What check list do you use??

Good Morning Everyone!!!

This is my first post after lurking around the site for a few weeks.
Great site. Very informative…

I’m about to start a HI business after being a contractor in NY for 27 yrs. and I was wondering if anyone uses a checklist, on a clip board or PDA when inspecting a home??

I would appreciate any tips on what is used in the field as far as making sure I cover all the everything, especially once I begin inspections. I have not done yet, except pratice on my own home.

Thanks in advance and look forward to posting in the future.


Get some software. Handing a client a checklist is so 1980. :wink:

Check out Home Inspector Pro

You can print a blank report and use that for field notes, if you’d like.

make a checklist from whatever report you are going to use. even carry a blank one.

I know some experienced guys still use them, but bet most are like myself and have no need for them after a little time on the job.

Cameras take care of notes as I never forget why I took a shot.

That being said, a good trick might be to just load systems and components on to your phone if it is one of the almost basic issue smart phones.

Despite what cheaper or older guys might think ,it is a necessity of business to have one.

Web and email are big to any inspection business so spend the doe if you are still hanging on to your old Primco model and load up some HI related material on a tasks program or a document folder.

This way you can look at notes and not be fumbling around with a clipboard or paper.

You could even take a picture of a list and keep it on file in your camera if the screen is a nice size for reading and zooming.

For notes there are many methods and I use them all.

My newest favorite is to type letters instead of numbers on my cell phone and put it in the picture.

I hope this assists.

What Robert said. Print out the checklist, laminate it and use a grease pencil to take notes and when you get home input it. You can reuse it forever.

My checklist is in my head now. I carry one in the car in the event I forget something however I look over EVERYTHING and check EVERYTHING thats visible. Im not a sampler. I try to inspect every house the exact same way cuts down on thoughts of did I miss something. As for defects the only pictures that goes in my report are those of defects with my finger pointing at it. Saves alot of time IMO.

They also have erasable pens at Walgreens now.

You can erase everything with a hair dryer in seconds.

ink freezes in cold climates and you wouldnt be writing anything in the winter with any pen… i once climbed a 200’ ladder to measure things on top of a silo with 2 pens in my pocket it was around zero that day with 20mph winds… i had to try to read my indentions later that day… … tangent anyone??

You do your writing inside the house,not on the roof.:roll:

i assume your pens work for signing checks.:slight_smile:


What Bob Elliot said is true, check out Home Inspector Pro: If you dont use a software, you will be competing against someone who is, and will make you look bad. Download the free trial, and give it a shot, you have nothing to loose.

Another thing: IF you are buying Home Inspector Pro, and IF you are joining NACHI (you are right?) do it in that order, I think it is $50 bucks cheaper than the other way around. (at least it used to be, Dom correct me if I’m wrong)

When you join NACHI, I wrote a thread for you :slight_smile:

Thanks guys for the tips.

If feels strange to be a rookie at something at 50 yrs. old!!!

I thought about using a blank copy just until I get used to a system and flow.
I’m trying out Home Inspector Pro software on a trial basis. I’ll make a copy of that and laminating is a great idea, Gerry!!

Thanks again.

Your welcome.

I can’t claim that idea however, another HIP user came up with it. But I can claim the grease pencils though. LOL

Should be easiest to just get all your material comments printed under your component tabs so you can check them off and leave a little space to write the defect stuff as it is more lengthy (plus you will not have proper canned comments yet).

Print the sections in the order you will inspect or just go with Roof,Exterior,Interior,Heat,Cooling,Plumbing followed by Insulation.

Take a quick walkthrough video so if you forget something you can rewind and see everything on a 2 or 3 minute video.

Trust me this last advice will help you the most.


What Gerry suggested and you are thinking is exactly what new inspectors will often do. Worry about the inspection and take care of the report at home the first few times. You can take a tablet or laptop with you once you get used to the inspecting itself. The grease pen is great because it even works in the rain.

Apparently the word has not reached to the newbies in Northern California about the checklist forms.

I’d wager a guess that at least 25% of all inspectors in the US still use checklist forms. There’s a lot of people in rural areas and even larger cities that I still hear about using checklists.

No competition or locked in Agents.
Still not good practice for a modern business.

Matrix does make a good checklist, I don’t use them anymore. http://www.home-inspect.com/forms/matrixsamples.asp

I would guess there are MORE inspectors (some good ones too) that are nestled away in there own way of doing business and don’t visit our boards that are successfully using these checklists and communicating their findings well.

“Here’s your report Mr. Buyer, I will email some photo’s of interest when I get back to the office” Bad?

If the knowledge in our heads combined with the defects/conditions present in the property we are inspecting makes it to the customer… done deal.

10 Years ago “Serviceable” was the standard verbage for most inspected items. Some of the problems with the inspection market today (good and bad) is the lack of standards. Although I thought Serviceable was a weird word, in of itself, it WAS what was used and it’s meaning was understood.

We are used to seeing our own reports and such, and completely understand them. Do RE Agents and Consumer’s rely heavily on pic’s now as the reporting styles vary so much? Software, which is great, don’t get me wrong, has infused a huge amount of new reporting methods and a lack of standards in general.

If I thought that a checklist was the way to go for me, that’s what I would do. I did enough inspections last month (# x $$ adds up, prices vary), along with some construction projects. The cost of the reports even in bulk is reason enough to use software.

Bottom line IMO with all the software stuff and preferences is that you - Convey important information that is pertinent to your customer’s purchase and accomplishes the service you agreed to. Provides information in a way that is easily understandable and to the point.

AND FLUFF - The checklists lack the Boilerplate necessary to adequately describe what I do and don’t do. Unfortunately, this is something that I need to include, probably due to the lack of unified standards :slight_smile:

Just my .02, however unpopular that may be.

Whether it’s word, a legal notepad that you photo copy (JK) software, checklists… Convey the information!