How I Use Tap Inspect with HomeBinder

I have been using HomeBinder in my home inspection business. My clients have really liked the idea and seem to appreciate the free lifetime subscription I give them.

Since getting started, I have picked up a few best practices that I wanted to pass along. They should make it incredibly easy to use Tap Inspect along with HomeBinder. You can provide a little extra value to your clients without it taking any more time or effort.

What is HomeBinder?

HomeBinder gives homeowners a place to manage their home maintenance needs. They also provide a few other features like recall checks of appliances and equipment. HomeBinder will also send maintenance reminders that you can pre-setup.

Once you create a HomeBinder account as a home inspector, you can setup a template with all the reminders you want your clients to get. You can even add a list of contractors you trust and provide documents like a flyer or maintenance guide.

Create a HomeBinder from Tap Inspect

We tried to make getting set up as simple as possible. After you set up the HomeBinder integration, it shows up in the app just like the client or agents. When you publish your report, it gets published to HomeBinder too.

We put together a guide to help you get set up.

Update your Invitation Email

At the end of my inspections I have been telling my clients about HomeBinder. Then I say to keep an eye out for an email from them in a few days. It seemed a lot simpler to update my invitation email with the same info.

Invite Email
I think this has worked pretty well. It reminds my client what to expect and also lets them get a little more information before the binder arrives. I also like the idea that their agent sees the same invitation so they know about the gift.

Auto Transfer Your Binders

My goal is to get the HomeBinder into my client’s hands while they are still thinking about the home inspection. I think they are more likely to engage if they are still thinking about the inspection. HomeBinder has a setting to let you do it automatically.

There are two important things to keep in mind. First, once you transfer a binder you can not edit it again. Second, once you publish your Tap Inspect report to HomeBinder, you have to manually update HomeBinder with the new PDF if you re-publish the report.

The default HomeBinder Binder Transfer/Share Delay (in hours) setting is 5 hours. I changed it to 72 hours, or 3 days. That gives me plenty of time to update the report PDF if I needed to make any changes.

Remind Your Client to Enter Appliance Info

I am not a fan of typing or long checklists. That includes recording any serial or model numbers in my home inspection reports. Why not ask the client to enter them? In my HomeBinder template I have added a Maintenance Item to remind them 60 days after the binder gets created.


My thinking is that not everyone will find value in the recall checks and notifications. If my client does see the value they will not mind entering the information. By entering the information, they will use HomeBinder and hopefully explore a little more.

Why We Built Tap Inspect for Home Inspectors

Anyone that has done it knows that growing a home inspection business is hard work. Its is a special club of home inspectors that have risked safety and predicability to build a business that they hope makes the world a little bit better.

So why did we build Tap Inspect?

My partner, Jason Adams, and myself come from different backgrounds but share a common belief. We believe that all the hard work, sacrifice, and risk is worth the price if we can make a small dent in the universe. We honestly hope we can leave the world a better place due to our efforts.

With Tap Inspect, we realized that building home inspection reports does not have to be that complicated. There is more to life that sitting at a computer every night and writing home inspection reports. Everything we do, every feature we add, and every design we implement is focused on making that a reality.

It is hard to believe that so many home inspectors use Tap Inspect every day and it has become such a big part of so many lives. We look forward to more improvements and helping all of you spend more time doing what you love the most.

Markup Home Inspection Photos In Tap Inspect

Our most requested feature has been, hands down, the ability to add circles or arrows to a home inspection photo inside of the Tap Inspect iPhone and iPad applications. I have to admit, up to a little while ago I just did not understand what all the fuss was about. Now, I have to say I am sold and one of the believers.

There is just no substitute to being able to add an arrow to show the crack your are talking about or drawing a circle to highlight a stain. I can finally see how handy a feature like this can be and how much it can help clarify what I am trying to explain.

Starting with version 5 of Tap Inspect an Edit button has been added to the Photo Viewer and you can markup your home inspection photos inside the app. No more using another 3rd party app like Skitch or dealing with the extra fuss.

Two of the coolest features about the new Photo Markups are that it works across all the devices you have Tap Inspect installed on and it also saves the original, unmarked, photo.

That means you can take and add a home inspection photo from your iPhone and when it syncs over to your iPad you can add an arrow or circle or two. Then when it syncs back to your iPhone and you are still not satisfied you can change or remove those markups and add more.

It also means that you can always get the original unmarked home inspection photo from the Extract Photos screen of the app or from your web account if you need to use it somewhere else.

As a home inspector that has never used markups like this before, it has made my job even easier.

Give it a spin, markup some home inspection photos and let us know how it works for you.

How to save 15 to 20 minutes per home inspection report on the Tap Inspect app

We are always trying to find ways to help home inspectors be more efficient and to finish reports a little quicker here at Tap Inspect. We have added the ability to save the values of your home inspection report in your template.

That means, the next time you start a new report from that template, it will already be filled out for you. Every text box, multiple choice option, condition rating can be pre-selected or already filled out when you start a new report. Exactly how much information is saved in the template is entirely up to you.

Pretty cool huh? So let’s get started and see how it works.

Open a report that is a good representation of a typical home inspection and is mostly complete and pretty generic.

On the Perform Inspection screen, tap on the Edit Fields button and then tap on Report Options.

At the bottom of the report options screen tap on Save As A Template.

The Tap Inspect app asks if you want to Overwrite This Template or Save As A New Template. Let’s save as a new template, name it ‘My Inspection Completed’ and hit the back button.

Now you are asked if you want to ‘Keep Values?’.

Do you want to keep the stuff you have already recorded in the report with the template or just save it as a blank template with all the entered values cleared? We want a completed template with the values so we say ‘Yes’.

Great! We are all done!

Now close this home inspection report and create a new one from the template you just created. Back on the New Inspection Screen you will see your new template. Tap on that to start a new report and you will see the report already has a bunch of information already selected and recorded.

Maybe there is more stuff saved than you really want. No problem. Just clear out those items or conditions and save this report as a template again.

Tap on Edit Fields, go into Report Options and tap on Save As A Template. This time though we want to update our template by overwriting it instead of creating another template.

You can keep repeating this process to fine tune and make changes to what information is or is not saved in your template over time. Make some changes see if it works in the real world and make more.

As time goes by you will be spending 15-20 minutes less time on each report by not having to select the same options over and over.

Give it a try and let us know how it works by leaving comments here or on Facebook. We would love to hear from our home inspectors.

 

Tap Inspect hoped for the best but planned for the worst

Every large site, and many small sites, on the internet will get attacked at some point. The reasons vary from something as trivial as a bad comment left on a forum, political beliefs, or even a company trying to damage a competitors business. The goal of these attacks is to shut down the targeted computers, network, or data centers so they can not conduct business or serve their customers.

The recent attack on our provider, Linode, was much, much larger and lasted much, much longer than a typical attack. Attacks of this size tend to be done by some really dangerous people trying to extort money from really big companies. Tap Inspect was one of hundreds of Linode customers that got caught in the crossfire as the battle was waged.

The attackers started with the entire Linode system which includes data centers all over the world. As it was beaten back, the attackers changed tactics and appeared to concentrate on Linode’s Atlanta data center. The home of one of our servers.

From our and our home inspectors point of view this meant it was very tough, if not impossible, to connect to some of the Tap Inspect infrastructure during the height of this battle. The result was many people had to wait several hours until they could publish their reports, sync their devices, or pick up reports from the web. We are so grateful for all your patience.

The mobile app was functional and all our user’s data was safe. We had moved it off of the Linode system months ago as we built a more robust and fault tolerant system. We still had our application server at Linode in their Atlanta data center. This is the server that talks to the mobile app and also displays the pick up pages for reports. It got pounded just like all the other sites in Atlanta.

As the attack moved into New Year’s Day we were doing everything possible. We were manually pulling reports for our users so they could email them directly to their clients. We were answering phone calls, Facebook messages, and support emails and making plans what to do next.

The first Monday after a long holiday was rapidly approaching and our users would need their Tap Inspect to work. We have had a disaster plan in place and knew it could take 24 to 48 hours to bring an entirely new Tap Inspect system up from scratch. Linode was making progress but service was still coming and going. We had to make a decision.

Should we hold on tight in Atlanta? Should we move our server to another Linode data center? Should we abandon Linode completely and hope our new host doesn’t get attacked?

We decided to hope for the best but plan for the worst. Our disaster plan was implemented and we began building a new more robust Tap Inspect. We knew this could take a few days so we also decided to stay put in Atlanta.

As Sunday morning came appeared that Linode may just have won the battle. Our server’s performance had returned close to normal. We didn’t want to tempt fate so we continued with the disaster plan and brought up our new servers just in case.

Now it is Sunday evening and several hours have passed. It seems the worst is over and Monday morning should be a good day. The Atlanta data center is working as expected but we have plan B on deck just in case.

We are so thankful for the brilliance and dedication of the team at Linode, the skill of my Co-Founder, Jason Adams, and the patience and support of all our users.

We stood our ground against the bad guys and made our corner of the internet a little bit safer.