What Home Inspection Software is Best?
When it comes to being a home inspector, one of the biggest decisions you will make is which home inspection software to use. Why is it such a big decision? Statistics show that the vast majority of home inspectors use the same home inspection software that they used when they first started. And if they do switch, it usually takes a long time – usually years – before they do.
I find this true in my case as well. I use the same home inspection software today that I used when I started my first home inspection company – even though my other inspectors use a different software.
It is just a large job to take on new home inspection software, to add all your disclaimers, and to adapt it to your style. It is like starting a relationship – it takes time and effort, and ending that relationship is tough.
That being said, we want to help you choose your new home inspection software and get off on the right foot.
Home Inspection Software Reviews
Let me state ahead of time – these are my personal views and experiences, and the views and experiences of others who have helped me try out these different home inspection programs. If you disagree with me, please feel free to leave a comment :).
Either myself, other inspectors who have worked for me, or other experienced inspectors have helped me gather info on each of these programs. Please note that the reviews are not from “best to worst”. They are lined up in how we tested them, so read all the way through.
So to start out, let’s review the home inspector software that I know the most about: Palm-Tech.
Overview: Palm-Tech has been around for a long time. In fact, they were around well before smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. They actually used to have their primary platform on some of the first mobile computers. They have definitely been moving forward over the years. They integrate with all the major platforms now: Apple, Android, and more.
You never have to wonder if it will work on your device, as I have never seen a device it won’t work on. Their “claim to fame” is that they have some of the most malleable home inspector software on the market. Because of this, they have literally thousands of inspectors who use their program in multiple industries.
As of the writing of this blog, they have just rolled out their latest version – P8
- The software is easy to learn and use in the field. The last time I trained an inspector on it, he was up and running the same day (albeit tweaking the program for the next week though).
- It is very easy to change and add items in the field. If your client wants to add a pool inspection, you can easily add anything in the field during the inspection. If you have an extra garage you didn’t know about, within a click or two it is added. Need to rename something? Again, only a quick click and you are done.
- Their reports look great. They are (in my humble opinion) some of the best looking home inspection reports out there.
- You can do pretty much everything from our phone. Adding pictures, arrows, converting to a PDF, finishing the report, adding preset comments, and more can be done all from your phone. If you really wanted to, you can be just about free of your desktop computer (although I still use mine to check the finished report and make minor corrections)
- Unfortunately, It has been some of the worst customer service I have experienced. I still have unanswered questions from years ago in my inbox. It has always been difficult for me to get a hold of them, get answers, and get things fixed. For a year or so, the program never worked right and they said it was my device and said they couldn’t help me. That unfortunately happened more often than not – even though I tried it on 4 different devices. That is just one example of my not-so-good experience with their customer service.
- It is kind of clunky. The interface is not very intuitive in certain ways, and adding pictures slows you down. The program seems to almost stall sometimes. And this is after trying it on an iPad mini, iPhone,Nexus 6P, iPad 2, and more – so it doesn’t seem to be a device issue.
- Updates happen suddenly and seemingly without warning. So my phone updates automatically, and one day the software updated to version P8 without warning. So then my program didn’t work properly. When I emailed them, they said I can still use P7… but my program is P8 now and they have no way for me to go back. This has happened a couple of times now, and I feel forced into upgrading.
- It’s buggy sometimes. I feel like I am always the one to find the bugs too. For about 8 months to a year, I couldn’t use the zoom on my camera without the whole program shutting down. On many occasions it has erased an ENTIRE report after it was completed. The cloud drive doesn’t always work either.
Palm-Tech is a great program, but not perfect by any means. They seem (in my opinion) to be more focused on other inspection industries lately, and when I contact them I feel like I am bothering them. I could be completely wrong – but I feel left on my own when I use their software. If you are relatively tech savvy, but want a very malleable software that has nice reports, then Palm-Tech may be for you.
Overview: Home Inspector Pro (HIP) is one of the big names in the home inspection software industry. I will say on a personal note that while I personally use Palm-Tech, all of my other inspectors use HIP – even after trying Palm-Tech. They have thousands of home inspectors across the US and Canada that use their program.
HIP is also a great multi-platform inspection software that can be used on most devices. The on-site interface is very intuitive and easy to use. They consistently use well known home inspectors to test their program and make sure it works for home inspectors. They are very active on the InterNACHI Forum and seem to stay in tune with home inspectors and what is happening.
As of the writing of this blog, they have just rolled out their latest version – V5
- The software has one of the fastest and most intuitive interfaces on mobile devices. They have great features for adding multiple pictures and annotations. Most of the inspectors who use it are thrilled with the fact that most of their report is written with less effort after an inspection.
- They integrate seamlessly with ISN. They do so to a point where it feels like you are working with the same program when the two interact. This saves time setting up and uploading the inspection report.
- Their reports look great. They have a pretty malleable interface to make a great looking report.
- Their customer support is awesome. If you need anything, they are right there with you. To be honest, in my opinion, they have the best customer support in the industry.
- It takes quite a bit of time to set up. I never made the switch because it took so long to setup all the presets and comments.
- It is only malleable to a point. In V4, you were only able to have a certain number of ratings. I like to have one or two more than they allowed, so it made certain things in the field difficult. They may have changed that in V5, but we just downloaded it and are still testing it.
- Many reports don’t look that nice. Like I said above, I have seen some amazing looking reports from HIP, but many of them look not-so-great. I think it has less to do with the home inspection software and more to do with the home inspector not wanting to put forth the effort to really design their report (which goes back to the first “con” mentioned about HIP).
- It takes a while to get it up and running the way you want. When my first inspector made the switch, he worked on HIP for weeks while still using another program before he could use it on his first inspection. The nice part was that their customer support was there to help him.
HIP’s pros seem to outweigh their cons. Their down sides aren’t really that bad, which make their upsides shine through. It is one of those home inspector software that home inspectors seem to stick with and not complain about. In my opinion, even if they didn’t have a great program (which they do) their customer support more than makes up for it. It is reassuring to have someone listen and help when you need it. All my inspectors love it, so that says something.
Overview: Home Gauge has been a leader in the inspection software industry for quite some time now. I remember trying them out years ago when I was making the switch from a clip board. They really know the industry, and have their heads wrapped around how we as home inspectors work.
Their branding is pretty amazing. Whether or not you use Home Gauge, you would likely recognize their brand. They are known for having a great finished product, and they like to stay on the leading edge of things – like having video in their reports and things like that.
As of the writing of this blog, they have just rolled out their latest version – V5.2
- The reports are beautiful. If you want to talk about finished product – Home Gauge has it down. Some of the reports I have seen are just awesome looking and easy to read.
- They have an integration feature with ISN, and they also have their own ISN-like feature as well.
- They are mobile ready on multiple platforms and you can write most of your report in their mobile app.
- Their video feature is probably the most seamless of the programs that have a video feature (HIP does too). You can deliver your report in HTML format and your clients can see videos of defects and issues. A lot of the home inspection software on this blog have this feature, but Home Gauge’s seemed to be the most intuitive and seamless.
- You basically have to have two pieces of software – the desktop version and the mobile version. But you have to pay for the mobile version? That never made much sense to me. Even how they present their packages online make that part hard to immediately pick out.
- Their mobile app was hard to use. Me and one of my other inspectors both tried it, gave it a good amount of time, and tried to do a report with it – but it was not intuitive at all and probably took the longest of all the inspection software to figure out.
- Their desktop software was not that much better than the mobile version. They have a lot of features in their program – which can make it hard to learn and use. Installation was strange too. In fact, it installed and erased immediately after. My Avast Internet Security also flagged it as a risk – not sure why though – none of the other programs created that issue or wanted to access secure parts of my system like Home Gauge did.
- Customer service was not superb. I will disclaim this part though – I have not contacted customer service. One of my testers actually bought the program, and even though he just spent all that money, switched to another program because he said he couldn’t take their customer service.
Home Gauge is an obvious competitor in the home inspection software field. They produce amazing reports, and they have a large following. If you can get used to their program, their software would allow you to do a lot. Their customer service issues may be isolated incidents, but maybe call during your trial period to see how they do. They have a lot of additional features to their program that you may be looking for, but it may not be for you if you are looking for an easy-start software. Either way, it is awesome, and deserves a spot in the top 5.
Overview: Tap Inspect is one of the newer players in the home inspection software industry, but they have made quite the splash. Tap inspect was developed by a home inspector who said that he desired to get their reports done faster – and that this software delivers that.
It is an Apple device software that is almost completely mobile based. They have gone from just starting a few years back, to having a huge client base and they seem to read the minds of home inspectors and how they work. Their software is well known for being easy to use and great for new home inspectors.
After reading the comments below, see updated info on the bottom.
- The start-up is super fast. I downloaded their software and was writing reports in a matter of minutes. I think this was the easiest software to use by far.
- They have an integration feature with ISN, but you don’t have to use it because they have a delivery and email service that does some of what ISN does – although ISN itself has a lot more features, it is a good start for new inspectors.
- Their app downloads easy and you are up and running immediately.
- Their customer service is pretty great. Because the owner is a home inspector, he gets how we think. I contacted him and within minutes had answers to me and made things clear in real world terms that I think any home inspector would appreciate.
- It is pay-as-you-go. As of the writing of this blog, it is $5 per inspection. But that includes all their delivery and setup features. It is a great value for a new inspector and one of the best start-up software out there.
- You can only use the software on an Apple device. This was not so great, since I like to be able to use different devices. Also, if you are just starting out and don’t have an iPhone or iPad, you won’t be able to use it.
- You are limited. They have some great templates to start with, but if you don’t like that style, you really can’t change it as much as the other programs.
- Multi-inspector does not seem to be a feature right now. One of our testers hired another home inspector and had to switch programs because Tap inspect does not have a feature where two inspectors can work on the same report (most of the other inspector software did).
- Preset comments (canned comments) don’t really work well in this program. You can have certain things set ahead of time, but you end up typing a lot more on this program than others.
- If you start doing 500 inspections a year, that $5 per inspection starts to add up.
If you are a new inspector, Tap Inspect might be the software for you. It was by far the easiest and fastest to start with – like, start within minutes kind of fast. Their reports look great, delivery is easy, and the owner and customer support were great. You may end up outgrowing the software down the road as your business grows, but it is a great starting point for most inspectors and had one of the most intuitive interfaces out there.
After writing this article, one of the owners of Tap Inspect was kind enough to contact me and clarify a few points. I have left the original “cons” up on this blog so that if you end up having the same concerns, you can use that as a point of reference.
First: We stated that the $5 per month plan adds up quickly if you start doing several hundred inspections per year. Here is the statement from the owner and a link to their pricing page: “The Pay As You Go plan works great for new inspectors but we also have an Unlimited plan for $60 per month for full timers. https://www.
Second: We stated they don’t have a multi-inspector feature, but apparently they do. Here is the statement from the owner: “Tap Inspect also does support multiple people (or just one person with multiple devices) working on the same report at the same time. https://tapinspect.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/214424063-Can-we-use-more-than-one-device-on-our-account-“. For some reason me, and all the testers we used, did not see this feature – Although, from the time stamp on that link, it looks like it was added some months ago after some of our testers already tried the software. In fact, as was mentioned above, one of our testers even ended up using the program for his company, but left them when he hired another inspector because he didn’t know they could support multiple inspectors or had a merge feature. He even looked (because he didn’t want to switch) but apparently did not see this (like all the other testers). I would be interested to test this part of their program. Hopefully they will make this part of their software more apparent, because it is an awesome feature to know about.
Third: He wanted to make known that they do have preset comments. We stated above that there are preset comments, but that you end up typing more than in other software we tested – it is just what ended up happening. While this was true for the inspectors who tested the software, it may not be an issue for you. Here is a link to a video showing you how to setup preset comments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpazCgUb2Kg.
So in conclusion, we considered (and still do consider) this software to be one the top 5 inspection software out there. There is a lot of home inspection software to choose from, and we feel that they deserve their place in the top 5. The fact that one of the owners of the company read this blog, contacted us (very politely by the way) and sent us additional information is really just another testament to their already highly rated customer service. Two thumbs up Tap Inspect!
Overview: Spectacular Home inspection Software is quickly becoming more and more popular. Their software and capabilities seem to compare well with most of the big competitors, and in a relatively short period of time.
They have very desirable features to their program, including mobile generated PDF’s, multi-inspector capabilities, malleable templates and more. I have to admit, I tried this home inspection software twice. The first time it didn’t seem to appeal to me, but the second time it did. Their customer service also appeared to be responsive and involved in the home inspector community.
- If you are a multi-inspector firm, then their real-time multi-inspector feature is for you. It appears to work well with most of our testers, but I have not tried it personally. Instead of merging reports like other programs, it does it as you inspect – which is pretty cool.
- Their mobile interface is easy to use and intuitive. I downloaded their program and was up and running pretty quickly.
- Their picture and inspection flow work very quickly. You seem to be able to take a picture, make a note, and move on faster than some other inspection software.
- Their software seems to play well with ISN, most devices, and seems well built. The preset comments are also easy to add and change.
- The inspectors testing it all were very happy with the customer service – I did not personally contact them on this program, but they got good reviews.
- The pricing seems high. At $12.99 per report, $59.99 per month, or $599.00 for the first year – it appeared to be the most expensive of the software that we tested.
- Its reports and finished product were nice, but not as nice as some of the other software we tested – that is just an opinion though, many inspectors seemed to like the end product more than I did.
- While our testers had a good experience with customer service, we did find some bad reviews about them online. Again, you can’t make everyone happy – so try calling them during your trial period and see what you get.
- The system is good, but you don’t own the software. So if the prices go up or you hit hard times and can’t pay the fees, you lose a lot of work.
Spectacular seems to live up to its name in certain ways. It was an easy-to-use program that seems like it would be a really great inspection software for team inspecting. It’s down sides weren’t too bad, but the price makes it difficult for new inspectors. It also makes this claim on its website: “Spectacular is the only home inspection system that allows you to generate the PDF inspection report from a mobile device or a desktop computer giving you the versatility you need to help run a successful inspection business.” I am not quite sure about that, since Palm-Tech also generates a PDF report right from a mobile device as well. At either rate, Spectacular is a good pick for an experienced home inspector and companies that do team inspecting.
Home Inspection Software Reviews – Conclusion
There is a lot of different software out there for home inspectors. These 5 are just the ones we happened to pick. I personally liked all 5 of them and have tested them with my own two hands.
There was no clear winner in the mix, but they all had advantages. Here is what I think each software is good for:
- If you like to move and change your inspection report – Palm-Tech
- If you are a producing, one-man home inspection company – HIP
- If you’re looking to have extra fancy reports – Home Gauge
- If you are a new inspector and want to be up and running quick – Tap inspect
- If you are a multi-inspector firm – Spectacular
Either way, you have some amazing home inspector software to choose from. Do you disagree/agree? leave your comments below :). Happy inspecting!