Originally Posted By: gwells
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I'll be the first to admit that I have some strong opinions about reporting software but I think that the First Choice software is pretty cheesy for the price. Our Report doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles but then it only cost $60 and it has everything you need to do a good inspection.
We have more than 500 inspectors across the US and Canada using our software. Many inspectors have told me that they would like some more advanced features but it is easy to use and produces a nice looking report. Some inspectors use our software for a while until they buy one of the flashier programs. Even those who step up to something else tell me that they felt like they got their money's worth out of it. I have had many inspectors buy our software with the intention of later moving up to something else, only to call me and tell me that they see no reason to go on to something else.
I am not really trying to make a sales pitch for our software. My real point is that most home inspection software is grossly overpriced. I certainly agree that the software is your most fundamental tool as a home inspector and you want it to look good so that you look good. But, why does it have to cost $250+ for reporting software. I don't get it.
I have had many people in the real estate industry tell me that they prefer my reports over those of most other inspectors in my area. There are three or four of us in my area using our report. Again, my point is that a report doesn't have to cost hundreds of dollars and be a hundred bizzilion pages long to be a good report. Most people don't want to wade through a bunch of stuff. They just want to know what condition the house is in.
My advice, for what its worth, is to give them a good report that is easy to read but covers everything and give them a lot of pictures.
I take at least one photo for every item in my report. My clients love that. I am almost completely paperless. I give the client the report and all the photos on a menu driven CD. The report has a digital signature and cannot be altered. It has been accepted in every facet of the industry. Mortgage companies like it, insurance companies like it, even real estate agents like the report. It can be e-mailed to anyone anywhere. The CD can be copied a thousand times if necessary. I have clients who send copies of the CD to family and friends just to show off the house.
The best part is that it cost me only about 50? to make a CD!
By the way, Target has Imation 48x CD-R's on sale this week for 16? each ($8 for a spindle of 50).