Pinnacle Home Inspection
Pinnacle Home Inspection’s (PIN) primary business centers around inspecting houses after a Seller has accepted a Buyer’s offer on their house. In Arkansas, Buyer’s have up to 10 days to have the house inspected. During that time a home inspector is called to do a thorough inspection of every area of the house and provide a detailed written report on their findings. These reports are to aid the Buyer in doing one of several things: accept the house “as is” based on the evidence provided; ask the Seller to deal with areas of concern revealed in the report; renegotiate the original price; or back out of the contract.
What makes PIN so unique is their main objective to provide a compact but detailed report. The reporting software available, seemed to produce reports 40 or 50 pages long, which seemed excessive to them, so generating much shorter reports (14-18 pages), helps their clients easily understand inspection reports and has become the primary way they’ve set themselves apart from the competition.
The initial challenge that PIN faced was two-fold. First, to purchase or develop a software solution that could deliver the type of report PIN believed best suited home buyers. The second, involved compiling the complete report during the inspection. It is not uncommon to hear of inspectors working long hours, after the inspection is completed, at home to compile their reports.
Generally speaking, home inspection reports present fairly typical information. There is usually a cover page followed by multiple pages containing a series of check boxes. These check boxes indicate that an area or component was “Inspected”, “Damaged”, “Not Inspected”, or “Not Present”. There is often general information about the house, as well as comments on areas or components that were found to have “issues.” These often are accompanied by photographs.
There are numerous inspection programs on the market, but they didn’t generate the type of report PIN wanted to present. Because the options researched by PIN did not suit their vision, the logical direction to the initial challenge was to develop their own software solution.
PIN was able use FileMaker to build numerous tables containing information such as: a table that contained over 800 sentences dealing with inspection issues; another table that merged the 800 sentences with nearly 12,000 words or phrase that described the location of rooms, provided direction, detailed concerns, and offered advice. Add to that a database of over 1100 Realtors, 80+ Real Estate offices, inspection costs, along with hundreds of dropdown boxes filled with information about the house. The next challenge was tying all of that information together into a single, compact report. PIN was able to create three separate parts of the final report but did not have the know-how to bring it all together, and they needed help writing the scripts to make it “work”.
“I came to Extensitech with a project that was 99% complete. That may sound like I hardly needed their help, but that is far from the truth. In fact, I would never have been able to pull all of my work together. I understood FileMaker could do amazing things, but I had no knowledge of how to go about that.”
Extensitech was able to grasp PIN’s concept very quickly, and, after a series of online sessions, Extensitech created a series of relationships to the tables PIN had and then developed 10 scripts to pull all of their work together into one very easy to use FileMaker solution.
“The final product has been a joy to work with.”
Extensitech created the feature set so when an inspection is scheduled in the program, and with the push of a button, two pre-inspection emails are sent out to the appropriate parties. At the inspection, the inspector can walk around the house with a tablet computer selecting “issues” as they are found. The software divides the house into 75 categories, each with set of specific sentences that can be merged with 12,000 phrases. Each sentence may contain anywhere between 1-to-3 merge values. Each of these merge values may contain another 1 or 2 merge values. These give the inspector a great deal of flexibility in precisely describing the issue at hand. Typically inspectors handle two inspections a day. The last thing an inspector wants to do is remember where an “issue” was located, or try to recall what “issues” they didn’t record onsite. This leads to very long, frustrating nights at home. This solution, that Extensitech help pull together, eliminates the need for long hours at home after the inspection.
Another added feature is, photos can be taken throughout the inspection. Each “issue” that is selected is then “timestamped,” with the push of a button, to a photo taken of the “issue.” At the end of the inspection, the photos are imported into the report and a “photo caption” automatically added.
This software solution takes all of the input information, issues, and photos; with the push of another button sorts them into their appropriate category (doors, windows, electrical, plumbing, etc.); then compiles them into a single PDF report. Reports are roughly 1.5mb in size and average 16 pages in length. Choosing another button, emails a letter to client along with the attached inspection report.
“The scripts needed to give purpose to the many buttons took a handful of hours to create, but are the very life of this solution. I could have read books, articles, gone to classes, but never, and I mean never, accomplished what Extensitech did in those hours. Also, as their website states, they are ready to help improve on the final product. Once you begin working with your solution, you will find areas to improve, and new options to add.”