As a home inspector, there are three main things that we must concentrate our attention on during an inspection, and therefore three points of stress with our job: our knowledge of houses, our knowledge of our inspection reporting software, and our physical inspection routine. If we can enhance any of these areas of concentration, we can lessen the amount of stress that we are under while performing a home inspection. In turn, that will reduce the total amount of stress in our lives (which is always a good thing).
The first of these three areas where we can work to reduce stress is regarding our knowledge of houses. We can help to reduce this stress by educating ourselves in all areas related to our profession. If we are required to get 20 hours of continuing education each year by our licensing/certification entity, then we should get 120 hours. We should attempt to learn as much as we can from other professionals, by doing things such as attending industry events and attempting to find a mentor. The more knowledge that we can acquire, the more valuable we will become to our clients, and the less we will be intimidated by the possibility of making a mistake during the inspection.
The second way that we can reduce the (inevitable) stress associated with our home inspection software is by becoming more proficient with our software/hardware. Take some time to read the owner’s manuals; check out their website; read the message boards; practice on a regular basis and always be open to change, updating and upgrading whenever the right opportunity presents itself. If you are not willing to change with the times, you will be left behind.
The third way to help to reduce your stress is by developing a set routine to follow while performing the physical inspection. Think about what you do during the inspection, and develop a specific plan to serve as a guideline. This will allow you to perform your inspection in the most efficient and productive manner.
One of the best ways to start a routine is to put it to paper. Sit down and write out your ideal routine, spelling out in what order you will perform the various steps required for your inspection. Batch together similar items or things that can be done together without moving to a different location in the house. If the electrical panel is in the laundry, inspect the panel as soon as you finish inspecting the laundry area instead of walking around the house and inspecting all the electrical panels first, as soon as you arrive at the house. Visually check the walls, ceilings and floors for damage while you are walking around the house checking the temperature change at the HVAC registers. Develop a routine that will maximize efficiency during the inspection, and commit that routine to memory by performing your inspections according to these set guidelines.
Once you have repeated the same action for a set amount of time, it will become like your morning routine: something that your body automatically does without much mental input. This will allow you to focus more of your mental abilities on your other priorities: inspecting the house and performing data entry into your software.
Always realize that unexpected situations are guaranteed to develop, and you must remain flexible enough to change and modify your routine as the situation dictates. However, developing a set routine can help you to reduce your stress, increase your productivity and provide your client with a higher quality product.
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying “Wisdom is measured in routine.” To achieve wisdom in our lives, we must choose to act. Sit down and develop your routines. Yes, it can suck sitting at the table and writing your plan down on a piece of paper, as if you were back in Mrs. Murphy’s eighth grade classroom, but remember that an investment of a little hard work now can pay dividends in the future, making your life much easier for a long time.
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