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  1. #1
    daniel nantell's Avatar
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    Default type reports preferred

    What type Inspection reports does the seasoned Inspector prefer, the check off list or narrative report. Thanks

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  2. #2

    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Me-- Narrative


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    Default Re: type reports preferred


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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Write the whole report out. I don't and never have used a check list.


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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Check-list reports are for dummies and for those that perform litigation support the proverbial wet-dream. Sorry if I sound negative, but that's my opinion. Unfortunately most franchise inspection companies use that type of inspection report, but am I complaining?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    All my reports are narrative.

    I have a Pic-List system that I have put together over the years.
    and then that is cut-down to fit each Building I inspect.

    Best

    Ron


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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Psychic


  8. #8
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Narrative. I would't be able to explain to my client what my findings mean, or recommend what my client should do about them, in a way that my client can understand, with a checklist. IMO we owe our clients more than what can be provided through a checklist report.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    I use a few check boxes and tables to fill out the state required info. Otherwise, it's all narrative with pictures. Reports with circles, hollow circles, diamonds, filled-in squares, etc. are totally confusing.

    Most buyers only get a home inspection once every few years or less and most realtors just work with a few guys so the average non-HI doesn't really know what's out there for reporting. Point being it doesn't seem like a report will make or kill your business.

    As mentioned, to cya, the narrative is a good idea.


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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    I find check lists and abbreviations to be difficult to read and understand. If something is poor, don't use P. However, my three biggest gripes with narrative reports are:

    (1) Disclaimers that address items or conditions that do not exist. I have read disclaimers for ice dams, but it is not cold enough around here for snow or ice, and I once read how a "tar & gravel" roof is potentially unreliable on a house that had a sloped comp shingle roof.

    (2) Improper grammar and/or word use. I feel that a badly written report reflects poorly on the inspector and the profession in general.

    (3) Technobabble. While I have no problem with using proper terminology, it can easily get out of hand. Descriptions need to be clear and simple

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post

    (3) Technobabble. While I have no problem with using proper terminology, it can easily get out of hand. Descriptions need to be clear and simple
    About 5 years ago, when the state required associate inspectors to conduct 'practice' inspections, I had 1 guy who must have been an english major or used a thesaurus because when he handed me his report, I couldn't figure out what he was saying and I inspected the same house as he did.

    KISS

    Daniel, check out people's web sites for some sample reports; you won;t find many checklists there.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

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    Talking Re: type reports preferred

    Narrative
    I have to agree with Jerry, it's the dummies, franchises and $150.00 for a house who use checkbox (here's your report right at the end of the insp)
    Brandon makes a good point also. I've been hired to a) interpret checkbox reports and b) do another insp after someone paid for a checkbox. People don't know what the hell those things mean. Lay people have an almost impossible time interpreting those things. I've even had trouble trying to interpret a couple checkbox reports trying to figure what the hell the guy was really trying to say (besides nothing).
    One of the things I push to potential clients is that I will provide them with info that they can actually understand and use to make an informed decision. An insp done by an engineer and then written by an english major, probably won't do the client much more good than a checkbox. I'm not talking about using 3rd grade inglesh, rather saying 'switch or light' instead of 'device or luminaire'. Did I misssspell something?
    I have to say though, a lot of the ones I have seen LOOK REALLY GOOD. Hard binder, lots of glitzy info/product promo inserts, etc. It makes the uninformed client think they are really getting something. Unfortunately, all glitz, no substance.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    I use Palm-Tech Software, it it is a hybrid of a checklist & a narrative. It allows you to show your client the items that have been inspected and are not defective through a checklist format.

    When you discover a defect it allows you to write whatever narrative is necessary to convey the message and attach pictures to the item. To me it is the best of both worlds and very simple to understand. Just for the record I do not use disclaimers or canned boilerplate in my reports, furthermore, I handcraft all the narratives for each & every defect for each & every report. I am going into my sixth year with this software and never had a complaint.

    Here is a sample of a Checklist/Narrative style report, it will even allow you to easily add cost to repair estimates.

    BTW I am not affiliated in any way with Palm-Tech other than being a customer.


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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    I like the reports that come with cash.

    rick


  15. #15
    Russel Ray's Avatar
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    I have 87 copies of my competition's reports dating back to 1993. None of the franchises here in San Diego used, or use, checklist reports, dating back to 1993, and that includes AmeriSpec, W.I.N. HouseMaster, HomeTeam, and Pillar to Post. Two of the local multi-inspector companies still use checklist reports.

    I have one "report" (I use that term loosely in this one instance) where the home inspector issued 17 pages of handwriting, 16 pages of which was about plumbing, and this was on a 10-year-old home. If you haven't guessed, he spent 37 years as a plumber before retiring to home inspections and wanted to upgrade the home to 2004 standards. My Clients got their money back from him and were kind enough to donate the report to me for my collection.

    The Courts here prefer narrative reports since they tend to result in fewer cases clogging up their dockets. I'm sure Plaintiffs' attorneys prefer checklist reports since they make more money with them.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew View Post
    Narrative. I would't be able to explain to my client what my findings mean, or recommend what my client should do about them, in a way that my client can understand, with a checklist. IMO we owe our clients more than what can be provided through a checklist report.
    That's what the Courts from here all the way up to Ventura County seem to be telling us, or at least the results of lawsuits that I have in my possession, at least one from each Southern California County. I love reading them, as well as Barry Stone's syndicated columns, because they give me a good idea of what the public expects of its home inspectors. I personally believe that every one of Baryr Stone's columns should be required reading before one becomes a home inspector. Even if you don't always agree with his answers--and I don't, and have even succeeded in getting him to change two of his answers and agree to disagree on one other--knowing that the questions come from the public is very telling.


  17. #17

    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Quote Originally Posted by daniel nantell View Post
    What type Inspection reports does the seasoned Inspector prefer, the check off list or narrative report. Thanks
    Dan,
    It really depends upon what you define as a "narrative" and a "check off list" type report. If you are comparing a PAPER checklist form to a printed report with checkboxes on them..those are two different things. Our report is what I call a table delimited partial narrative style report. It is not a completely narrative report which can sometimes be very hard to find specific items but is more of a table of items and comments that has indexed items that make it very easy to navigate and find any item you are looking for.

    http://www.knightssoftware.com/Sampl...n%20Report.pdf

    Jeff

    Last edited by Jeff Knight; 06-26-2008 at 08:19 AM. Reason: Too big
    Knights Software Solutions, Inc.
    www.knightssoftware.com
    "Leading handheld inspection software for 15 years."

  18. #18
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Knight View Post
    Our report is what I call a table delimited partial narrative style report.


    29 Pages, 6+ MB and no summary, I'm sure it works for you but I would be getting tons of phone calls emailing 6+ MB reports to my customers.

    I really try to keep the report to 10-12 pages (500K) and always, always, always provide a summary at the front of the report, that is all they really read anyway.

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Deleted Account; 06-25-2008 at 01:19 PM. Reason: Added file

  19. #19
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Hi Jeff,

    I run my pictures through the FREE Version of Bomes Image Resizer , before putting the whole Report into a pdf. to keep the file size to a minimum.

    Summary page goes into a separate pdf. attached to email.

    Sure cuts down on returned email due to the mail box is full.

    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.

  20. #20
    Russel Ray's Avatar
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    My reports run from 7 pages (small condo) to 20 pages (scraper of a house). The report size is never more than 500 KB, and I upload my reports to my web site and then provide my Clients a link. Much easier for everyone concerned, especially since many of the free ISP's still strip out attachments. Just make sure the link is a full URL and not hidden in other text since those types of links often get stripped out, too. I use Adobe Acrobat to convert files to PDF. Out of all the PDF converters I've tried, Adobe is still the best.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post

    I run my pictures through the FREE Version of Bomes Image Resizer , before putting the whole Report into a pdf. to keep the file size to a minimum.



    I believe the best image re-sizer if you are running Windows XP is in the FREE Microsoft XP Power Tools. Once it is installed all you do is select the photos, right-click and a menu comes up, choose your size and it is done. The nice thing about it is that it is always just there whenever you are working with photo files.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Burkeson View Post
    I believe the best image re-sizer if you are running Windows XP is in the FREE Microsoft XP Power Tools. .
    .
    What You Got For Vista ?
    .

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    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.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    I resize all my photos as soon as I get in the office. I put the entire collection on my hard drive with the same file name as the inspection. Then open with MS Office picture manager and resize the entire folder so that my pictures fit side by side, save the file and then use the Office picture manager to view and copy and paste photos into my report. This is one tip I picked up here a while back; this lets you control the size of the photo rather than just viewing a thumbnail when using the "insert" picture function inside MS Word. No need to compress after that although I have used the power toys photo edit function inside Word in the past. Very handy tool to have.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  24. #24
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    I found that sometimes resizing the pictures also cuts down on clarity. I never resize the pictures which does result in a very large file to try to email. My solution was to encrypt the pdf files and post the reports to my website. Then I send a link to the customer with the "key" to unlock the file. All the client or realtor has to do is click on the link, download the file and enter the unlock code.
    Lee


  25. #25

    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Burkeson View Post
    29 Pages, 6+ MB and no summary, I'm sure it works for you but I would be getting tons of phone calls emailing 6+ MB reports to my customers.

    I really try to keep the report to 10-12 pages (500K) and always, always, always provide a summary at the front of the report, that is all they really read anyway.
    Yes...that report was a large one where the pictures were put into the RTF file before it was saved as a Word document. Microsoft wastes a lot of memory when you include pictures in an RTF document. My mistake. I have replaced it with a different example of a report that has a lot of pictures and is only about 1 MB. The Summary report is a separate report from our system since a lot of times the agent just wants the summary report and not the whole report.

    Jeff

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Knights Software Solutions, Inc.
    www.knightssoftware.com
    "Leading handheld inspection software for 15 years."

  26. #26

    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Burkeson View Post
    29 Pages, 6+ MB and no summary, I'm sure it works for you but I would be getting tons of phone calls emailing 6+ MB reports to my customers.

    I really try to keep the report to 10-12 pages (500K) and always, always, always provide a summary at the front of the report, that is all they really read anyway.
    Exactly why I never include a summary. Agents will ask for one and I grin and say "if I give you a summary, that's all you will read and you will miss important information" They usually reply with a sheepish grin and say yeah, you're right.

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

  27. #27
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    hallelujah

    I am glad someone else said those words beside me. I never do a summary page for the exact reasons you stated. I use to get phone calls down the road after inspections with folks saying that I did not have such and such in my summary.

    I want them to read every word no matter how trivial it may seem. If I don't put a particular disclaimer in the summary they would think it was unimportant and call me on it later.

    Thanks for saving me from the response for not originally stating that

    Ted


  28. #28
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    I had a summary, but not like a normal summary,

    My report identified what I looked at and what what I found not right.

    My summary included only everything I found not right. I.e., the other information of what I looked at was not there, just what was not right.

    I found that it worked well, because it included *EVERYTHING* which I found that was not right. Sometimes my summary would be 20-30 pages.

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

  29. #29
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Jerry

    I will spend the money to go on one of your inspections AND THE TRIP AND HOTEL FEE.

    I will keep my mouth shut and just watch and listen.

    30 PAGE SUMMORY. IT BETTER BE A LARGE APARTMENT COM[PLEX.

    TED


  30. #30
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    30 PAGE SUMMORY. IT BETTER BE A LARGE APARTMENT COM[PLEX.
    Ted,

    Nope, just a house.

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

  31. #31
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Jerry

    I inspected in Jacksonville Florida. The builders had issues but 30 pages. Are you inspecting homes built by Cuban refuges that escaped from an insane asylum

    I am not picking on a particular race for those of you that escaped from a Cuban nut house. Just using it as a reference

    Ted

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 06-27-2008 at 09:07 PM.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Are you inspecting homes built by Cuban
    Now Ted ...

    You do remember that I inspected in South Florida, don't you?

    We had a saying down there: Miami was the only Third World country you could visit without a passport.

    Actually, most of my inspections were in north Palm Beach County - but, the workers were still mostly ... what's that country just south of Texas?

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

  33. #33
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    Default Re: type reports preferred

    I do have to admit. They must have better controls out here or something. Yes I find items of concern in every new home I inspect but there seems to be an ongoing lets out due the inspector out here. Most supers I meet list the items other inspectors have found and they seem to try to out due the next inspector. As I tell my clients. With out us coming in behind the builder and muni inspectors it would revert back to the inspector and builder just shaking hands and having coffee together like it use to be.

    And it use to be like that. I did a good job building or remodeling but it still was a "hey Ted how is it going, where is that inspection sheet" check, check


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