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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    U.P. of Michigan
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    2

    Default Practice Inspection

    Hello all,

    I am brand new here on the forums. I have been going through the NACHI online education and testing and I am also going to a two week ASHI class in Feb in Chicago. I am starting the business from the ground up so a lot of balls in the air.

    Next week a friend of mine is buying a foreclosed home and the realtor (also a friend of mine) agreed to let me do a practice inspection for sake of my education. In the real world the buyer (my friend) choose not do an inspection.

    The buyer and his realtor will be present at the inspection. While this is far from my first real inspection I was wondering if you had any first-time tips that you can think back to when you first went out and if you would be willing to share them.

    I have the inspection software (HG) and tools and have been nailing my tests, but this is the real deal in terms of presenting myself to the public and clients. Excited and terrified at the same time!!!! Any tips/ideas/stories are appreciated

    Thanks

    Michael

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    #1. Take three times as many pictures as you think are too many.

    #2. Establish a direction of travel, I always go to the left. Start at the front door and go around the house slowly until you reach the front door again. Reverse direction and do the same. Enter the house at the front door, go left following the walls of the room you enter then go to the next room to the left. Repeat until you reach the front door. Take a quick walk around the first floor to determine you have not missed a room, then go upstairs and repeat. Then the attic and finally the crawl, same direction as the rest of the house. Using the same direction helps determine where you were when you are reviewing the pictures. Take location pic's frequently, I use number of fingers in pic to indicate quadrant of the house.

    #3. Take is SLOW!

    Hope it helps. Good luck.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mesa AZ
    Posts
    1,181

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    What Vern said.

    After you do that 3 -4 or 5000 plus times you will still go home , read the daily questions and answers here, then wonder what you missed on your last inspection, not mention what you may of missed the 1st few thousand

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Sauer View Post
    Hello all,

    I am brand new here on the forums. I have been going through the NACHI online education and testing and I am also going to a two week ASHI class in Feb in Chicago. I am starting the business from the ground up so a lot of balls in the air.

    Next week a friend of mine is buying a foreclosed home and the realtor (also a friend of mine) agreed to let me do a practice inspection for sake of my education. In the real world the buyer (my friend) choose not do an inspection.

    The buyer and his realtor will be present at the inspection. While this is far from my first real inspection I was wondering if you had any first-time tips that you can think back to when you first went out and if you would be willing to share them.

    I have the inspection software (HG) and tools and have been nailing my tests, but this is the real deal in terms of presenting myself to the public and clients. Excited and terrified at the same time!!!! Any tips/ideas/stories are appreciated

    Thanks

    Michael
    Well, in the Real Inspection world you are in charge at the inspection. Never the client (not their home yet) and especially the Realtor.

    You can have the buyer follow you if you wish and even interject but only somewhat. They are not doing the inspection you are. They can inspect what you point out but no, hey, did you see this or that before you even start looking around. Tell the buyer they can tag along and learn. Never let your inspection process repeatedly get interrupted or pulling you over here or there.The Realtors place is to not say a word or add anything what so ever during the inspection. If she has something to add after the inspection but not while you are going over the inspection with the buyer then fine. Never interrupt you like....oh but that was fixed, of but that is the way it was back in 1920 etc etc

    Don't get flustered. Don't be hurried. If someone says they have to go, let them and you finish the inspection. Take lots of pictures.if everything you are trying to capture is not in the picture then take another picture. Flash on or flash off. Standing close or pull back and zoom in. I take a bunch of pictures and there are always pictures that got washed out or too close or not tight enough. It makes all the difference in the world.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    You can never get enough practice before venturing out on your own. Contact friends and family for practice inspections, stay in touch with your realtor friend who may let you practice in an empty, foreclosed place. That way your practice covers occupied and vacant homes.
    After (or before) you finish with the HI courses, take classes from the local tech school or community college for the areas where you may be weak (electrical, HVAC, plumbing).
    Keep up with your CEC's and get more than the minimum. Joining an association where other HI's share information and lessons learned reinforces what you'll read or see here.
    Seek out a mentor. Build a network of trade professionals and HI's.
    When I get requests for bookings that are inflexible and I am already booked, I refer the client to other inspectors that I trust will do a great job.
    Best of luck to you. My first year in the business was a lot of marketing. Once you get as busy as you want, keep marketing and change with the trends. If you don't evolve your marketing, your business will mature and start cycling down.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Vern had good advice, but I don't really understand the fingers and quadrant thing.
    I do most of my reports on site, so my routine may be a little different than others. If you are just starting out, you may not want to do that.
    I also assume you have a pretty good idea of how your software is set up, and are comfortable using it.

    I start in the kitchen. I set up the computer and get paperwork done there. I then venture from there. I go either left or right, it doesn't matter to me, because I'm going to end up back in the kitchen anyway. When I get to the garage, I go outside and do a lap around the house.
    Time out...I usually go around outside the house before my client shows up anyway. I make note of everything I see outside (gas meter, HVAC units, etc).
    When I get back to the garage, I go back inside and resume my tour of the inside. I then go up or down. If there is a basement and I reach an outside door, I go outside one more time. This might be when I do the roof. If the garage has an attic access, I do the attic then.
    I take notes on a small tablet in my pocket of "items of note". I will go back to my laptop in the kitchen a few times and input my findings (as I go around the house).
    I try to go in the attic before I go on the roof, but sometimes I do the roof first.
    In all cases, I do the crawlspace last.
    I then go back to the kitchen, download the photos and start putting the report together. Since you are just starting kurt, you should go home and finish writing the report.
    Like Vern said, take lots more photos than you think you will need, you don't have to use them all, but they will trigger your memory.
    Take notes on a note pad, tablet or check list report forms. Use these to write your report.
    Good luck


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Vern had good advice, but I don't really understand the fingers and quadrant thing.
    Picture of bedroom door with one finger in it means I am at the left front bedroom, two fingers left rear bedroom, three fingers in the crawlspace or attic is right rear corner, etc. The fingers are just place markers in the series of pictures so I don 't send them to the wrong room looking for something like a bad thermal window seal.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    When I do apartments or multi family, I just use a sharpie on my note pad and take a photo of that page.
    Whatever works!!!!


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    When I do apartments or multi family, I just use a sharpie on my note pad and take a photo of that page.
    Whatever works!!!!
    I use a dry erase board, allows for notes and drawings, and I never run out of paper ... or fingers.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    I tried the dry erase board after seeing one of your other posts. However, I seem to have a problem with: a. setting them down and leaving them at the house, b. finding the pens when I need them, c. using a Sharpie that looked like a dry erase pen, and d. cracking the boards in the back of the truck.

    The little tablets fit in my shirt pocket and I don't have to worry about which pen I use.

    I may attempt the dry erase again when I think I can handle it. :-)


  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    I use the companion version of HomeGuage with my android phone. After takingthe photo, I immediately enter the location. This works very well for me.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    WESTMINSTER CO
    Posts
    1,090

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    i use a voice recorder so i don't miss anything--best device i ever bought

    cvf


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,778

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I tried the dry erase board after seeing one of your other posts. However, I seem to have a problem with: a. setting them down and leaving them at the house, b. finding the pens when I need them, c. using a Sharpie that looked like a dry erase pen, and d. cracking the boards in the back of the truck.

    The little tablets fit in my shirt pocket and I don't have to worry about which pen I use.

    I may attempt the dry erase again when I think I can handle it. :-)
    How about a retractable line connecting you to the tablet. (like for keys)... That way if you do not have your pants when you go to leave the breeze will remind you to go back for the tablet.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Zeeland Michigan
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Michael, take what you can from these post, set up your own system that will allow you to insure you don't miss any thing or area. Be consistent about it.

    Tip: Water, water, water. grading, roof leaks, signs of water on ceilings, walls, floors, and insulation in attic. In the electrical panel, under sinks, toilets, and tubs. Water water water. Behind the siding, leaking from soffits, in crawlspaces, and don't forget to keep some bottled water with you especially in the MI summers.
    Good luck in the UP.

    If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest
    Benjamin Franklin

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    U.P. of Michigan
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Just wanted to thank EVERYONE for all of the excellent advice. I am switching careers from IT so I am quite tech savy. I have purchased and setup HomeGauge5 with Cloud services and have HG Companion installed on an Android tablet.

    Like any good piece of technology, it should not get in the way of the process, but compliment it.

    Michael Sauer


  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Sauer View Post
    Hello all,

    I am brand new here on the forums. I have been going through the NACHI online education and testing and I am also going to a two week ASHI class in Feb in Chicago. I am starting the business from the ground up so a lot of balls in the air.

    Next week a friend of mine is buying a foreclosed home and the realtor (also a friend of mine) agreed to let me do a practice inspection for sake of my education. In the real world the buyer (my friend) choose not do an inspection.

    The buyer and his realtor will be present at the inspection. While this is far from my first real inspection I was wondering if you had any first-time tips that you can think back to when you first went out and if you would be willing to share them.

    I have the inspection software (HG) and tools and have been nailing my tests, but this is the real deal in terms of presenting myself to the public and clients. Excited and terrified at the same time!!!! Any tips/ideas/stories are appreciated

    Thanks

    Michael
    Foreclosed homes usually don't have the utilities on - no power - water and maybe gas - makes it a waste of time - Have the Realtor do his/her job and get the utilities on before the inspection contingency starts - electricity and gas both kill - you don't need to be starting out on the wrong foot. Also -make sure the things you "can't" inspect are in the report, and the things you "don't" inspect are in your Service Agreement - keeps Judge Judy out of your hair.

    P.S. - I'm with CVF - a recorder is awesome, just get in the habit of doing things in an order - ceiling, walls and windows, test all outlets, floor, test base boards or wall heaters or look in heat register for debris.

    Last edited by Jim Hintz; 01-05-2013 at 12:48 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Jim, good point - Make sure utilities are on.

    I see a lot about methodologies here.
    I recommend focusing on gathering the important info, checking for major concerns or repair items, so foundation, roof and structure #1, checking electrical heating and plumbing, #2. Which room it is in will be obvious when you discuss the problem - the leak is under the sink, in the basement, whatever.
    If you can't remember where you were when you saw something and took a pic of it, you are going to have a hard time getting the job done in 4 hours or less.

    Bedrooms have a door a window heat source and a closet. Check electrical outlets and the ceiling for stains. Done. Who cares if it's the right side or the left if there's no problem in the room? Sheesh.
    If there's a stain around the light fixture, ok, write yourself a note, or take a picture of your fingers.

    But I think you should get the major items checked and recorded at the beginning while you are fresh and have the most time.

    I prefer to work alone for the main portion, then go thru again with the client. I do the exterior and often the roof before going in. Then I find the utilities and do them. I do bathrooms and the attic when I find the hatch, quick look thru the kitchen and bedrooms while finding the attic. Exterior done, utilities done mostly, attic done, bathrooms mostly done, I turn on the furnace and go cruise the bedrooms and check for heat, finish in the kitchen where I fill in details of my report and view my pics on the laptop. The pics help me remember a loose handrail or downspout or something bad outside.
    Time elapsed 2-2.5 hrs. Time for the client to arrive. Now we do a relaxed tour of the house. I bring my camera, light and screwdriver for that part, may sometimes add a few pics to the batch I already took. But with the major items covered, that's just small stuff

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

  18. #18

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Take it one room at a time, make sure you set a plan of attack for each room, ie. windows/doors, then outlets/switches/fixtures, floors/walls/ceilings, etc.

    A "system" that you can repeat over and over helps you stay on task in each room.

    You may want to do an inspection of your own home, and maybe a family members as well before the practice inspection so you can get a feel for moving through the house and what you are looking at (without an audience)

    Buyers and Realtors can be distracting, especially when you first start out. If you can get a routine set before the practice inspection it will help.

    Also, when starting out, a checklist is a big help.

    Good Luck!!!

    Andrew Constantine
    http://InspectProHomeInspections.com
    Charlotte Home Inspection Service


  19. #19
    Thomas Thayer's Avatar
    Thomas Thayer Guest

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Usually, I start on the exterior; drainage, electrical, siding, roofing and everthing else. Next, is the attic space and then from there I just work my way down, wrapping up in the kitchen area.

    The two most important things for you to focus on, doing your practice inspection is, water intrusion issues, anything that is leaking now OR, may look like it could in the future. And, secondly, and equally important in terms of your inspection, is anything that looks like a health and safety issue.

    Concentrate on those to issues first and then work your way back from there.

    Lastly, use sound judgement and follow your instincts, if it looks wrong it probably is...

    Good luck!


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Oregon, USA
    Posts
    333

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Performing a "first real" inspection in the company of friends is not quite the same as doing it for an unknown client. Too much potential for distractions, and them offering helpful suggestions on things they see isn't doing anything for your ability to catch the same items, on your own.

    And the correct word is "complement," not "compliment."


  21. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    I see alot of good ideas in preparing for performing a home inspection. In time you will develope a procedures that work well for you in any enviroment, but it all takes time. The best advice I could give would be to never get in a hurry. I document info as I preform the inspection and provide a complete report on site and at times when everyone is standing around waiting on the final printed report you can be distracted but keep focused on the inspection you are performing. I follow a check list of all areas of the home and its componets and that way I almost never miss anything that was accessible, you noticed I said almost never miss anything. There are times where certain items become hidden either by furniture, stored items or non accessible areas and make sure to note those areas or items on your report so they don't come back to haunt you 4 months down the road. Report what you saw at the time of the inspection, things can change once you have left the home inspection side or property, example plumbing leaks under sinks, I have found when the seller is moving they can bump the plumbing under a sink when moving out items and then develope leaks, so I always state in my report, "no leakage was noted at time time of the inspection to accessible plumbing and fixtures". When I first started out I spent alow of money sending someone to fix small plumbing repairs.
    All good info stated from the home inspector members above.
    But always take your time and stay in control of the inspection. Don't allow clients to run ahead of you pushing bottons and throughing switches, it can cause you some headaces or damage to componets.

    I wish you the best in starting out in the home inspection profession

    Ken McConnell
    Quaity Home & Building Inspection Consultants


  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
    Posts
    1,394

    Default Re: Practice Inspection

    Good advice here, but I have a different piece of advice. Your Realtor buddy probably has an inspector that he/she likes. I suggest that you and your friend (buyer) offer the inspection to that inspector with the agreement that you can shadow the guy. It could be well worth your while, to follow an experienced inspector. Or your friend, can just hire that inspector and you can be present as a friend of the buyer and watch what that inspector does.
    If you can find a good inspector willing to mentor you, it can worth gold. In smaller markets, it can be tough finding mentors because other inspectors often treat you like competition........which you are. When my cousin tried to find a mentor in Odessa, Texas, he struck out.

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

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