I’m coming up on my 15-year anniversary of being a home inspector! I’ve been doing inspections the same way since the beginning. When I took the initial classes to become a home inspector, AHIT (American Home Inspector’s Training Institute) trained all its students to use its own reporting system. I started with their written reports, a thick spiral bound book with each checklist filled page on quadruplicate paper. When I upgraded to the electronic version, it was a pretty easy transition. The inspection and report were the same—just in PDF format with photos. In the years since, home buyers and Realtors have given me very positive feedback on those reports. They're easy to read, easy to follow and understand, easy to clearly see what the most important issues were on the inspection. They were easy for me, too. I could very quickly and easily edit comments, upload and caption photos, and send a final report out within just a couple hours after the inspection. I thought I’d never use anything else.
Then, suddenly, AHIT decided to discontinue its software. Time to find something else.
In December, I downloaded a new reporting software, Home Inspector Pro. I spent a month getting used to the new system and, more importantly, creating a report that I could be proud of. I was skeptical at first, but now I couldn’t be happier with the result.
NEW LOOK; SAME INSPECTION. The most important thing for me in any software change was that my actual inspection wouldn’t change. For those of you that have been to one of my inspections, I’ve got a specific order I go in that allows me to not only assess the condition of individual components, but to develop a clear understanding by the end of the inspection of how everything in the home ties together. I also strive to make sure my comments are simple and easy to understand. Some inspectors tend to get overly technical; I want my clients to know what I’m saying even if they don’t have any background knowledge of how things in a home work. Realtors in particular always told me they liked the color-coding of the condition of each section. I’m happy to say that ALL of these elements are in the new report. The report may look different, but the things clients and realtors like the best haven’t changed. The inspection and report are in the same order, the comments are easy to understand, and ratings are still color-coded to draw attention to the most important items.
MORE FOCUSED ON THE INFORMATION YOU NEED. My previous reports showed the entire checklist, including items and issues that didn’t pertain to a particular house. You’d have to look closely to see what was checked off and what wasn’t. The new report only show those items and issues that are unique to your house.
BETTER PICTURES—AND VIDEOS!! Not everything can be illustrated in a still photo. Now I have the ability to include short video clips! Also, there’s a built-in photo editor so I can provide clearer photos with more options to highlight deficiencies.
INTEGRATED GLOSSARY. As I said before, it’s important to me that my clients understand the report regardless of their knowledge of the home’s components. The new report has a built-in glossary for some of the technical terms. If you see a term highlighted, you can just hover your cursor over it and the definition will pop up.
SIGN THE AGREEMENT AND PAY ONLINE. Included in the new software upgrade is an office program. With this new program, clients can now read and sign the agreement prior to the inspection. There’s also an option to pay for the inspection online in advance. This will be very helpful for buyers who can’t be there for the inspection.
So, while I didn’t plan to change my reports—and I was very skeptical of a new system—I’m actually quite excited about it. These reports are a definite upgrade from the previous version, and the whole process is easier and better for clients and Realtors. And, most importantly, you still get the same quality home inspection you’ve come to expect from Dream House Inspections.