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  1. #1
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    Default Reporting software per state requirements

    OK. I am not going to get into which software is the best/worst, etc. I am leaning to ReportHost for the time being. At least until I get up and running more. This is more of a money issue than anything else. The question though is whether this or any other software will be specific to state requirements, especially NC? NC has the specific requirements for special wording, etc. Do I have put it in the template or does this or any other software come like that?

    I have a tablet that I wanted to install the software on. So that is a requirement as well.

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    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld

  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    For the extreme easy to use and create your own inspection template anyway you want with backup that is almost instantanious and does not rely on any other program at all go to this link. You can down load it for 14 days. You can contact the owner by phone and have him hooked into your computer at the same time and in 20 minutes to a half hour max you will create almost any format you want and add a master templete that you can add into or delete from in seconds.

    The only thing I don't know if it can be used on a tablet. If you use a tablet now good for you but I bought one and never wound up using it.

    WhisperPI, Home/Property Inspection Software from Whisper Computer Solutions, Inc.

    All I can say is try it and I believe you won't regret it and you will be thanking me. I looked for a very long time. When you print to a PDF it takes about 2 seconds and then it is ready for email.


  3. #3
    Jeff Knight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Mitchell,
    We have a specific template that is set up to follow the SOP for North Carolina. You still have the option of going in there and modifying the comments and materials to suit the way you do your inspection. Our software runs on either a PocketPC, TabletPC or a PC laptop. Our software is also geared towards being used WHILE you are doing your inspection instead of after like other software (including ReportHost)....to avoid having to rekey your data later.

    Jeff
    715-381-5326


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    NC standards are not rocket science.... They are real close to I think the 1997 or in that area ASHI standards. 3D and Homegauge would work fine for NC, I think Homegauge is out of NC.

    I know that 3D can be user modified on the fly and with ease.

    Yes, you can make your own if you have the time.

    Disclaimer... I use 3D.

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

  5. #5
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    Post Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Mitchell when I started out I used Report Host for the first two years. I was in the same position as your are now. I just did not have the extra money to invest in expensive software when I started out. Looking back I realize that it was the biggest mistake that I have made since starting the business. You report is your finished product and if people don't like how it looks, the way you describe things etc. your business will have trouble getting off the ground. When you can afford better software customers and Realtors will already have formed an opinion about you based on your reports. If you decide to use Report Host here is my advise.

    *Don't use the little icons for each item you call out. Trust me Realtors don't like to see a bright red cross (for safety items) on things like missing cover plates.
    *There auto comments (boiler plate) Is to wordy and in most cases it overstates the condition.
    *Don't rely on their pre-written comments and do nothing to strip them down and use them as they are. In the end you will have to decide how to write a report, even the pre-written comments in expensive software programs is hardly worth using.
    *Don't use (Recommend having a qualified contractor further evaluate and repair) on every little repair item. Further evaluation should only be used when you can not properly evaluate or diagnose the problem you are calling out.

    I now use HomeGauge software it has brought new life to my business. I would strongly recommend looking at a way to buy a good software program. Many of them have payment plans so you don't have to fork out all the money at once.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Mitchell,

    What kind of specific requirements for special wording? They tell you how to write your report?

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Mitchell,

    What kind of specific requirements for special wording? They tell you how to write your report?
    I was looking for specific wording that is required by NC. I am trying Homeqauge right now. I had to add the specific clause as required but other than that it looked OK.

    I just need to play with it more and get a better understanding of it.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    You won't regret using the HomeGuage software. Call and speak with Russel or Sean about payment options.

    Go to their free one day class about it. It's right there in your state.

    If you start with something cheap, that's what people will see and then later you'll have to learn all over again when you do switch.


    -

    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
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  9. #9
    Jeff Knight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Mitchell,

    What kind of specific requirements for special wording? They tell you how to write your report?
    Eric,
    Yes. They are telling you how you are to write your report. The statements you use in your report should pass the DDID test. DDID means:

    1) DESCRIBE (What is it ?)
    2) DETERMINE (What's wrong with it ?)
    3) IMPLICATION (What can happen if nothing is done ?)
    4) DIRECTION (What should be done or who should do it ?)

    Does your statement include a DESCRIPTION, a DETERMINATION, have an IMPLICATION and provide DIRECTION ?

    Here is an example of a good statement:

    "Noted evidence of water infiltration behind the aluminum trim cap installed over the brick veneer on the right exterior wall between the 1st and 2nd floors where the aluminum trim terminates into the garage shed roof shingles and step flashing. The aluminum trim cap is improperly flashed, allowing water behind the flashing and allowing the roof sheathing, wall cavity, and brick veneer under the roof eave to become wet. Conducive to allowing structural damage and decaying of the sheathing and wall structure. Proper corrective action needs to be addressed by the licensed general contractor of this new home prior to closing."

    I foresee reports in North Carolina becoming much longer in the future :-)

    There is also a required disclaimer that MUST appear at the beginning of your REQUIRED summary section of the report.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Additionally NC has several required comments regarding single strand aluminum wiring, polybutylene pipes, and EFIS that must be included in the report if the conditions are observed.

    http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Engineerin...cuitWiring.pdf

    While Jeff's example of DDID is rather verbose, defects can be described more concisely and still meet the recommended formatting.

    NC presents a 4 hr mandatory training class each licensure year. The class is different each year but the last 4-5 years has been about how to improve report writing technique. There is the implied affect that since the class is mandatory for all NC inspectors and the board approved the training, that the training defines a specific standard and format for reports in the state. If that is the case, then check box reports could not meet the standard and narrative would be the only valid format.

    The realtor lobby has been pushing for standard report format for several years. With several realtors on the licensing board, it gets brought up regularly. It is a hotly contested topic. There is a belief that if there was a standard report format, then all inspectors would find the exact same defects in a given house and all would report them in the same manner thereby simiplifing the home inspection process for the realtors.

    Last edited by Bruce Ramsey; 03-31-2009 at 11:15 AM.
    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Not wanting to cause too much thread drift here, but Texas has had mandatory report format and SOP for over a decade now and I don't see that it has hindered the HI industry too much.
    On the other hand, I don't think it has done much to make sure of a uniform product for RE agents. I still average 20 pages for a simple home while I regularly see 7 page reports (the blank for is 7 pages) with few comments for other inspectors on the same house.
    Some agents like control which is the purpose of all the political jockeying, but a resourceful HI will find a way to get his point across and protect his clients.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Knight View Post
    Here is an example of a good statement:

    "Noted evidence of water infiltration behind the aluminum trim cap installed over the brick veneer on the right exterior wall between the 1st and 2nd floors where the aluminum trim terminates into the garage shed roof shingles and step flashing. The aluminum trim cap is improperly flashed, allowing water behind the flashing and allowing the roof sheathing, wall cavity, and brick veneer under the roof eave to become wet. Conducive to allowing structural damage and decaying of the sheathing and wall structure. Proper corrective action needs to be addressed by the licensed general contractor of this new home prior to closing."

    Or ...

    Water leak behind the aluminum trim cap on brick veneer on the right exterior wall at garage shed roof shingles and step flashing. The aluminum trim cap is improperly flashed, aluminum flashing and masonry do not go together well, should be galvanized steel, water gets behind the flashing and rots out roof sheathing and does other destructive things. Water causes structural damage and decaying of the sheathing and wall structure. Needs tearing out and replacing.

    Heck, with a little thought , that could be reduced even further.

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Knight View Post
    Eric,
    Yes. They are telling you how you are to write your report. The statements you use in your report should pass the DDID test. DDID means:

    1) DESCRIBE (What is it ?)
    2) DETERMINE (What's wrong with it ?)
    3) IMPLICATION (What can happen if nothing is done ?)
    4) DIRECTION (What should be done or who should do it ?)

    Does your statement include a DESCRIPTION, a DETERMINATION, have an IMPLICATION and provide DIRECTION ?
    That is pretty much what ASHI requires their members to do as well. Not much different in other licensed states either.

    Sure all of the licensed states are going to have their own little quarks, but they are simple and not the difficult to accommodate in your report. Don't sweat the little stuff, just do a good job.

    About the only time the state is going to see your report is if a client complains and gives it to them. I would say then that you might have something more to worry about at that point and time! I would estimate that I have done 4000+ reports under a state home inspector license and I have never had one reviewed by anyone from the state, and I hold a license in two states.

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

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Why can't inspectors write concise, complete sentences?

    The aluminum trim cap, at the right exterior brick veneer wall termination to the garage roof, is leaking water into the wall. The water can damage the structure through wood decay. Have a qualified contractor fix it before you close. (Picture 1)

    Inspector speak sucks.

    Last edited by Erby Crofutt; 03-31-2009 at 04:22 PM.
    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

  15. #15
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    That is pretty much what ASHI requires their members to do as well. Not much different in other licensed states either.

    Sure all of the licensed states are going to have their own little quarks, but they are simple and not the difficult to accommodate in your report. Don't sweat the little stuff, just do a good job.

    About the only time the state is going to see your report is if a client complains and gives it to them. I would say then that you might have something more to worry about at that point and time! I would estimate that I have done 4000+ reports under a state home inspector license and I have never had one reviewed by anyone from the state, and I hold a license in two states.

    How do you hold one in two states. Don't you have to be a resident for x amount of the year or is it because you live where a few states meet and it is accepted.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    How do you hold one in two states. Don't you have to be a resident for x amount of the year or is it because you live where a few states meet and it is accepted.
    It is called reciprocity. As long as the license requirements are similar or greater it is very simple. Just submit the paperwork, a letter from your resident state stating that you are in good standing and the proper fee. That is all it takes. Only a few states have a residency requirement.

    This is what makes passing the NHIE a good thing for all home inspectors, as it is used in the majority of the licensed states. This allows you to apply in many states for a HI license.

    IL, NY and TX are the only states that do not have reciprocity as far as I know. If a state does not offer reciprocity then their licensees have to fulfill all of the requirements in the other state that they want a license in. So if a TX boy wanted to get a license in LA or AR they would need to meet the requirements in those states, and vise versa. But if a LA boy wanted to get a license in say MS or AR, it would be fairly simple.

    Sorry for the 12' thread drift!

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 03-31-2009 at 08:14 PM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  17. #17
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    It is called reciprocity. As long as the license requirements are similar or greater it is very simple. Just submit the paperwork, a letter from your resident state stating that you are in good standing and the proper fee. That is all it takes. Only a few states have a residency requirement.

    This is what makes passing the NHIE a good thing for all home inspectors, as it is used in the majority of the licensed states. This allows you to apply in many states for a HI license.

    IL, NY and TX are the only states that do not have reciprocity as far as I know. If a state does not offer reciprocity then their licensees have to fulfill all of the requirements in the other state that they want a license in. So if a TX boy wanted to get a license in LA or AR they would need to meet the requirements in those states, and vise versa. But if a LA boy wanted to get a license in say MS or AR, it would be fairly simple.

    Sorry for the 12' thread drift!
    Hm

    I moved to Texas almost 5 years ago now and I was incorporated as a home inspector and had been doing such for years. They accepted nothing, schooling or years of experience , nothing. I had to take another class thru ITA (accepted course) even with past schooling, years of construction, decades of inspecting and the NHIE behind me.

    I was told that in Texas the saying is "Texas does not reciprocate"


  18. #18
    Jeff Knight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    There is a belief that if there was a standard report format, then all inspectors would find the exact same defects in a given house and all would report them in the same manner thereby simiplifing the home inspection process for the realtors.
    Actually, in my opinion, it has gotten worse. What happens is that inspectors in Texas need to figure out a way to set themselves apart from other inspectors and I have seen numerous looking reports that are built on top of the required TREC form. Some that have numerous checkbox lists within each section of the TREC form, others that have very long paragraphs of comments within each section, and others that have the minimum data and are actually only 7 pages long.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    I've never understood drawn out comments. I'm always thinking of the person who has to glean info from the report. In the report I don't go into the "what can happen because of" comments. My report is 9 pages with the meat & potatoes on 8 pages. I don't get calls about not being able to find the remark I made about the leaking drain pipe that I stuck on page 23 in the fourth paragraph.

    If anything, my problem is with attorneys' offices re-writing my comments and passing them on to sellers and contractors. It's like telling a good story and running it through 6 people - it never comes back the same. I get third parties calling me with questions about conditions that were never found in the inspection. It's no wonder that people get confused.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  20. #20
    David Burch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Hey Mitchel,
    If you haven't chosen a software package yet you might want to look at eInspections. I have been using it for a while now. It is customizable and does not have a steep learning curve. In fact I just modified it last night to comply with the newest "Summary" page requirements for NC. You can download a demo copy from their website. The other thing I like about them is the support and price.

    Dave


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    David,

    Just curious, Why would you be using the North Carolina format when your location is Maryland? Seems the drivetime for some of your inspections would be excessive.

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

  22. #22
    David Burch's Avatar
    David Burch Guest

    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Yes, the drive can be tough...especially when I have one in Maryland in the morning and one in Greenville in the afternoon. Ha
    No I actually have a home down there and am in NC about every other week. Occasionally, someone asks me to do an inspection down there. But mostly I am in Maryland.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by David Burch View Post
    Hey Mitchel,
    If you haven't chosen a software package yet you might want to look at eInspections. I have been using it for a while now. It is customizable and does not have a steep learning curve. In fact I just modified it last night to comply with the newest "Summary" page requirements for NC. You can download a demo copy from their website. The other thing I like about them is the support and price.

    Dave
    Hey Dave, have not talked with you in a while. So you are still going back and forth to MD? Did you ever get an IR Cam?


    I looked at the EInpsection website. It is quite a bit more than HomeGauge. I am still trying to decide if I want to really get into home inspections. Construction has dropped for me considerably. The client that I told you about in Raleigh owes my 200k so I am hurting pretty bad. I am still in business but I am looking to supplement what I am doing. I did an inspection for a client over in Clayton a few weeks ago using HomeGauge and I was pretty impressed with it.

    I am still looking at my options. Bruce have you been busy up in Raleigh? That is my main Construction market. I really want to pursue using my camera more. I have started a newsletter for my construction company. I am planning on doing a theme on infrared cameras next month.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Scott they do random report checking. They send you a letter or call, and you have to send the last report or as many as they ask to look at that time. Had that happen awhile back. Lucky for me it passed there criteria

    I was at the same seminar as Bruce (ce class). It pissed me off how the board caters to the Realtors.

    They gave examples on how you should write. If I wrote like they wanted nobody would be a home. It would scare the piss out of them. (hmm I need to write a blog on this).

    Example.

    Inspector Writes: "The garage door opener electric eyes are 24" off of the floor. They should be 3-6" off the floor area."
    Mikes note: Granted it could say that and injury blah blah blah


    Board would like to see this: " Noted the front garage door opener electric eyes are installed 24" above garage floor. Manufacturers generally require electric eyes to be installed 3-6" above the garage floor for child safety protection. Needs further evaluation by a licensed general contractor to ensure installation is proper and safe.

    Mikes Note: They want you to write general contractor on every little thing or equivalent.

    If the grass need cut they want a arborist to evalaute.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    NC is trying real hard to improve the industry through CE and recommendations but have met strong resistance to changing the actual requirements.

    They had some very good ideas on the last round of changes that got dropped due to their attempt to require safety items to stay out of the summary. The good idea's included starting each writeup with a word that defines the issue and the action needed, ie. Repair: Investigate:

    You can even use "Investigate and Repair:" for issues that fall into that category and you feel that more will be found during the repair process.


    The actual report items that are REQUIRED are listed here in an easy to reference checklist, there are no requirements to list what may go wrong with each reported item (if not repaired) and common sense indicates why that can't always be done:

    http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Engineerin...eWorksheet.pdf


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Bruce and Mike, what you two guys said is part of the reason why I do not really pursue doing home inspections. I have followed the state comments as well as a few comments of one who just got permanently suspended from teaching as well as others. I believe there is too much politics playing in there.

    Even in general, the lawyers have a field day, you are blasted if you miss one little thing. And of course you just saved that client thousands and thousands of dollars for the things you did see. They want you to finish in an hour but they want an accurate report on everything. And in some cases you comment negatively on an item and it makes the buyer upset that you found something. can't win for losing.

    Even though I am a licensed real estate agent as well, I do not agree with what the realtors as pushing. I think a lot of it is just a bunch of bull.


  27. #27
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    Scott they do random report checking. They send you a letter or call, and you have to send the last report or as many as they ask to look at that time. Had that happen awhile back. Lucky for me it passed there criteria

    I was at the same seminar as Bruce (ce class). It pissed me off how the board caters to the Realtors.

    They gave examples on how you should write. If I wrote like they wanted nobody would be a home. It would scare the piss out of them. (hmm I need to write a blog on this).

    Example.

    Inspector Writes: "The garage door opener electric eyes are 24" off of the floor. They should be 3-6" off the floor area."
    Mikes note: Granted it could say that and injury blah blah blah


    Board would like to see this: " Noted the front garage door opener electric eyes are installed 24" above garage floor. Manufacturers generally require electric eyes to be installed 3-6" above the garage floor for child safety protection. Needs further evaluation by a licensed general contractor to ensure installation is proper and safe.

    Mikes Note: They want you to write general contractor on every little thing or equivalent.

    If the grass need cut they want a arborist to evalaute.
    Thats funny

    Our Realtor influence (both licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission) took our check box for follow up that used to be "In need of repair" and replaced it with deficient. We can write what we feel fit to write but we can no longer check an "In need of repair but have to check deficient


    Well, that is my take on how it got changed


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Reporting software per state requirements

    Mr. Meeks from Greenville, I am Jeff Mathis from Greenville. You know we have a group that meets each month. Third Tuesday at Parkers at 6:30. Be glad for more company. Twould be tomorrw by the way.

    JLMathis


  29. #29
    Jim Gallant's Avatar
    Jim Gallant Guest

    Default Re: Comments about ReportHost

    In response to Trent's post about ReportHost, we've spent significant time with realtors and clients to develop a report format that's concise and easy to read. We routinely get emails from inspectors saying how well their reports are received. Here are some examples:

    “I have at least 3 agents that tell me the only reason they use me is because of ReportHost.”

    “One thing is for certain, since I started to use your ReportHost system, my business has multiplied significantly by referrals from truly satisfied clients, mainly due to the professional image reflected by my reports.”

    “Just a few days ago we got an inspection via Internet, and when we asked the customer why they had chose our company over the others, they said, ‘When we were looking at the report sample, it was the most complete and easy to read report we’ve seen’.”

    "We are getting RAVE reviews on our reports. We do about 2 inspections per day and hear wonderful feedback once or twice each day! Most go on and on about how easy the reports are to read etc."


    In response to Trent's other points:

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    *Don't use the little icons for each item you call out. Trust me Realtors don't like to see a bright red cross (for safety items) on things like missing cover plates.
    Yes, you can choose to display the word "Safety" rather than show an icon. But be aware that in April of 2008 we added a library of alternate icons that you can substitute our default icons with. See the attached image file for examples of some that might be used for safety items.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    *There auto comments (boiler plate) Is to wordy and in most cases it overstates the condition.
    *Don't rely on their pre-written comments and do nothing to strip them down and use them as they are. In the end you will have to decide how to write a report, even the pre-written comments in expensive software programs is hardly worth using.
    *Don't use (Recommend having a qualified contractor further evaluate and repair) on every little repair item. Further evaluation should only be used when you can not properly evaluate or diagnose the problem you are calling out.
    As you suggest, generic text for defect conditions found during inspections won't satisfy everyone. Our goal has been to write text that describes the condition, says what the result will be or already is, and what to do about it (in general terms). This is similar to eff Knight's mention of "DESCRIPTION, a DETERMINATION, have an IMPLICATION and provide DIRECTION". In most cases we've been careful about when to recommend evaluation vs. just stating that an item should be repaired, similar to our specifying whether a "qualified contractor" vs. a "qualified person" should make the repair. We understand that different inspectors will word things differently than others. That's why we made our templates customizable, and made it so you can save changes back to your template when editing comments for a specific report.

    -Jim Gallant
    Cofounder, ReportHost ReportHost - The original and still the best home inspection software on the Internet

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Last edited by Jim Gallant; 05-08-2009 at 08:09 AM. Reason: SIG didn't attach

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