3 Camera Shots Every Home Inspector Should Know


Photos are a huge part of all modern home inspection reports. Cameras are the most used tools we have. Photos do a great job telling the story of the home inspection. If they are good photos. Bad photos don’t tell the story because they can even cause confusion and initiate more questions.

After helping thousands of home inspectors I have seen a few trends and learned a few tricks myself. 

Overview Shot

It is really important to document what we were dealing with at the time of the inspection. That is where overview photos come in super handy. The most important thing to remember is that an overview photo is not meant to show detail. They show an overview of the big picture.

When you look at a report from 5 years back you will know exactly what you were dealing with. If you get a call back almost always your overview photos will explain why something was not visible. 



We take overview photos of the exterior of the home, basements, crawlspaces, attics, roof, and even garages. We get as far back as we can get to capture as much as possible in each photo. Sometimes we can get this in two shots. Other times it may be 4 or even 6 photos. More than 6 photos? Maybe you need to break it up into a few comments or items.

Closeup Shot

When you need to show details the closeup is you go to camera shot. Just remember to get close, really close. It seems like most home inspectors do not want to get close enough. 

If you don’t get your closeup close enough you will be cropping photos or the reader will need to zoom in. So make sure what you want them to see is what makes up to whole photo.

 
Closeup enough that you can read the dataplate

Example of Not a Closeup 
Not closeup enough to read anything

Orientation Shot

While the closeup shows the details of what you are reporting the reader still needs to know where the detail is located. That is where the orientation photo comes in.

For years I meticulously described exactly where the detail was located with text of my comment. Then I realized a photo from farther away with an arrow could do a much better job.

Because an orientation photo with a closeup photo can tell the reader exactly where and what I was reporting, no long text description was needed. The photos could tell the story.

How to Use These Shots

These are the basics and we use them to make our reports simple to read and easy to understand. Maybe you could try to use them as well. Photos show what so many home inspectors struggle to describe.

Use these three shots in all kinds of combinations. Photos don’t just need to be of things that are issues. Photos are also great to show information and conditions too.

Our cameras are our most used and most valuable tool. Keep practicing and getting better. Your reports will show it.

After the Home Inspection Comes the Repair Request

Working on a repair request

Purchasing a home can be a long and stressful process. Homebuyers have possibly been looking at dozens of homes with their realtor over several months. After finally getting an accepted offer they are ready for the next big step: inspections and the repair request.

A home inspector’s role in this process is pretty limited. We spend a couple of hours doing the inspection and building a report, and then we are off to our next inspection with a new client. But that’s not the case for the client we just worked with.

Big decisions still need to be made. What repairs should they address with the seller? Do they ask for repairs to be done? Do they ask for some type of credit, or maybe even a cash payment so they can fix it themselves?

That is the purpose of the repair request and that is why they are motivated to hire us in the first place.

What Exactly is a Repair Request?

Most real estate purchase contracts include a Home Inspection Contingency clause. That is what gives the homebuyer, our client, the right to hire a home inspector to help them understand the condition of the property.

Once the home inspection is complete, the homebuyer will get together with their agent and decide what in the home inspection report is the most important to them. The homebuyer must release the contingency for the purchase to move forward, and that is typically done with a repair request. The home inspection report is used to document what and why those repairs are reasonable.

Why is This Important?

The homebuyer and the home inspector often look at the purpose of the home inspection differently. Some realtors will say “Don’t worry, the home inspector will find everything wrong with the house and give you a list of what needs to be fixed.”  What the homebuyer really wants is a list of repairs to ask the seller to fix. They hire a home inspector with the expectation that they will receive that in the report.

This can cause misunderstandings and sometimes even conflict. 

Ask a home inspector and you get a different answer. Most of us want to teach you about the home you are buying and provide a report. We don’t just list everything that needs to be fixed.

Why Care About the Repair Request?

The best real estate agents know how to negotiate issues that come up in the home inspection. They know that no home is perfect and also want their clients to be happy. The repair request is just another negotiation and another step in the process.

Some home inspectors refuse to tell their clients how to fix things. Others are a little more flexible and try to provide some guidance about how important something is and what needs to be done to address it. Some others may even provide estimates of costs. There is no right answer, it’s up to you how to run your business and treat your clients.

The homebuyer is still the one needs to make the choices. With the home inspector’s expertise, and hopefully their agent’s guidance, they will request the items they want to be addressed. In the end it is up to the homebuyer to reach an agreement with the seller.

Help Your Client Along Their Journey

To be a true professional means understanding what your customer needs and how you can help. Getting a home inspection report can be overwhelming enough for most homebuyers. Do you want to be the kind of home inspector to help them, or leave them confused and stressed?

Take a little time and think how we fit into the entire home purchasing journey. Deliver the report your client really wants. Help them understand what is important and what to do next to fix it. By preparing them for the next step of making the repair request, you will have a grateful and satisfied client.

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.