The entire purpose of our company is to save you time, earn you more money and give you more time to spend with those you love. This month, we’re hoping to give you more of it. We asked working home inspectors about how they’re saving time, either through using our software or otherwise. Here are the time-saving tips we gathered:
Inspect From Top to Bottom
“Since gravity makes things go downwards, I always inspect from top [of the property] to the bottom,” says Matthew Steger, an ASHI-Certified Inspector (ACI) and owner of the Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania WIN Home Inspection franchise. Starting at the top, Steger says, allows him to run water through bathroom facilities including showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilets checking for leaks. From there, he can head to the floor below to check and make sure that there are no signs of water damage in the ceiling beneath the bathroom.
“If I inspected bottom up, I’d inspect the ceilings on one level and after I ran water [in] the bathroom above this area, I’d have to go back down and check the ceilings below this area. This wastes time…” he says. Steger also recommends establishing a regimen for inspecting homes. He estimates that his top-down, streamlined approach saves about 20 minutes per inspection.
Pre-Load Your Device
If you can, get your paws on a listing sheet before the inspection and prepare your Tap Inspect comments in advance says David Dodge, owner of MyHomeInspector.Biz in Putnam Valley, New York. That way you can customize and tweak as you move through the home inspection without having to spend minutes programming your phone in front of a real estate agent and home buyer.
“I save at least 30 to 45 mins per report doing this at home in a relaxed, comfortable environment compared to doing it standing up out on the job with people hovering over me,” Dodge says.
Use Photos, Not Words
“I take photos of equipment and data plates rather than typing or selecting all the make, model, serial BTU etc. from the template,” says Michael Wirth, co-founder of Tap Inspect, adding that the strategy saves five to ten minutes per piece of equipment included in the inspection. If a home has more than one furnace or air conditioning unit, Michael simply adds additional comments for each piece of equipment rather than creating entirely new Heating, Cooling or Water Heater sections.
Since the text of the comment is saved in his comment library Wirth says he can pull it up again whenever he needs without having to type the information out all over again. In a typical home, the strategy saves about 15 to 20 minutes per inspection and in homes that have more equipment than usual such as multiple furnaces, water heaters or electrical panels, it saves half an hour to forty minutes of typing Wirth says.
Save Your Questions
“Sometimes a client or Realtor will try to pull you away with a question somewhere else,” says Steger. “I always tell them to hold their question until we are in that area. Getting distracted can effect the thoroughness of the inspection and allow an inspector to miss something.”
There’s science as well as common sense behind that tip. According to research by the software company, Harmon.ie, distractions including e-mail, social media and digital noise cost US businesses over $10,000 per person per year. One-third of workers exposed to distraction reported lower productivity while one in four reported difficulty thinking deeply, one in ten missed deadlines and one in twenty lost business.
Legitimate questions from agents and clients aren’t they same as unrelated text blasts, but they can disrupt your train of thought just the same.
Clarify Things In Advance
One way to reduce the number of questions agents and clients will have is to ensure that all parties have a clear idea of the expectations, logistics and fees of a home inspection before you arrive says Michael Wirth.
“I e-mail confirmation of the address, date/time and inspections fee to the client and agent when I schedule the job,” he says. “I also include my agreement and ask them to reply to accept it for an electronic signature. This saves the time to go over and get signatures at the job as well as verifies the client and agents email before I send the report out and it bounces.”
Sending the paperwork in advance saves Wirth about 20 minutes per job he says.
Great comments/advice on telling people to save their questions until that section is being inspected. I find I have to do this quite often, especially with “nervous nellie” buyers. I explain to them the more they interrupt my flow and concentration, the more potential for things to get missed. Setting expectations of how the inspection will go (to my sop’s) helps as well.
Good move. Setting expectations early is crucial to helping lead the buyer through a home inspector’s process.