Reporting on the go

Hey everyone, I’m going through my practice inspections right now and I am using Spectora for my reports along with the interNACHI narratives library. I am to the point where I have my template set up based off a routine that I developed my first few practices. My question for those that report on the go do you stop as soon as you find a defect and put it in the report or do you take your pictures and then add them to the report and comment later? For example when doing the exterior there are multiple categories to be looking at so do you snap photos of defects as your walking around the house and enter them into each section they refer to later or do you stop to take the picture as you run into a defect and add it right then and there? I’m finding I’m spending way to much time filling out the report and bouncing from section to section and scrolling through narratives. it’s adding significant time to the inspection and can get distracted by it as well. I just don’t want to have my face buried in my tablet while I have a client with but am shooting to have a majority of the report done on site so all I have to do is proof read before sending.


I’m in the same situation as you: I’m new and I feel as though I’m spending too much time navigating around software - but I think that’s actually the benefit of the software! You aren’t locked into reporting on one section at a time.

For example: If you’re inspected the exterior and come across the condenser of an air conditioner, it makes sense to inspect that component while you’re there. If not, you’ll be wasting more time finishing the entire exterior, then going inside to start the cooling section, just to exit the building again to examine the condenser.

Another: If you’re inspecting the roof, shouldn’t also inspect the chimney? Or would you finish the roof, go inside, inspect the fireplace, go outside and onto the roof again? You’re already on the roof, inspect everything up there.

Personally, I suggested really locking down your knowledge of the SOP (what to and what not to inspect) so you can become really proficient in jumping around the software. I’m sure with enough practice and experience, you’ll gain speed.

Also remember: Your report is the product you’re selling to the client. Spend as much time to make sure it’s as accurate as necessary. Take a ton of photos and notes as you come across defects, because you’re not going to remember in a hour or two as you get distracted by other issues.

EDIT: Also remember that you can “flag” a section in Spectora and come back to it later if you need to. You don’t have to finish everything immediately. I’m sure you’ll come across something you don’t recognize and need to research further.

That’s normal, the software is not very intuitive in that regard. It will slow you down no matter if you are new to the software or not. The search function will help you speed things up if you structure the comments in a way which allows you to find the defects using search instead of navigation. For example, you should be able to type in “missing downspout” (without quotes) and be able to find corresponding comment. Try it to see what I mean. From there you will need to find what works best for you.

Some inspection methods used:

  1. pictures only
  2. pictures + notes
  3. software + pictures
  4. software + pictures + notes

Some use voice to enter comments on the go. These are often not proof read and end up with bunch of spelling and grammatical errors. Understand that you’re competing with those that just take pictures and some notes. They will always finish on site faster than you. Those waiting for you (clients, agents, etc…) don’t understand this. They just know the other inspector took 2 hours and you’re taking 4.

You will find many seasoned inspectors on here who do not do their report onsite for many reason including the time issue. But, nothing wrong with doing in the field if you can manage it.

For me, I take my photos and notes to my home office. I am more confident in my final product this way. But, that is just me. In fact, I have very few “canned narratives”. The ones I do use are typically for safety recommendations such as GFCI protection etc. Maybe I am old school and don’t work as smart as I could. But, I have confidence in my report.

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In gave up on canned narratives. I spent way too much time scrolling through them. I go to the section I am inspecting, take a picture and voice type my narratives. Off site I will review what I voiced type and fix any errors. For me that has saved me time.