HomeGauge is one of the most versatile and robust home inspection applications available to the home inspector. We've designed the software to have the flexibility needed so that many different workflows may be accommodated. There are numerous features within the software and understanding its wealth of these features will aid you in writing dynamic reports with maximum efficiency.
This article will explore the different components within HomeGauge so that you may understand the role that each one has in assisting your report writing, as well as providing clarity as to best way to interact with the software.
The HomeGauge Interface
The HomeGauge interface can be broken down into the following sections:
- Red - System Menu Bar
- Orange - Standard Toolbar
- Yellow - Template Toolbar
- Green - Sections Panel
- Blue - Main Section/Report Editor
- Violet - Picture Panel/Auxiliary Panel
System Menu Bar
This section contains options such as File, Edit and View that are familiar to other software programs you may have interacted with. It also contains a very important option called HG Services. Any time you would like to interact with the HomeGauge cloud, such as when you need to upload or download templates and appointments, select this option.
The Standard Toolbar contains options to interact with your report. You can open a new report, save a currently open one, navigate through unanswered items and print or upload to the Dashboard.
The template toolbar contains everything related to editing your template. You can add, edit and remove template items by using the Add T, Edit T, and Delete T buttons. You can cut, copy and paste template items as well, using the appropriate buttons.
When you make a template change, the Save T button will look like the image below. When you see this, it's important to save your template.
It's possible that your display doesn't accommodate the full width of the toolbar. If this is the case, there will be an arrow button that will show the toolbar buttons that do not fit.
The sections panel will be the way you navigate through the different parts of your report.
- Customer: Customer name, email, address and contact information.
- Report Info: Date, time, and address of the inspection. You can also add real estate agents here.
- Misc: Report attachments, forms, invoices, radon tests, and notes for the inspector.
- General Info: Add information about the type of building, who was present during the inspection, weather and soil conditions, etc. The cover page photo is added here. It also here where your comment key and definitions for the report may be edited.
- Components: Click the components button to get a full list of your component items in order to view or edit them. Additionally, you may click on one of the inspection items in order to look at a component's inspection items.
- Optional: This section works very similar to the Components Section, but separates components that are used less frequently.
- Summary: View items that have been sent to the summary. Additionally, it is here where you may add, edit, or remove summaries.
Main Section/Report Editor
All editing of the report takes place inside the main panel. The top part lists the component section's inspection items. Each inspection item contains a set of column headers. Use your mouse cursor to place an x under the appropriate column header to display the condition or inspection status of the item. The key for the column headers will be listed above them for reference.
The column header marked with an X is designated to exclude the item. An excluded item will not show up in the final report.
Below the inspection items is the comment box. This is a full featured comment editor with tools to adjust text and layout. Type in your comments about the particular item or leave it black if no comment is necessary.
Photos can be added, by dragging and dropping, to the grey area directly to the right of the comment box. When a photo is added, the photo editor will come up.
Use the various tools to change the size of the image, add text and other features to highlight the pertinent items in the photo.
Inspection Items, Styles & Materials, and Overview
At the top of the component, tabs for the inspection items, styles & materials, and overview can be found. Click on each to access and edit different information for that component.
Styles & Materials
The Styles & Materials section allow you to check options that give further details about an item in question. This section isn't meant to highlight deficiencies but to have an easy way to list types, brands, materials, number of items, etc.
The section displays two separate columns.
First, highlight one of the names on the left-side panel. A new list of options available will be shown on the right. Use your mouse cursor to highlight items from the right-side panel. You can select multiple options if the situation permits.
If further notes are needed about a particular option, you may type them in the Extra Info field below the right-side panel.
The overview section contains a component section's header and footer. Generally, these two sections are reserved for disclaimer text informing the recipient of the report your responsibilities of you as the home inspector and any or all items that you personally will not observe during the course of the home inspection.
The Overview section also contains an area for section pictures. This area could be used for more general shots of the property if you want to show a larger view of what you are inspecting, but it's completely up to you what you decide to put here.
Picture Panel/Auxiliary Panel
The auxiliary panel is manly used to view photos to add the report, however there are other tools here to assist report writing. Click the tabs at the top of the panel to access Drawings, Contacts, and CYA.
- Pictures: These show the photos to be added to the report. Click the Select Folder button (symbolized by the open manila folder) and locate a folder on your computer containing images.
- Drawings: The Drawings Panel is very similar to the Pictures Panel and should be interacted with in the same way. Drawings can be used to incorporate diagrams into the report, illustrating things like properly functioning water heaters or HVAC units.
- Contacts: The Contacts Panel shows a list of customers and real estate agents. You may add, edit, and remove contacts here. The list of contacts shown in this panel is local to your computer and does not sync with the HomeGauge database automatically.
- CYA: This stands for "Check Your Answers." This panel will show common things to inspect for on the inspection item that you have highlighted. The CYA Panel is a valuable tool for new inspectors that are still training.
The best way to become familiarized with a new piece of software is to use it. Conducting sample inspections of your own home while using HomeGauge is a fantastic low-pressure way to learn everything that you can do with it, as well as becoming used to a workflow that feels comfortable to you.