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Thread: Sample Reports

  1. #1
    Jim Fields's Avatar
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    Default Sample Reports

    I am new to the business and I am in the process of getting licensed. Is there a report someone can recommend or a place to get some samples. I am talking about a blank prefab report that some of the companies offer, not reports people have generated on houses. I am getting the impression that the best method is to use one of the generic reports to start and tailor it to your needs. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Jim

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  2. #2
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    Post Re: Sample Reports

    Jim, blank paper reports that you just check the box that applies and make some hand written comments are a thing of the past. You can still find blank reports like this, but I do not recommend using them. You will need to buy a software program or use some type of on-line reporting program. Both clients and Realtors will want and expect a computer generated report with digital photos of problems and concerns. They will also want you to be able to email the report to them.

    I started out with a web based report system that you pay to use called Report Host. It's a pay per report system that is good for beginning inspectors that don't want to spend allot of money in the beginning for a software program. I now use HomeGauge and am glad I made the switch. Your report is the product that you are selling. No matter how good of an inspector you may be or become, your finished report you deliver will ultimately determine your success. Most HI software companies have free trails of their programs that you can download and try out. You should also be aware that the majority of the pre-written comments in these programs are poorly written or are just to wordy. Learning how to write a good report is the hardest part of this business.


  3. #3
    Jim Fields's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    I originally had that impression coming in that a computer generated report would be the way to go, however in my pre-licensing course the instructor made it seem like the customer prefers a report in hand at the time of the inspection. He has me leaning towards a written report and emailing any pertinent pictures. He has showed me some samples of the ones you can buy in the trade mags. They seem to be serviceable and I had planned on using one until I could generate my own based on what I do an don't like from these. I still have until about June before I can test for my license so I guess I have some time to try both options.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post
    I originally had that impression coming in that a computer generated report would be the way to go, however in my pre-licensing course the instructor made it seem like the customer prefers a report in hand at the time of the inspection. He has me leaning towards a written report and emailing any pertinent pictures. He has showed me some samples of the ones you can buy in the trade mags. They seem to be serviceable and I had planned on using one until I could generate my own based on what I do an don't like from these. I still have until about June before I can test for my license so I guess I have some time to try both options.

    That is pure realtor friendly talk right there. This instructor is thinking only of the realtor so they can make their repair addendum on the spot.

    Being rushed to leave a report on site is only putting yourself at risk for someone new in the home inspection business.

    Those check box type reports you can buy over the internet is totally useless in my opinion.

    JMHO

    rick


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    That is pure realtor friendly talk right there. This instructor is thinking only of the realtor so they can make their repair addendum on the spot.

    Being rushed to leave a report on site is only putting yourself at risk for someone new in the home inspection business.

    Those check box type reports you can buy over the internet is totally useless in my opinion.

    JMHO

    rick
    Can I have an Amen!

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

  6. #6
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    Post Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post
    I originally had that impression coming in that a computer generated report would be the way to go, however in my pre-licensing course the instructor made it seem like the customer prefers a report in hand at the time of the inspection. He has me leaning towards a written report and emailing any pertinent pictures. He has showed me some samples of the ones you can buy in the trade mags. They seem to be serviceable and I had planned on using one until I could generate my own based on what I do an don't like from these. I still have until about June before I can test for my license so I guess I have some time to try both options.
    Jim, don't listen to your instructor. Listen to the experienced inspectors on this board. As a new inspector you most definitely DON'T want to do an on-site report. You will come across things you have never seen before, or just don't know if it's wrong or right. You will find things that you won't be sure of for many years to come, that's just part of this business. It's a never ending education. By doing the report at home you will be able to research things you are not sure of or need to find additional information about. You will also have a chance to post photos and ask questions on this board. You will also find that many people don't show up for the inspection, many buyers are to busy or are from out of town/state. These people will want the report emailed to them.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Jim, You can download a trial version of Homegauge reporting software from Home Inspection Software - HomeGauge Inspection Software

    If you can complete the report on-site, the clients really love it. Providing an inspection report at the end of your inspection isn't "realtor friendly", it's real estate transaction friendly. To succeed in this business you have to be real estate transaction friendly. For example, my local board sets hours of showings and inspection from 8 am to 8 pm. No inspections outside those hours, so I abide by those rules. Here it's normal to have a 3 day inspection window so we work within the time line. Your client has already signed a time limited purchase agreement and the client needs your report ASAP, not when you get around to it. You need to cater to your client's needs.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Jim Put your self in the place of the client on every inspection. When your happy with your work then every one else can just have a nice day...

    Your the only one that matters. When I'm done with a report My report has just about covered everything thing under the sun... And I sleep good at night...

    If you can get your self up to speed to do reports on site that great...
    but I have look at a few reports some inspectors have done that do them on site and Every one of them has over look a lot of things. Very few Inspector can do on site reports and get them right. I will take a day or 2 and if people don't like it that's just to bad...

    Best

    Ron


  9. #9
    Jim Fields's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    My instructor has been in the business for 25 years so maybe he is just "old school". While I think the computer generated report would be better overall. He does make a good point, after giving you a check for a couple hundred dollars the customer may be put off by not receiving the report at the time of inspection. I guess there are arguements for both sides and obviously there will be a slight bias for computer generated reports on an online forum.

    For those of you who do generate your report later, do you use a similar report for when you are performing the inspection? It seems like at worst the prefab reports are good to make sure you dont miss anything.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post
    My instructor has been in the business for 25 years so maybe he is just "old school". While I think the computer generated report would be better overall. He does make a good point, after giving you a check for a couple hundred dollars the customer may be put off by not receiving the report at the time of inspection. I guess there are arguments for both sides and obviously there will be a slight bias for computer generated reports on an online forum.

    For those of you who do generate your report later, do you use a similar report for when you are performing the inspection? It seems like at worst the prefab reports are good to make sure you don't miss anything.
    You should be setting customer expectations from the opening phone call. "Thank you for choosing XYZ Inspections. Yes we will email/post to the web your report within 24 hours of the inspection. This ensures that we have enough time to research any unusual construction techniques we might find as well as incorporate all the photos we take during the inspection."

    Some people use checklists during inspections as a form of reminder. The fun thing about checklists is every house is arranged in a different configuration. The checklist seldom has the defects in the same order as the house presents them. Therefore you are constantly flipping pages to check and record items. A handheld computer/PDA/phone allows for electronic flipping of pages to fill out the checklist.

    Is your report going to be sorted by systems or rooms? Do you lump all the plumbing in to one section or do you describe all the various plumbing, electrical, hvac, interior, ventilation, etc for each room. Which room do you include roof details?

    If your checklist is sorted by systems, lots of flipping as you move through the house. If your checklist is sorted by room, then less flipping but not every builder puts the HVAC in the attic. Some are in the crawlspace, some are in the basement, some are outside, some are hidden in a utility closet, etc. Now your checklist needs to have a location field next to the HVAC instead of having the HVAC in the XYZ room.

    Starting out it is useful to have a checklist to make sure you did not forget to look at something. I let the house guide me. I check everything in every room. I move through every house in a consistent manner to reduce the possibility of overlooking something. Different inspectors record notes differently. I take photos of everything. No written notes, no tape recorder, no handheld or laptop computer/PDA. I find checklists too cumbersome.

    There are a number of software packages which allow for real time data collection during the inspection. The software builds a report based on the data collection. After the inspection, you clean up the report, add photos, and correct any anomalies created by the software. When looking at software packages, find out if it is a Reporting System or a Data Collection & Reporting System. Different animals.

    As a new inspector you will need the extra time to collect your thoughts after an inspection. You may not see the connection between the water stained roof sheathing and the rotted subfloor. As you work through your report, you will begin to see things add up.

    How legible is your hand writing? Does your checklist form provide enough space to write everything that needs to be said?

    My state licensing board is pushing DDID. Description, Determination, Implication, Direction. They want 4 sentences for every defect. Describe where the defect is located. Determine what the defect is. What are the possible Implications if not repaired? Direct to have repaired, replaced, further investigated, subsequently observed, and preferably by what kind of contractor. Guess what, a checklist ain't going to cut it around here.

    The first thing the client is going to do is to ask their agent to send a repair list to the seller. Who is going to transcribe your report in order to email it to the seller? Paper went out last century. Electronic or don't bother.

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

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post
    My instructor has been in the business for 25 years so maybe he is just "old school". While I think the computer generated report would be better overall. He does make a good point, after giving you a check for a couple hundred dollars the customer may be put off by not receiving the report at the time of inspection. I guess there are arguements for both sides and obviously there will be a slight bias for computer generated reports on an online forum.

    For those of you who do generate your report later, do you use a similar report for when you are performing the inspection? It seems like at worst the prefab reports are good to make sure you dont miss anything.
    It sounds like your instructor is out of touch with the profession. When you have any diagnostic test or evaluations performed(on your body, your home, your car, just about anything) you seldom get instant results. I have been at this gig full time since 1995 and I can't think of one time that my client (not the RE agent) was upset or demanded a report at the inspection or even gave a second thought about paying me for it.

    I tell everyone that they will have the report via email a few hours or even sooner after the inspection is done. Folks really do not mind and understand that quality can't be rushed. Now, I have had a few agents who have gotten use to the onsite report, and they learn real quick that I don't do onsite reports and it does not bother me that they have to wait a couple of hours for the report. If time is a problem, I can have a report emailed within an hour after the inspection. I can always find a place with WiFi to take care of this. But, again I can't recall the last time I had a time crunch like this.

    Starting out you will need a checklist to go by so you can make sure that you are not missing anything. After you have been at it for a few years, it becomes second nature and you just know what needs to be looked at without ever being reminded. Actually a printed checklist can act like a set of blinders in that you kind of have tunnel vision and are only looking for things on that list. This is one of the reasons that more of the checklist type inspectors windup in more lawsuits than those that don't use a prefab/preprinted checklist type report.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 03-23-2010 at 10:55 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post
    My instructor has been in the business for 25 years so maybe he is just "old school". While I think the computer generated report would be better overall. He does make a good point, after giving you a check for a couple hundred dollars the customer may be put off by not receiving the report at the time of inspection. I guess there are arguements for both sides and obviously there will be a slight bias for computer generated reports on an online forum.
    Jim, when the clients see how much you have to inspect and document, I believe most understand why they are not getting a report on the spot. Committing to delivery of the report the next day is more than adequate for 90%+ off all potential clients. The 10% or less who want a report the same day can find somebody else. And like somebody else said, you need to set the expectation up front as to when the client will receive your report.

    Ken R makes a good argument for on-site reports........but........that is based upon the state where he works. A 3 day contingency period to the best of my knowledge is not the norm. Here in PA, we have contingencies of 7, 10, or 15 days. Therefore, on-site reports are simply a matter of personal preference on the part of the inspector. It's just not needed here. But check to see what typical contingency periods are in your state to help you determine whether or not an on-site report is the norm for your area. But I would stay away from the checklist type reports and definitely do not issue hand written reports. In this day and age, there is no excuse to not produce clean computer based reports with digital pictures.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Jim, You can download a trial version of Homegauge reporting software from Home Inspection Software - HomeGauge Inspection Software

    If you can complete the report on-site, the clients really love it. Providing an inspection report at the end of your inspection isn't "realtor friendly", it's real estate transaction friendly. To succeed in this business you have to be real estate transaction friendly. For example, my local board sets hours of showings and inspection from 8 am to 8 pm. No inspections outside those hours, so I abide by those rules. Here it's normal to have a 3 day inspection window so we work within the time line. Your client has already signed a time limited purchase agreement and the client needs your report ASAP, not when you get around to it. You need to cater to your client's needs.
    Jim,
    I don't know how it works in Baltimore, but in Tennessee, and apparently everywhere else except Minnesota, it is acceptable to deliver the report via email after the inspection...after you have had time to reflect on what you have written down and/or what pictures you have taken. I have NEVER had a client ask for the report on-site. All of the realtors here prefer email. They don't like waiting around any longer than necessary, and are hardly ever there for the inspection anyway. The client being present is 50/50 also. When I started, I took a written checklist report form with me to make sure I didn't miss anything, but I came back to the office put the report together. Now, I carry a small note pad, but mostly I let the pictures I take jog my memory of what the issue was. It sure sounds like you went to AHIT for your training. I did, and, while the instructor was very knowledgeable, he was also a salesman for the company store. In other words, he really pushed the 50 packs of written, 4-copy reports and/or their proprietary software. I got sucked in and bought a package deal. I've got about 3 boxes of those reports that I will give you if you want them, and I bought their software...Inspectit. Well, I now use Homegauge and I can honestly say that my reporting time has decreased by at least 1 hour. If you're wanting advice, then download a trial of Homegauge, or 3D, or HI Pro or something web-based, and seehow it fits your needs. You can probably go a year using the trials for actual reports on the different programs before you have to decide, but the on-site thing is yesterday's news!


  14. #14
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    During the first phone conversation, I promise to deliver the report using email within 24 hours of the inspection. I have never had a client say this is a problem and many have expressed thanks for the promptness. It is possible that some of the calls that don't result in inspections are because of this practice, but I cannot please everyone all of the time.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  15. #15
    Jim Fields's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Thanks for all the advice and input. My inspector is an older guy and the course is through a local college not a company. He seems like the opposite of a salesman. I think it is good for me to get a perspective from both sides of the spectrum.

    I am leaning towards using one of the prefab checklists in order to generate my own report/checklist. It seems like the consensus is to use a checklist while first starting out to keep you focused and prevent overlooking things. I am going to see how the customer reception is to emailing the report within a day or two. I definitely agree that a computer generated report is much more beneficial especially when using pictures.

    On a side note, Are you guys all full-time home inspectors or are any of you doing this on the side? Is there any success or lack thereof of people who do not do this full time?


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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post
    My instructor has been in the business for 25 years so maybe he is just "old school". While I think the computer generated report would be better overall. He does make a good point, after giving you a check for a couple hundred dollars the customer may be put off by not receiving the report at the time of inspection. I guess there are arguements for both sides and obviously there will be a slight bias for computer generated reports on an online forum.

    For those of you who do generate your report later, do you use a similar report for when you are performing the inspection? It seems like at worst the prefab reports are good to make sure you dont miss anything.
    Jim,

    The best (only) way to see the point about not delivering an on-site report would be when you do e-mail those pictures to your client and as you're uploading them you say to yourself, "did I include that in the report" or "I didn't notice that when I opened the electrical panel."

    I finish my report the night of the inspection. I re-read it and go over the pictures the next morning and then I send it out. You'll be surprised on much you change the next day (even if it's only grammar).

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

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post
    Thanks for all the advice and input. My inspector is an older guy and the course is through a local college not a company. He seems like the opposite of a salesman. I think it is good for me to get a perspective from both sides of the spectrum.

    I am leaning towards using one of the prefab checklists in order to generate my own report/checklist. It seems like the consensus is to use a checklist while first starting out to keep you focused and prevent overlooking things. I am going to see how the customer reception is to emailing the report within a day or two. I definitely agree that a computer generated report is much more beneficial especially when using pictures.

    On a side note, Are you guys all full-time home inspectors or are any of you doing this on the side? Is there any success or lack thereof of people who do not do this full time?
    I would not provide an option on how you issue your report. If you sound like you don't want to send it via email, then your client will most likely go along with you. You are the perceived professional and they will pretty much do as you say or suggest.

    I would say that in this day and time those who are being successful are full time. When I started (and I have given thought about doing it again as slow as it has been!), I worked in a sporting goods store about 35 hours a week mostly from 1pm till 9pm with a day off during the week. I did my inspections in the morning and on my day off. I did this for about 2 years or until I could earn enough with the inspection gig.

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

  18. #18
    Eric Russell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Jim,

    I've been a firefighter for 21 years and do the HI gig on my days off. We work a 3 platoon system, which means we work 24 on, 48 off. In other words, I go in @ 7A and get off next morning @ 7A. This leaves me quite a bit of time to build the business and perform inspections. My clients, after learning of the FF gig, will accomodate my schedule. I can usuallly get the inspection within 48 hours after the call. It has allowed me as a HI to survive these lean times when so many are folding up. Good luck.


  19. #19
    George Edwards's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Can I have an Amen!
    I MAKE MY OWN CUSTOM PHOTO REPORTS EACH FROM SCRATCH ON THE COMPUTER. AGENTS AND CUSTOMERS SEEM TO LOVE IT THAT WAY.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    A good salesman, and you'd better learn how to sell yourself if you want to stay in business, can convince the customer to buy what he's selling.

    If you want to sell handwritten on site reports, you can.
    If you want to sell computer reports on site, you can.
    If you want to sell computer reports via e-mail, you can.

    As Scott said, you're the supposed professional and the customer buys what you are selling.

    You need to be a good HI, but you also need to be a good salesman or you won't stay in business.

    You'll find you want to tell a whole bunch of stories about different parts of the house. Those funky handwritten checklists won't satisfy you long. You'll also find you don't want to "remember" those stories so you can "create each report from scratch" by retyping the whole story over and over again.

    HomeGauge keeps all the different stories for you. All you have to do is decide which story you want to tell about something, modify it slightly for the particular house, and plunk it into the report.

    YOU decide if you're in the business for the long term or just trying it out. If you're in it fo the long term, get the good tools up front and learn to use them well.

    This board is a great place to learn from many different inspectors with many different opinions.

    You'll find the GOOD software invaluable in speeding up your reporting.

    I don't understand why any realtor or client wants to stand around with their thumb up their ass watching you type (or handwrite) your report; Surely they've better things to do, well, except in Minnesota.

    That three day isnpection period up there sure pushes the buyer thru the process without giving them time to think about it. It's what the realtors have sold the buyers on though. Buyers can ask for any length of contingency period.

    Just like you can sell handwritten reports on a yellow legal pad if you want.

    If you want to be a computer programer in addition to HI, you can use Word to make your own report.

    While I've done some computer programming, it's a hobby only. I want to be an HI, not a programmer who is always tweaking the reporting softare. So, after looking at what's out there, I use HomeGauge. Costs a bit up front, but makes my life so much simpler.


    -


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    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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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    I must be doing everything wrong. I have been doing on site reports since I started in 1989. I started with the hated check list reports. I then added a hand written narrative. I used Polaroid photos, then 1 hour 35mm, then added digital photos. I switched to computer based report system, maybe 7 years ago and still do on site about 95% of the time.

    I'm used to it, its the way I have always done it, and I'm very comfortable with it. Is it for everyone? Apparently not. But it works for me. Since I get very few follow up question calls, and hardly any complaint calls, I must be doing something right.

    Just because it doesn't work for you, does not mean its not a good fit for someone else.


  22. #22
    Eric Russell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I must be doing everything wrong. I have been doing on site reports since I started in 1989. I started with the hated check list reports. I then added a hand written narrative. I used Polaroid photos, then 1 hour 35mm, then added digital photos. I switched to computer based report system, maybe 7 years ago and still do on site about 95% of the time.

    I'm used to it, its the way I have always done it, and I'm very comfortable with it. Is it for everyone? Apparently not. But it works for me. Since I get very few follow up question calls, and hardly any complaint calls, I must be doing something right.

    Just because it doesn't work for you, does not mean its not a good fit for someone else.
    Agreed. No problem there. If it works for you, then that's the way you need to be doing it.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    You're just WRONG, Jack. If you don't believe me, ask your wife.

    I'm sure she'll tell you when you're wrong!

    Seriously though, everybody has to do it their way and can sell whatever they're selling, even the handwritten reports on yellow legal tablets (yes, there are a couple here in Kentucky that do it that way, and probably in your state too).

    I just don't feel like wasting the clients time to sit around and watch me type and add photos and edit and proofread.

    Too each their own.



    -------

    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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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Jim,
    I'm still new to the business, five year's.
    I've been using Home Gauge since I started and it works great for me.
    In the beginning I used a voice recorder for notes.
    Now I only use pictures, some fellow inspectors say I take too many pictures.
    But as the saying goes " to each his own.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Hi all,
    I have used 3D since I started in 1996 and deliver the report onsite. I use an Ipaq during the Inspection and take photos with a Kodak digital camera.

    Understand , I have added hundreds (if not thousands) of menu items to the main program and Ipaq. I am 80% or so completely done with the report before going to my van to sink the camera and Ipaq to my laptop. It usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes to fully input and print out the report. It definitely is a selling tool, plus when I leave , I am done with it. I do not have to spend evenings working on a report. We do 2 inspections a day.

    Works for me.

    Jerry Weaver


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    This is my 5th year too. I started out with the 3D system cause an out of town inspector I knew said it was great and that local realtors liked it. I am 57 years old and computarically challenged. It was very difficult to set up. Finally had my 18yr old wiz kid do it and he had some problems with it. 3D gives classes around the country for Xdollars to show you how to use it. I would recommend another program. You want to be able to put pictures in with statements about them nearby. Being able to save those statements too. That's all you need.
    I take over 100 low resolution photos per house. That way you can retrace your steps and see things you may have missed and/or tie them together. 20 to 30 get into the report.
    Has this helped me get work. Doubt it. The realtors rule here. Talk only about the major concerns and let the rest slide, don't take more than an hour to look at the house, keep your rates low. That's how you get on their list. Most clients don't know the difference between a home inspection and an appraisal.
    3hrs looking at a house. 4hrs putting the report together.
    Lucky me.
    I do every report like it is the one that is finally going to get me in to the big time. Oh, I guess the RE being way down could have something to do with it too.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Jerry,

    Can we see one of your reports?

    Thanks

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

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Goggle is a wonderful thing. This is likely a Jerry Weaver report.


    http://www.elitehomeinspections.com/sample.pdf

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

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Well, there you go.

    Without sounding like I'm bashing anyone, can someone tell me how a water heater 'Appears' to function. Either it produces hot (warm) water or it doesn't, No?
    How does a roof 'appear' to have two layers? If you can see the second layer, it has two layers. I can actually see where someone may say a roof 'appears' to have one layer (I've see where roofs remove the edge shingles and feather it back to look like a single layer) but not two layers....
    You are better off saying something like "as best as I can determine, there are tow layers of shingles present."

    I wrote about this on active rain- I don't know, just one of my pet peeves.

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

  30. #30
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
    Kevin Luce Guest

    Default Re: Sample Reports

    I think it's you and a few others. When working with lawyers, I have never heard one of them comment on the use of the word "appears". I would think if there was a problem with the use of that word, they would have questioned me or that home inspector during the deposition.

    Regarding the check box reports being so bad, I just don't see it. There were three lawyers I worked with where the home inspector used the check box form. They didn't comment once about it being a check box report or that the comments after the check box was one sentence long. I would think if these types of reports were that bad, they would have at least questioned the home inspector about the type of report he used during the deposition.

    I was also thinking that most of the other reports I have to fill out are check box with a little section for comments (WDI, all Indiana state reports). So from my experience, the check box report is more the norm.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Miller View Post
    Well, there you go.

    Without sounding like I'm bashing anyone, can someone tell me how a water heater 'Appears' to function. Either it produces hot (warm) water or it doesn't, No?
    How does a roof 'appear' to have two layers? If you can see the second layer, it has two layers. I can actually see where someone may say a roof 'appears' to have one layer (I've see where roofs remove the edge shingles and feather it back to look like a single layer) but not two layers....
    You are better off saying something like "as best as I can determine, there are tow layers of shingles present."

    I wrote about this on active rain- I don't know, just one of my pet peeves.

    Darren,

    We can look at anyone's sample report and pick them apart. Take yours for example:
    • An addition to the property appears to have been made at the rear. As you said, it either is or isn't. Why use the word "appears"?
    • Defect. Vinyl siding. Siding is in contact with the ground at rear. Repairs are difficult due to concrete. Your report then goes on to talk about pests and gives your disclaimer. So what concrete are you referring to? A concrete foundation? A concrete walkway? Maybe a concrete retaining wall?
    I only looked at the first few pages of your sample report.

    People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Ken;

    As I wrote before, there are some areas where the word 'appears' can be used. In the paragraph you refer to, since I told my client that there was a fire in the house, it was possible what 'appeared' to be an addition could have been repairs from the fire. That's why I recommended checking for permits.

    Does the water heater 'appear' to produce hot/warm water or does it produce hot/warm water? All I'm saying is we (the entire profession) needs to write like professionals.

    Another pet peeve is when a professional writes "in my professional opinion". We already know you are/should be a professional in your field (HI, PE or WDI), there's no need to re-state that. Just say 'in my opinion'.

    I never said my reports are flawless and I'm not throwing stones. If you read my report again, you will probably find more grammar errors and other areas where the word 'appears' appears. I've been working on eliminating that word and I've started to eliminate the word 'outlet' (receptacle) and the word 'client' (you). Old habits are hard to break and that report is 2 years old. Time to replace it I guess.

    As far as the siding and concrete, my client was with me and we discussed the fact that a 1 foot strip of dirt was between the house and the CONCRETE sidewalk. He knew what I wrote.
    And by the way, (this will get some peoples hair raised), I told my client to RUN away from this house!

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

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Miller View Post
    Ken;

    As far as the siding and concrete, my client was with me and we discussed the fact that a 1 foot strip of dirt was between the house and the CONCRETE sidewalk. He knew what I wrote.
    And by the way, (this will get some peoples hair raised), I told my client to RUN away from this house!
    It's my belief that reports should be written as if the client was not there. That way if you ever need to defend yourself in court, it is documented and it's not your word against the client's word. It's really no different than not documenting a hole in the roof, but telling the client there is a hole in the roof. Why even bother with a written report if documentation is lacking and you're going to rely on the client's memory?

    I'm not trying to be argumentative, but the point I'm trying to make is we could all "Monday morning quarterback" any inspection report and see what we perceive as flaws.

    Last edited by Ken Rowe; 03-31-2010 at 04:21 PM.
    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    It's my belief that reports should be written as if the client was not there.
    I agree to a point.

    However, one of my favorite statements is "As we discussed on site, the..."
    It gives the report some 'personality'.

    And just to clarify, I did document the problem- the problem is the siding is buried in the ground. That was clear. It was also clear what potential problems it could cause and the impossibility of me knowing if the potential problems existed. What you wrote about my 'disclaimer' is in my opinion wrong. I told my client what existed and what he should do (open the walls to see).

    Ah, by the way, I did change my example of a report.

    Last edited by Darren Miller; 04-01-2010 at 03:57 AM.
    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  35. #35
    Chuck Forman's Avatar
    Chuck Forman Guest

    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Jim,
    Please do not do an onsite report in the beginning of your career. I have been in the residential construction industry for over 30 years. Have performed home inspections for many of them, from the construction side, and still made mistakes when I first started performing home inspections as a business. Get yourself a good reporting software and study it. Do several, if not more, practice reports. Take the time to adjust and make the report your own. Then, when you perform your first home inspection, complete the report, print the report and proof read it, before posting it online for your customer.

    There will be many realtors that want a report produced on site. I promise to deliver a report, via email, within 24 hours. If this will not fulfill their needs then I don't work for them. I will not risk everything just to get business, referrals, from a specific realtor. Generally, as a rule, the client will be more than willing to wait when you explain that you truly have their best interest at hand and you want everything to be correct.

    Good Luck!


  36. #36
    mike huntzinger's Avatar
    mike huntzinger Guest

    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Jim hope you look at a on line report system ReportHost - The original and still the best home inspection software on the Internet they offer free reports for the first 10, see if you like them, Ive been using them for 3+ years and love it. they do the software upgrades and you can log on from any computer and send the report off when you need to.


  37. #37
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    Minnesota
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Jim

    I'm new here, and new as an inspector, still organizing my business and report system. Recognize that in my comments, namely I'm after the classes and before opening my business.

    Report writing has been a tough item to figure out. I played with several paper systems, worked to develop a MSWords based system of my own, and downloaded a number of trial software systems.

    On the software based system web sites, there are many sample reports written using those systems. I also asked/received sample reports from my instructors. Reviewing those various reports gave me a basic report concept that I liked.

    I have done some student inspections, about 6 now, and I'm happy with one of the software systems I tried. Getting to this stage was frustrating for a while. I'm now at the stage that I want to do a few more student inspections and reports with the software system I chose. I'm letting the refinement of the inspection process and the report writing work together to become something I'm happy with.

    There are many ways to do an inspection, and many ways to write a good report. In some ways, it's a hide and seek process. I find doing student inspections on houses (inspections that are not paid, and are not realty transaction inspections) has been a crucial step in the process. I'm now refining my report system so it flows and can be done reasonably fast and accurately.

    The summary: Doing student inspections and writing up reports has been a critical step for me in the process of on site inspection flow and presenting the information in a well written report.

    MikeS


  38. #38
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post
    Thanks for all the advice and input. My inspector is an older guy and the course is through a local college not a company. He seems like the opposite of a salesman. I think it is good for me to get a perspective from both sides of the spectrum.

    I am leaning towards using one of the prefab checklists in order to generate my own report/checklist. It seems like the consensus is to use a checklist while first starting out to keep you focused and prevent overlooking things. I am going to see how the customer reception is to emailing the report within a day or two. I definitely agree that a computer generated report is much more beneficial especially when using pictures.

    On a side note, Are you guys all full-time home inspectors or are any of you doing this on the side? Is there any success or lack thereof of people who do not do this full time?
    There is no consensus about using a check list starting out. Seriously, one needs to read all of what your fellow inspectors are telling you here. You say your instructor is an old guy How old is old. The vast majority of inspectors would more than likely be considered, old guys if over fifty is an old guy.

    You go cheap and you will look cheap. A checklist and then hand written? Even if you are a 2 finger typer it will be faster and certainly more legible. 4 copy checklist? You may find one in every several hundred inspectors that just uses a 4 copy check list.

    Go to one of the local association meetings and I am not going to mention any particular one but just anyone. I guarantee you that you will find maybe one percent of inspectors, if that, that still just use a check list.

    You need to put into your report

    Here is the concern

    Here is the picture of the concern

    Not

    Here is a check list that means nothing

    Here is some hand written scribble they can't read

    And here is no picture to explain the nothing check list and hand written scribble.

    Not to be too blunt because that is certainly not me But give me your instructors name and or email so we can explain the simple facts of inspectors lives to him. If he is teaching you checklists then I can only imagine what he is not teaching you about the home inspection business or WHAT TO FIND AND OR HOW TO REPORT THE FINDINGS.....


  39. #39
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    I agree with what Ted has to say. Something else I'd add - If you still find any handwritten and/or soley check box reports they are likely to be from a long time inspector who has already built up a following and is happy surviving on the few (very few) people willing to accept that report.

    As an inspector looking to gain market share you not only need to meet the standard, but need to exceed it an make your report stand out. And I'm not talking about glitz and glamor - you need to use yoru report as a tool to communicate better than others (not hard compared to the check box, handwritten gang).

    Basically, just because you can still find someone using 30 year old technology don't count being able to do it yourself.


  40. #40
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Sample Reports

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Can I have an Amen!
    you bet... Amen.
    well said Rick.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Forman View Post
    Jim,
    Please do not do an onsite report in the beginning of your career. I have been in the residential construction industry for over 30 years. Have performed home inspections for many of them, from the construction side, and still made mistakes when I first started performing home inspections as a business. Get yourself a good reporting software and study it. Do several, if not more, practice reports. Take the time to adjust and make the report your own. Then, when you perform your first home inspection, complete the report, print the report and proof read it, before posting it online for your customer.

    There will be many realtors that want a report produced on site. I promise to deliver a report, via email, within 24 hours. If this will not fulfill their needs then I don't work for them. I will not risk everything just to get business, referrals, from a specific realtor. Generally, as a rule, the client will be more than willing to wait when you explain that you truly have their best interest at hand and you want everything to be correct.

    Good Luck!
    Yea, do the report at home at first, send it the next day. That way if you have an epiphany at 3am, you can modify the report before sending it.

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

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