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Thread: Perceived Value

  1. #1
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    Default Perceived Value

    In the past couple of weeks, I have had 3 inspections cancel due to the buyer deciding to save their money and forgo the inspection. I’ve also heard from a few realtors that they’re also noticing a trend where many buyers are opting to pass on inspection. When questioned the response is buyers don’t see the value in paying $500 for some worthless inspection report that has little or no substance.

    I’ve done many inspections where the previous inspection report was left behind and was shocked to see many inspectors still doing 10 or 15-page check-list reports. Many of these reports only show check-marks for various items as “functional” or “inspected”. Where concerns are noted, the comments were condensed into a three or four word (scribbled) sentence (ie: no ground clearance). Absolutely worthless ! Is it any wonder the buying public is disappointed with the price their paying vs what we’re providing.

    These “Quickie-Drive-By” inspections are eroding the perceived value of Professional Home Inspections. We all want to be paid top-dollar so step-up and provide a professional service. Let’s stop this internal erosion before many more buyers decide to just download a copy of your worthless check-list and do their own inspections.

    When I see these check-list reports, I can’t help but think, there’s just not enough detail or information in there to keep me out of court. When I first attended a HI software presentation many years ago, the thing that impressed me was the presenter’s comment of how our reports aren’t really read by our clients, but are REALLY read in great detail by our client’s lawyers, who are looking for things to sue us over.

    I used to think no problem… these guys will either get sued or quit the business in a year or so anyway, but now I worry about the damage they’re doing to the perceived value and the future of our profession. So, for those of you still doing these quick-no-substance inspections, throw those worthless reports in the recycle bin and step-up to professional software, we’ll ALL be glad you did.

    Last edited by Joe Klampfer; 06-29-2012 at 03:32 PM.
    Inspection Referral
    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

  2. #2

    Default Re: Perceived Value

    I don't think it's fair to make blanket statements like this. We still use paper-based reports and our clients and agents love them. We love them because when we leave the site, we are DONE! No going back to the office to generate reports.
    I'm sure we'll be forced to go the software route eventually, but it won't be without struggle. We have yet to find a software package that fulfills all our requirements.
    I do resent the assertion that such an inspection is a "quickie drive by". Our inspections exceed the ASHI and state SOP and contain all the information the homeowner needs. We have NEVER had someone tell us they wished there was a lot more detail, or more pages! Sometimes getting them to read just a 16-page report is hard enough; some of these 70-page novellas are overwhelming.
    The perception of value comes not from the type of report presented, but from the inspector doing the reporting!! Even the slickest report won't compensate for a home inspector with poor communication skills and an inability to explain defects and issues to a client.

    Welmoed Sisson
    Inspections by Bob, LLC, Boyds, MD
    "Given sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine."

  3. #3

    Default Re: Perceived Value

    I think your focus of the problem is off. Let me rephrase that: I Know it's off.


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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Klampfer View Post


    I’ve done many inspections where the previous inspection report was left behind and was shocked to see many inspectors still doing 10 or 15-page check-list reports. Many of these reports only show check-marks for various items as “functional” or “inspected”. Where concerns are noted, the comments were condensed into a three or four word (scribbled) sentence (ie: no ground clearance). Absolutely worthless ! Is it any wonder the buying public is disappointed with the price their paying vs what we’re providing.


    I used to think no problem… these guys will either get sued or quit the business in a year or so anyway, but now I worry about the damage they’re doing to the perceived value and the future of our profession. So, for those of you still doing these quick-no-substance inspections, throw those worthless reports in the recycle bin and step-up to professional software, we’ll ALL be glad you did.
    Joe , you need to read more computer generated reports
    I used to agree with your thoughts until I started reviewing reports.

    Granted due to todays technology the check lists may be outdated, but most "professional software " reports straight out of the box from most venders [that claim their reports meet all standards ] suck greater, and can possibly do more harm to our profession, the home buyer, and inspector, than a proven check list report that meets most org and state standards.

    Last edited by Dan Harris; 06-29-2012 at 04:00 PM.
    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    Joe , you need to read more computer generated reports
    I used to agree with your thoughts until I started reviewing reports.

    ... "professional software " reports straight from the vender suck greater, and can possibly do more harm to our profession, the home buyer, and inspector, than a proven check list report that meets most org and state standards.
    Yes, years ago I served on a diisciplinary committee and saw many report styles and agree, there’s nothing wrong with a well written check-list report (I used them for years) but the ones I’ve seen lately looked more like an inventory check-list .

    I also agree the canned narratives in report software are only intended to get you started, the user really needs to create their own comments & statements.

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Welmoed,
    I used paper reports for close to 15 years. Toward the end I also added digital photos by bringing a printer and printing out the photos and handwriting notes on them. I also used to use 35mm and 1 hour photos to add photos when I really needed them. I agree that you can have a very comprehensive handwritten paper report.

    However, the reality is that the industry has changed/evolved. The "norm" now is computer generated reports with digital photos. If someone has never had a home inspection before, they wouldn't know the difference between a paper report, and a PDF report - not a big deal. But if the client has had several home inspections, and the last paper report was 10 years ago, they are going to feel "slighted", because they have SEEN the difference, and the KNOW the difference. I can almost bet they would be asking you for more details.

    It took a long time for me to decide to change to a computer based system. In fact, I was really pushed into it by a friend that decided to make the change for his multi inspector company. My friend is into all the latest electronic stuff and I respect his opinion and vision when it comes to inspections. I piggy backed on his hard work checking out software and tweaking the libraries. I was very lucky that I listened to him, and didn't drag my feet.

    I've been using computer reports for 7 or 8 years now and lost count of the raves I have gotten from my reports, thanking me for the extra photos and details.

    While you claim to exceed ASHI SOP, etc, that isn't hard to do at all, in fact it could probably be done on a small stack of 3x5 cards. My reports typically are between 35 - 45 pages, and may contain anywhere from 20 - 50 photos. I also finish my report on site, so when I leave, I am finished too. The difference is I give my client a fantastic report, you give them what you think they need.

    You are spot on about the report isn't the end all. However, inspectors being equal, the computer report will make a much bigger impression.

    I've only been doing this 23+ years, i'm still learning. Do yourself a favor - go computer, you will kick yourself you didn't do it sooner.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I've been using computer reports for 7 or 8 years now and lost count of the raves I have gotten from my reports, thanking me for the extra photos and details.

    While you claim to exceed ASHI SOP, etc, that isn't hard to do at all, in fact it could probably be done on a small stack of 3x5 cards. My reports typically are between 35 - 45 pages, and may contain anywhere from 20 - 50 photos. I also finish my report on site, so when I leave, I am finished too. The difference is I give my client a fantastic report, you give them what you think they need.

    You are spot on about the report isn't the end all. However, inspectors being equal, the computer report will make a much bigger impression.

    I've only been doing this 23+ years, i'm still learning. Do yourself a favor - go computer, you will kick yourself you didn't do it sooner.
    I find it difficult to think that a home inspector of today would not be using computer reports.

    While I retired from home inspectors 6 years ago and am not up on current reports (heck, I was not up on other reports systems even back then as I wrote my own inspection program), but I can tell you that the computer report you use will, as Jack said "However, inspectors being equal, the computer report will make a much bigger impression."

    I started using a notebook in the field for my inspections in 1994, and like Jack, I carried a printer and issued on-site reports when I was done.

    Over the years my report and the information in them grew in size so I stopped issuing on-site reports (at that time I had a large laser printer in my inspection van which would print 16-20 ppm) and started issuing the reports the next day or day after I finished the inspection (almost all of my inspections were multi-day inspections, so my clients understood the delay for the finished report).

    A LOT has changed since I started using a notebook computer in the field in 1994 - take advantage of the leaps in technology in both hardware AND software. I do not know of anyone who made the change to computer reports who regretted it and went back to the way they did it before.

    Build it, they will come.

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

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Which is the best vehicle to have?
    The one you like.
    The one that fits your needs.

    BTW
    I drive a Ford F150 crew cab, had one since 1987
    If you drive anything else you are driving the wrong vehicle, and IMO you are making the HI industry look bad.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Wood View Post
    I had two friends who were Ford truck mechanics and they cursed them every day.
    Sounds like the Maytag repair man

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Wood View Post
    I own a Dodge Ram and it is the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. 280000km and still going strong.
    Don't worry, some day you'll have a newer truck.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Which is the best vehicle to have?
    The one you like.
    The one that fits your needs.
    That part is right.

    This part is not:
    [/quote]BTW
    I drive a Ford F150 crew cab, had one since 1987
    If you drive anything else you are driving the wrong vehicle, and IMO you are making the HI industry look bad. [/QUOTE]

    I drove a Chevy conversion van with a portable office set up in it, client wanted to discuss things in private ... 'Welcome to my office away from the office."

    Pick'em up truck? Yuck!

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

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Which is the best vehicle to have?
    The one you like.
    The one that fits your needs.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That part is right.
    Exactly

    A computer does not make an inspector good
    (or even any better), nor does a computer generate well written reports. Inspectors that are knowledgeable and consistent do.
    Computer generated reports simply enable a poor inspector to disguise his (her) inability. Just as using a calculator does not makes one an expert at math. Have you ever seen a cashier that could not count change, they rely on the cash register.
    I'm not saying if you use report software you not a good inspector.
    I'm saying if you think that software makes you a good (better) inspector, well then for you, it probably did.

    Last edited by Rick Cantrell; 06-29-2012 at 10:27 PM.
    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    A hand written check list or computer generated report may be debated here but the bottom line is the report needs to identify:

    1. Your observation
    2. Your analysis or opinion of the observation
    3. Your recommendation.

    That information should be clear to the client so that they understand the condition of the home along with any major defects and can have the documented information necessary for further discussion with the seller or others. (contractors, repair persons)

    It should be clear and concise so that the seller or others do not need to call you for debate or unnecessary questions of clarity.

    That said - I have only found that only a computer generated report with the inspectors "personal library of comments" in the format developed by the inspector along with digital pictures to best convey this information.

    I have never seen a check list report meet those requirements. If anyone has written a check list report that does, please post a sample for us to see.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Ken,
    In defense of paper reports, they can and do meet your criteria. Usually it requires the use of a "symbol key".
    For instance, if I use the following "key"...
    1 means get an engineer
    2 means needs repair by qualified, etc
    3 means termites
    4 means corrections for safety
    5 means whatever.

    There might be a check box where I call out major cracks in the foundation. The end of the checked comment will have a number 1. This tells the client that I have seen a large crack, and in my opinion it needs an engineer.

    Just about every check list report I have seen has a code/key like this. Its usually on each report page as a reminder for the client. By the way, I have seen hundreds of reports, since I used to be a report verifier for ASHI.

    Like I said, I used paper reports for years. I would also write notes on the report pages where I felt more information was needed. I also used a blank page and wrote a mini narrative hitting the high points, and/or to clarify points that needed more explanation.

    Paper check list reports do meet (and can exceed) any SOP if filled out properly - and THAT"S the key...they have to be filled out properly. Of course, there are lots of inspectors that use computer reports that produce some of the worst reports I have ever seen (and they don't come close to meeting SOP).

    Obviously, its the inspector that make the report understandable - not the format.


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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    obviously a very different market up there in Canada. Buyers around here are opting for more inspections and better inspections. The check box idiots seem to be getting less referrals in the last year from their reultor pals. Buyers also aren't automatically going with who their reultor recommends.
    Many buyers around here have gotten far more educated about the importance of understanding the house they are buying. A lot of this has to do with the somewhat well exposed construction and rehab issues in our area. Buyers are understanding the 'pretty pig' concept more and more.
    I've also seen a new trend emerging. During and post Boom I was doing a fair amount of inspections for people who had already paid one of the franchise check box idiots for an inspection. They got the report, and even though they didn't know anything about construction, they knew the report was garbage.
    Lately, I've been getting more and more buyers commenting about how they got burned on the inspection for their current place. They bought the Condo, townhome, yuppy whatever and followed the reultor lead all the way down the line. They got into the home and realized that there were a whole lot of issues that no one mentioned to them. Now they want to make sure they get a real inspection that gives them an understanding of the property so they can make an informed decision. Works out great for me.
    i recently saw another check box garbage report. Whenever i see these things i'm always somewhat fascinated. They are garbage but technically they comply with the SOP enough to keep themselves out of hot water. But of course they never convey any real understanding of the property.
    As far as HI value, I tell callers flat out 'i don't do check box garbage' reports. I explain they will have a clear understanding of property conditions. If people are canceling on you, I would suggest working on how you explain the value of your service. The rare times people balk on the HI price, I tell them flat out they can go on craigslist and pay $99 for some garbage report. Explain to the customer what it is you do and what type of information you provide. Don't give them the 'i meet all required SOP's'. Big whoppie doo; that doesn't mean squat when trying to explain value to a potential customer.
    Figure out the highlights of your service; key experience, abilities, technical highlights or reporting info that makes you better. Turn them into bullet points on a 3x5 card and keep next to phone.
    ok, ill stop rambling

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Welmoed Sisson View Post
    We still use paper-based reports and our clients and agents love them.
    Yes, as Jack said, your (first time) clients just don't know any different, as far as Realtors, the thinner the report the better they like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Welmoed Sisson View Post
    We love them because when we leave the site, we are DONE! No going back to the office to generate reports.
    Yes, that was my most difficult adjustment in upgrading my report style.

    Quote Originally Posted by Welmoed Sisson View Post
    I do resent the assertion that such an inspection is a "quickie drive by".
    Yes, the term Drive-by is a little harsh but come on, you can't tell me your not saving a lot of time on-site. How long does it take to tick a few boxes?

    Don't you see, that's the perception and the title of this thread... "Percieved Value"

    Your client shows up late and may only see you flushing a toilet or two & flipping a few light switches, then their handed a laundry-list of tick-boxes. Even then those reports can be hard to read with all the codes and needing to flip back & forth to dicipher the Legend. I've been in the business since '97 and even I find those reports hard to read, Imagine someone seeing one of these reports for the first time, that's why many don't even read them, it doesn't flow well & makes no sense to them. Again, before you get your shorts in a bunch, I'm speaking gereralities here.

    When they leave, there is probably a small smidgen of thought that leaves them thinking, wow. the guy was there only 2 hrs, hands me this thin little report and it cost me how much ? Gee, I wish I earned $200/hr !

    That's the flavour I don't want my clients left with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Welmoed Sisson View Post
    Our inspections exceed the ASHI and state SOP and contain all the information the homeowner needs.
    Again, as Jack said, to meet SOP may impress new home buyers but we in the industry all know that's very easy to do, as far as all the homeowner needs? Really ?? Oftentimes they don't know what they need but their lawyers will, when they look over a poorly written report with only a tick box saying "functional".

    Quote Originally Posted by Welmoed Sisson View Post
    The perception of value comes not from the type of report presented, but from the inspector doing the reporting!! Even the slickest report won't compensate for a home inspector with poor communication skills and an inability to explain defects and issues to a client.
    Absolutely agree 100%

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Thornberry View Post
    I think your focus of the problem is off. Let me rephrase that: I Know it's off.
    Just like those reports that just don't quite say enough... please explain

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

  17. #17
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Opting out of a $ 500.00 inspection on a ~ $ 300,000.00 investment is a very unwise decision, ( being excessively kind ). Inspector skill, reputation, expertise, knowledge, compentency etc. all aside, the objectivity that an inspector provides is alone worth the $ 500.00. Purchasing a home is an emotional experience. Leading with the heart / emotion and pocket books do not always pair well. An inspector, ( again regardless of competency ), does not have that emotional hook, has no attachment to any monetary values involved and in many cases does not know any of the values involved. Critically important that a prospective buyer get out of their own way and ask someone who is unattached what they think. The decision remains theirs. It will just be a better informed decision. A long winded "Penny Wise and Pound Foolish" speech.


  18. #18

    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Joe, I'm not going to belabor the issue but until a computer program is created that will work for us, we're sticking with paper. Our reports are not just a checklist; we have about 20 different brochures and supplemental materials that we've written ourselves that gets included as needed (such a one about fireplaces, another on old electrical service, one on lead paint, etc). Our clients range from the first-time homebuyer to people with lots of buying experience. We've never had one express dismay at our paper reports and, in fact, have gotten many jobs BECAUSE we deliver on-site. And trust me, we don't do $99 inspections!!
    This issue is very similar to the Mac/PC schism; people can be passionate about their choices. I'm not going to insult anyone who chooses to use a software-based reporting system; why should I tolerate being insulted for choosing something different? We're supposed to be here to support one another, not belittle. Disagreeing with someone is fine, but name-calling and petty insults should have no place here.
    Our system works fine for us; our business is booming. "If it ain't broke..."

    Welmoed Sisson
    Inspections by Bob, LLC, Boyds, MD
    "Given sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine."

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Joe, you may have noticed, the number 1 issue for the CAHPI(BC) Complaints Revue board is illegible hand writing. What good is a comment if the client can't even read it?

    But here's the flip side. We can offer either or, a paper report in a binder onsite, or a beautiful digital report with pictures and commentary no later than tomorrow AM. Invariably, our clients say they want the report now. It costs us money. I can produce a pretty nice digital report but they will have to wait for it. "No, just gimme the list" is what I hear.

    My digital reports don't contain fluff to fill up a lot of pages. "A bathroom can consist of a toilet, sink and may include a tub, shower or both. Some bathrooms include a bidet."

    The important items in the report are the defects. The rest is description and letting people know that you inspected the important major systems. I did a deficiency list for a new house yesterday AM. A summary sheet with 6 or 7 items written on it went to the builder. The rest is description, siding is this, roof is that. I give them a disc with pictures that plays like a slide show of the house from top to bottom. Defects are closeup shots. The binder is full of hand written comments. Nothing is in code. I always tell them to call me with questions but they never do.

    I have seen digital reports printed out that looked really good with a nice cover shot but missed a defect or two. A couple of electrical issues missed maybe, could be a fire or shock hazard, oh well. The other thing I see is the defects are buried under paragraphs of description and boiler plate. The clients don't have time to read all that. The realtor is standing there with a pen and a contract. Some people have reading disorders. Highlight the defects.

    You are right about people skipping the inspection. I see that here too. Realtors are taking chances there, not having a home inspector to throw under the bus.

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

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Joe, you may have noticed, the number 1 issue for the CAHPI(BC) Complaints Revue board is illegible hand writing. What good is a comment if the client can't even read it?
    Yes, reading it is one thing but when there are only a few words scribbled, it's difficult for anyone to understand the full implications. So not only is this costing us as an industry (reputation, perceived value, etc) but it also cost us at the insurance level.


    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I have seen digital reports printed out that looked really good with a nice cover shot but missed a defect or two.
    Yes, we're all human and prone to having a bad-day, god knows I've had my share, but I'll sometimes check-out a posters web-site & look at their "sample report". I chuckle whenever I see a photo & comment of something relatively minor but with no mention of the bigger issue missed within that same photo. Again, it can happen to even seasoned inspectors.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    You are right about people skipping the inspection. I see that here too. Realtors are taking chances there, not having a home inspector to throw under the bus.
    A smart Realtor will just add a comment to the contract that'll read something like "buyer was advised but refused a home inspection..." That way they're covered & everything falls back onto the buyer.

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    The clients don't have time to read all that. The realtor is standing there with a pen and a contract. Some people have reading disorders. Highlight the defects.[/quote]

    Sorry about cherry picking your post, but I could not agree more w/ the boiler-plate and un-necessary reading. The only reason for reporting that the bathroom has a tile floor is to prove you were there. It seems so absurd to me to be telling clients where there is carpet, that the countertops are granite, the walls are plasterboard, etc. It's like no s__t Sherlock. Reports should be broken into two components; the essence and the CYA portion. It is not until some form of buyer's remorse / latent defect manifests that anything other than the summary is read.


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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Welmoed Sisson View Post
    why should I tolerate being insulted for choosing something different? We're supposed to be here to support one another, not belittle. Disagreeing with someone is fine, but name-calling and petty insults should have no place here.
    Our system works fine for us; our business is booming. "If it ain't broke..."
    Sorry Welmoed, I'm not trying to insult or belittle anyone here but hoped we would all be a little more aware of the perception that may be developing in our industry.

    Have you ever seen a professional engineering firm (or any other professional Co., short of a home-repair service Co.) charge big money for their services then provide a tick-box report ? Yet they somehow collaborate and manage to keep their fees up there. We on the other hand seem to be spiraling downward. If anyone doesn’t think perceived value is important…

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    The clients don't have time to read all that. The realtor is standing there with a pen and a contract...
    Doesn’t matter, you need it in there to keep you OUT of court . Not necessarily the long-winded “I wasn’t there” – “I saw nothing” boilerplate but you need to accurately describe the current condition of the problem & what should be done to correct it.

    I don’t care the Realtor is standing there with pen in-hand waiting to remove conditions, it’s my insurance plan at stake here.

    I find your need to fight this concept a little scary & quite frankly I’m glad you’re not a part of our (CAHPI-BC) legal benefits program.

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    A computer does not make an inspector good
    (or even any better), nor does a computer generate well written reports. Inspectors that are knowledgeable and consistent do.
    Computers enable good inspectors to product better reports with better information. Note the use of the term "enable", the same term you used, computers "enable" people to do things better and with more consistency, and provide reports which are legible and more usable.

    Computer generated reports simply enable a poor inspector to disguise his (her) inability.
    Incorrect. Computer reports enable a good inspector to better communicate what they are telling their client.

    Just as using a calculator does not makes one an expert at math.
    Correct ... sort of ... the calculator does enable a person to do more complicated math with a better chance of being correct because they make fewer mistakes with the calculator than writing it our longhand.

    I'm saying if you think that software makes you a good (better) inspector, well then for you, it probably did.
    And I'm saying that if an inspector, even you, can use a computer to provide reports which are more legible and provide more information to your client, then the computer DOES make for a better inspector because the inspector can now relay more and better information to the client, and in a format which the client can better understand the information.

    Does the computer do the inspection for the inspector? Of course not, get real. But if a computer does not allow you to be better ... go back to pencil and paper ... your competition will like you for that.

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

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    I agree with Joe, I think the checkbox reports are bringing down the "perceived value". But, then again, so do other things such as inexperienced or under educated inspectors. Heck even inspectors who inspect strictly to the "standards" bring down the "perceived value". The fact that we here in MN have no licensing brings down the "perceived value".

    I believe the main reason we still see checklist reports is due to the inability of the inspector or fear of the computer or software itself. I've hired and fired several inspectors who just could not figure out the computer or software, even after 3 weeks of training. To be completely honest I've been using Home Gauge for the past 5 or 6 years and I still find things on there I had no idea it could do. When I first transitioned to it it took me about a week of just looking at it and about 5 practice inspections to even feel comfortable using it.

    Are computer generated reports better than check list reports? Yes if both are done correctly.

    Example:
    Check list report: TPR valve on the wter heater is leeking. Repairs by a qualified plumbing contracter are nececcary.

    Computer report: TPR valve on the water heater is leaking. Repairs by a qualified plumbing contractor are necessary. (followed by a picture of the water heater with an arrow pointing at the TPR valve and a red circle on the floor around the water that has leaked out.

    The client reads the check list report and wonders what a TPR valve is, or maybe even "what the heck is a water heater?"

    The client reads the computer report and sees the picture and thinks, "oh, that's that thing I saw in the basement". By the way, spell check corrected the spelling errors on the computer report.

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

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Computers enable good inspectors to product better reports with better information. Note the use of the term "enable", the same term you used, computers "enable" people to do things better and with more consistency, and provide reports which are legible and more usable.



    Incorrect. Computer reports enable a good inspector to better communicate what they are telling their client.



    Correct ... sort of ... the calculator does enable a person to do more complicated math with a better chance of being correct because they make fewer mistakes with the calculator than writing it our longhand.



    And I'm saying that if an inspector, even you, can use a computer to provide reports which are more legible and provide more information to your client, then the computer DOES make for a better inspector because the inspector can now relay more and better information to the client, and in a format which the client can better understand the information.

    Does the computer do the inspection for the inspector? Of course not, get real. But if a computer does not allow you to be better ... go back to pencil and paper ... your competition will like you for that.
    Jerry
    Two sides of the same coin.
    I agree with everything you said, with two exceptions:
    "Incorrect" Your statement can be true as well as the statement I made. Neither statement is exclusive of the other.

    "DOES" I think a more accurate word is CAN
    the computer CAN make for a better inspector...

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Little problem with your Example #1 there Ken. I don't know what kind of check box reports you see up there but around here I don't recall seeing a checkbox report that had enough room on it to write two sentences.
    Your point though brings up one of the great shortcomings of checkbox reports. They don't convey the information to the client in a manner that they can understand. Unless a buyer is from the trades they aren't going to know what all the verbiage and abbreviations mean.
    Most of the time i can interpret what the checkbox report says; but there have been a few where i didn't even know what the stupid thing was trying to convey.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Check list are a valuable tool for every inspector
    I use check list, every day.
    Programming alarm panels
    Daily, weekly,...,To do list
    Phone messages, return calls
    When planning a:
    Home renovation;
    repairs to be made and in what order, materials needed, sub contractors...
    Rental Property:
    Application, background, credit, references, previous landlords,
    move in- out; Repair Punch list, ...
    Planning a vacation;
    passports, travel, lodging, cell phone, stop mail, someone to check on the dogs and house,
    Every pilot in the world was taught to use several check lists, before, during, and after flight.

    Even though I do use a check list, I do not give out a check list report.
    Well except for maybe experienced investors, and even then I include some narrative.

    Here's my view of (most) software packages, (including Report software).

    I can go to the Art Supply Store, and buy a kit that includes all the brushes, paints, canvas,... to paint a masterpiece. But can I Paint a masterpiece? Not a chance. Everything is there I should be able to do it.
    In a similar manner software does not give you any skills or talent, you do not already possess.
    The biggest problem see with report software is, much like instant certifications, software enables the novice inspector to have the appearance of being more experienced than they actually are.
    Remember, a novice inspector does not have the capability to produce a well written narrative report, but can produce a good looking report using software.

    Another example
    In about two hours, I could teach any one of you to program an alarm panel.
    Well, except maybe Jerry, he might take longer (you know, something about "Old dogs").
    But you still would not know what you are doing, or why.

    I have a head cold and took something for it, boy did I lose my train of thought.

    Added in edit

    Now I remember (I think).
    If you are able to paint a masterpiece, you don't use, and certainly don't need a kit.

    Last edited by Rick Cantrell; 07-01-2012 at 09:26 AM.
    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    After reading my post above this, I see that my comparison of Jerry to "Old dogs" could be considered an insult.
    That was not intended. I have a lot of respect for all (well maybe most) of you, and most of all Jerry.
    No one has contacted me about this, I just felt bad that it may have looked like an insult instead of just poking.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Rick,
    In agreement, that you can create a painting by filling the numbers with the correct color and it will lok like a painting. Yet you will not understand why each color was used nor its intended effect combined with other colors.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Rick,
    In agreement, that you can create a painting by filling the numbers with the correct color and it will lok like a painting. Yet you will not understand why each color was used nor its intended effect combined with other colors.
    How is that different from what I said?
    I can go to the Art Supply Store, and buy a kit that includes all the brushes, paints, canvas,... to paint a masterpiece. But can I Paint a masterpiece? Not a chance. Everything is there I should be able to do it.
    In a similar manner software does not give you any skills or talent, you do not already possess.


    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    After reading my post above this, I see that my comparison of Jerry to "Old dogs" could be considered an insult.
    That was not intended. I have a lot of respect for all (well maybe most) of you, and most of all Jerry.
    No one has contacted me about this, I just felt bad that it may have looked like an insult instead of just poking.
    Rick,

    I saw it and ignored it ... either that or I am just to "Old Dog" to have learned how to read it and understand what was being said ...

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

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Rick,

    I saw it and ignored it ... either that or I am just to "Old Dog" to have learned how to read it and understand what was being said ...
    I thought as much.
    However I have been told that sometimes what I intended to write is not the same as what some read it as.
    Just wanted to make sure.
    Thanks

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Rick,
    In agreement, that you can create a painting by filling the numbers with the correct color and it will lok like a painting. Yet you will not understand why each color was used nor its intended effect combined with other colors.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    How is that different from what I said?
    I can go to the Art Supply Store, and buy a kit that includes all the brushes, paints, canvas,... to paint a masterpiece. But can I Paint a masterpiece? Not a chance. Everything is there I should be able to do it.
    In a similar manner software does not give you any skills or talent, you do not already possess.
    Now I see it, you agree.
    See, I told you I had a head cold and was taking meds.
    I'm very sensitive to meds.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Yeah, who ya callin' an old dog, ya little snot-nosed whelp?
    "Snot-nosed", yeah, that's why I was taking the meds.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    What to do, what to do.....The checklist computer reports are as vague as the handwritten ones--and the computer reports that place dense paragraphs of boiler-plate/disclaimers preceding or following every report section present a bit of an irony: many disclaimers and boilerplate are actually more specific and descriptive of the exemptions extended to the inspector than the report is of the inspectors findings! I've read comments on this site from inspectors who post with some regularlity and read first hand their understanding of defect issues, their background, etc., and come away impressed. But, when I go to their web site to read their sample report....it's vague. The report does nothing to suggest this is the same person who posts. Maybe I've got it all wrong..but if you see a three-wire feed to garage branch panel is less than 60-amps, where no alternative path for objectionable current is present, lacks a ground rod, has isolated neutrals, 8 disconnects and provides secondary distribution wiring alongside active preexisting distribution wiring routed from the main panel..what do you do? Check the 'improper wiring at garage panel' box and move on?
    Checklists became mandatory for the early pilots of twin-engine aircraft. The work load of the second engine, the fact that the aircraft just got bigger, heavier, was less maneuverable, carried more people, had exponential complexity of each system, the flights longer and over less forgiving terrain, etc, etc, required the crew have a check list...an effective tool when used between similarly trained professionals...but to use a check list as a disclosure to an untrained recipient? Not for me.



  37. #37
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    Default Re: Perceived Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Klampfer View Post
    In the past couple of weeks, I have had 3 inspections cancel due to the buyer deciding to save their money and forgo the inspection. I’ve also heard from a few realtors that they’re also noticing a trend where many buyers are opting to pass on inspection. When questioned the response is buyers don’t see the value in paying $500 for some worthless inspection report that has little or no substance.

    I’ve done many inspections where the previous inspection report was left behind and was shocked to see many inspectors still doing 10 or 15-page check-list reports. Many of these reports only show check-marks for various items as “functional” or “inspected”. Where concerns are noted, the comments were condensed into a three or four word (scribbled) sentence (ie: no ground clearance). Absolutely worthless ! Is it any wonder the buying public is disappointed with the price their paying vs what we’re providing.

    These “Quickie-Drive-By” inspections are eroding the perceived value of Professional Home Inspections. We all want to be paid top-dollar so step-up and provide a professional service. Let’s stop this internal erosion before many more buyers decide to just download a copy of your worthless check-list and do their own inspections.

    When I see these check-list reports, I can’t help but think, there’s just not enough detail or information in there to keep me out of court. When I first attended a HI software presentation many years ago, the thing that impressed me was the presenter’s comment of how our reports aren’t really read by our clients, but are REALLY read in great detail by our client’s lawyers, who are looking for things to sue us over.

    I used to think no problem… these guys will either get sued or quit the business in a year or so anyway, but now I worry about the damage they’re doing to the perceived value and the future of our profession. So, for those of you still doing these quick-no-substance inspections, throw those worthless reports in the recycle bin and step-up to professional software, we’ll ALL be glad you did.
    Joe, just read one of those "Checkbox chickenscratch" reports !!! Realtor's clients wanted a PE. The realtor is a friend of mine and the report is pathetic - he sent me a copy. The best part about it was the clients asked when the final report would be sent and the PE replied " I just handed it to you." Then the client asked "where's the pictures?" The PE's reponse- " I don't have have a camera." Hope them client's choke on the $575 PE chickenscratch report !!!


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