When I talk to other home inspectors they seemed amazed that I can finish my reports while at the job. My clients and agents love having the home inspection report immediately so they can get on with the transaction. I love spending time with my family when I get home instead of working on reports. I simply can not imagine doing it any other way.
After doing thousands of home inspections I think it really comes down to confidence and mindset. With the right process and confidence in yourself anyone should be able to finish the inspection and the report in a few hours. Here is how I do it.
Get to the job early
I do my best to get to my jobs 15-20 minutes before the appointment. This gives me a chance to get an idea of what I am getting into. It has rarely been a problem for me to check the exterior and take a bunch of inspection photos with my iPhone. Then I spend a few minutes doing the checklist items for what I have seen and to add the photos and comments for the outside. When the client gets there I am almost 1/3 of the way done with the report and can spend my time talking with them and showing them what I have seen.
Let the client know the plan and hold them to it
One of the first things I tell a new home inspection client is a quick overview of the plan. “I will be using my iPhone to take photos and make comments while I am doing the home inspection. Once we have gone through the house we will go over the whole report on my iPad and I will email you a PDF before we leave.”
There are always clients that want to pull you this way and that. Always clients that have a million questions. That’s OK. Just remind them of the plan. I may say, “Give me just a minute. I need to record what we have just seen so we can go over this and make sure we didn’t miss anything at the end.”
Use your saved comments
We see the same things over and over. Probably half of the comments in any of my reports are from my library. I have entered them into a past report and saved them to my comment library so I can use them again.
Use the search bar in the comment editor to search for ‘GFCI’, ‘humidifier’, or whatever other terms you have added to your comment. It gives you a short list to select from. You can also use the ‘Saved Comments’ screen which lists our most used comment in that section.
Remember that comments are there not just for problems. I use comments to record information as well. It is so much easier to take a photo of some equipment and it’s data plate and use a saved comment saying that it operates as expected.
Keep your comments short and to the point
As a general rule I only record one thing per comment. That makes it easy to search for a saved comment that fits the situation and it also makes it quick to record if I have to type or voice dictate.
For example, if I run across a furnace that is missing a filter, has a humidifier that is not working, and has a condensation line that is leaking I make three different comments. Not one big long comment.
If I were to put all that into one comment I would likely never be able to use it again. I would be able to reuse a comment about a missing filter, a comment about a humidifier that doesn’t work, and a comment about a leaking condensation drain. It would also only take as long to type or dictate each comment as it takes for a text message.
Take photos and add them when inspecting
The one biggest time saver in the Tap Inspect application is the ability to take a home inspection photo and add it to a comment while you are inspecting it. At a close second is the ability to add several photos to a comment from the camera roll while inspecting it. This is such a huge time saver for a few reasons.
When you use a digital camera you have to pull the SD card and copy the photos to your device. There are wifi cameras but you are then using multiple devices. These extra steps take time and complicate things. If you take photos with your device that are already on the device and ready to add to your report.
If you wait until the end of the home inspection to add photos you will likely have to go through dozens of photos to find the one or two that you need right then. That takes time to review each one and to remember what you were thinking when you took it.