laptop essntial ?

I will be purchasing a new computer. still have not decided desktop or laptop. is having a laptop essential for being a home inspector(i hope to pass my exam in about 4 months) ? do many of you use it in your vehicle after doing an inspection ??

Depends on many factors.
Location (add yours)
Report style

What do you have now? (get the other).

I have a desktop now…getting old…haven’t decided on software yet…still taking my courses but as long as i want to upgrade just was wondering if many inspectors find they use it(laptop) at site to do their reports and which software would be best for that.

I have the laptop, PDA, etc., but what works well for me is a great camera for data collection (very rarely write any notes) and then use a desktop back in the office to write the report. That being said, no, a laptop is not essential unless the routine you establish calls for it.

Oh, I do like to carry a netbook so I can show late arriving clients the pictures I took.

I use a laptop to write my reports and use the Home Gauge software. A desk top will work if you decide you will only be writing your reports in one location/room. I sit all over the house/office to write reports so I like the portability.

As others as have said, take LOTS of pictures - especially when you start to get busy. Every picture is worth WAY more than a thousand words. I also use a voice recorder to take notes such as serial numbers and some of my thoughts and ideas of what I was seeing. I find that with the pictures and voice notes I am spending more of my time inspecting and save the formal reporting for later, where I can also do some research on things I may not be that well versed in.

I carry a laptop with internet access in the car but use a desktop to write reports. Also have a spare laptop and a spare desktop. You need a least one spare with all of your software loaded on it and ready to use in this business. I keep a memory stick in the desktop and copy my report to it every 20 minutes or so for an instant backup.

I would buy a LAPTOP if I was replacing the primary computer in my home and beginning a “career” of inspecting homes, castles, trailers and Convenience stores :slight_smile:

Doesn’t have to be fancy… just has to work! Wally World for a few hundred bucks if ya have to. Net books are OK, but hard for me to see with and not much more fun to type with.

Take Low Resolution pictures (conserve space and we don’t need Hi Res Pictures) and back up to… something/anything/somewhere regularly.

Good Luck!

I totally and strongly disagree with Tim on the resolution.
High res will allow you to zoom in on things you may have forgotten to get a closeup of.

Storage is cheap at $100 for a full terabite.

Tech moves forward (not backwards).

Ditto, low res pics too, reduces bandwidth.

(it is better not to miss things then to try and zoom in later ;))

Only if you’re serious about making a career of this profession.

Listen to Mr Pope. You need a laptop, even if you aren’t doing on-site reports - yet.

Now price a desktop with the associated requirements:

  1. 2 monitors
  2. UPS (battery backup)

Compare to a laptop with one extra monitor (one monitor and battery backup is included), a keyboard and mouse.

The price is pretty much the same for a laptop. I wouldn’t have recommended a laptop 5 years ago (mainly for performance reasons). But laptops are incredibly fast now. Even inexpensive ones can be upgraded to 8GB of memory.


Goofy logic since any descent report software reduces the size for your report.
However if you have inferior software I can understand your logic.

Taking your statement one step further we can assume you do not wear a seatbelt, since it is better to just not get in a car accident.:shock:

Back to the inspection side of your statement we could save even more bandwidth (whatever that means)by using a checklist and mailing clients the report “you caveman”.:slight_smile:

Now Bob, everyone knows that if you wear a seatbelt, it hinders you from exiting the vehicle in a timely manner, before the vehicle bursts into flames and explodes !!! :twisted::grin:

Seriously though, (are you sitting down Bob?) I agree with Bob (third time this year). High Res. pic’s are the way to go. HIP resizes my pics in an instant, no matter what the original Res. is to start with. With a 2GB SD memory card, I can take over 1200 pic’s at 10 MP. (more than enough for the majority of homes and small commercial I do). I like the extra insurance it provides. There’s just some conditions that you can’t see everything, but jumps out at you in a good quality pic.

When my desktop crashed two years ago, I didn’t replace it. I upgraded the memory on my Laptop, and purchased another External HardDrive. I actually love my laptop vs the desktop. The only thing I miss is the desktops ‘speed’. This will be solved when I either replace the laptop, or perform another upgrade. For the price of laptops with the Intel i5 or i7 chips, I will most likely replace (this one’s just over 4 years old, and getting a bit worn). :grin:

Owned desktops for years… once I bought a laptop that was it for me. I’ll never return to desktops. Nothing is better than lying in your own bed “relaxed”. I can work on a report, keep up with you guys and watch a movie all at the same time all from a $400 laptop “Toshiba” which I bought from Wal Mart. Had it for 2 years now and it still runs like a champ.

Get a laptop. You may want to start entering data on site. I use Home Gauge with a tablet. I use the tablet to enter data for my report on site, get signatures and a presentation of the pictures before I leave the site. Tablets a smaller(mine has a 12" screen) and more expensive.

My laptop just crashed and I was thinking of getting desk top for the office. After reading everyone comments, I realized I would not have a back-up for use on site.

Personally I love working with the big desktop screen since I got my 64 bit HP tower.
I also have a tablet and laptop .
The laptop is great as a sacrifice when downloading suspicious software.:wink:
Tablet is a Go unit that almost never gets used because every time I swear I will start pecking on site it gets forgotten halfway before I am done with the kitchen.

As mentioned by others it actually ends up taking more time to use recognition ,upload photos,and try to use very short sentences that may not be detailed enough because you are hurried on site.

If you stopped yapping and spent more time actually inspecting you may not be so hurried on site. :mrgreen:

Just saying…:wink:

Part of good Inspection habit is to converse to your client and get them involved.

I try and give them the whole report verbally as I go and have never had a call questioning anything on a report ,so there must be something right about my method of madness.\:D/
Fingers crossed as I say that.

Laptop essntial?

Only if you first install a spell-checker. :smiley:

I have had a Toshiba for 6 years and all you need to doe is protect it well with a case,don’t lend it out and make sure sure you get computer company to clean and update each year or every six months.:wink: