4 Time Saving Tips When Creating an Electronic Home Inspection Report

This article is going to discuss four tips that home inspectors can use to save time and become more efficient while creating their home inspection reports. The time saved can be used elsewhere such as working on their company website, marketing campaigns, or more time with their family.

Tip 1 – Use Software in the Field
Using home inspection software on a portable device in the field allows an inspector to create the report as they inspect. Depending on the software, this can be done on a laptop, tablet, or handheld device. Once the inspector finishes their inspection, the report is complete. The inspector can choose to go back to the office and make any final changes before delivering it, such as adding pictures and adding final comments, or deliver it to the client in the field. Many home inspectors are still using paper to do their inspections and not taking advantage of field reporting software. Using software on-site saves the inspector time by eliminating the need to create the inspection report a second time back at the office.

Tip 2 – Use Customized Forms
Another tip for inspectors is to use a customized home inspection form or template that suits them and their inspection style. Using a customized form that the inspector is comfortable with will save them time while filling out their inspection report on-site. They can choose the order in which the sections of the home appear in their software to match the order in which they inspect. Inspectors can also make one time changes for a specific property or make permanent changes to their template. For example, an inspector in Florida could delete the ‘Basement’ section in their report, since most of the properties they will be inspecting will not have basements. Using a form that is suited for an inspector will save them time and allow their inspection process to be more efficient.

Tip 3 – Use Dropdown Lists
The third tip for saving time is to select common answers from the software’s dropdown lists. Most inspection software programs already come with preloaded narratives. It is important that an inspector continues to build their library of narratives with their own comments to eliminate the amount of typing they have to do. Over time an inspector’s library will grow and give them the ability to choose very quickly from several different choices. This will eliminate the need to type out each narrative and will save a great deal of time each inspection. Typing takes a lot of time in the field and any chance an inspector has to eliminate it, is a benefit to them and their inspection process.

Tip 4 – Preload Data into Report
The last time saving tip for home inspectors is to fill out any information they may have about the home before they arrive on-site for the inspection. A home inspector should be able to fill out most of the general information about the home beforehand. Inspectors can use their knowledge of the area to fill out common information ahead of time as well. For example, if a specific subdivision has all asphalt driveways or hardwood floors, they can go ahead and put that information into their report. Filling out information ahead of time will not only save them time when creating their report, but it will also be one less thing they have to worry about in the field.

Using the tips listed above, an inspector will be able to save time and become more efficient while creating their home inspection report. Saving time will allow an inspector to schedule more inspections and also have more time to spend on other areas of their business.

Home Inspection – How It Benefits The Buyer, Investor And Seller

It is important to understand that a home inspection can be very valuable to both the seller and the buyer of a home. For obvious reasons the home inspection is valuable to the buyer as the inspector will point out any serious defects in the home as well as the overall condition of the home before the home is purchased.

First off, let me explain what a home inspection actually consists of for those who are a little unclear.

A home inspection is an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home such as the plumbing system, electrical system, roof, etc. Most importantly a home inspection can usually detect any structural problems with a house. Structural concerns include the foundation, exterior wall system, interior load bearing walls, floor system and roof system. Problems with any of these items can result in substantial repair costs.

This inspection report can also be valuable to a seller. If a seller has a home inspection preformed before they list the house, the seller will have a “heads up” on any defects in their home. They may elect to fix some or all of defects so they will not become an issue to the new buyer prior to closing. And most times the seller will get things repaired or replaced at a cost much lower than when the buyers look for repair credits before the closing.

Home inspections are just as important for real estate investors (who become sellers), who buy houses in “as-is” condition. Even though many investors can see most of the things that need repair, and know the house needs fixing, they tend to overlook some of the issues that need repair and don’t figure it into their cost estimate. Then they are faced with the repairs at closing. A favorable inspection report can give you the added comfort that you are not buying your next nightmare!

I suggest investors (as well as any seller) get a home inspection report as it will help identify all the issues that need to be addressed. Then, the investor can use that report to show the contractor what needs to be replaced, fixed or repaired. And it’s the little (and sometimes the not so little) things that investors miss or overlook that can add up and also hold up a closing.

Things such as, grading and drainage issues causing water penetration into the house or from down spouts not properly angled away from the foundation. Also missing fascia boards (boards nailed across the ends of roof rafters at the eaves), missing or damaged eves and soffits. And don’t forget the plumbing, water heater and appliance vents, water pressure, electrical capacity, etc. See, many things most of us never think about.

If you think about it, you are paying someone to do a fairly comprehensive diagnostic test on the home. To tell you all the things you are not trained to find.

So I say, why not know about any defects and repair items BEFORE you buy or put the house up for sale.

When ever the word “safety” or “hazard” comes up in a home inspection report, everyone’s antenna goes up! Having the report and repairing the necessary items before the buyers get their home inspection will drastically reduce the amount of items being found by the buyer’s home inspection.

And if you are an investor, you could have gotten the repairs completed for a minimal fee as your contractor is working in the house anyway doing the renovation work. After the renovation is completed and the workers are gone and you need to get them back, it usually will cost much more as now they are coming for a “new job”. So why not address those repair issues before time. It makes sense to me!

Now bear in mind, you can sometimes have twenty “suggested” items to be addressed. When twenty or so of these small items are put on the report, this leads to buyers getting scared, and or the buyers asking for big credits and costing you much more money.

In summary, if you are buying a home, selling a home or if you are investing in a home, a home inspection report by a licensed home inspection company will open your eyes to any and all defects that could become an issue when you go to sell or flip the house. My opinion is that a home inspection is worth the small fee that is charged. Most states have adopted standards of practice from the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI.)

Oh, one last thing. Always get a termite inspection. Some home inspection companies are licensed to offer this service as well. But I always like to get the termite inspection by someone who can actually perform any necessary treatment.

Realtors: Should They Attend Your Home Inspection?

Shhhh….don’t tell anyone…but I’ll be the first to admit that a Home Inspection, for the most part, isn’t much of a spectator sport. Watching an inspector run water from the kitchen sink faucet or repeatedly flush a toilet, shine their flashlight into closets, ascend into an attic space or disappear into the dark recesses of a crawl space, and plug a little test device into electrical outlets isn’t very…exciting. But the fact is that all of these activities are akin to the routine pop fly ball of a baseball game or a one yard gain on a run up the middle of football game. They aren’t usually the most interesting plays of the game, but if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss the bases-loaded home run or the 98 yard pass play for a touchdown. However, and at any time, the routine play can readily turn into a game-changer. Sure, you can wait till later and watch the highlight reel of a game…or read the Summary of a Home Inspection report…but you won’t have any good feel for the flow of the game. The same applies to a Home Inspection; one needs to observe the entire game, or at least be within earshot of the announcer, to have a good understanding of what led to the final outcome.

The answer to the initial subject question is necessarily, or should be, divided into two parts when referring to the typical Home Inspection. Why? Because there are typically two real estate agents involved in a real estate transaction. One real estate agent represents the selling party (the selling, or listing, agent)…and another represents the buying party (the buyers agent). In some instances, a single agent might represent both parties; this is commonly referred to as dual agency. For the purpose of this article, let us assume there are two agents involved in the real estate transaction and let us further assume that the transaction involves residential real estate.

Having been directly involved in thousands and thousands…and thousands… of Home Inspections, I have been in a position to directly observe the interactions between a large number of real estate agents and their respective clients. Most often, I interact directly with both the buyers and with their agents. I’m fortunate enough that my inspection schedule is typically and mostly full of inspections for clients that are represented by entirely professional, ethical real estate agents.

Let’s examine whether or not the buyers real estate agent should attend their clients Home Inspection. The answer, in my professional opinion, is…You Betcha! For anyone not familiar with that term, or who may not have any friends, family, or acquaintances in Minnesota, that means…Absolutely Yes!

I am going to preface the following comments with this…in over 15 years of providing professional Home Inspections, I have come to know, way down deep in my very soul, that a top-notch, professional, reliable and interested real estate agent will always…let me repeat, always…attend the Home Inspection with their clients. Why? Because the agents presence during that critical event is directly indicative of their professionalism and commitment to their client. How can an agent adequately represent the best interest of their clients if they don’t attend their clients Home Inspection? The fact is…they can’t. It’s my experience that if a professional agent can’t make it to the inspection for some reason (let’s face it, we all have emergencies every now and again), then they provide for one of the licensed associates to attend in their place.

The reason it’s so important for a buyers agent to attend is so that they can hear and see, first hand, any items that the Home Inspector is going to include in the report, This is important because there is almost always another round of negotiations subsequent to the completion of the Home Inspection and the buyers agent needs to fully understand the potential ramifications of the reported issues to fairly and adequately represent the buyer.

It’s been related to me, that a potential reason for a buyers agent not attending a Home Inspection is because of a perceived increase in liability for the agent. An agent once told me that if an issue later arises as the result of a Home Inspection, that it can be disclaimed by the agent because they weren’t there during the inspection. I don’t buy that notion as a reason not to attend the inspection. I do, however, advise agents to maintain a low profile during the inspection and let the inspector do the inspectin’. I advise them to let the Inspector assume the liability for reporting on the physical condition of the property….understand the issues, represent the client…but let the Home Inspector do the reporting.

Let’s now examine whether or not the sellers agent should attend the Home Inspection. In my opinion and simply stated, the answer is a resounding…NO! Why not? Because it is important that the results of the Home Inspection, that is to say the information that is ultimately going to be conveyed to the buyer by the Home Inspector, is confidential. It is the client that makes the determination as to what information is to be shared with whom and when it is to be shared. The client is paying for the Home Inspection report and they own it. Home Inspectors in states that have adopted licensing requirements, as well as Inspectors that operate under the Standards of Practice of the majority of professional Home inspection organizations, are not allowed to share any inspection details, with any third party, without the express permission of their client. It’s rare that the client wants to share that information before they have received the final report and have had an opportunity to assess its contents for themselves. In my experience, the vast majority of real estate agents understand this concept. However, and giving credit where credit is due, there are some circumstances where the listing agent is present because the seller (the homeowner) has mandated that they be present whenever anyone is inside of their home. In those types of unavoidable situations, the amount of verbally shared information between the client and the Inspector is typically minimal and may have to be communicated in…Shhhh…whispers.

A Home Inspection – Again?

What? Two home inspections on the same property? Yes. If you’re selling a home, you’ll want one done, and the prospective buyer will want one done, too. If you do a pre-sale home inspection on the home you’re selling, you’ll save yourself and your prospective buyer a lot of hassles down the road.

Put yourself in the buyers shoes for a minute. These days a buyer can’t be too careful, especially with so many foreclosed homes in uncertain condition on the market. Her real estate sales offer may depend on an acceptable home inspection. This inspection can make everybody involved a little nervous. After all, since a home is such a major investment, she’ll want to be sure things are all right before she buys and makes it her home.

Is that home structurally sound? Are all the major and minor components functioning at the time of the inspection? Are those components going to have a reasonable life expectancy comparable to the price you, the seller, are asking.

So What happens when the home inspector she brings in finds major problems? What if there’s a failing roof or a foundation that shows signs of moisture penetration? You can bet she’ll be quite concerned, especially if she’s a first time home buyer. She may want further evaluations or may back out of the deal altogether.

Most home buyers will have a home inspected, and the inspector will find problems, whether they’re major or minor, you can count on it. The best way to avoid or minimize such problems is to have a pre-sale inspection done when you’re ready to sell your home.

There are several important benefits of having a pre-sale inspection done. First, it will bring you peace of mind because you’ll find problems before a prospective buyer’s inspection points them out. Then you can take time to find reasonable and affordable fixes.

Second, the pre-sale inspection gives you a peak into what you can anticipate when dealing with the buyer. She may try to use the home’s defects as negotiating leverage to lower the sales price. She may want major work done, which will slow the sales process or kill the deal entirely. Since a pre-sale inspection will mention any deficiencies and provide a cost analysis, you’ll be better informed ahead of time.

But there’s another side to this coin. The pre-sale inspection will also highlight the assets of your home. This gives you sound reasoning for your asking price and will leave little room for the buyer to negotiate a reduced price when she sees the home inspector’s report.

A pre-sale inspection can help avoid a disclosure lawsuit. If the inspection brings to light something you weren’t aware of, that will likely be disclosed on the disclosure form. You don’t want something unexpected to pop up after your buyer has closed on the deal. She could say you knew about the defect and file suit for damages. This can cost thousands of dollars, cause mortgage default, or years of court battles and headaches. You want to demonstrate to your buyer that you’re serious about making the sale and, most importantly, that you’re honest.

Incidentally, if you’re attempting to buy a home yourself, while trying to sell your current home, don’t take home inspection shortcuts. If you’re using the same company to do a pre-sale inspection on the home you’re selling and a prospective buyer’s inspection on the home you’re contemplating, ask the company for a reduce price on one of the inspections.

Find Out What Affects the Cost of Home Inspection

The importance of home inspection is known to real estate industry. A few decades ago, an inspection is not a mandatory activity. Today, the inspection is regulated by governing bodies of different State. The process now follows a set of rules and standards because the reports produced by the home inspectors create an impact to any real estate transaction. There are things being considered when choosing a home inspector like the experience, trainings and the cost of home inspection.

Affordability is one factor that affects the decision of any home buyer in choosing a home inspector. But, it is a fact that the price does not guarantee a quality of work. It is still better to find and research around the best home inspector. In terms of the rate, the cost of the inspection varies depending on how detailed the homebuyer wants for the inspection. The common rate goes to US$200 to US$300 per inspection but it could increase depending on the request of additional inspection by the client.

Detailed inspection- Requesting for detailed report other than the standard inspection requires an additional set of inspections. A short inspection of 1 to 2 hours can cost around US$100-US$200, complete with a hand-written report. A more comprehensive report will take extra cost up to US$260 to US$360.

Size of the property- Commonly, the size of the house states how much it will cost the client. Most inspectors charge by square feet. An estimate on an average home of single to a small family will take around US$200 to US$300. Therefore, the larger the home, the longer it takes for the inspection and the higher the cost. The rate is also dependent on the State where the home is located. The subjects about prices are also discussed in any home inspector school.

Area of the property- A home buyer must decide if there is a pool in the property. If this is included, an additional price is charge approximately US$75 to US$125. The buyer may also decide whether to include pest and termites check-up. This is another additional charge of US$75 to US$120 on the cost of home inspection. This is just a standard rate but it can go up depending on what company the home inspector is connected

Consider different service providers- When choosing a home inspection services whether it is from a franchise home inspection service or local accredited companies, it is best to check on the feedback or testimonials coming from the clients of these companies. A business with reputable services usually has a higher rate. This is because the credibility of the company has already been settled or the quality of inspection provided is superb.

In home inspection classes, the rate is discussed and the opportunities for future certified home inspectors are included in the courses. Home inspection is indeed a high-paying job. Many individuals nowadays, complete the necessary procedures in order to become successful in this career. Going into school, taking the exam, getting the certificate and licenses and joining a professional body are the cost of home inspection on the part of the home inspectors.