop back up into and attic, garage or outside just for a quick review. After all this is where you did your inspection. There is absolutely no better note pad than the house you are inspecting.

    Just my opinion. As for what Scott said about being able to do the report at home in the same amount of time at the kitchen table. Ahhh, no way for me. It takes me hours at home to punch out a simple report because there is so much going on there. Phone call returns, emailing quotes to referred parties, television, food, drink, bathroom, ooops, gotta go get a beer etc. etc. etc.

    I used to never do a report at home until I figured out that when I got home I want the work for the day that I already did at the inspection site done. The most I might have to do for the inspections is email a PDF off to a client or realtor (maybe a couple minutes)

    No not pads. No wiz bang gizmos. Just me, my laptop, my tools and camera and a printer for those clients that come. When I turn that key on the inspection home door it is history. What is that expression "At the time of the inspection" Well at the time of the inspection I am done.

    Scott

    You are depressing me. "for or against home inspectors" What are you?? A home inspector or a litigator? I for one could never do both. I am all for helping an inspector be put in the right direction but not with litigation. If I can help any inspector in anyway I will but I won't be one to help hang him. The only way I may help hang him is if I come directly behind him and find something he may have missed but I will not go to court over it and have told many a folk that in the past. I just tell them that my inspection was just that, my inspection. His inspection was just that, his inspection. Never the two shall meet. It is up to the client to take what ever course they wish but I won't be anymore part of it with the exception of doing the inspection and the report.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post

    Scott

    You are depressing me. "for or against home inspectors" What are you?? A home inspector or a litigator? I for one could never do both. I am all for helping an inspector be put in the right direction but not with litigation. If I can help any inspector in anyway I will but I won't be one to help hang him. The only way I may help hang him is if I come directly behind him and find something he may have missed but I will not go to court over it and have told many a folk that in the past. I just tell them that my inspection was just that, my inspection. His inspection was just that, his inspection. Never the two shall meet. It is up to the client to take what ever course they wish but I won't be anymore part of it with the exception of doing the inspection and the report.
    I provide litigation support for both sides. If a home inspector screws up, or is named in a lawsuit and I'm hired to provide support, I will simply review the information and render an opinion based on the facts at hand. Right now I have 2 plaintiff and 5 diffident active cases in the mill for the past 9 months. Also 1 slip/fall case for a improper set of stairs in a commercial building, for the defendant.

    It is good, easy and honest money if you can get the work.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Ted: Don't let your loins quiver over this. The word "amen" has been hijacked by the pseudo-righteous to mean something other than what it really means, which is an expression of hearty approval.



    Ted: Somehow I knew you were one of those johnny-on-the-spot inspectors.



    Ted: Yes, you are. Expert consultation is all about working for the side in a given dispute that is in the right - at least for the scrupulous among us. Inspectors are not always in the right, not always even trying to be in the right, hell, some of them don't know what right is. Right?
    Like I said there is no better note pad or photo than the actual home you just inspected. Johny on the spot huh. Nah. Why should I second guess a note or a picture for what the exact condition was. On occasion I do the inspection at home. Some times there is not enough time in the rest of the day to do the report on some slug somewhere.

    No insults needed by any means. I have found that it works out much better for the vast majority of homes I do. In busy times I am in homes for a good part 0 to 8 years old. Others for the most part would be the 8 to twenty year old homes. On occasion I get the 20 to 50 year old homes. Rarely a crawl space. Most homes down here are your basic items wrong in a home.

    Absolutely no reason for long deliberation and code hunting and referencing. I think we had this convo before. Most homes do not call for a PHD in physics. We don't have to do a disco gram, milagram, CT scan, MRI and then call in specialists from around the world. The folks up North I feel for with many older homes and snow and ice and basements with all those dilemmas along with oil fired old furnaces and a mis mash of electric. Now there inspections are generally more in depth and can take much longer to do and hence the typical prices is higher than around here.

    As far as the litigation or EW thing I just could not do it. Like I said there is a much better way to deal with folks they make the oopses all the time. Sentence them to a hundred hours of con ed within the next twelve months and if found guilty for missing something then have them pay that cost and no more. This whole sue the pants off someone is a sick and ridiculous joke and I am certainly far against that altogether. I personally think that all lawyers should be stood in a line and spanked (well a Little worse than that).

    As far as lawyers getting EWs. Why, they cannot read an SOP. I would not trust anyone testifying for anything that is getting paid for it.

    Think about it. Getting paid for testimony and it is just YOUR opinion as to the interpretation or the area standard. YOUR INTERPRETATION ??????? Isn't that like bribing a juror or something.

    You know how easy it is to slightly, just slightly, tweak your opinion JUST SLIGHTLY for or against anyone (certainly impossible on some items ans easy on others). And you are getting paid for that opinion whether it be for or against a particular party. And the crazy part about it you can work for the one you chose, defense or prosecution.

    Paid witnesses or EWs or jurors. Shoot, you might as well just pay the judge to sway his opinion slightly toward one side or the other.

    Sorry. Morning rant and a touchy subject for many. I talk to many inspectors. Some excellent and some just ok. Most put opinions of EWs into the attorney catagory.

    This is not for or against anyone for doing anything. This is just my opinion of the whole legal system. One of the best in the world but still severaly flawed.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Ted, I think what you are talking about are the "hired guns". This is the group that says pretty much anything as long as they are paid. Their side is always right, even if they are wrong!

    One reason for working both sides of the litigation table is so that you can show that you are impartial. Also, the more times that your cases are settled out of court the better you tend to look. This means that you were able to supply enough indisputable information that the other side could not win or would have a very difficult time if it went to court.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    I use my ipaq for data collection, you know the garbage they require in a report such as the kind and type of appliances in the kitchen.
    When I get back to the office I sync it with the laptop and just add the problems and pictures. All the hoopla was done on site.

    Mike Schulz License 393
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Okay, I am trying to understand all of this reporting software and PDA / Smart phone talk. I have always used the manual reporting in the past and have just purchased a HP IPAQ2795 PDA. I am now wondering if this is a good tool for this profession? Does anyone have input on the best PDA to use for Home inspections?


  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Robinson View Post
    Okay, I am trying to understand all of this reporting software and PDA / Smart phone talk. I have always used the manual reporting in the past and have just purchased a HP IPAQ2795 PDA. I am now wondering if this is a good tool for this profession? Does anyone have input on the best PDA to use for Home inspections?
    I think that would depend on your reporting program and just what you want to accomplish with it and the PDA.

    I think any home inspector feller who is thinking that they can complete a good report just on a PDA needs to rethink it a little. I use my PDA to collect problems at the home, I do not even attempt to complete the report on site.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  27. #27
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Yellow pad and digital camera on site. I have never done and do not intend to do a report on site.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Robinson View Post
    Okay, I am trying to understand all of this reporting software and PDA / Smart phone talk. I have always used the manual reporting in the past and have just purchased a HP IPAQ2795 PDA. I am now wondering if this is a good tool for this profession? Does anyone have input on the best PDA to use for Home inspections?
    I would highly recommend the HP iPaq 210. The price is very reasonable at under $500 and has a 4" diagonal 640x480 high-resolution screen. Will beat ANY smartphone handsdown.

    Do a search on PriceGrabber.com - Comparison Shopping, Online Shopping, Product Reviews for details.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I think that would depend on your reporting program and just what you want to accomplish with it and the PDA.

    I think any home inspector feller who is thinking that they can complete a good report just on a PDA needs to rethink it a little. I use my PDA to collect problems at the home, I do not even attempt to complete the report on site.
    Scott,
    In your situation, what is the difference between "collecting problems at the home" and actually "completing the report". Doesn't the report contain the items you actually collected at the home ? Some software can actually create the report right from the data collected without having to go through another piece of software. You have the OPTION of printing the report right on sight from the data you just collected OR you can bring it over to a PC later (at the home office or a laptop in the kitchen) as a Word document to review BEFORE giving it to the client.

    You also have to consider that over the last 25 years a LOT of home inspectors have been using their data collection device as the device that creates the report right on site that they give to the client. (That would be a checklist carbon copy form type report).

    Using software on a handheld device does the same analogy but in a MUCH BETTER way is a very realistic way of doing home inspections. The software HAS to be very easy to use...and have features that lets the inspector put in very sophisticated comments very easily and quickly. Very little scrolling and be able to manage the comments in a way that makes it easy to find what you are looking for.

    Last edited by Jeff Knight; 04-08-2009 at 05:32 PM. Reason: add more

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Knight View Post
    Scott,
    In your situation, what is the difference between "collecting problems at the home" and actually "completing the report". Doesn't the report contain the items you actually collected at the home ? Some software can actually create the report right from the data collected without having to go through another piece of software. You have the OPTION of printing the report right on sight from the data you just collected OR you can bring it over to a PC later (at the home office or a laptop in the kitchen) as a Word document to review BEFORE giving it to the client.

    You also have to consider that over the last 25 years a LOT of home inspectors have been using their data collection device as the device that creates the report right on site that they give to the client. (That would be a checklist carbon copy form type report).

    Using software on a handheld device does the same analogy but in a MUCH BETTER way is a very realistic way of doing home inspections. The software HAS to be very easy to use...and have features that lets the inspector put in very sophisticated comments very easily and quickly. Very little scrolling and be able to manage the comments in a way that makes it easy to find what you are looking for.
    Hi Jeff,

    Yes, I'm aware of your software and the others that allow folks to complete an inspection with a PDA on site. Now that I have said that, my personal and professional opinion is that inspectors who do complete their reports on site are at a higher risk of screwing up.

    I have seen it time and time again. Tomorrow, I'm tasked with trying to help an inspector limit his losses with a lawsuit, in one of our Southern states. He completed his report on site and issued it to the buyer and agent on site. He did not research a few items that he was not sure about, he took that chance that it would not come back to haunt him. He was wrong.

    An inspector will do better completing the report at their office or home. On site reports do not allow the inspector the time they might need to collect their thoughts, do some research (like on InspectionNews), or to not be rushed in completing the report in a timely manner.

    Just my observations.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  31. #31
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    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Smart Phones

    I know I have already said this a hundred times but hey, I will say it again. IF you have the time to do the report on site and there is not someone breathing down your neck then I say do it on site.

    You may wish to gather thoughts at home but you have absolutely no better note book, note pad, PDA, memory bank, than you do right in front of you, at the inspection. Anything that might seem a little vague or not quite clear or a picture that did not come out clear enough etc etc etc, you can walk right on over and take a second look, get a second thought, make a better opinion.

    If there is something still in question that you may have to dig a little deeper into then explain that to your client when they come WHEN YOU ARE DONE and send it off to them later in an addendum.

    I thoroughly understand about many folks not wanting to do the report on site but there are many excellent well thought out reasons that IF you have the time to complete the report before the clients get there, do it you will be better informed in your report with the items in question a few feet away.

    Now this is not every inspection because some just get way to involved. Your typical home (my typical inspection) with fairly new, pretty good shape and not many findings type homes does not take investigative actions to complete.

    Not picking on verbage here but "Issue the report to your client"

    I don't issue my report to anyone. I hand it to them if I do the report on site. I do not issue my reports because I do not do my inspection on the grounds that someone is going to sue me. I create the report to hand or email my report to the client based on my findings in the home.

    I go over my pictures and the report one by one with my clients. Nothing is left unclear. I do not get calls (with the rare exception) about my findings or picture or locations. They see the home, the pictures and the report on site. I never hand a REALTOR areport on site with the exception of a very rare instance. I email the report to them and explain to them (Clients) (Realtors are absolutely never there 99.9% of ther time) that I am going to review the report and if I need to change wording and such I will email them a copy when I send one to the Realtor.

    Yes I email Realtors the report. Not for their sake or brown nosing or anything but for the convenience of the client.

    Oh well, enough said. Everyone has an opinion and you all know what they are like and yes I have one to.

    A little edit here. I am just finishing, at home, a report from yesterday and the report from todays inspection, at home. Tomorrow I have 2 inspections and because of time constraints (many hours for each inspection) I will be doing those inspections at home as well. Like I said. If you have the time and it is possible to do them on site, I do. I for one feel much more comfortable doing an inspection report where I did the inspection.


  32. #32
    Jeff Knight's Avatar
    Jeff Knight Guest

    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Hi Jeff,

    Yes, I'm aware of your software and the others that allow folks to complete an inspection with a PDA on site. Now that I have said that, my personal and professional opinion is that inspectors who do complete their reports on site are at a higher risk of screwing up.

    I have seen it time and time again. Tomorrow, I'm tasked with trying to help an inspector limit his losses with a lawsuit, in one of our Southern states. He completed his report on site and issued it to the buyer and agent on site. He did not research a few items that he was not sure about, he took that chance that it would not come back to haunt him. He was wrong.

    An inspector will do better completing the report at their office or home. On site reports do not allow the inspector the time they might need to collect their thoughts, do some research (like on InspectionNews), or to not be rushed in completing the report in a timely manner.

    Just my observations.
    Hi Scott,
    I agree completely that you should NEVER deliver a report if you are unsure about what you are saying in the report and you need to do some research. This really is a case of researching then actually finishing the report. If you feel you are SURE on all the things you discover then you have the option of delivering the report on site....and if the inspector feels he doesn't need to research anything then he isn't going to do it back at the office either....especially if he has another inspection he did that day he still needs to create at home.

    The main purpose of using a handheld in the field is to eliminate having to rekey the same data later at the office and having the OPTION of delivering the report on site if the inspector wants to. You said you use 3D and they have a handheld solution, plus HomeGauge does and Palm-Tech and InspectVue also. Another plus is actually having information in the handheld to actually help you do your inspection and research items. A good example is having wire gauge conversions that you can lookup on the handheld and another is the example of having CodeCheck data on them or other building codes. Our fire inspector clients have a huge set of NFPA fire codes for them to look at at their fingertips as they are doing their inspection.

    When we started out company 11 years ago we were the only ones using handhelds...now all the main players do. There is a good reason for that.


  33. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Knight View Post
    Hi Scott,
    I agree completely that you should NEVER deliver a report if you are unsure about what you are saying in the report and you need to do some research. This really is a case of researching then actually finishing the report. If you feel you are SURE on all the things you discover then you have the option of delivering the report on site....and if the inspector feels he doesn't need to research anything then he isn't going to do it back at the office either....especially if he has another inspection he did that day he still needs to create at home.

    The main purpose of using a handheld in the field is to eliminate having to rekey the same data later at the office and having the OPTION of delivering the report on site if the inspector wants to. You said you use 3D and they have a handheld solution, plus HomeGauge does and Palm-Tech and InspectVue also. Another plus is actually having information in the handheld to actually help you do your inspection and research items. A good example is having wire gauge conversions that you can lookup on the handheld and another is the example of having CodeCheck data on them or other building codes. Our fire inspector clients have a huge set of NFPA fire codes for them to look at at their fingertips as they are doing their inspection.

    When we started out company 11 years ago we were the only ones using handhelds...now all the main players do. There is a good reason for that.
    All good points..

    As for handhelds, I really find it easier to set a laptop up in the kitchen and just input the needed data as I go. I find that the PDA and like devices do work well on smaller and less complex homes.

    Heck right now I'm typing this on an IPhone sitting in the Atlanta airport and just about to go cross eyed! I would much rather be on a laptop.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  34. #34
    Jeff Knight's Avatar
    Jeff Knight Guest

    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    All good points..

    As for handhelds, I really find it easier to set a laptop up in the kitchen and just input the needed data as I go. I find that the PDA and like devices do work well on smaller and less complex homes.

    Heck right now I'm typing this on an IPhone sitting in the Atlanta airport and just about to go cross eyed! I would much rather be on a laptop.
    Actually a lot of inspectors say that the screen of an HP iPaq 210 is easier to read then a sub-notebook screen. That is because of the very high resolution (640x480) and the 4" screen along with a large font that we use in our software. Readability of the screen is not an issue. That does not mean that every inspector will like to use a PDA since some just love to type.


  35. #35
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
    Richard Stanley Guest

    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Scott
    I agree about not doing reports on site and I also think it cheapens the process. Ever try to get an appraisal on site?? They charge more and do less work, but, it takes longer...

    Another thing - how come it seems like so many inspectors get sued in your part of the world? Do your attorneys advertise for clients? Just curious.


  36. #36
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tyler, TX
    Posts
    719

    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    I don't use my 'smart' phone for reporting but would caution you to check out the claims of what the phones can do before buying one for a specific purpose.

    My Blackberry will eventually do everything they say it will but sometimes I feel like I'll be an old man by the time it does it. Also, when the phone is really bogged down doing other stuff it doesn't function as a phone (as in, it doesn't ring or even go to voice mail - callers just get an error message).

    I originally got it partially to use as a modem for my laptop but soon realized that was just not possible at any reasonable speed.

    Hopefully, your specific application will work better but check it out to be sure before you spend a bunch of $$$$.
    Good info here... Are you saying that the "tethering" option for a Blackberry isn't workable? I've been recently thinking about getting a Blackberry with the tethering option (ATT)

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  37. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Smart Phones

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Stanley View Post
    Scott
    I agree about not doing reports on site and I also think it cheapens the process. Ever try to get an appraisal on site?? They charge more and do less work, but, it takes longer...

    Another thing - how come it seems like so many inspectors get sued in your part of the world? Do your attorneys advertise for clients? Just curious.
    I'm on several EW list and networks, word gets around and then you get the calls. TASA is one of the larger networks. Heck, yesterday I was down in the Houston TX area for a couple of hours and back home by 4 pm. I spent more time at the airport than I did at the site looking at the issue!

    A good part of the EW work I do involves insurance companies who have hired an attorney to defend their insured.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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