Reporting & Education

Originally Posted By: jmichalski
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I have found that I am spending a lot of time educating clients about differnt aspects of their home (like, say, GFCI). I enjoy this part of my job, actually, but it slows me down soooooo much.

I have tried copying handouts, brochures, websites. What I really want is to add some failry consise comments into my report (as you can see I have a hard time limiting my words!).

Russel once posted a nice clip from his report about GFCI, and it got me to thinking that maybe more of us have certain sections, instructions, or comments that we find useful (and wouldn't mind sharing!!!)


Originally Posted By: jmichalski
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For example, I have used this bit on slate roofs a lot recently, actually…

Slate roofs can last anywhere between 40 to 100 years depending upon the grade of the slate, and quality of installation. Ribbons, or light colored stripes running through the slate, typically indicate weaker slates and may have a shorter life span. Improper installation can cause nails to rust and cause individual slates to migrate or chip.

Slate roofs require annual maintenance and it is necessary to replace individual slates that are broken, missing or migrating as well as roll ridges from time to time. It is recommended that repairs be performed by a roofing expert with specific slate roof experience, as the material is delicate and the work more complicated than typical roofing applications.

Slate is among the most attractive and durable materials in use, but is also one of the most expensive to maintain. It would be advisable to budget annually for roof maintenance, even with a slate roof in excellent condition as repairs can be costly and must be consistently maintained. The brittle nature of the material prevents inspection from the roof surface.

Originally Posted By: tdove
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Thank you for the info. icon_smile.gif

Originally Posted By: dbowers
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Joseph -

It was a well written 3 paragraphs. Now as your buyer what did you say?

Is it OK or not OK. To me you said nothing. But thats me, maybe to someone else you said a lot. Think about it.

Contrary to what most of us think, the average buyer does not have any real interest in hearing where indoor plumbing came from - they just want to know if the toilet works or not (and if not - can it be fixed & how much will it cost)?

Originally Posted By: jmichalski
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This is just the standard extra info, background to better understand what they are dealing with. The section on conditon of the roof itself includes photos, descriptions of the condition and apparant age (with an appropriate disclaimer) and comments on the condition of the ridge roll, flashing, chimney, cricket, eaves, etc…

I always look for explanatory info for my clients to beeter educate them - so they can make informed decisions. At the very least, I feel like I am doind a good job, and at the worst, I believe I am reducing my liability by fully explaining what the materials and propers installations and uses are.

Much like Russel's GFCI post - just info, not a report in itself. Maybe I am alone in doing this, which could be why no one else has posted any similar pet descriptions....

Originally Posted By: bnelson
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You raise an interesting topic, one I’ve been pondering for a while now. I also love the role of “educator” during both the inspection and in the report, but I am realizing that it can have a negative impact on business if not presented properly. Let me explain what I mean, then give one suggestion for a way to handle it.

The busiest inspector in this area does a pencil-checklist, multiple-choice type report that he hands over at the end of the inspection. I don't have exact numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if this guy averages 4 to 6 inspections a day. My belief is that his incredible brevity is the stuff of realtor's dreams.

Me, on the other hand, I like to do a very thorough inspection and so far I've not done more than one a day. I write custom, readable verbiage, add digi-photos with arrows, circle or squares around the intended defects, toss in a handful of line drawings from "The Illustrated Home" CD and package it together with a thorough summary, table of contents, nice cover page, the works. I've had a good number of realtors use me once, then (if they have the backbone) tell me my "eyesight is too good" or "my reports are too much work to read" and not refer me again. (Those are direct quotes).

I know there are a handful of inspector-orthodoxes hitting the "reply" button right now to re-re-re-iterate that it's the buyer and not the realtor that I work for. I know that, thank you. But 9 out of 10 jobs come from realtors' referrals, so to say they don't matter misses an important part of the equation, at least where I live.

I'd rather go back to framing than feel like I intentionally short-changed a buyer so I could woo a realtor, but I need to find some middle ground if I'm to stop losing the favor of realtors for my thoroughness. A solution I'm thinking of is to keep the actual reports as brief as possible while still conveying the pertinent information, but having a "Read more..." hyperlink at the end of each applicable item. Your slate roof example is perfect for such a thing. You could have that on a page of your website with pictures or diagrams, along with even more info if you wanted, and put a link to it after you briefly tell them in the report if the roof is good to go or what have you.

I want my customers to be absolutely blown away with how much value they get for their inspection dollar. But I also want realtors to keep referring me. This may be a way to do both.

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this concept

Originally Posted By: dbowers
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Brandon -

Nice post. Look at mine again. Most people have no major interest in all the FooFoo - Just tell them its OK or not OK.

Think about it. You go to the car dealer for a check-up cause your Transmission is shifting rough, and the dealer gives you 24 pages of verbiage with an annual maintenance schedule for the car and detailed photos of the inside of a Transmission AND 5 pages on where the 1st automatic transmission was built, etc.

One anal retentive person will think this is great - the rest of the world is bored to death, but too polite to tell us. All they wanted to know is whats wrong and how much will it cost - everything else is fodder.

Originally Posted By: bsmith
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I agree with you. I try to give the buyer a little knowledge to help them with their decision and also to help them maintain the home afterwards. I also agree that an overly wordy report doesn't get read completely - they just skim the summary and don't bother with anything that appears too cumbersome. I have a collection of short paragraphs that I plug into the report at appropriate times.I'll try and email you the GFCI section. Hope it helps.

Bill Smith
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." A. Einstien

Originally Posted By: jmichalski
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I REALLY like the idea of putting descriptive links when I post their report online… It would give them education, and draw them back to the site over time so that they could look up anything I said about This or That.

VERY good idea.

It's just not in me to skip doing this kind of stuff altogether. If people want an OK or NOT OK option, they can alwyas opt to shoot straight to the summary page - like reading the Cliff's notes!

Maybe pre-printing these little info nuggets on the reverse side of the paper I use to print the report would save space & paper.

I have had the reverse reaction from Realtors when I first began... I made few extra comments, and more than one Realtor said "Boy, you're just straigth ot the point, no nonsense, huh?" I got the sense that it wasn't meant in a positive way.

Of course, I could always just offer tiers of service..another Russel topic.