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‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄėYes‚Äô.

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.


5 Tricks to Getting Home Inspection Reports Done at the Inspection

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.


How Home Inspectors can “Get Your Infrared On” with the Tap Inspect app

One of the more common questions we get from home inspectors is how to get infrared photos into a Tap Inspect report. The short answer is: Once you infrared image is on your device’s camera roll, you insert it just like any other photo. The next question is usually: How do you get them onto your camera roll?

When we started Tap Inspect, a home inspector’s only choice was to manually copy the photos. Since then it has gotten to be a no brainer.¬† Now, it all depends on how old your equipment is and how much trouble you are willing to put up with.

Take a picture of the the camera with your device

This is the easiest, quickest method and seems to work for most people. Just hold your thermal camera up and take a photo of the screen with the object in the background (Just like the image above). While you do not get the resolution or the detail of the actual home inspection photo, it does do a good job helping make the point you are trying to make and does it quickly.

Use the FLIR One for iOS

The Flir One is an accessory that plugs into the lightning port on your iPhone or iPad. For about $250 you get a a FLIR camera, software and you get the images right on your device. Go to FLIR and reserve one. They seem to be going fast.

Upgrade to a Wifi or Bluetooth device

If you are a heavy FLIR user, use lots of thermal images, and need the full resolution you will likely want something like the FLIR E Series.  These connect wirelessly to your mobile device and transfer the images for you. The will set you back several thousand but if thermal imaging is your read and butter its just a cost of doing business as a home inspector.

Manually copy images onto your device

If you have an older infrared camera, a lower end camera, and are unwilling to update to newer technology this may be your best choice. Take out the SD card and use a camera connector kit to copy the images from the SD card to your device. If you have a Micro SD card in your thermal camera, you may need one of these micro to SD adapters too.

This is basically the same process you must follow if you want to copy photos from an older point and shoot digital camera to your iPhone or iPad. Its not pretty but it works if you are on a budget.


What Your Home Inspection Clients Don’t Know…

Part of the challenge of being a home inspector is simply educating current and future clients about what you do. While the American public has a general idea of what home inspectors do, misconceptions abound. Here are the most common myths you may need to dispel for your clients:

What They Think:

A Home Inspection is a One-Stop Shop

According to¬†a 2012 American Society of Home Inspectors¬†(ASHI) survey¬†of 2,262 adults, the vast majority believe that home inspectors are important but they’re not sure exactly why. 84 percent of survey respondents believe that a proper home inspection is a necessity, but 12 percent of respondents confused a home inspection with an appraisal and a walloping 28 percent “believes the purpose of an inspection is to verify that a home complies with local building codes.”

What They Think: 

A Home Inspection is Comprehensive

When home buyers enlist your services, they may think that they’re getting every inch of their pad inspected.¬†A¬†2011 ASHI survey¬†of 2,122 adults showed that the many home buyers believe that components such as septic systems, electrical wiring and plumbing behind drywall and swimming pools are always included in their home inspection even though you may not include them in yours.

According to ASHI, a standard inspection report covers home basics including:

“…the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components. The report will include covered systems and components the home inspector finds that are not functioning properly, significantly deficient, unsafe, or are near the end of their service lives”

What They Think: 

All Home Inspectors are Certified

The thing home buyers seem confused on most is your credentials. 70 percent of buyers believe that home inspectors must be licensed or certified to perform a home inspection in that state. They don’t, meaning that if you do have a license, certification or outstanding credential, it’s worth your while to educate clients on how you’ve gone above and beyond and what that extra education can do for them.

What Agents Really Want from Home Inspectors

For home inspectors who don’t market directly to the home buying public, real estate agents and brokers can make or break your business. While there’s always a direct conflict of interest, particularly in homes with significant flaws, these real estate pros say that there are basic guidelines that can help both parties achieve what they want. Here’s how to deal with real estate professionals.

Value the Agent’s Time

You’ve done your prep work, scheduled the inspection, driven out to the home and are ready to put in the work. Heather Gennette, head of¬†Heather Homes OC¬†real estate agents in Orange County, California, appreciates it when inspectors also respect the fact that agents have put in substantial work on their ends before getting to the home inspection stage.

“…all buyers are valuable and to get them to the inspection stage, we have worked hard,” she says.

To show the agent that you value his or her work in addition to your own, Gennette says that she appreciates it when inspectors include her when they explain issues with a home and when they quantify how big or small the problem actually is.

“Every home will have a laundry list of items that need to be done to it,” she says. “[My inspector] is able to explain the things that are wrong and quantify the scope of repairs.”

Be Honest

Contrary to popular belief, not all agents want their inspectors to dance around the problem. Out of the 15 agents who responded to our questions, 100 percent stated that honesty and ability to give a thorough inspection were the top two things they looked for in home inspectors.

John F. Sullivan, vice president of Buyer’s Edge Co. brokerage firm in Washington DC, says that inspectors who do their jobs well help him do his job well.

“I only use ASHI certified inspectors who aren’t concerned with the fall out
of their findings,” he says. “I want them to make their report factual and let me and¬†the client use the defects as a negotiating tool. If the clients isn’t¬†comfortable with [the] finding, I have no qualms with using the inspection¬†contingency to kill the deal…My inspector’s focus and mine is making the buyer fully aware of the¬†condition of the home before they go to settlement.”

Triage the Problems

All homes have issues, but some are far more pressing than others. For the nervous buyer, even cosmetic issues can sound like deal-breaking flaws.

“I need a inspector who can clearly convey to the owner/ buyer¬†the differences between common problems they find and the issues that¬†really need to be addressed,” explains Dave¬†Grant, owner of¬†Sold By Dave¬†Grant¬†realty in Las Vegas. “The manner in which it is delivered plays a¬†key role into how both parties react. We always try to find a win/win¬†scenario for both buyer and seller.”

A valuable part of that win/win is explaining problems and offering solutions adds Grant.

“If there is a real deal killer [or] major issue, I like the inspector to be¬†straight up and clear on the issue and anything that could be done to¬†rectify the problem,” he says.

Know Who to Call

One way to maintain inspector integrity without automatically sending a buyer heading for the hills is to introduce problems, explain how bad it is and present a solution says Heather Gennette.

“[The inspector I work with]¬†understands how to explain things that are wrong with the home in a non-threatening way as well as offer dollar amounts that the fixes maybe so as to put it into prospective,” she says.

While it’s a conflict of interest for home inspectors to offer repair services and many agents don’t want inspectors to make personal recommendations for contractors, telling a buyer what type of specialist can fix a problem could be the difference between saving a deal and losing it. Inspectors themselves should also act as instructors in addition to inspectors says Janice B. Leis,¬†an associate broker with Prudential Fox and Roach in Pennsylvania, Florida and New Jersey.

They have a previous background with new construction (building) and are good teachers to all buyers and can identify possible issues making suggestions as to what type of ‘specialist’ needs to be called in to re evaluate. That their language is simple for all involved to grasp & understand.

“[Inspectors should be] good teachers to all buyers and can identify possible issues making suggestions as to what type of ‘specialist’ needs to be called in to re-evaluate,” she says.