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  1. #1
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    Default flow - inspection vs report

    In your job of inspecting homes, what is your general direction of movement on site?

    Also, for those who write reports from the office, does the flow of the inspection match your report template of do you find yourself sorting things from the inspection into a different order for the report?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Exterior/Roof (everyone's always late so my routine has just evolved this way)
    Mechanicals - furnace, water heater, electric panel
    Attic
    Interior starting with kitchen and moving systematically throughout the house from there
    Crawl Space

    There are often deviations from the routine due to various circumstances but that's the general idea.

    As for the report, it's totally different..... I run through the template and fill in the house "specs" then go to problems in each section. I generally do it from memory at first which ultimately means the biggest problems go first. If/when I run out of things to type I start scanning my pictures. That usually fills in the rest. Then, I listen to my voice notes to fill anything I haven't done yet. Proofread.... do the final formatting of the report (check spacing between pictures and text, etc.)..... convert to pdf, email and forget about it


  3. #3
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    I have been using a new onsite method on most homes lately since so many are vacant. The exterior is done first or towards the end depending on the weather but I do it two times on most houses (opposite directions).

    I do the kitchen first to get the dishwasher going and to have it out of the way in case a crowd shows up and camps out in there. The t-stat settings are checked and changed as necessary.

    Since many houses have just had the water turned on, I make a lap around to look for leaks in plumbing and walls/ceilings. I check the bathroom GFI's during this lap too. A visit to the water heater and furnace is usually needed right away to see what shape their in and then I usually go back and have a look at it again later on. The attic is done in the early stage also. The garage is done whenever I am already out there for some other reason.

    I don't get distracted with outlets and windows until I have all of the complicated stuff and bathrooms checked. Its important to do the bathrooms early so any leaks in the walls/ceilings will have time to show up while you are there.

    A good inspection of the HVAC can easily involve several trips to the thermostats and getting a feel for how the temperatures are changing in each room as time progresses. I find a ton of HVAC problems that would be missed if I only did the minimum inspection.

    The interior is done again with checks of windows, doors, lights, outlets and another good look for ceiing stains etc. The kitchen is checked again to look for dishwasher status and leaks.

    Then I make another lap, this time with an IR camera so the ceilings are getting inspected three times.

    Crawlspace is always last since leaks from all the water run during the inspection would show up then.

    The report is typed based on the voice recorder and pictures. It does require some scrolling around to get to each summary section since I have 10 sections. Then I have a special system to make sure special preset comments are removed from the report body if they do not apply. Then I click through my pop up menus to select the data that applies from notes taken from the voice recorder. Then I drag the pictures to each summary item.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  4. #4
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    This subject has been covered man times before. It seems we all have a slightly different way of doing things and writing reports.

    My report format has the major systems broken down. My inspection process does not follow the order of my report.

    I try to follow the same process each time. I try to get to the house a little early so I can go around the outside and do what I can before everyone gets there. I take photos and document the HVAC stuff, where the gas meter is, if the electrical panel is on the outside, I will do that on my first go around.

    When the agent or clients show up, I go inside, and set up in the kitchen. While I start the dishwasher I go over my contract (if not e-mailed prior), and tell them how they are going to get the report. I then do the kitchen and then go thru the house, one way or the other (starting at the kitchen). When I get to the garage, I go outside again and take a second look at stuff. When I get back to the garage, I go back inside and continue where I left off.

    When I get to basement stairs, I go down there, when I get to the 2nd floor stairs, I go up there. When I'm on the 2nd floor, or get to the attic access, I do the attic. When I am taking my ladder back to my truck, I do the roof.

    When ever I go to my truck, to get a ladder, or cordless drill, I always take another look at the house, up and down.

    After I have run water everywhere, I will go back to the basement, or go into the crawlspace.

    When I am finished "inspecting". I go back to the kitchen, input the photos, check my notes, and start writing the report.

    If my client is there the entire time, I keep a running dialog with them about what I am seeing. I may show them stuff if they are close by. If its something BIG, I go get them.

    While I am writing the report, I will discuss my findings, and maybe show them photos as I am putting them in the report. It usually takes me about 30 - 40 minutes to input photos and finish the report.

    From time to time, I may return to the kitchen and input photos or details as I go.

    I finish the report, show my client what they are going to get, discuss issues with them, upload it to the web, collet my check, and take off.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    My report order has nothing to do with my inspection process. Report is sorted by systems. Inspection data collection is driven by the house.

    I usually arrive 1/2 hour early and start exterior. 3 laps around the house with at least one in the oppsite direction. Move inside and get contract signed in kitchen. Start dishwasher. Move to front door and inspect the first story. When arrive at garage, go out do whatever mechanicals are in garage. Continue first floor until back at front door. Move to next floor. Then attic. Then crawlspace. Collect money, shake hands, wave good bye.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    How do you handle the clients and agents that want a verbal summary at the end on a house with no major issues but enough other items that would probably be quoted at over $10k all totaled by a professional contractor?

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  7. #7
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    In your job of inspecting homes, what is your general direction of movement on site?

    Also, for those who write reports from the office, does the flow of the inspection match your report template of do you find yourself sorting things from the inspection into a different order for the report?
    Good question.
    I always start in the kitchen but my report starts at the roof.
    Reason is for a smooth report flow from roof/exterior/structure/interior/kitchen /bathrooms/major systems.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    I try not to do more than one inspection/report a day. In pinch I will inspect two condos, or do a HI and a water intrusion, but that means no inspections the next day as I'll be writing reports.

    I won't do two full HIs the same day. Usually, if it's a referral from a previous client, they will wait a day. If not, I'll refer the second out instead if necessary. (I refer out more work than I get in return. Oh well.)

    For a typical older single family, 1 HVAC, attic and basement: arrive 45 min early.

    Make *sure* I'm at the right address.

    Take out the digital voice recorder, attach the camera to the monopod and (usually) grab the the binoculars.

    Check the street and parkway for evidence of sewer repairs, and photograph the sidewalk.

    Make a quick circuit, taking a complete of exterior pictures and planning roof access.

    Get whichever ladder and ladder accessories I will be using off the vehicle, and lay them on the ground at the access point (unless the neighborhood is too bad to leave them there).

    Make a first inspection circuit, looking primary at the eaves and above. From this point on I am making voice note or taking pictures.

    Make a second circuit in the opposite direction, looking primary between eaves and grade. Note exterior construction methods/materials as well as defects.

    Make a third circuit, noting conditions at grade, AC condenser info, bibs, vent terminations, etc.

    Somewhere in this process client arrives, and we move inside, usually to kitchen. I perform pre-inspection orientation, client signs contract (delivered by e-mail as far in advance as possible) and iInsurance kicks in - now I can start dishwasher, open AC disconnects, test exterior outlets, ect.

    We return to exterior, as we move around the house to complete exterior I explain to client what I have found so far. Outbuildings at this time as well.

    Move inside, I take a quick tour of the entire interior (except attic/crawlspace if not easy access) so I have a sense of what I'm up against and how I will budget my time.

    Start heat/cooling depending on season, if heat observe briefly for safe operation.

    Both bags go to top floor, quick visual check for ceiling leak/stains and likely vent locations, turn on bath vents, start water running at locations safe if unattended, then into attic if present.

    Inspect attic.

    Start any other running water (put water alarms below overflow level at anything which can overflow).

    Work floor clockwise from staircase. Water stays on at this point.

    Circuit with IR camera checking for evidence of water intrusion and heat/cool at registers/radiators.

    Ditto on lower floors for HVAC distribution.

    Change heat/cool mode if checking both.

    Return to top floor, check alternate heat/cool distribution if required.

    Turn off water and lights.

    Check alternate heat/cool distribution on lower floors if required. Also, quick check for bad leaks from bathrooms above.

    Do lower floors, clockwise from stairs, leave water running.

    Clockwise circuit of basement to observe everything at exterior walls (except panel interiors). Note water line and meter location.

    Walk basement again, observing ceiling, once more observing interior partitions, bathrooms, etc., once more for slab.

    Turn off running water of floor above.

    Detailed HVAC.

    Electrical panel interior.

    Roof, now that I know I won't step through missing sheathing.

    Verbal review for client.

    Ladder back on truck, make sure I have everything.

    Back to office to write report.

    Write protect HD card, copy all pictures to client directory, batch re-size to 800x600 (if needed, high res versions are still on the SD).

    Fire up Homeguage, fast click through 220 common items, accept/edit or skip as required.

    Go through pictures, adding them to existing comments entered above or creating new ones (hopefully, from modified boiler plate). Report is organized by system, entry follows inspection sequence, but jumps around are quick in HG.

    Ditto for voice recorder.

    Proof report on screen (mostly, for mis-sized photographs).

    Print full report & summary to .PDFs, e-mail.

    _________________

    This the "ideal" sequence, it gets adjusted (as little as possible) as required.

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    I've gotten more comfortable collecting information on systems as I come to them so my inspection flow is definatlt different from my report flow.

    Site

    Exterior

    Roof

    Garage

    Turn HVAC on and check start up sequence. Turn fan to manual on.

    Basement or Crawl

    Attic

    When I come out of the attic I spiral around each floor doing everything I come to.

    Back to the basement to check for leaks.

    I inspect electrical/mechanicals when I come to them.


  10. #10
    Russel Ray's Avatar
    Russel Ray Guest

    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    I hope Matt (first comment) doesn't actually go up on the roof first without going into the attic to see just exactly what he is assuming can support his weight!

    I go clockwise starting at the front entrance.

    It doesn't matter what I do at the inspection because my report sheets are plasticized and numbered. My report template is organized as the report sheets are numbered. Once the report is complete, I photograph the work sheets and catalog them on the computer. Then they are erased and reused. Saves a lot of paper.


  11. #11
    Lisa Turner's Avatar
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    I am gladdened to see Michael Thomas's comment on not doing 2 full inspections a day. I'm a new inspector (1 year) and still finding that the inspection takes me 3 hours or more, and 2+ hours with HomeGauge reporting. As much my clients like HG, I'm spending a lot of time adding narratives to it. I hope I can get the reporting down to a hour or less, however, this is what the clients love, so maybe I should not worry about it. Homes here (western NC) are an average of 2500 SF, have wraparound and double or triple decks, (always problems found), attic, and basement/crawlspace.

    The photos are a great reminder of every defect and the flow reflects the report so that its easy to complete it in order and not hunt for pictures. I.e., exterior, grading, roof, decks, then inside. Lisa


  12. #12
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Generally, exterior first, then interior, mechanicals as I am going through the house. One of the first things I do when entering is hit the stat up or down so I can see/feel the system working while I'm walking around.
    If weather is bad exterior gets done last. Even with booties and change of shoes I don't want to risk falling in the mud and then having to go through the house. I'll do a house and a condo in one day, or a few REO in one day. I try very hard not to do two houses in a day, just not interested in working that much. 12-16 hour days don't appeal to me anymore. If they did I'd still be in the trades, 10-12 is normal now and Ok.
    As a word of caution Lisa, if your clients like your reports don't go changing too much. You can probably get a good report down to less than 2 hours. Once you hit that 1 hour mark, you are probably just providing boiler plate crap or checkbox. Neither of which I find acceptable.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  13. #13
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Thanks Markus. I'm probably on the right track then. As a new inspector, I'm working 7am to 10pm between inspecting, reporting, marketing, scheduling, consulting, driving . . . and I love it. But those training companies that say "become an inspector and own an ATM machine" are crazy. I don't think there are more hard working, caring and ethical people out there than Home Inspectors, but its not an easy job!


  14. #14
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Turner View Post
    I am gladdened to see Michael Thomas's comment on not doing 2 full inspections a day. I'm a new inspector (1 year) and still finding that the inspection takes me 3 hours or more, and 2+ hours with HomeGauge reporting. As much my clients like HG, I'm spending a lot of time adding narratives to it. I hope I can get the reporting down to a hour or less, however, this is what the clients love, so maybe I should not worry about it. Homes here (western NC) are an average of 2500 SF, have wraparound and double or triple decks, (always problems found), attic, and basement/crawlspace.

    The photos are a great reminder of every defect and the flow reflects the report so that its easy to complete it in order and not hunt for pictures. I.e., exterior, grading, roof, decks, then inside. Lisa

    Sounds like you are doing good, my first year it was not unusual to spend 4-5 hours at some houses and another 3-6 on the report for the complicated and problematic houses. I have now progressed into needing very few of my saved verbiage, most have to be tweaked so much anyway to fit the exact circumstance I have started just typing up 95 percent of the issues. By doing it this way my reporting skills get better every day. I can type an entire paragraph and find no need to tweak anything. The trick is to record on a voice recorder a good summary of what you need to report. I put tons of info in the body of the report also. My clients do not even have to take time off from work to attend the inspection.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  15. #15
    Lisa Turner's Avatar
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Wow, I feel better then, I thought I was WAY too slow . . . you've given me confidence. Thank you! Some of those 30 year old Fixer Uppers are a slog but I delight in finding every single thing. And you're right about the report - if it's really good, the client reads it and feels like they are being taken by the hand through the house. The remote clients are very appreciative and send thank you notes.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    3-4 hours inspecting and 2-3 hours report writing is about my average. Not more than I full HI in a day for me either. I quote higher fees for my thorough jobs and my appointment blocks do not go unfilled. I'm a part time inspector and raked in 33k last year for inspecting only 2 days a week.

    Lisa,

    You're on the right track. Take whatever time you need to do a good job. Make them love you and you'll survive the long run.


  17. #17
    Lisa Turner's Avatar
    Lisa Turner Guest

    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Well I know we got off the post thread, but I can tell you all that I very much appreciate the advice you have provided. Many thanks! This is an outstanding forum. Lisa


  18. #18
    Robert Smith's Avatar
    Robert Smith Guest

    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    In your job of inspecting homes, what is your general direction of movement on site?

    Also, for those who write reports from the office, does the flow of the inspection match your report template of do you find yourself sorting things from the inspection into a different order for the report?
    Yes my inspection matches the flow of the report.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Robert, can I see one of your reports?
    bruceaking@bellsouth.net

    or a link to a web site sample?

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  20. #20
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    In your job of inspecting homes, what is your general direction of movement on site?

    Also, for those who write reports from the office, does the flow of the inspection match your report template of do you find yourself sorting things from the inspection into a different order for the report?
    Exterior first then interior

    Yes, section by section.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  21. #21
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Turner View Post
    Well I know we got off the post thread, but I can tell you all that I very much appreciate the advice you have provided. Many thanks! This is an outstanding forum. Lisa
    It is great to see a female in the mix. I tried to bring one in but I guess it just was not for her.

    One inspection a day for a reasonable rate that you can live on and 4 to 5 hours max for inspecting and reporting is great for 2500 sq ft

    Now if you are doing one a day every day right now my hat is off to you (except I don't wear a hat)..

    I love my job and do wish it would at the least become more regular than as of late. I don't think we will see 2008 and prior work for a very long time. I use to do a couple a day 5 or six days a week but to be honest I did not like my job much then. Great money but way to much living for the job. After all, you gotta live outside work.


    Nice to see an honest sincere woman in love with her job as I am.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    "Great money but way to much living for the job. After all, you gotta live outside work".

    Here, here Ted.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  23. #23
    Lisa Turner's Avatar
    Lisa Turner Guest

    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Thanks Ted and everyone else who makes this forum so helpful (and confidence building). Yes, I think its one half of one percent of home inspectors are female. It might be the mix of competencies combined with the "I might see a snake" thing. If people realized how seldom we have to deal with wild life . . . usually surprised when I meet it. The wildest life . . . the realtors . . .

    Ok, back on track!

    The sequence and the report . . . I'm putting together some info pieces that I can drag in to the report ("what is a heat pump"?) so I don't have to go into tech detail as much in the write ups.


  24. #24
    Robert Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: flow - inspection vs report

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    Robert, can I see one of your reports?
    bruceaking@bellsouth.net

    or a link to a web site sample?
    Sent.


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