Report Writing?

So I do the same thing as you do with our reports, and yes initially when observing a new defect it takes a bit of time to craft the response however, once done, all that is needed is maybe a sentence or two stating the location and if multiple a number. These comments are saved to my template and as I go my time gets shorter with the increased number of comments I have in my “Tool Bag”.

We (me plus 3 guys) use HomeGauge.
I like the look of Spectora, and if I were to start over tomorrow I would probably use Spectora, I think of HG as the OG Spectora.

Even though you didn’t ask, I’ll say, the best camera in my opinion is Fujifilm XP120-130 for high resolution and good flash which allows for very little editing needed. Also fujifilm has a great phone app, making the cameras good for extension pole setup.

To close out the point on software, they pretty much all have the same functions and features and can almost all put out a similar looking report, I think it’s just how much time you put in to the software template and narrative library to optimize report writing that counts.

If you have the time, I’d like to see one of your reports (I’ll show you mine if you show me yours LOL)

If you do here’s my email:

Good luck man,


Why does that take up extra time?

You simply save what you typed for next time. Then you don’t have to do it again.

I have to disagree with you on that point, Patrick. Putting time into learning your software and organizing your narratives is important, but I’ve created custom narrative libraries for 6 different Inspection software companies, and they’re all pretty different from each other in the way the software is set up, how they operate, and what they’ll do either easily or kicking and screaming. Examples are:

  • Which operating systems they use;
  • Whether they install photos next to the narratives they support automatically;
  • How they are organized to optimize finding narratives quickly
  • How easily they allow multiple inspectors to work on and complete same report;
  • How easily they lend themselves to on-site reporting;
  • How easily the report can be emailed;
  • I like the ability to include onboard reference including live links
  • How complicated they are to learn to use well;
  • How good their support is; and
  • Pricing models available.

I’m sure there are other things that can be added to this list.

I would have to agree with you as I know you’re experience is well beyond mine especially for reporting software. I changed software three times to end up on HG and as someone who grew up using Windows PCs found it to feel very native, I did a one day course with Russell, as well as countless hours on their YouTube videos to learn the ins and outs. I know you can’t pick one as it’s in your best interest to have your narrative libraries on all software platforms, which in your opinion is the most robust in your opinion, and/or I assume you are/were an inspector yourself, what software did/do you use?

I’m sure all of you will laugh when I tell you this, but it will explain a lot about why our reports are at least, in part, more time-consuming. I’m such a perfectionist about our pictures that if the image looks even two degrees off-center I’ll spend the extra 10 seconds adjusting it till it’s perfectly straight. I’ll spend even more time brightening, adjusting contrast, etc to ensure the image is as crystal clear as possible. It takes me, on average, about a half hour just to edit images, and I never use the app to take pictures directly because I want the ability to edit them.

As far as comments are concerned, I’m an absolute stickler when it comes to perfect grammar, punctuation, spelling and voicing. If one of my inspectors writes “your” instead of “you’re” to state “you are,” for example, I can’t stand it. I have to edit it so it’s correct. If there’s a run-on sentence, I take the time to add a comma or period. If a sentence sounds like it was written by an elementary or middle school student, I rewrite it entirely. Needless to say, all of that adds quite a bit to my time.

I’m fully aware that I need to lighten up, and I’m also aware that our clients and the realtors we deal with don’t care about these things. Yet at the same time I just can’t seem to bring myself to deliver a product that seems sub-par. I need a good kick in the ass from other reputable and successful inspectors to steer me in a less OCD direction. And I could definitely use more software recommendations, which several of you have already given. I use ISN, so I’m not so interested in programs that offer additional scheduling, invoicing and marketing features. I’m very satisfied with ISN and only need software for report writing. If a program comes with other features but they can simply not be used, that’s fine.

Does anyone else struggle with these issues? I’m guessing not nearly to the extent I do, but I’m still curious.

Yes, some of us, just like you, were raised to “aim” 100% However, as we mature, and with more life experience, we begin to learn how to balance things. This is where the 80/20 rule comes into play, life’s too short to be a perfectionist, I promise :slight_smile: In the end, very few, if any, appreciate or need your 100% Most, however, will respect your well completed 80% The extra last mile is good and helpful, to a point, but is rarely worth it. The main focus should be on the bigger picture. If you apply 80/20 rule to report writing, for example, it would take 2-3 hours to achieve 80% and 2 more to get to 100% Maybe it’s time to adjust :slight_smile:


I totally agree. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are a critical component of a good report. It projects your credibility and professionalism. I’m a one man show and do no more than one inspection a day. I always hold my reports over night and do a final proof read the next morning, before I post it for the client.

I inspected actively for about ten years, Patrick. I used Home Inspector Pro (HIP), then jumped to HomeGauge to create the next template, and I had a fair amount of trouble at first understanding how it worked, but I think that was just because I was used to HIP which is set up quite differently, and the fact that I was in my mid 50s and the tech stuff didn’t come as easily as it does to those who’ve grown up with computer technology. After that it was Spectora (I had trouble again), Tap Inspect and Whisper Reporter (pretty clean library transfer from HIP or HG, I forget which), and then Spectacular, which was laborious to set up, but not difficult to set up or understand.

All of the software with which I originally had trouble eventually made sense to me, and the ones I found more difficult to understand at first, I later came to appreciate because they were often (not always) more versatile.

What works well for each inspector depends on how their brain is wired and doing due diligence in choosing inspection software takes work that a lot of inspectors find unpleasant or frustrating. Congratulations on doing your due diligence in finding a software that you felt comfortable with and spending the time learning to use it!

It’s my impression that a lot of inspectors facing the prospect of choosing software lack the patience or skill to adequately evaluate the different choices, or they don’t know what to look for. For the latter problem I’ve written an article on the things an inspector should consider when choosing software. It also has links to 10 well-established, popular inspection software. All of these will allow a certain number of free test drives.

Things to consider when considering a reporting system - this is from experience. Way back when I realized that manually keyboarding inspection reports was, for me, not the path I wanted to follow, I attended an inspectors conference sponsored by what was then simply know as NACHI in Orlando, FL. I collected about a half-dozen reporting system “demo” CDs’. Back at the office (had plenty of time - the business was new - not a lot of inspections - I entered an actual keyboarded report into each of the systems. I explored ease of use, functionality, availability of “drop-downs”, ease of creating my own statements and so on. I then had several people “evaluate” EACH of the reports. My wife as an “aware” consumer, a friend who doesn’t know which end of a butter-knife to use as a screwdriver, a long time friend who is a Broker, and, importantly, a friend licensed to practice law in both New York and New Jersey. Her “take” was important. “Good report” - "Lacking for “whatever reason” - “This is full of legal type “fine print” and lacks in information for the Client - 3/4 page of legalese and a short paragraph on the concern. Lawyers had too much input - little input by a real inspector”. SO - the point of this post - the reporting system choice is NOT a simple “cut and dried” choice - thought has to go into it AND it needs to fit your business model. DO NOT be strictly price driven. “Extras” such as schedulers are just that, “extras”. The report itself is YOUR FINAL PRODUCT.

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