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  1. #1
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    It seems like Im averaging between 4 and 5 hours per inspection (on 2,000 to 3,000 sq ft homes). Im not slow, always moving, and think I use a logical progression to go through the home. Some time killers - people that want to talk about neighbors/relatives homes, those damn child (parent) proof covers on electrical outlets, people securing their pets, moving their cars, finishing their showers (whoa!), hiding their valuables, etc.

    My progression
    Exterior
    Roof
    Garage
    Interior
    Attic

    Plus my report time seems to be taking 2 to 3 hours.
    Definitely cuts in my per hour rate.

    Any suggestions?

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    AHIT InspectIt Home Report

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    John,

    The largest amount of time taken besides the actual inspection I believe is the note taking process.

    My son for example when he takes his notes writes down everything as if he was actually typing the report. BIG waste of time in my opinion and I cannot break him of that habit.

    I jot down everything in a short hand type notes and save the lead or ink.

    You might even create yourself a cheat sheet to use. For example, have a form for yourself to use that has check boxes beside a description. I personally find that most of the time we're actually writting down the same types of notes on every inspection so a cheat sheet does save some time.

    Writting reports also seem a time consumer for most. I think we all get into trying to come up with the most perfect description, that we get idle quite often. I've learn to write it up as I see it and move on.

    As far as walking into the inspection, you have got to take control of the situation. Tell persons what you'll be doing and ask them to talk to you at the end of the inspection so you don't take the chance of missing something important. DON'T CHIT CHAT

    I'll give buyers note pads and ask them to jot down things that they have questions about and we'll cover them at the end of the inspection. Some I'll give a disposable camera to and a tape measure and they'll find something to do.

    The kids and the pets don't bother me, its the adults.

    Rick


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    I usually start in the kitchen and while I'm turning on the dishwasher and checking out the range, etc. I take care of getting the contract signed and usually finish the small talk then. If the client follows me around, I may keep the dialog going, but I don't stop what I'm doing. I'm able to walk, talk, and inspect at the same time.

    If cars need to be moved, I usually find out right away and let the sellers know. I don't wait until I need to get into the attic, etc before I ask them to move it.

    Child proof covers? I will carry my screw driver in ne hand and my outlet tester in the other. I pop one off, test the outlet and put it back. If the house is vacant, it stays on the floor. I don't usually test both sides of the outlet, and may not check every outlet in a room. (SOP do not require us to check every one.)

    I guess I don't have that many sellers that are not walking out the door when I get there. I don't have to wait for many showers, etc. If I do, I just do the other parts of the house first.

    My report system has most of the stuff already put in, so I really only need to pay attention to the stuff thats wrong. I also use a short hand in my note pad, if I don't input it directly to my pocket PC. I really only pay attention to the bad stuff, because of the way I have my system set up.

    It takes me maybe 30 - 45 minutes to input the data from my pocket pc, input photos and finish up the report, and post it to the web, then I'm on to the next job.

    It sounds like you need to have more boilerplate or pre-done parts to the report if it's taking you 2-3 hours just to write the report. It sounds like you are trying to reinvent the wheel on each job.

    For instance. My bathroom section has everything working just fine already done. I input the counter top material, where the GFCI reset is, and I'm done - IF there are no problems. If there are, I just hit one of my pre-sets, for instance "Toilet is loose at the guest bathroom". My prest has "Toilet is loose at ............ bathroom" I just select that item and type in "guest". Takes a few seconds.

    The rest of the house is the same way. I input materials and locations for items, but really only have to input something extra if something is "wrong". Saves me a bunch of time. Time is money after all.

    JF


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    A big time saver for me was switching to use of a digital voice recorder for note taking during the inspection. I previously used as small yellow note pad and it was very tedious stopping to write everything down. Now I just talk as I walk and it really smoothed things out. I can recall most of the defect items when I sit down to do the report so the voice recorder as well as the pictures I take just makes sure I don't miss anything.

    I too would like to reduce my reporting time. Adding captions to the pics often takes 30-45 minutes.


  5. #5
    Michael Waterbury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Jack, It seems that you are very organized. What report system do you use?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    John, Aside from all the other good ideas to speed up the process you have to "TAKE CONTROL." When a client shows up with family and friends I stop the husband and wife in the driveway and tell them. " THis is your time to be with me. You are paying for me to be here now. If you want to learn about your home you can follow me and listen now. I don't follow you around and I don't go over everything twice. I recommend that the most savvy of the two, whichever, stay with me and the other go entertain the troops.
    Sometimes the broker will be talking to the husband while I am trying to explain something to the wife. I nicely ask them both to leave so I can work and so the other spouse will understand whats going on. You are doing your clients a disservice by letting them control or interfere with the inspection process. If you need quiet, tell them all to be quiet.
    My normal inspection of 2-3000 is 2 hours but I tell my clients on the phone prior to that I will stay at the home as long as they need me to stay in order for them to understand their new home.
    The recorder is invaluable in keeping the pace going and controlling their interest. Nowadays I can go through and just take pics of everything without recording but I still use it as my 3rd backup. 1) Memory 2)Camera 3) recorder


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Plus, when the client sees you will be taking voice notes throughout the inspection, they know they need to clam up .

    I wouldn't necessarily look at the chit-chat as a bad thing John. If your clients didn't like or trust you, they wouldn't chat you up too much. Engaging in other topics of conversation with the client aside from just inspection related stuff helps your clients see that you have a life, a personality, and a sense of humor. Building this type of rapport can go a long ways towards establishing a referral base for future business. Plus, I firmly believe that if past clients like you and feel you are looking out for their best interests, they are less inclined to hold your toes to the fire if they feel you might have missed something during their inspection. I'm not saying being nice and personable is a get-out-of-jail free card but it can help reduce callbacks on the little things.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    John - Perhaps you're being too exhaustive? Here in PA we have a home inspection law that says the purpose is to find/document problems that would have a significant impact on the value of the property and/or be a an unreasonable risk to personnel on the property. In other words, it is a given that there are problems that are non-significant and risks that are reasonable.
    I feel I spend too much time also, by the time my report is done. But on most jobs, I would spend much more time if I tried to find and document all or even most of the "small stuff". I could spend days in some of these places!

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    "I could spend days in some of these places!"

    Where do you work John? There aren't any houses like that around here .


  10. #10
    S. Taylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    I have found that the longer you have been in this business, the longer your inspections will-or should take. I typically take about 4 hours for a 2000 sq ft. home as well and I am fine with that. If the length of time for an inspection is reducing your $/per hour below an acceptable level- raise your fees. We, as an industry- are grossly underpaid for the services we provide. Fees have essentially been the same for the last 10 years. I would rather do 1 house per day and make the same money as the guy doing 2 houses per day. 1/2 the liability exposure, 1/2 the travel time and distance, more free time. I could speak at great lengh on this issue- but - its usually a waste of time.


  11. #11
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Keep them coming. Everyone seems to have lots of good advice.

    I do use checklist forms (for each type of room, etc).
    I do take control of the situation - without being rude or obnoxious.
    As far as the small stuff - this is where we differ on opinions. I believe my client is paying me to inspect and give them the facts about the home. Personally, the small stuff bothers me and when people start seeing small stuff that wasnt addressed in the inspection report they question the rest of the inspection. Some of my peers have told me the majority of calls they get from their clients are asking them why they didnt write down the problem with ___
    (you fill in the blank).

    TREC SOPS are the minimum. I believe we should go above and beyond the minimum (without getting to anal).


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    I just write down what I find wrong, I trust my memory to recall the other details. I take a great number of pictures and refer back to the pictures if I can't recall something or I have a question. This saves a tremendous amount of time. Like Jack, my report has a good amount already filled in. So all I have to do is fill in the details for the property and the problems I find. Average time to inspect a 2000-3000sf home is 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Report production time is around 30 minutes or less, if it has only a few issues. I use 3D for my reporting software.

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

  13. #13
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Nick:

    1. I make one thing crystal clear to my client prior to beginning. This is not HGTV. HGTV is not the real world; this is. I do not have a script to work from or an editor to alter time for my convenience. This is also not a tutorial, but rather an inspection. If you have lived in a residential structure prior to today, then you are familiar with how to open doors, flush toilets, etc. If have not lived in a residential structure prior to today, I will quietly take my leave. (I don't do educational seminars for aboriginals). I am one-trick pony. I can either inspect or carry on a conversation with you. Either way the fee is the same. You decide. Once I am finished inspecting I will walk you around to see what I think is important for you to see and we'll discuss any questions you have then.

    2. I use a digital recorder and a camera. No notepads and I do not rely on my memory any more than is absolutely necessary. Memory is not accurate under almost all circumstances.

    3. I never, I repeat N-E-V-E-R, do on-site reports.

    4. You must have a system that works for you.

    All that said, I produce on average a minimum 50-page report and spend no longer than 1-1/2 hours on-site actually inspecting the average 2000 s.f. home.

    You might also hire someone like this guy as your helper . . .

    YouTube - Stephen Wiltshire draws Rome from memory

    Aaron


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    I am also of the opinion that the longer I have been inspecting, the longer it takes.
    I used to do three inspections in a day, had a one page 81/2 x 11 inch, 4 part carbonless form, with check boxes and comments written in by hand and no pictures.
    Now I take lots of pictures and usually include 10-20 in the report and the report is usually 20 pages or more without any boiler plate, etc.
    I know more now and find more, so it takes longer to inspect and to write the report.
    Oh, by the way, I charge more now, too.

    I never worry about how long it takes, not one of my clients has complained about me spending too much time or effort on their inspection.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  15. #15
    Kevin VanderWarf's Avatar
    Kevin VanderWarf Guest

    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    In my first couple years I was constantly trying to figure out how I could speed up an inspection. One day I realized, people were hiring me because I take my time.
    So, don't beat your self up over how much time it takes, just do it right.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Clients rarely, if ever, get upset when an inspection runs long. Realtors, especially listing agents, generally don't share that sentiment.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  17. #17
    David Banks's Avatar
    David Banks Guest

    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    I think S Taylor summed it up well. Take your time and do it right. Everyone is different. I do one a day. Helps having a working wife. After a few years and a good referral base I raised my rates and make a reasonable days pay. 4 hours on 2000 sq ft is not unreasonable. Some I have done in under 3 hours some over 4 hours.
    I have spent 8 hours on a 6000 sq ft house.
    None of this includes the report that takes me longer than most. (I think it is my software) Not built for speed.
    I find most people are very glad I take my time and are very appreciative.
    I consistently get positive e-mail feed back and many times have been given bonus money. The gratification of doing a good job and feeling good about your work is big for me.


  18. #18
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
    Richard Rushing Guest

    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    To me, there are no real set times for doing an inspection. On back-to-back days I can do a large 4200 sq ft home in 3 1/2 hours but do a 2200 square ft home in 4 to 4 1/2 hours because of the age/condition of all the mechanicals and systems. That's why I put such a premium on age-- more time= more money.

    I go all over the DFW metro area. I know to schedule anything in certain parts of town for only 1-per day and other areas I can easily do 2-per day.

    To me there is no such thing as a set time for each inspection. I have to have set time-frames for general areas of the metro area.


  19. #19
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Talking Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Let's take a closer look at this whole longer-is-better thing, shall we? That might be a great line of discussion for you Monday morning quarterbacks and wheel chair generals. It is absolutely counterproductive to even consider that this concept is integrous in any other line of work. If any of you ever actually built houses, and I know it's a very small percentage of you who have, you cannot tell me that you spent more time on each successive house you built. Actually, maybe you did, and that's why you are no longer building houses. Otherwise, you worked hard to streamline your procedures and processes into a system that created better and better houses in less and less time. Granted there is a break-even point, but you never stopped working at arriving at that point and staying there. Right?

    The list of analogies is endless. Which things that you do or pay to have done in your life should take more time on each successive occasion that the person performing the procedure spends on a job? Does it take you more time to mow the yard than it used to? Does your mechanic take more time each time he changes your oil for you? Is your barber or hairdresser now up to 4 or five freaking hours cutting what's left of your hair? God forbid that it takes your attorney more and more time . . .$$$!

    What king of bull crap are we considering here? This whole idea is nothing but a hot smoldering patty of it. Too many inspectors tend to justify raising their prices with spending more time on the job. Wake up, educate yourself and get the job done in short order.

    Now for those of you who work in my neck of the woods, I will certainly promote and support the idea that you spend more and more time on each inspection. After all, the market will only bear so much as regards your pricing. Your customers will eventually gravitate to me where they can have the same thing or more done for the same price in half the time.

    Maybe some of you work exclusively for the retired and the homeless. That's fine, but not me. The clients I work for have lives to live, jobs to go to and families to care for. They do not cherish spending endless hours waltzing around with some schmuck who's belaboring the operation of the freaking oven timer or expounding endlessly on the inner workings of a sprinkler control panel.

    Jeez!

    Aaron


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    I'm just posting so I can "follow this thread"
    This is going to turn funny.

    Critical Home Inspection Services
    www.Home2Spec.com

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Don't hold back Aaron. Tell us what you really think.


  22. #22
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Don't hold back Aaron. Tell us what you really think.
    Nick:

    OK! , I usually do . . .

    Aaron


  23. #23
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
    Richard Stanley Guest

    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    I have to agree with Aaron. When your defect recognition skills increase, the inspection time should decrease.
    example; defective widget
    once you have seen a few defective widgets, you know immediately that a widget is defective (if it is) - record it however you wish -I take notes ie; defective widget
    Put in the report - widget is defective (why / how, etc) that should already be in your boilerplate - push that button - done.
    What to do about it (if you go there - I don't) Have the professional certified widget contractor fix it.
    Next.
    Thats just me.
    Everyone should take whatever time is comfortable and makes them feel secure and confident.


  24. #24
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Thumbs up Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Stanley View Post
    I have to agree with Aaron. When your defect recognition skills increase, the inspection time should decrease.
    example; defective widget
    once you have seen a few defective widgets, you know immediately that a widget is defective (if it is) - record it however you wish -I take notes ie; defective widget
    Put in the report - widget is defective (why / how, etc) that should already be in your boilerplate - push that button - done.
    What to do about it (if you go there - I don't) Have the professional certified widget contractor fix it.
    Next.
    Thats just me.
    Everyone should take whatever time is comfortable and makes them feel secure and confident.
    Richard:

    Well said. Additionally once you've seen so many widgets, thingamajigs and whatchamacallits that have inherent problems you just go right to them instead of spinning around drooling in the center of the room like some dazed and demented Dervish.

    Once you've seen several thousand houses, even the type and age of the house (even neighborhood or particular builder) you are inspecting will send you automatically to the widgets that are almost certainly to be associated with that genre of house.

    This is not quantum physics we're delving into here folks. A little common sense will go a very long way in reducing your on-site dawdling.

    Aaron


  25. #25
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    How come the sample inspection report on your web site is only 20 pages?
    I appreciate you passion for this subject. I disagree, but we can still be friends.

    Good luck on your business.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    All that matters is that you find what you should be finding. Let your own personal preferences and comfort level guide you as to the speed of your inspection.


  27. #27
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Well said Nick. The post was a request for advice. All advice was well appreciated.


  28. #28
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    How come the sample inspection report on your web site is only 20 pages?
    I appreciate you passion for this subject. I disagree, but we can still be friends.

    Good luck on your business.
    Imported John from Where?:

    My site says clearly:

    "The two sample reports listed below are generic and extremely abbreviated mockups intended merely to give you an idea of our reporting style. For a recent and full sample report please call 214-616-0112. We'll be happy to email you one."

    Taking things out of context for support of one's specious arguments is an unsophisticated manuever. It's precisely this lack of attention to detail; this inability to pay attention, that would necessarily artificially extenuate one's time during an inspection. Focus.

    Happy to agree to disagree,

    Aaron


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    No two inspections are alike.. I find myself going through 'stages' - honestly, I think it's more the houses and the clients that vary as opposed to my skills/performance. Who knows, maybe I just go through periods when my brain and legs move faster than other times.

    I used to worry about it. The longer I do this the less I worry. I have my routine and stick to it.

    Probably for me the biggest variable is the clients. I will pretty much yack about the house as much as someone wants me to. I love it when people actually show an interest and take some accountability for their own house. The other side of that coin is the guy that asks no questions and wants to hear nothing... I promise he'll be the first to call when his door stopper breaks.

    As for routine and tricks... I use a camera and a voice recorder. I write my reports off site and do from memory first and insert pics as I go, which spurs most things out of my memory. I then listen to the tape last. On dumpy houses I pick a lot of little things from the tape but on most houses it's just for backup, really.

    As for worrying about it, don't.... I've never had a buyer or realtor hint that I was taking too long... I think as long as you're spewing useful, clear information nobody would percive you as taking too long. Whenever I've heard agents/buyers complain about a long inspection it's usually in conjunction with words like 'lost' and 'unorganized' - Like a continuing ed class... the best ones fly by... the worst ones.... well, you know.


  30. #30
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Let's take a closer look at this whole longer-is-better thing, shall we?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    A 50 page report? My clients seem to barely have the attention span for a 15 page report. A 50 page inspection report seems excessive to me.

    Feel free to pontificate.

    Is Jerry Peck on vacation? We need some common sense applied here!


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    All that matters is that you get the findings of an inspection on the report. It may take 10-50 pages depending on the job. What I don't like is seeing a 50 page report of nothing but fluff and not one significant observation.

    With my son being a realtor, I've had the opportunity to look over some of these reports being done out there.

    I've seen some 10 page reports that explain the actual condition of a home better than one that is 50+ pages.

    Keep in mind, I work in the same area as Aaron, Jim, and Richard and some of the houses we've dealt with lately with all the foreclosures, a 50 page is not unrealistic.

    Rick


  32. #32
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    Let's take a closer look at this whole longer-is-better thing, shall we?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    A 50 page report? My clients seem to barely have the attention span for a 15 page report. A 50 page inspection report seems excessive to me.

    Feel free to pontificate.

    Is Jerry Peck on vacation? We need some common sense applied here!
    John:

    Now, on that we can agree. The width of a gnat's derrière is the attention span of most clients nowadays. But, that's not my concern. I give it to them and let them sort it all out.

    "Excessive" is certainly a word I hear used to describe my reports when it issues forth from the mouths of builders, agents and sellers (until it's time for them to buy) . . .even my would-be competitors. It's simply a function of the rules written by the agency that provides me with a license.

    The Texas Real Estate Commission is comprised of a vast number of folks whose sole purpose it is to protect first their commission and then the brokers and agents of whom they mostly consist. The twit's tome of runes they've produced (with the help of the Inspectors Committee - a well-meaning, but v-e-r-y misguided group of politically-motivated inspectors) as regards inspectors standards of practice is the most obtuse, long-winded and inexact publication imaginable outside the realm of the world's religious writings.

    In short, they say that the inspection is not a "code" inspection and then turn right around and require that certain, if not all things, be inspected for code compliance. In a court of law, as an inspector in Texas, you will be required to have been looking for all code-related issues.

    Now, as the IRC, NEC, HUD, ASTM, UL, CPSC, BIA, etc. ad infinitum written pages on the residential building are seemingly boundless, how do you propose to encompass all that you see in a home in a 15-page report? It cannot be done.

    I think Jerry has his feelings hurt. He took a shot across my bow when I first joined this forum; offered to moon me, and then has avoided me since. Go figure . . .

    Aaron


  33. #33
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Aaron. "What king of bull crap are we considering here? This whole idea is nothing but a hot smoldering patty of it. Too many inspectors tend to justify raising their prices with spending more time on the job. Wake up, educate yourself and get the job done in short order."

    When you criticize people for taking more than 1 1/2 hours on a 2000 sq ft inspection are you comparing apples to apples. Do you have basements in Texas? Seems not from your web site. A basement can easily add 1 hour to an inspection especially with an older home. With a full basement you have to check many feet of foundation, all sills for rot/insect damage, drain waste system, plumbing, tons of electrical issues in older homes including open junction boxes wires not properly terminated etc, sump pumps, etc. I also notice you charge 300 dollars additional for a house built in 1900. Talk about trying to justify raising your prices. Is that due to you needing more time?


    "Maybe some of you work exclusively for the retired and the homeless. That's fine, but not me. The clients I work for have lives to live, jobs to go to and families to care for. They do not cherish spending endless hours waltzing around with some schmuck who's belaboring the operation of the freaking oven timer or expounding endlessly on the inner workings of a sprinkler control panel."

    I guess in your world people do not have a little extra time to make an informed decision about the biggest investment in their lives. Who the hells talking about oven timers. Talking about things out of context for support of one's specious arguments is an unsophisticated maneuver


    "I think Jerry has his feelings hurt. He took a shot across my bow when I first joined this forum; offered to moon me, and then has avoided me since. Go figure . . . "
    I doubt it!

    In the end it is up to the individual. As long as the client is happy and you have done your job. To each their own. America!

    Last edited by David Banks; 09-11-2007 at 05:24 AM. Reason: Spelling

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    Let's take a closer look at this whole longer-is-better thing, shall we? That might be a great line of discussion for you Monday morning quarterbacks and wheel chair generals. It is absolutely counterproductive to even consider that this concept is integrous in any other line of work. If any of you ever actually built houses, and I know it's a very small percentage of you who have, you cannot tell me that you spent more time on each successive house you built.

    The list of analogies is endless.
    Aaron,

    What you stated is ONLY analogous to manufacturing (construction is, after, only "manufacturing" the house "on-site").

    Home inspections is more analogous to detective work, the more you know, the more you look for, the more you look for, the longer it takes, the more you know, the easier it is to find some of what you are looking for, while looking for even more, which takes more time than what you saved by knowing more to find some stuff easier, then you learn more, and ... the more you know the more you look for, the more you look for, the longer it takes, ...

    With home "INSPECTION" (not "manufacturing") while you learn to look for more, you learn to recognize some faster, but not as fast as the time it takes to look for more.

    At some point, you place your own personal limits on what "you want to look for", on what "you want to write up", on what "you want to give your client", on what "you think your client wants", notice, though, that there is one consistency through all of those - "you", 'your choices'.

    YOU are in business, it is all YOUR choice on how far you want to go.

    I'll make a deal with you: You don't knock how much time *I* want to take and I won't knock how little time *YOU* are willing to spend.

    Okay?



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

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    ... widgets, thingamajigs and whatchamacallits ...
    Aaron
    ... and I have 'brand name' labels for those as well.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    I think Jerry has his feelings hurt. He took a shot across my bow when I first joined this forum; offered to moon me, and then has avoided me since.
    Never offered to moon you. As I've told you before, I'm not dropping my pants for anyone, regardless of what you want to do or kiss (that was your offer ), and, I have not avoided you, I sometimes simply use a smaller board upside your head, but your hard head seems to not notice ...

    Other times, I'm actually working and not posting, believe it or not.

    Then there are times, like for most of Joe B.'s and David N.'s posts and sometimes a few others, I simply ignore the arrogance and ignorance postulated by a seemingly insecure select few (thankfully its only a few).

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

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    I certainly wouldn't want to recieve a big bunch of fluff in lieu of substance. The premise that you (Aaron) can do an inspection in 1 1/2 hours and if another person takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours on a different home with different issues, is somehow wrong or makes them less of an inspector is your own 'smoldering patty'.
    ______________________________________________
    Aaron's quote:
    "Does it take you more time to mow the yard than it used to? Does your mechanic take more time each time he changes your oil for you? Is your barber or hairdresser now up to 4 or five freaking hours cutting what's left of your hair? God forbid that it takes your attorney more and more time . . .$$$!

    What king of bull crap are we considering here? This whole idea is nothing but a hot smoldering patty of it. Too many inspectors tend to justify raising their prices with spending more time on the job. Wake up, educate yourself and get the job done in short order."

    __________________________________________

    Now as most of us know, the "opportunities" for deficiencies to be found can and do multiply over time. Not only do things go wrong, the DIY'er assists in making them worse. If nothing ever went wrong or became worn out or was ever tampered with by the homeowner, I'd say you could use the above analogas of cutting grass, changing oil or getting a hair cut. Those things were made as an example for us to go by as, in due course, we at all need and have provided on a regular basis. However they just do no apply as 95% of the homes we/I do are pre-existing homes and not new construction.

    Case and point-- those items may be regularly scheduled maintenance for/by us, but a home does not usually have just one system or component with a regularly scheduled maintenance provider for every system or component. There are just too many opportunities for anything other than a new home to have conditions go wrong or change.

    Now if you take that 1 1/2 hours and apply it to new construction-- that may be a better way of looking at the ''opportunities" as being consistent and without change.

    Blanked remarks with a condensending connotation, directed at other folks means of doing business, is at best--misdirected and at worse, immature.

    I'd be there are a good more of us who have been contractors/builders than you may think but that's a different subject. In my opinion the builder part is only a foundation (no pun). The ability to unlearn some of those old builder habits is where the real learning comes into play.







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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    I'm still trying to figure out how you can have a 50+ page report on a normal 2000sf single family home. Without a ton of fodder and fluff it is just not possible.

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

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    My reports are seldom in excess of 15 pages - usually less, unless there are lots of defects and pictures.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    I'm kind of stuck on that 50 page report thing myself. I have 20-25 pages, and to be honest I could summarize all of the important things in 2-3 pages of text and 3-5 pages of photos. I've seen a few reports that included the pre-inspection agreement, ASHI SOP, etc. I didn't feel it added any value to the report.

    Aaron, is there a way to download one of your 50 page reports? I'm always up for some more options in wording and disclosures anyhow.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  41. #41
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Aaron,

    What you stated is ONLY analogous to manufacturing (construction is, after, only "manufacturing" the house "on-site").

    Home inspections is more analogous to detective work, the more you know, the more you look for, the more you look for, the longer it takes, the more you know, the easier it is to find some of what you are looking for, while looking for even more, which takes more time than what you saved by knowing more to find some stuff easier, then you learn more, and ... the more you know the more you look for, the more you look for, the longer it takes, ...

    With home "INSPECTION" (not "manufacturing") while you learn to look for more, you learn to recognize some faster, but not as fast as the time it takes to look for more.

    At some point, you place your own personal limits on what "you want to look for", on what "you want to write up", on what "you want to give your client", on what "you think your client wants", notice, though, that there is one consistency through all of those - "you", 'your choices'.

    YOU are in business, it is all YOUR choice on how far you want to go.

    I'll make a deal with you: You don't knock how much time *I* want to take and I won't knock how little time *YOU* are willing to spend.

    Okay?

    Jerry:

    OK. I do believe though that in my first post I said something to the effect that one needs to find the system that works for them. Right?

    Aaron


  42. #42
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    Talking Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Jerry:

    Sorry I was so brief earlier, work interfered you know. Yes, here it is:

    "4. You must have a system that works for you."

    Gosh, and I was not even referring to you. Must be clairvoyant. Knew you would come up with some lame stuff like that.

    As for your assault on one of my analogies, OK, you're right (sort of), I was just typing as it came to me. Didn't really anticipate a full-blown Jerryization (Peckathon). Here are a few better ones:

    1. Should your doctor take longer and longer to examine people as he gains more and more experience?

    2. Should the person who inspects your car for the required sticker in the window take longer and longer on each successive auto he inspects?

    If we carry your premise to its logical conclusion, someone who is an avid learner in this business could ostensibly find himself one day stuck for eternity on his final inspection. Should you get to that point, give a call. I'll be happy to bring you some crayons and coloring books.

    These might not work out so well . . .

    Should federal inspectors spend more and more time inspecting bridges?
    Should NASA spend a more and more time examining the space shuttles?
    Should George W. Bush spend a more and more time thinking?

    That list is also endless.

    Back to work now,

    Aaron


  43. #43
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    Should George W. Bush spend a more and more time thinking?
    Aaron
    you bet

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  44. #44
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Should federal inspectors spend more and more time inspecting bridges?
    Should NASA spend a more and more time examining the space shuttles?
    Should George W. Bush spend a more and more time thinking?
    That list is also endless


    WELL YEAH!

    Last edited by Billy Stephens; 09-11-2007 at 02:06 PM. Reason: Deleted top
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  45. #45
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    you bet
    John:

    But, can he?

    Aaron


  46. #46
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    John:

    But, can he?

    Aaron
    Why, Aaron, I do believe there may be something we agree on ... should he think more? Yes. Can he? That remains to be seen, and, by this time in a man's life, that answer should be obvious (and it is).

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

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Michael,
    I use Inspectvue, but almost any system will work if you spend the time to tweak it enough.

    I guess my take on the "taking longer.." theory is that as we do more inspections, and spend more time on a forum like this, or take classes, or go to seminars, we increase our knowledge base. We learn about "more" things to look at, or to pay closer attention to them.

    Example #1. After finding out about cracked heat exchangers in gas-pak units, I spent the extra time it takes to take off the two access panels and look inside. This probably adds 15 minutes to the inspection of the HVAC unit.
    Example #2. After I learned about certain dishwasher recalls, I spend the extra minute or two checking out a suspected unit.
    Example #3. After finding the first cracked toilet base, I take the extra few seconds to really check it out.
    Example #4. After finding the first toilet plumber with hot water, I take the extra time to make sure it's cold water. Takes a minute or so per toilet.
    Example #5. After finding the first sink that leaked from the overflow, or the drain piupe that ONLY leaked when the sink was fill to the brim. I now fill all sinks to the overflow, and THEN check the drain for leaks after draining it with some head pressure.
    Example #6. Taking covers off the outlets when I suspect a bootleg ground. It's a great feeling when you find one.
    Example #7. After getting a complaint call about just about anything, you can bet we all check out that item with a little more diligence than we did before.
    Example #8. After acting as an expert witness where another inspector was getting sued, and seeing what he was being sued for...you can bet your butt that I paid closer attention to whatever it was when I did MY next inspection.

    The point I'm trying to make is, when you add all of these things together, it can add quite a bit of time to an inspection. A minute here or a few seconds there, it all adds up.

    It's not a race that's for sure. I take as much time as I need to do the best job I can, to give my client the most accurate report I can - and keep my butt out of trouble.

    Your mileage may vary.
    JF

    As a side note - I know each time I built a race motor, it seemed to take me longer than before - and they WERE better each time.


  48. #48
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Where does one find a "Licensed Professional Roofing Specialist", or a "Professional Fenestration Specialist"? I don't think we have any in the Houston area.

    I think I see where the 50 page minimum report comes from. Lots of disclaimers to have others perform inspections.


    Now I see why my inspections take so long. Thank you everyone!!!!

    Now can you all help me on how to inspect a garage door for auto reverse........

    JUST KIDDING!


  49. #49
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Why, Aaron, I do believe there may be something we agree on ... should he think more? Yes. Can he? That remains to be seen, and, by this time in a man's life, that answer should be obvious (and it is).
    Jerry:

    Yes, sir. The W boy is a true piece of work . . .

    Aaron


  50. #50
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?


  51. #51
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Are they (professional roofing specialist) actually licensed? I guess I am showing my ignorance. But at least I'm not afraid to admit it.


  52. #52
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Certified by Haag Engineering-- Considered the foremost authority in structural concerns all over the country.

    I'd much rather have a certification by Haag Engineering than a license from the State of Texas (or any other state).


  53. #53
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Dear John,

    To test the Garage Door Auto Reverse, drive your auto into the garage, close the door, reverse the auto. You should not be able too!

    Well, not without significant damage to the door and/or auto!

    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
    Find on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/B4UCloseInspections

  54. #54
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    What king of bull crap are we considering here?
    King of Bull Crap?! That title might apply to several here.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  55. #55
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    It's funny.... the amount of time and fluff in some of the posts here make it very clear why some reports are 50 pages...

    This is such a pointless debate but what the hey? I'm bored. 50 pages, 5 pages, who cares? Do what you have to do to make the phone ring with clients and not attorneys. As long as you are doing that nothing else matters. Or at least from a business perspective it doesn't... In reality there are lots of things that matter more...

    In fact, I'm off to enjoy some of them...


  56. #56
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    King of Bull Crap?! That title might apply to several here.
    Bruce:

    Actually, I intended to type "kind" instead of "king". Spellcheck is not perfect. I think the crown you're referring to though belongs to JP.

    Aaron


  57. #57
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    It's funny.... the amount of time and fluff in some of the posts here make it very clear why some reports are 50 pages...

    This is such a pointless debate but what the hey? I'm bored. 50 pages, 5 pages, who cares? Do what you have to do to make the phone ring with clients and not attorneys. As long as you are doing that nothing else matters. Or at least from a business perspective it doesn't... In reality there are lots of things that matter more...

    In fact, I'm off to enjoy some of them...
    Matt:

    Some of like to shoot the breeze alright, guess you're not one of them. And, that's fine. As to the "fluff" term: this has been mentioned several times in this thread as regards 50-page reports. I'd like to bore you some more with my thoughts on fluff.

    Besides being in this business for 11 years and building what I now inspect for the previous 20, my wife is a broker with her own contingent of agents. As a result I have read literally hundreds of reports from the HIs in my service area. They run the gamut from 1-page engineer-playing-inspector notes to the 5-page minimalists' credos of understatement to 50- and 60-page tomes replete with information for the aspiring home buyer.

    After all of this perusal I've come to the conclusion that fluff means whatever is in the report that serves no constructive purpose. For example, and this is one of but hundreds I can give, our inspections (at least in Texas under TREC regulations) are intended to address significant defects in the property. With that in mind, a report that drones on about things such as . . . "The roof was found to be in good condition. It faced the sky, which, by the way, was blue with the exception of some clouds and the occasional bird flying in my peripheral vision", or "The walls are clad with 1/2" gypsum wallboard that may or may not be installed with the proper side facing the conditioned portion of the building. This could not be ascertained due to the application of drywall compound, texture, primer and paint. The paint was blue in the kitchen, yellow in the breakfast room . . ." You get the drift, right? This, to me is fluff. Unmitigated and purposeless BS.

    Now, disclaimers (whether boilerplate or job-specific) that explain what you are or are not looking at; could and could not access; will or will not render an opinion on, etc. are not fluff. They are armor. Also, additional information inserted in the text by way of further explaining and supporting your reasons for noting a particular defect are not fluff. They are armor. Other addenda that may include home maintenance schedules, bibliographies of reference materials supporting your opinions, manufacturers' contact information, et al. are not fluff, they are armor.

    Another way to explain what I think "fluff" really is, was told to me by one of the many attorneys for whom I do expert work. He said that "fluff" is what will remain in your wallet once a merely moderately agile attorney gets through shredding your 15-page report in court.

    Didn't me to wake you . . .

    Aaron


  58. #58
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    "The width of a gnat's derrière is the attention span of most clients "

    Aaron,
    When reading things like this, I'm reminded of a post from a few years back where we all discovered that a client could "google" us and all that was posted here came up.
    I would sure hate for one of my clients to know I posted that.

    As for the time it takes to inspect, to each his own.

    Why the big fuss over those of us who takes longer, it's almost like your bitter. Perhaps you haven't reached the level of knowledge that requires 3 to 5 hours, seriously I'm trying to be insulting.
    I'm sorry to disagree but I'm strongly against more than one inspection per day. I couldn't imagine inspecting 2000 sq. ft. in 1 1/2 hours. It can't be done properly in my opinion.

    Gee, I hope my clients google me and read that.


  59. #59
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin VanderWarf View Post
    "The width of a gnat's derrière is the attention span of most clients "

    Aaron,
    When reading things like this, I'm reminded of a post from a few years back where we all discovered that a client could "google" us and all that was posted here came up.
    I would sure hate for one of my clients to know I posted that.

    As for the time it takes to inspect, to each his own.

    Why the big fuss over those of us who takes longer, it's almost like your bitter. Perhaps you haven't reached the level of knowledge that requires 3 to 5 hours, seriously I'm trying to be insulting.
    I'm sorry to disagree but I'm strongly against more than one inspection per day. I couldn't imagine inspecting 2000 sq. ft. in 1 1/2 hours. It can't be done properly in my opinion.

    Gee, I hope my clients google me and read that.
    That's a funny thing you touch on.... The power of the almighty 'Google'

    I've always tried to keep my posts on this board fairly lighthearted and professional. Mainly because this is my profession so it seems the prudent thing to do. The junk that gets slung around here by some doesn't belong in a tavern. Anyhow, I offer the following funny story that occured just last week...

    My mother is very new to the internet. We've been working on getting the whole email, digital photo, file stuff, etc. down. So, the other day she learned she could Google a person's name. It was pretty funny to hear that most of the stuff that comes up with my name attached comes right from this board. I frequent several other message boards but not by my actual name (not that I'm hiding, they just ask for a username and most people don't use their full name). So, the concept of a client Googling your name is really not too far fetched. I'd sure hate to be in some of your shoes with some of the junk that comes up with your name next to it.

    So, if you wouldn't say it in front of your mother..... it shouldn't be on the board...


  60. #60
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Matt and Kevin, The PC Twins:

    If I were writing my posts to appease your mothers' sensibilities, I suppose I could consider myself out of line. Alas, that was not, is not, nor shall ever be my intent. What your mothers read or do not read is not only not my concern, it is simply not even a consideration. What my clients read, whether through googling content of this forum or reading my reports, is a concern. I am concerned that I tell them the truth. Unvarnished and unmitigated truth, though perhaps offensive to PC HIs and their mothers is not a thing to be avoided.

    Though I can offer you reams of supporting evidence that the attention spans of the majority of Americans is woefully brief, I do not want to tax yours by having to read more that a couple of paragraphs at a time. Suffice it to say that even the popular media have continued to report things such as the fact that most people in this country do not read books, cannot point out the location of African or India on a world map, and are afraid to speak what little may remain of the minds due to a fear of some sort of reprisal by the speech police that their peers have become.

    The Internet, Brian Hennigan's Forum Rules of Order not withstanding, is a place intended for open discourse. This is an idea upon which this country was founded. The irreligious thinkers who preceded us such as Paine, Adams, Jefferson, Washington, et al. fully understood the need for this sort of discourse. Maybe your mothers remember these things?

    Aaron


  61. #61
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    John - Perhaps you're being too exhaustive? Here in PA we have a home inspection law that says the purpose is to find/document problems that would have a significant impact on the value of the property and/or be a an unreasonable risk to personnel on the property. In other words, it is a given that there are problems that are non-significant and risks that are reasonable.
    I feel I spend too much time also, by the time my report is done. But on most jobs, I would spend much more time if I tried to find and document all or even most of the "small stuff". I could spend days in some of these places!

    Wow! How many states allow these abbreviated inspections?

    If you advertise that you follow any of the association's SOP's you had better be reporting all issues, even the $20 ones.

    Here in NC and SC the SOP's require a thorough inspection and that means "find it AND put it in the report".

    Some inspectors do not know this and there are now several of us taking away their business. NC is tough and catches up to some of them and fixes the problem quickly.

    I average 5 hours plus travel per house including a detailed report done at the office. The big difference around here is whether or not the house has a crawlspace. A crawlspace takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours to inspect (one took 2 hours, 3700sf crawl) PLUS the time to REPORT the issues found in the crawlspace which can add another 30 minutes. Boiler plate rarely works as all issues are usually very specific. Most reports I see have boiler plate crap that does not report specifics.


  62. #62
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    you had better be reporting all issues, even the $20 ones.
    Why $20? Why not $2? Why not $.02? You don't mean to tell me there's a limit to what you report?!

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  63. #63
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Why $20? Why not $2? Why not $.02? You don't mean to tell me there's a limit to what you report?!
    John:

    Well said. Those who think they are reporting everything have just not really thought out all which that term entails. But then, these may be the same guys who think they are not human; never miss anything; and have "iron-clad contracts".

    Aaron


  64. #64
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Why $20? Why not $2? Why not $.02? You don't mean to tell me there's a limit to what you report?!
    $20 was just an example, some things are hard to put a price on.
    How much does it cost to tighten a loose doorknob that could cause someone to get stuck inside a room?

    I never said that I will find every single issue, but at least I try to!

    As I said, We are required by law to report all conditions of the state SOP items, no dollar limits allowed.

    You guys have it too easy, just don't try to enter this market, we have to work much harder here, but the rates are not bad either here.

    Note: not trying to be funny or argue just stating the facts that exist in the two states I inspect in.


  65. #65
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    Default Re: Why do my inspections seem to take so long?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    $20 was just an example, some things are hard to put a price on.
    How much does it cost to tighten a loose doorknob that could cause someone to get stuck inside a room?

    I never said that I will find every single issue, but at least I try to!

    As I said, We are required by law to report all conditions of the state SOP items, no dollar limits allowed.

    You guys have it too easy, just don't try to enter this market, we have to work much harder here, but the rates are not bad either here.

    Note: not trying to be funny or argue just stating the facts that exist in the two states I inspect in.
    Bruce:

    I've seen your state SOP at some time in the past. It is vastly different than the one in Texas. One of the things (I think) I remember are the requirement for a summary page at the end of report. Now, that's just strange.

    Several years ago I was sued, unsuccessfully (if you can consider spending $10K in my defence a success . . .) for using a summary page. Though it clearly stated at the top of the page in bold letters that it was not to be construed as the whole report, the greedy idiot client claimed he thought it was.

    Aaron


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