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  1. #1
    Ed Moore's Avatar
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    Default Inspection software

    As a new home inspector, I'm Curious about which software members are using and what features they like best about their choice.
    Thanks!

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    Last edited by Ed Moore; 09-22-2007 at 11:22 AM. Reason: Unclear question
    NHIE Practice Exam

  2. #2
    Chad Fabry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Hi Ed,

    I use InspectExpress. I like it because it's so malleable. I can easily add or change boiler, add custom comments and photo insertion is a breeze.

    All of the major programs have features like this...it boils down to what you're comfortable using.

    Everyone has a demo program to try.

    The topic has been discussed ad infinitum...do a search. There's plenty to read.

    Last edited by Chad Fabry; 09-22-2007 at 11:33 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Ed - This version of the board isn't very old, but there is an archive from the previous version you can search - click on "Message Board" in the right hand column and you'll see "Board Archive" at the bottom. It has some quirks, so be patient, but there's a huge amount of info there.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    I use 3D and have so since it was in DOS! The verbiage out of the box is typical Inspector Speak, I have changed about 90% of the canned verbiage.

    Works well for me.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Homegauge, the software and the guys behind it are the best. Try it. I have never had the type of service they provide. You are missing out by not looking into this. Wayne


  6. #6
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    I have to put in my $0.02 worth as well.

    I use the Whisper Solutions product. They have two releases ... Whisper PI and Whisper Reporter. Reporter is the new release that has been out about a year.

    Very customizable (is that proper spelling?). But, as indicated ... it is what works best for you and what you are comfortable with.

    They (like many of the other providers) have a download you can take home and play with. Whisper downloads, as many others, have "full" capability for you to demo for ~ 30-days.

    Whisper Computer Solutions, Inc. - Home of WhisperPI, Property Inspection Report Software

    If you click on the first part of the link you will go to WhisperSolutions. If you click on the "end" portion of the link you will go to HomeGuage. Something about putting such links on the IN board that does this.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    I use Interspect Voice Interspect Voice

    I can speak to my computer through a wireless headset and add photos while doing the inspection.

    I've been using it for 5 months.

    The support has been great and they have gone over and above for me.

    My .02 cents,
    Bruce


  8. #8

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Homegauge, the software and the guys behind it are the best. Try it. I have never had the type of service they provide. You are missing out by not looking into this. Wayne
    I second that.


  9. #9
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    Homegauge, the software and the guys behind it are the best. Try it. I have never had the type of service they provide. You are missing out by not looking into this. Wayne
    Agreed


  10. #10
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    Smile Re: Inspection software

    Ed,
    I have used Palm-Tech for several years on a Dell Axim X51v and am happy with it. You can do (oh I hate to say it ) on site reports with photos.

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

  11. #11
    wade chapman's Avatar
    wade chapman Guest

    Thumbs up Re: Inspection software

    Hi Ed, I Like Nolan use Whisper Soultions Products. I have been using them for 4 years now and I am every happy with these products.


  12. #12
    Ed Moore's Avatar
    Ed Moore Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Thanks guys for all of the great responses. Keep them coming.
    Now for my next question. Does anyone have experience with or opinions about the "InspectNOW" software?


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Ed.. never tried the above mentioned.
    Home gauge does have a great rep as do the others.
    Whisper seems to be a favorite in Texas.
    I use Horizon which is the best on-line software , fast and plenty of illustrations built in to make the report look great.
    That being said I am not sure why I would ever need a word based program as one can load canned comments and such on to a cheap multi-clipboard program and have greater control of the final product.
    If that is what you are looking for however then Inspect Master is cheaper at I believe 599.00.
    If you just want to get your feet wet and practice go over to Report Host for at least 10 free copies.It is web based but not PDF enabled which is probably the preferred delivery method for the pros.


  14. #14
    Lewis Capaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    I use InspectVue, although I was going to switch to Home Gauge this spring until I fell for another promise about the release of the new Version 5, which is now a year and a half past the original announced release date. I'm beginning to believe that there is no Version 5 and that Porter Valley only promises the new version to entice people to pay the $250 annual fee in hopes of seeing it. The last release date announced was June 20, Lorne says, once again, that it's all Microsoft's fault and that he continues to have problems getting the new version to run in Vista. A software company that can't get their product to run in any new operating system in 18 months may not be worth dealing with. In February I will switch to Home Gauge if there is no Version 5.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis Capaul View Post
    I use InspectVue, although I was going to switch to Home Gauge this spring until I fell for another promise about the release of the new Version 5, which is now a year and a half past the original announced release date. I'm beginning to believe that there is no Version 5 and that Porter Valley only promises the new version to entice people to pay the $250 annual fee in hopes of seeing it. The last release date announced was June 20, Lorne says, once again, that it's all Microsoft's fault and that he continues to have problems getting the new version to run in Vista. A software company that can't get their product to run in any new operating system in 18 months may not be worth dealing with. In February I will switch to Home Gauge if there is no Version 5.
    fwiw.... Vista is a nightmare. I just had to upgrade all of my fairly new software because it wasn't Vista compatible. New Quickbooks, Adobe, credit card processing software and others. It ended up costing more than the computer itself... It must be nice to have a monopoly...

    You're right though, 18 months is a long time to get their act together. I think the smaller software companies are the ones who really get shafted by Vista. They just don't have the manpower (or knowledge?) to completely update they're product quickly.


  16. #16
    wade chapman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Ed Go to Whisper Computer Solutions, Inc. - Home of WhisperPI, Property Inspection Report Software and down load the Wisper reporter and Wisper image lite try free for 30 days. you will get the full version it will save you time and money


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Wade ..why is it that all the Texas inspectors swear by Whisper yet outside of that not to many.
    I mean are there special sections for cattle and oil rigs, or whats the deal here.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Wade ..why is it that all the Texas inspectors swear by Whisper yet outside of that not to many.
    I mean are there special sections for cattle and oil rigs, or whats the deal here.
    Those special sections are just right out in the rear yard.

    Bob,

    I guess I'm one of the few who don't use Whisper. Have had Inspect-It program for years and quite happy with it.

    Any other TX inspectors that may be using Inspect-It program, I heard that Brian Murphy is having a seminar this Friday somewhere around the Dallas area to show you how to get the most out of the program. You can find his number on the TAREI website and maybe give him a call to be sure.

    rick


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Those special sections are just right out in the rear yard.

    Bob,

    I guess I'm one of the few who don't use Whisper. Have had Inspect-It program for years and quite happy with it.

    Any other TX inspectors that may be using Inspect-It program, I heard that Brian Murphy is having a seminar this Friday somewhere around the Dallas area to show you how to get the most out of the program. You can find his number on the TAREI website and maybe give him a call to be sure.

    rick
    I'm from TX and I don't use Whisper . I used the InspectIt program until about 5 mos. ago and switched to Interspect Voice. One of the neat features is that it allows you to go through the house room by room and then the software places everything on TREC form where it needs to go.

    You'll find that each inspector likes the one he/she is using. Most have a free trial period. Look at them all and then make your choice.

    Bruce


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Bruce,

    My son has a new Toshiba Life Book, and it has voice recognition on it. The only thing is that it doesn't comphend the Texan language very well.

    Seriously, I would make the trip from Dallas to see you in use of the program you have on a job. I'll even buy your lunch.

    Think about it for me.

    Rick


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Bruce,

    My son has a new Toshiba Life Book, and it has voice recognition on it. The only thing is that it doesn't comphend the Texan language very well.

    Seriously, I would make the trip from Dallas to see you in use of the program you have on a job. I'll even buy your lunch.

    Think about it for me.

    Rick
    Come on down. Seriously.

    The program itself has the voice recognition (actually I think it somehow uses the Microsoft speech in Control Panel). It has excerpts from books that you read to it and it starts figuring out your voice. For those really twangy words, you can add individual words/phrases via the vocabulary button.

    click on Interspect Voice and watch the demos

    Bruce


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    I sometimes use Dragon Naturally speaking and you train it to know your speech, accent and all.
    Works great.
    And let me just say I took a free trial on this Spartan multi-clipboard which is on sale and on line download.
    For 19.99 I may be able to do quite alot and fast with reguards to reports.
    You can store text, pics or whatever for quick pasting into any other program and color code for fast use.
    It even has it's own editor.


  23. #23
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Wade ..why is it that all the Texas inspectors swear by Whisper yet outside of that not to many.
    I mean are there special sections for cattle and oil rigs, or whats the deal here.
    Bob,

    The guys at Whisper are based in Texas (San Antonio) and a long-time TX inspector got them to build the application around the "then new" required 7A-0 Texas Report Form.

    Their only/original focus was on the TREC 7A-0 form. Then they added WDI, etc.

    With the "Whisper Reporter" version they opened up their application for everyone else outside of Texas.

    Bruce is very fond of the "voice recording". I know a major inspector in Houston is reviewing it and others for his multi-inspector firm there. One of the key guys behind that application is an inspector in Plano, TX known as "Bow-Tie Inspections".

    Again .. there are many applications and it amounts to what you are comfortable with and what works best for you and your business.


  24. #24
    Steven McNeese's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Nolan Kienitz View Post
    Bruce is very fond of the "voice recording". I know a major inspector in Houston is reviewing it and others for his multi-inspector firm there. One of the key guys behind that application is an inspector in Plano, TX known as "Bow-Tie Inspections".

    Nolan, Just to clarify...Interspect Voice is not voice recordings. It does record your voice as a backup to recognition errors, but primarily voice is used by issuing simple commands and/or doing dictation. Voice recognition is tightly integrated into the process of doing an inspection so it is not like using Dragon or other standalone applications to just dictate.

    The key inspector you mention from Bow Tie Home Inspection is Rick Barr. He helped provide the requirements for the software.

    Inspectors that have been using our software are reporting 1-2 hours savings per day without voice and 2-3 using voice. This is much better than we had hoped and it does depend on the individual inspector. Voice is a different approach and is not for everyone but our software is the most efficient even without voice.

    We are now affiliated with Kaplan Professional Schools and offer training throughout Texas at their facilities. We are still small compared to a lot of the software vendors, but growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. The benefit to being small is we encourage feature requests from the inspectors and release free enhancements about every 2-4 weeks!

    Steve
    Onclarity, Inc.

    Last edited by Steven McNeese; 09-27-2007 at 06:55 PM.

  25. #25
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    Smile Re: Inspection software

    Hi Ed,
    I use a web-based reporting program called Reporthost. It is not software you buy, you simply pay to use there service. I like it and have no plans to use any other type of reporting system. Each report is a website that you can easily email to clients. I have been using it for about 18 months. It is free to try, it is easy to customize and create your concerns and wording. Like all reporting systems it will take some time to learn and tweak it to your liking. Here is there website ReportHost - The original and still the best home inspection software on the Internet


  26. #26
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
    Lee Nettnin Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Vernon View Post
    Ed,
    I have used Palm-Tech for several years on a Dell Axim X51v and am happy with it. You can do (oh I hate to say it ) on site reports with photos.
    I agree, I checked out several before I finalized my decision on Palm-Tech. Easily customizable and have had good responses with problems I have had.


  27. #27
    mike huntzinger's Avatar
    mike huntzinger Guest

    Wink Re: Inspection software

    For thoughs who have yet to see this Site ReportHost - The original and still the best home inspection software on the Internet
    it is a reporting system where you pay as you use so no need to buy a software pakage jest to need a upgrade 6 months later, they take care of it, and you can use 10 free reports to check it out, also you can change anything in the templet needed to satify your needs


  28. #28
    Jeff Knight's Avatar
    Jeff Knight Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Mike,
    The biggest issues with a web-based app of course is if the website goes down or you can't connect to the Web you can't use it....also having to reenter the inspection data after the inspection into an interface based on the web (which is never very user friendly) is a lot of work instead of being able to enter the inspection data just ONCE...WHILE you are doing the actual inspection....but each inspector uses what works for them.

    Jeff


  29. #29
    Brian Cooper's Avatar
    Brian Cooper Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    I guess I'm the only one here using PHII's Inspection Report Creator. It works good for me and the tech support is second to none.


  30. #30
    Jack Ahern's Avatar
    Jack Ahern Guest

    Thumbs up Re: Inspection software

    Homexam was recommended to me by Professor Scuduto. I have tweeked it and applied some Massachusetts amendments. It works for me. I've never been yelled at by my clients, nor been to court. Been writing reports since 1994.
    Most of the Mass. HIs who went thru Northeastern University's program trained using this book. Works for me!


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Since my last post I have decided to make the big switch over to Home Inspector pro.
    Dominic used me as one of his testers and basicly let a group of us custom design it to fit everything we want in a program.
    Hundreds of pics load in 15 seconds.
    It is my future software from now on.
    Before that, I thought Home Gauge was the best but still not attractive enough for my PDF needs.
    HIP comes with Book marks and total control.
    It fits you , rather than the other way around.


  32. #32
    Jeff Knight's Avatar
    Jeff Knight Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Bob,
    Can I ask you where these hundreds of pictures go in the report ? Are they added as an addendum or are they propagated in the specific places they are tied to in the body of the report itself ?

    Jeff


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Jeff,

    I bet they go onto the end of the report in a report summary type page. Can't imagine them falling exactly through the report as needed, Do you?

    rick


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Hi ..the way it is done is @ has a dropdown to the right which loads at the same time with your photos.No need to resize or anything, with your custom template sections next to it.
    To the right of that is a subsections dropdown which appear the instant after you pick a section.
    You can make it simple or complex as you like since you can color the borders of each section or add captions.
    The other option is that @ photo also has an edit box for adding text, arrows and the like.
    All of this cuts down time like crazy.
    It runs on any program.Linux Mac Vista etc:
    There is an add documents section where you can store them for inclusion and is the only thing that needs improvement .
    If your doc is a jpeg or gif format then you must load it as a photo.
    Dominic promised this will be comming and I have no reason to doubt him as the amount of changes is quite impressive.
    The samples still need updating on his site due to the enormous amount of improvement.
    He even includes free email and I have bob@homeinspectorpro.com which is very cool with tons of Gmail storage included.
    Oh yes they will go to the bottom if you do not choose a section , but that is common sense.
    He also allows uploading to the site and gives you a link on inspector finder which has a good SEO.This is all new though the program is a few years old.
    Sorry if this sounds like sales , but the man deserves credit when it is due.


  35. #35

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Palm Tech is great; easy to learn for a computer dummy like me. Completely expandable and can insert pics if want. Good support. Reasonably priced.

    Brent Lerwill, Coos Bay, Oregon

  36. #36
    Jeff Knight's Avatar
    Jeff Knight Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Bob,
    I am still a little confused. How do you ASSIGN where each picture goes in the report ? I do not understand what you mean by the "the way it is done is @ has a dropdown to the right which loads at the same time with your photos".

    Jeff


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Jeff,

    I bet they go onto the end of the report in a report summary type page. Can't imagine them falling exactly through the report as needed, Do you?

    rick
    Just a blurb on the photo thread that is going on...and concerning Interspect Voice (I'm not a salesman, just a purchaser of the software)

    Example: I call out a voice command that I've previously created, i.e."fixture leaking", then I take a photo of it, then I look at it to see if I like the shot, then I say "add issue photo".

    When I download the photos into the software, I click a button and all of the photos go into the spot directly under the leaking fixture text that I called out. Pretty cool.

    Bruce


  38. #38
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Knight View Post
    Bob,
    I am still a little confused. How do you ASSIGN where each picture goes in the report ? I do not understand what you mean by the "the way it is done is @ has a dropdown to the right which loads at the same time with your photos".

    Jeff
    Hi Jeff,

    Basically there are two drop down boxes above each photo. The first is the major section (Bathroom, Bedroom, Attic,etc), the second describes the items within the section selected in the first box (i.e walls, shower, tub, bath fan). You set both and the photo appears there. You can see an animated tutorial on it here: Home Inspection Software - Home Inspector Pro - How to Add Photos to Your Report
    The tutorial shows you adding the photos one by one but you can use the bulk add which is shown here: Home Inspection Software - Home Inspector Pro - How to Add Photos In Bulk

    Bruce, do you find yourself using that voice photo feature a lot? I've considered for awhile adding a feature where you could open a section up, say Bathroom->Shower in the program, take the photos, then move on and the photo would automatically record the time you were on that page and match it with the photos. Your camera and computer would have to have their times synced. I just didn't think that many people would use it as it seems it might slow you down. I had a few guys ask for this feature about a year ago and I couldn't get enough other people interested. What do you think?

    Dominic


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Enough of this however, as we all can test the free trials any reputable vender provides.
    JB sounds happy with his and it is a matter of needs.I prefer to take the time to get it right over a 24 hour turn around.
    Dominic ..I like that your program works either way.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic Maricic View Post


    Bruce, do you find yourself using that voice photo feature a lot? I've considered for awhile adding a feature where you could open a section up, say Bathroom->Shower in the program, take the photos, then move on and the photo would automatically record the time you were on that page and match it with the photos. Your camera and computer would have to have their times synced. I just didn't think that many people would use it as it seems it might slow you down. I had a few guys ask for this feature about a year ago and I couldn't get enough other people interested. What do you think?

    Dominic
    Yes, I use it everytime. It didn't slow me down. I was taking the picture anyway, all I do is say "add issue photo" as I'm walking.

    Bob, I also have a 24 hour turnaround time. Though, I usually have the client's report the same day.


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Hey Bruce, sounds good. So do you actually say 'add issue photo' or 'add leaking fixture photo'. Do you have to make 'issue' exactly what your comment is, or is based no the section you're in?

    Dominic


  42. #42
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    I just say "add issue photo". It puts it in the report wherever I happen to be at the time.


  43. #43
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Gotcha, so it would be doing a similar thing to what I'm thinking but with voice stamping the time rather than a button click. Do you find yourself having to sync your camera and computer time often, or one being a few seconds off getting your photo into the wrong section? This is one of the issues I was thinking about. If the times are off by 5 seconds and you move to a new section then they would end up in the wrong place.


  44. #44
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    I use Whisper Soultions Products.


  45. #45
    wade chapman's Avatar
    wade chapman Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    With whisper soultions all you need to do is click the image icon and it wiil pull all your pictures and you add your picture you want that easy


  46. #46
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Zibby & Wade,

    Y'all using Whisper Reporter or Whisper PI ?

    Adding images in either version is (as you noted) very simple. In Reporter it is extremely smooth.

    I still bring them in one at a time as I do my report (creature of habit) and have used the full load a few times as I keep adjusting.

    I was one of the BETA testers for over a year with Reporter before it was released. Great product ... but like any software it is all a matter of personal preferance and what works best for you.

    I always keep test running others as well. Dominic also has a very good product (Home Inspector Pro) as is the application that JB is comfortable with (Interspect Voice).


  47. #47
    wade chapman's Avatar
    wade chapman Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Nolan I use Whisper PI. I tryed several others but being technology challenged it seened the best for me.


  48. #48
    Jeff Knight's Avatar
    Jeff Knight Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Bob,
    I understand now that the pictures are loaded automatically into the software in 15 seconds...but you still have to go through every picture and assign where it needs to go which is where the time consuming part is. Unless you are assigning the pictures AS you are doing your inspection this is really not a time saver feature for inspectors that want to put their pictures in the body of the report.

    Dominic,
    Does the batch pictures process automatically select the checkbox for the pictures to go to the end of the report or do you still need to go through each picture and check that checkbox before the pictures appear at the end ? I understand that the first picture will automatically go to the front of the report.

    Jeff


  49. #49
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    Hi Jeff,

    The next version coming out next week has an option where you can have it set all to end of report by default, then move some within the report if you wish. There's still quite a few guys who want to print only at the end so they can use photo paper so the option will work nicely for them.

    Right now it just imports the entire folder. It is a huge time saver over manually adding photos one by one, especially for guys who add 100+ photos to their report. Obviously it's not the only program having a batch add, there are a few others. I will be implementing the automatic selection of drop down boxes here within the next few versions. I have a looong list of other items to implement first.


  50. #50
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    Default Re: Inspection software

    I've been using 3D for years now and I'm pretty discouraged with the software revisions they have been making and the overall direction that there are moving toward. I think it is time for me to change.

    This thread talks a lot about inserting pictures, page forms, pretty reports, etc., and that's important, but the most critical requirement for me is my data base of knowledge and ability to manage that data. This is what separates me from the competition. It also needs to be constantly revised, updated and edited.

    3D Software does not put the emphasis on data management. They have failed in this area.

    3D started as a dos based program, and used a central database for data storage (inspector comments). Management of data (inspector comments) in the central database is very difficult and almost impossible to reorganize. Over time the data base gets bigger and big data bases in 3D are impossible to reorganize and manage.

    They have instead strategically moved to what I call a distributed data base. Inspector comments are listed next to each section in the report and you can pic and choose from these comments, but unfortunately you cannot access these comments from another section. This strategy is geared toward pocket PC's - not desktop.

    Just think of the nightmare with this. If you have inspector comments in the main roof section you can't get to these same comments if you have a garage roof section and want to use the same comments.

    You can copy them to your garage roof section, but if you need to revised the comment, you now need to go to the garage roof section and revise the same comment. Or if you add a new comment to the roof section, have to to also add the same comment to the garage roof section.

    Think of the logistical problem if you also have to revise miltiple sections for other type comments that are similar in all sections. ITS A NIGHTMARE.

    I wrote to 3D multiple times explaining the situation but they responded that managment of the central data base was not important and they have no plans of changing.

    Does anyone with Homegauge know if it is easy to manage inspector comments (re-organize, edit, add, delete, rename, print data base)?

    Would appreciate the feedback.
    Thanks


  51. #51
    Jeff Knight's Avatar
    Jeff Knight Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Ken,
    Just FYI..our database of comments has always been able to share comments across Categories and Steps for over 8 years (ever since we moved off the Newtons). This means that if you have a comment that deals with cracked glass it can be shared across many different sections of the report that may have cracked glass. You only need to change the comment once to change it in other areas. When building your template you can also easily duplicate Steps or even whole Categories and it will duplicate the data AND automatically link them so that you can change the comments only once. We also have the ability to have dropped down picklists within comments that are also shared across comments. An example would be a drop down list called ^Locations^. Whenever you have this text included in a comment it will bring up the same list. This means if I decide to add another Location to my dropdown list I only added it to the actual ^Locations^ dropdown item and the new item gets added to ALL the comments that include this dropdown item which may be hundreds. The issue with 3D is that it was meant to be reporting software and not data collection software and there is a distinct difference in the two.

    Jeff Knight
    Knights Software
    www.knightssoftware.com


  52. #52
    Carl Eisen's Avatar
    Carl Eisen Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Ken,

    I have been using HomeGauge for over a year now. The database is built on a global list that is organized into user definable folders. Your inspection templates are then built from this list so when you make a change in the global list it is reflected across all your templates. You can grab a single comment and have it used in multiple locations as in your example. When using the desktop version you can make changes to the template on the fly. The Pocket PC version is a bit more restrictive in that you cannot modify a template. It has to be modified on the Desktop version and then exported over to the PDA.


  53. #53
    Giovanni Camerada's Avatar
    Giovanni Camerada Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Eisen View Post
    Ken,

    I have been using HomeGauge for over a year now. The database is built on a global list that is organized into user definable folders. Your inspection templates are then built from this list so when you make a change in the global list it is reflected across all your templates. You can grab a single comment and have it used in multiple locations as in your example. When using the desktop version you can make changes to the template on the fly. The Pocket PC version is a bit more restrictive in that you cannot modify a template. It has to be modified on the Desktop version and then exported over to the PDA.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Knight View Post
    Ken,
    Just FYI..our database of comments has always been able to share comments across Categories and Steps for over 8 years (ever since we moved off the Newtons). This means that if you have a comment that deals with cracked glass it can be shared across many different sections of the report that may have cracked glass. You only need to change the comment once to change it in other areas. When building your template you can also easily duplicate Steps or even whole Categories and it will duplicate the data AND automatically link them so that you can change the comments only once. We also have the ability to have dropped down picklists within comments that are also shared across comments. An example would be a drop down list called ^Locations^. Whenever you have this text included in a comment it will bring up the same list. This means if I decide to add another Location to my dropdown list I only added it to the actual ^Locations^ dropdown item and the new item gets added to ALL the comments that include this dropdown item which may be hundreds. The issue with 3D is that it was meant to be reporting software and not data collection software and there is a distinct difference in the two.

    Jeff Knight
    Knights Software
    www.knightssoftware.com


    Hi
    I want to purchase 3D Version 10, and came across your comments on its lack of ability to effectively manage a narrative comment data-base, that it's difficult to re-organize one and is also inaccessible across the formsets.
    You mention that one cannot access comments from other sections etc.

    Ok...This is a bit of a concern for me as I am pretty new in the Industry and am still investigating standards, styles, and options on software packages and adaptability.

    I recognize and realize the importance of having and being able to, select and manage an effective narrative comment database. One wants the data knowledgebase to be available, on demand, without re-inventing and to be able to select the most appropriate comment for that particular issue of concern.

    Having an effective narrative comment database will be important for me as well and will play a key roll in the selection of my future software package. At the same time I need a program that is fully adaptable and flexible in being able to generate various formsets, be narrative and be able to modify on the fly, headings and subheadings. It looked like 3D is the way to go. However you comments have made me pause.

    The 3D demo talks about... " some of the most common statements for each category are already available. Clicking on a checkbox will insert pre-entered text in the component your in.
    You only type something when itís unusual or unique to that inspection. One can create up to 60 unique comments for every item in an inspection ".
    EXTRACT FROM WEBSITE....Each form on your Pocket PC will include all of your custom statements that are unique to that area! By the way, that's another great feature of 3D software... Your comment library is specific to the item being inspected, so you don't have to wade through 11,000 statements about things that you aren't inspecting at the moment! You only see comments related to what you are inspecting. Now That's Efficiency!

    Why does one need to share comments across categories? Isnít each room unique, each problem unique par say a few that are similar?
    Are 60 comments not enough for each item? How many types of cracks can you have in a window or a wall?
    Wouldnít it look stupid if your whole report said the same thing over and over for each problem?

    Is there someone that can please expand on this issue and that perhaps also has 3D...before I run to the shop?

    Thanks.
    Giovanni


  54. #54
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    5,829

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Giovanni,

    I use 3D, you can customize just about every part of every section. It is very easy to use. Now the canned boilerplate as with all reporting software is lacking, but it is easy to change to your own words.

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

  55. #55
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    923

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Scott I hope all Inspectors realize not to rely on verbage included in these software programs.
    It is not there to help you do your inspection , but to give examples.
    If you rely solely on canned comments , you could be in big trouble down the line.
    Please : if you are a new Inspector looking for a Report System and going over these freebies or trials, make sure you are not basing your decision to buy one on what canned language helps you the most.
    One must look at how customizable it is with your style of reporting.
    Can you change the look?
    Can you change section titles?
    Can you download photos?
    Can you place them where you want them?
    Do you have font control?
    How many templates do you need?
    Is there good support?
    How is your report delivered?
    PDF , Online , Handed in person.
    Will it be stored on line for you? (can be important to some)
    I would maybe have one report in your own words converted over to each program you are considering.
    Now take a look and see which is closest to your ideal.


  56. #56

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Homegauge just keeps getting better, they have just released 4.0 & their support is the best I've experienced with anything.

    Clarksville Home Inspection
    JW Goad
    TN License #307 | KY License #2402

  57. #57
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    923

    Default Re: Inspection software

    John have you tried Home Inspector Pro?
    I used both and took HIP?
    You will hear more and more about it as it is evolving at an incredible rate.
    We just had live chat added in.


  58. #58
    Don Belmont's Avatar
    Don Belmont Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    snip for brevity

    Does anyone with Homegauge know if it is easy to manage inspector comments (re-organize, edit, add, delete, rename, print data base)?

    Would appreciate the feedback.
    Thanks
    Hi Ken,

    I'd have to say that Homegauge provides a lousy interface for managing comments. There is no centralized, unified comment database in Homeguage. Each report template has its own database of comments particular to that template. If you had one in a given template that was useful in another you'd have to do a hand cut and paste of the comment from one template to another.

    Another shortcoming in terms of comment management is the lack of a decent search utility for finding a comment that you know exists.

    An ongoing project of mine is moving my comments to a self designed database Access database. Once I have my comments ported and have the time to design and implement the reporting and the front end I'll be dropping my use of Homeguage in part because of the shortcomings in the way it handles comments.

    Hope this helps.


  59. #59
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    923

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Hi Don
    If you are looking for great aux storage , I give a big shout out to Spartan clipboard which stores thousands of illustrations ,docs , pics or whatever.
    The software downloads to your computer for a lousey 19 bucks.
    There is even a free version for you to try called free clip.
    You can right click for edit, including pics .
    You have sections and subsections that you can color code , and click and drag.
    I was original going to use this combined with Open Office slide program to create my reports.
    So check it out.
    Just Google the name Spartan.


  60. #60

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Bob,
    No I have not tried HIP, buit of course would be interested to take a look at it.
    Ken,
    I have no idea how Don can say that anything about Homgauge is lousy, I have not had the problems he is refering to & there is a centralized list called the global list.
    There is a lot of good inspection software out there & sometimes it's just a matter of personal preference, what you have gotten used to & are familiar with.
    Don,
    Have you checked out HG 4.0 yet?

    Clarksville Home Inspection
    JW Goad
    TN License #307 | KY License #2402

  61. #61
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago
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    923

    Default Re: Inspection software

    John I am not sure what he means either since it was last spring that I tried HG.
    Can you have unlimited templates?
    The comment seems to say no.
    Of course to import comments you would need to paste.


  62. #62
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Just took a look at the new version of Homeguage - they have around 80% of my wish-list in there. Could not tell, though, if this version allows you to put items in the summary only without their also appearing in the body, which is what I REALLY need.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  63. #63
    Don Belmont's Avatar
    Don Belmont Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Quote Originally Posted by John Goad View Post
    Bob,
    No I have not tried HIP, buit of course would be interested to take a look at it.
    Ken,
    I have no idea how Don can say that anything about Homgauge is lousy, I have not had the problems he is refering to & there is a centralized list called the global list.
    There is a lot of good inspection software out there & sometimes it's just a matter of personal preference, what you have gotten used to & are familiar with.
    Don,
    Have you checked out HG 4.0 yet?
    Hi All,

    Perhaps I should preface my comments with the fact that I own HG3.3 and will upgrade to 4.0 right away as it's enhancements will save me time. But just like a house it is not perfect. So if you prefer I'll use inspector speak and say that I find the interface for managing comments in HomeGuage to be primitive and without what I would consider standard database features. .

    I might also add that I taught database design for several years and feel well qualified in my opinion. As well as being both an intensive user of HG 3.3 as well as someone who has hacked some of it's inner workings to get the features I needed now out of 3.3. (Like a TOC, more informative graphics , more control over the final report output and the ability to sefl publish the report in HTML to my own website)

    In version 4 I'll grant that they have added an import/export utility to allow better syncing of your comments from one report template to another. But the global list of comments is really only local to the loaded template .I haven't tested the import/export as yet so can't speak to it. But even if it works there still is no convenient and centralized (read time efficient) manner for managing your comments. The new interface will still require (if I read the instructions correctly) that you take time to move your comments by hand instead of that being done (a repetitive task ideal for computer) automatically on the fly. If you have multiple templates that will be time consuming.

    The interface for comments still lacks a search utility so you may know you have the perfect comment somewhere but unless you remember where (and in which template) you have to hunt for it by hand. And forget searching across all your comments in all your templates (unless you know how to roll your own search utility which I do but shouldn't have to)

    After experimenting with HG4 last night it still seems that there is no convenient way to publish your reports to your own website (I'll ignore their extra charge service as it is meant to build their traffic not yours). I manage my own report server and publish my reports after cleaning them up and adding some custom features and graphics that are not possible to add with HG.

    They did add a Table of Contents (which my HG reports have had for a year) which is a good improvement so far. Hopefully that means the internal HTML engine is a bit more versatile and will stop chewing up external links on the report but that is not tested as yet.

    I reported the tendency of the html code generator in HG3.3 to refuse to accept and mangle standard html code as part of custom comments and have some hope that issue was addressed. It does appear to format the underlying html in a more readable way but we'll have to see on that.

    I like the new itemized comment insertion (another feature I've had for a year but had to do by hand).

    The picture handler and editor seems much improved in 4 over 3.3. Considering that I found tghe ones in 3.3 to be useless it wasn't hard to improve. The exposure controls will save me a processing step if they work as smoothly as they seem to. For 3.3 the only reasonable way to get a well processed picture was to do it outside of HG.

    I'm sure I'll have other comments as I use this latest version. It is a definite improvement (as it should be) over 3.3. However, it is not perfect and will benefit best by honest and direct criticism.


  64. #64
    Giovanni Camerada's Avatar
    Giovanni Camerada Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    Hi all.
    Thanks for your feedback Scott.
    Has anybody tried Palm-Tech?
    Their web is at www.palm-tech.com.

    This is some of the marketing information they mention......

    Save time
    Create your report as you gather your inspection data. Let the reporting program take care of the presentation details for you. The better programs available today will allow you to set up your own style of report by changing the printing or presentation options. You gather the data and let the software take care of the presentation.

    Software can look for incomplete items and inconsistencies
    Take advantage of technology! When you are finished, let the program go through and review the report for you. Did you forget an item or maybe you marked something as defective but you didn't add any comments? Let your software review (but not restrict) your entries and help you create a better report!

    Improved finished product
    As you begin to use technology, you will find that you can say more about an item and offer better explanations because you can add entire sentences or paragraphs from your library with just a click. You are no longer limited by the space you have to write in or the time it takes to write out a long comment. The perceived quality of your work by your client and referrers is improved.

    Fewer call backs
    Using a computer removes the concern of handwriting. Why not eliminate call backs because the client couldn't read your handwriting? If you don't like getting these calls, think about how the people making the call feel!

    Automatically create summaries
    If you use a program that automatically creates your summaries, there is no need to go back over the report and add items to the summary(s). This not only saves time but can also provide you with some peace of mind when you're finished. If the summaries are automatic, you don't have to remember to add all of the important items yourself to your summary.

    Never forget the "perfect" wording for a comment again
    You have written the comment hundreds of times. The wording has just the right amount of detail and disclaimer. The only problem is that you can't remember it right now when you need it! With a software program's customizable comment library you can retrieve that "perfect" comment time and again. Save time and limit liability.


    Can anyone comment on their package?


  65. #65
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
    Kevin Luce Guest

    Default Re: Inspection software

    I haven't read most of the post but I have to say that Nick from AHIT let me view and work with the beta version of the improvement for Report plus and the improvements are going to make it easier to enter comments to the report.

    He explained and showed me some of the other things he has started that will make customizing the comments very easy (He informed me that these changes will be introduced a little longer down the road).

    I think you may find this reporting software interesting and if you like what you see at this time, the changes will make you really like the program.

    At this time (in my opinion) the one big drawback to this software is changing the comments in the software (as already written, Nick is addressing). Some will say that the second drawback is the required purchace of MS word to run Report Plus on.

    Note: I use windows XP with Word 2003 and know nothing about Word 2007. I also have nothing to do with AHIT except have their software and test and comment on the improvements he's making.

    Last edited by Kevin Luce; 01-02-2008 at 10:40 AM.

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