Robin Jade Conde

PODCAST: 2023 Wrap Up

In this episode, Reuben and Tessa do a year-end wrap-up, discussing their favorite episodes and guests from 2023. They also share personal and professional highlights from the year and give a sneak peek into what’s coming up in 2024. The top five most popular episodes of the year are revealed, and the importance of annual planning retreats is discussed. The hosts express their gratitude to the listeners and encourage them to leave ratings and reviews.


Reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the future is important for personal and professional growth.

Favorite episodes and guests can provide inspiration and valuable insights.

The popularity of certain episodes can indicate the interests and needs of the audience.

Personal and professional highlights can include new ventures, accomplishments, and lessons learned.

Annual planning retreats can help set priorities and ensure focus and success in the coming year. Here’s the guide Reuben and his wife follow every year: Guide to Couples Goal-Setting Retreat

Gratitude and appreciation for listeners and supporters is essential.


00:00 Introduction and Year-end Wrap-up

01:16 Favorite Episodes and Guests of 2023

03:05 Top Five Most Popular Episodes

07:46 Personal and Professional Highlights of 2023

12:05 Looking Forward to 2024

22:25 Annual Planning Retreat

25:30 Thank You and Closing




The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.



Reuben Saltzman: Welcome to My House. Welcome to the Structure Talk podcast, a production of Structure Tech Home Inspections. My name is Reuben Saltzman. I’m your host alongside building science geek Tessa Murray. We help home inspectors up their game through education, and we help home owners to be better stewards of their houses. We’ve been keeping it real on this podcast since 2019, and we are also the number one home inspection podcast in the world, according to my mom.

RS: Welcome to My House. Welcome back to the Structure Talk podcast. Tessa, great to see you. We are doing an end of the year wrap up show. This is an impromptu episode. We weren’t even going to do this. We finished off our last episode, which has not aired yet, and I realized we’re not doing anything for end of the year. It came up on us really fast…

Tessa Murray: It did.

RS: And then you had the good idea. We need to do a close out for the year, right? 

TM: Yeah. Yeah. To me, it just feels like it’d be kind of a nice way to put a bow on 2023. So I’m excited about today’s episode.

RS: Yeah. Yeah. We’ve been doing this in years past, and it almost slipped by us, but this is almost kind of like a bonus episode. We didn’t want to share a podcast on January 1st. So this one is going to, we’re going to drop this one on, I said drop, aren’t I hip? This will be on a Sunday on December 31st. Yeah.

TM: Yeah. Yeah. The very last day of 2023. It’s perfect.

RS: A little unusual, but so what are we getting into today, Tess? 

TM: So today I thought it might be nice just to kind of reminisce over some of our favorite episodes from 2023 that we’ve recorded, some guests that we’ve really enjoyed, and then just talking about any highlights from you from 2023, personal or professional, and just kind of recap our years, and then maybe kind of give a sneak peek into what people can look forward to next year or what’s coming up that you’re excited about too in 2024.

RS: Okay. All right. That sounds great. Well, Tess, why don’t you kick us off and I’m going to follow your lead.

TM: Okay. That sounds great. Well, first of all, I realized that when I was looking back at the podcast we recorded in 2023, this was the first year we did this show without Bill. So I just want to give a shout out to Bill. Bill, we love you. We miss you. The three-legged stool retired at the end of 2022, and what do we call it? The two-legged ladder has made it through this year. We’ve been a little teetering sometimes.

RS: The shaky two-legged ladder.

TM: Well, shaky sometimes. But I’ve had just a blast recording these podcasts with you, Reuben. So thank you for doing this and for having this platform and for being, I think, such a great resource for so many listeners that want to know more about their houses and this industry. It’s been really fun. I’ve learned a lot along the way as well. We’ve had some great guests on this year. So that’s a good segue. Okay. Leading into this, I wanted to hear from you what some of your favorite podcasts were this year, and I’ll share with you a couple of mine as well.

RS: All right. That sounds good. I think one of, gosh, so many of them. One of them was having John Williamson on to talk about the 2023 National Electrical Code updates. That guy is just a wealth of knowledge. Loved hearing from him. Another one that, I don’t know, I mean, I guess this is probably recency bias, but we just had Joshua Kerber on. And so now I’m teasing the show. I’m teasing our next episode.

RS: I learned a ton from that one. So don’t miss that one. I mean, even if you’re like, I already know what Radon is. I don’t need to hear about all this because he’s the head guy at the state of Minnesota when it comes to Radon. Even if you feel like you know all this stuff, I learned a ton about converting passive systems to active. There’s way more than I thought there was. So don’t miss next week’s episode. I’m not trying to tease it, but that one, that was one of the few episodes where…

TM: He blew our minds.

RS: Yeah, he did.

TM: He blew our minds.

RS: And I’m going to be, sorry, I’m stepping all over you here.

TM: No, I was just going to say that there’s some new research that they’ve done that I was so surprised by. So I think it will be a really fun episode for listeners in 2024.

RS: Yes. And I’m going to be making sure that all the inspectors, everybody, not just the inspectors, but the client care coordinators. I want everybody at Structure Tech to listen to that episode because there’s some good stuff. And you know what? Why don’t you share some of yours? Because of course, I know some of yours are going to be the series that you made us do, which was fantastic.

TM: You guessed it, Reuben. Yeah. Surprise, surprise. That was definitely a highlight for me this year. I think it was having on all of these different industry experts from around the country to talk about their specific climate zone and the types of houses that they deal with and challenges they face, building science problems. That was really fun. I enjoyed all of them tremendously.

RS: Yeah. And I got some great feedback from a lot of people saying how much they enjoyed that series. That was a great idea.

TM: They do. Yeah. Regional inspector differences. If you’re just tuning into this podcast and you haven’t listened to those, go back and check out the regional inspector differences. We had on, I think, five different inspectors for that series.

RS: That’s right. Correct.

TM: So that was really fun. I also enjoyed, this was kind of surprising and I forgot about this, a humble little podcast you and I did talking about tools that every homeowner should own.

RS: Yes. Yes.

TM: That was a fun one. And it took me by surprise. But since we did that episode, I think it was back in May. It was a two-part episode, actually. It ended up being more content than we realized. I shrugged off a lot of the suggestions you had and I was teasing you for all the tools that you thought were necessities. But since that podcast happened, every time I need one of those tools that you mentioned. I think of you and I laugh at myself, like the little mini screwdrivers, and just stuff like that. I have needed them so many times this year. [laughter]

RS: Good. I love it.

TM: Yeah.

RS: I love it. That’s good stuff.

TM: Just the other day I had to repair, a loose toilet paper dispenser at my sister’s house that’s been falling off the wall for several months and I needed a tiny little screwdriver.

RS: Fantastic. Everybody needs one. And they’re not expensive.

TM: They’re not. Yeah.

RS: So much better to have it and not need it.

TM: Yep.

RS: Yep.

TM: And I think the last one too, and this is fresh as well, so maybe that’s why it’s ranking high on my list. But I really enjoyed having Jeff May on to talk about indoor air quality.

RS: So good. Yeah.

TM: Yeah.

RS: I really enjoyed that one too. Yep.

TM: Yeah. That was fun. I could just talk to him or hear his stories for hours, I guess.


RS: Yeah. And now…

TM: Yeah.

RS: You know what I also wanted to share what the listeners found most interesting perhaps, I don’t know.

TM: Yes.

RS: Or you know what, maybe we could just say they had the most interesting titles. ‘Cause this is really the top five downloads for the year.

TM: Okay. Yes, you teased…

RS: What people found the most interesting.

TM: We chat about this right before we started recording and I, this will be a surprise to me and I’m really excited to hear what our listeners clicked on, what they wanted to hear.

RS: Cool. So I don’t have these ranked, but I’ll tell you the top five in…

TM: Okay.

RS: In any random order. ‘Cause the number of downloads were all pretty similar for these.

TM: Okay.

RS: Number one, we’ve got window replacements with Ryan Carey. Do you remember that one? 

TM: Yes.

RS: Okay.

TM: Very beginning of the year, I think it was.

RS: Yes. Very beginning of the year. Yep.

TM: Window replacements.

RS: That was a very popular one. Another what the title was, Smart Homes are Hard to Inspect. And that was with Dr. Ben Franske, I hope I’m pronouncing his name right.


TM: Yeah. I can’t remember either. Yeah. Yeah. Very interesting. And actually I, that’s another topic we should circle back to again. Because I think there are, there’s so many new technologies coming out that people are putting into their homes and I just actually had a recent brush with that as well. Helping a friend who was installing a bunch of different systems. And I was like, man, I need help with this [laughter], I don’t know anything about it. And I feel like I’m way underqualified in this area. So…

RS: What… Alright, what were you doing? 

TM: I can see why there’s a lot of…

RS: What were you doing? What was it? 

TM: So I installed a, Ecobee thermostat.

RS: Okay.

TM: With a friend at her house. And so we had to mess with the wiring and redo some things and, there was a lot of steps to it, but we got it done and that was a success. But she’s also gonna be doing different type of, lighting systems that are all gonna be, controlled with an app, and a few other things in the house too.

RS: Okay.

TM: So, she’s gonna be living with her mother-in-law who has dementia. And so she’s putting a lot of different systems in place to help with that.

RS: Sure. Sure. Make it a smarter home.

TM: Yes. Yeah.

RS: Make the lights go off by themselves and whatever else.

TM: Yep. Yeah.

RS: Okay.

TM: Yeah. It’s a whole world that I don’t, I realize I don’t know anything about and it’s really complicated [laughter] it seems like.

RS: Yeah. It seems like that’s gotta be like a new industry for someone who specializes in smart home setups.

TM: Yes. Definitely. Yeah.

RS: Yep.

TM: Okay. Well that’s interesting. So Windows and Smart Homes, what are the other ones? 

RS: Another one. This one, I think it was just the two of us who did this one was advice to new home inspectors.

TM: Oh. Yeah.

RS: I don’t even remember that one, but it was a popular one.

TM: I know. Me neither. [laughter]

RS: Another one was Vacant House Advice. That was a more recent one we did.

TM: Yeah. Okay.

RS: Just tips about if you’re gonna be leaving your house vacant, things that you ought to do.

TM: Yeah.

RS: And then how to prevent ice dams, which we recorded…

TM: Really.

RS: Early on in the year. Yes.

TM: Yeah. How to prevent ice dams.

RS: That was a very popular one too. Yeah. So wasn’t exactly what I thought.

TM: Yeah.

RS: But, of honorable mention were two episodes that Eric Houseman, our very own Eric Houseman with the best home inspector name ever Houseman.

TM: Yeah.


RS: The two that he did were also very popular.

TM: Okay. Yeah.

RS: He did one where we talked about tools of the trade. It was just about home inspector tools. And then another was tips and tricks for home inspector vehicles. That was another popular one too. Surprisingly popular.

TM: Does that tell you… Do we know, this would be interesting too. Do you know what percentage of our listeners are home inspectors versus real estate agents versus just homeowners? We don’t know that information. Yeah.

RS: I don’t. I’d love to know.

TM: Yeah. We’d love to hear from you listeners out there. If you wanna share who you are, what you do, where you live with us. We’d love any feedback.

RS: Yeah, is how you contact us.

TM: Yes. Yeah.

RS: And we definitely read all the emails.

TM: We do. And if you have any suggestions for future podcasts, episodes for 2024, let us know. Hit us up.

RS: Yep. Yeah. Always. We’re always looking for, the next topic, next guest.

TM: Yeah.

RS: For sure. What else do we got on the docket today, Tess? 

TM: Okay, so, I thought it might be fun just to share, at this time of year, at the end of the year, I like to just take some time and do some self-reflection and think about where I’ve been and where I’m going. And so I thought that might be fun just to hear from you, Reuben, if there was, and myself too. If we wanted to share any high points or any challenges this year that you’ve survived and thrived through and anything you’ve learned this year and that you’re taking away from 2023.

RS: All right.

TM: Yeah.

RS: Let’s see. I’ll just share a couple of the wins for the year.

TM: Yeah.

RS: Kind of the highlights and you know on the business side it it feels like it has not been a super eventful year. We have not made any huge changes to the company when it comes to personnel, hiring home inspectors, changing our processes. The only big change we had and this one is a big change though, drum roll. We added my wife Anna onto the team. She is now officially a full-time employee at Structure Tech doing growth stuff. Reaching out to real estate agents, working on social media, planning events, doing all different types of stuff. So that was a big change.

TM: How long did you have to beg her? 

RS: 18 years? No, I don’t know exactly. It just felt like the time was right.

TM: That’s awesome. I’m really excited for Structure Tech and for Anna. Seems like a great fit.

RS: We’ll have to get her on the show. We’ll introduce her.

TM: We will. Let’s do that. Yeah. Next year.

RS: We’ll do that next year.

TM: Okay.

RS: A couple of other just good wins. This one, again, it’s probably recency bias, but my son Sy turned 16 and he got his driver’s license. That was huge. That was a big one for me. It was his win, but it’s exciting to have a kid who can drive and now it’s like I’ll be able to send him to the store and when this is over…

TM: Freedom.

RS: The first day he went to me and Anna, he said, oh, can I pick up the shift at my job this day? We’re hold on, let me check the calendar. And then we’re wait, I don’t have to. You can drive yourself and you can drive yourself home. That’s amazing. So that was a big win.

TM: That’s huge.

RS: Another was a couple of CrossFit competitions. I really enjoyed doing those. And then another was a couple of mud runs. Did the Rugged Maniac and the Tough Mudder. Really enjoyed those. I love the physical competitions. Those are definitely some of my highlights of the year.

TM: And you only sustained a few minor injuries, correct? 

RS: I don’t think I had any injuries during those. There was nothing. I did have some injuries this year.

TM: Oh really. Yeah, I recall.

RS: But they weren’t related to any of that. I think the worst injury was I went out disc golfing and I was riding my one wheel. It’s like kind of like an electric skateboard type of thing with a huge wheel in the middle. And it was a day where it was super muddy out. It was like April and the snow had just melted and I should not have been riding on grass, but I was zipping along and it caught an edge and I went down so hard and I destroyed my shoulder and I was in agony for a couple of months. But it had nothing to do with CrossFit. It had nothing to do with mud runs. It was just me being stupid. That’s all.

TM: You being you.

TM: Yeah. Luckily you healed from that though, right? Are you almost back to…

RS: It’s all better.

TM: Oh that’s good.

RS: I’m all better now after many, many months of limited…

TM: And you’ve had some big diet changes this year too. You’ve started eating carbs again, right? 

RS: Yeah. I’m eating carbs and I switched over to a whole food plant-based diet where I totally eat different foods now. We could talk about that on another episode. Maybe we won’t talk about it at all. It’s kind of boring. It’s health.

TM: Can I add that you are just absolutely glowing, by the way, Reuben.

RS: You’re too sweet. You’re too sweet. Thanks I feel good. I do feel good.

TM: Yeah. That’s amazing. That’s cool.

RS: But what about you Tess? 

TM: Well, those are some pretty good wins. Thanks for sharing that.

RS: Thank you.

TM: Yeah. I think for me, I just want to share that this has been a challenging year. Not as challenging as the years prior. It’s been hard. As there’s been a lot of changes that have happened in my life personally and professionally over the last few years. But I am so grateful for 2023 and where I’m at today. And a lot of it has to do with amazing people like you, Reuben, and your dad, Neil, and Patty. And I could mention a million other people, my family, friends that have supported me through all these big changes. But 2023 was kind of a big leap of faith for me. I was stepping into the unknown. I decided to leave Structure Tech, which was a really hard decision.

TM: But I’m so grateful I’ve been able to continue doing this podcast with you. But at the beginning of this year, blows my mind, I was working at the wedding venue still. And that was an interesting experience. And I learned a lot, made a lot of good friends, had fun doing it. And I was doing some kind of building science consulting on the side a little bit before I officially started my business. And I was doing some human design readings as well. That’s another personal passion of mine.

TM: And as the year went on, it’s kind of evolved. And as people know, I started my own business, I launched Your House Coach. And that has just taken off. And I am just, it is just it’s more than I could have ever dreamed for. I’ve had a variety of different kind of synchronistic things happen where I’ve been given opportunities to teach in front of different groups and different people. And I’ve been able to work with homeowners and with builders doing consulting. And that’s just been absolutely amazing. And I’ve loved doing that. I love the challenge of it.

TM: And I’m at the same time, I’m still doing human design, teaching that as well. So I was just looking back in this year, since July my partner, Lacey Klein, and I who teach these human design classes, we’ve taught seven different workshops and we’ve coached three different small businesses. And then coming in 2024, we’ve got three more workshops scheduled already with a fourth one that we need to schedule and creating more content for that.

TM: So that’s going to be an ongoing thing for me. And for Your House Coach next year, I’m going to be, I’m super excited at this. I’m going to be co-teaching with my professor, Pat Hellman at the U of M, a building science course, a building performance to diagnostic testing course.

TM: And I am thrilled about that. That’s going to be so much fun and an honor to work with him and to work with a bunch of building science students. So that’s spring of 2024. I’m really looking forward to that. I’ll be teaching with a couple other organizations as well, non-profit and in the Twin Cities area. And then also I’m going to be subcontracting with ProEd, There are amazing people Greg Olson and Barry Strands that offer continued education for contractors.

TM: So I’ll be partnering with them and then I’ll be working with different builders as well and homeowners doing more consulting specific, like building science consulting and coaching as well. So it’s going to be, it’s going to be a fun, exciting, busy 2024, I think.

RS: You’ve got so much coming up, Tessa. I’m just thinking if people want to hear you talk or come to any of your classes, do you have this on your website? 

TM: Oh yeah, that’s a good question, Reuben. No, not yet. And I need to get better about kind of just getting out there, what I’m doing and where I’ll be so people know. I think as I create more content and do more teaching with ProEd, that will be probably posted and that will be for mainly for contractors, continued education for contractors, but I’ll be teaching about building science and a lot of other things. So hopefully I’ll be able to kind of put some links to that information on my website then. And I’ll get better about keeping the social media world updated on my whereabouts as well. So thanks for, thanks for promoting it.

RS: You need to have a tab on your website, like upcoming speaking events, just to let people know where to find it. ‘Cause I bet there’s a lot of people who would love to come see you talk. So…

TM: Thanks Reuben.

RS: I’m looking forward to you doing that.

TM: Thank you. Well, and thank you so much to you, Reuben, too, for your support. How many bosses out there support an ex employee going out on their own and maybe taking a little piece of the pie for themselves? And I just, I mean, I, you’ve been nothing but supportive to me and encouraging to me and I just, and an amazing person, friend and resource. And I just feel so lucky to be able to continue our friendship and our work together, and I love doing this podcast. So thank you.

RS: Well, I’m glad you stuck around. I mean, I’m glad we get to stay in touch like this. It’s great.

TM: Me too. Me too.

RS: And then we still get to see each other occasionally too. That’s not just on the video camera, but get to do some in-person projects together too. It’s fun.

TM: Yeah. Yep. It is fun. It is, cool. Well, what do you have coming up for 2024? Anything that you’re looking forward to? 

RS: Oh man, what’s going on? I don’t have anything huge. No. We got, okay. My wife would probably kill me if I didn’t mention this one. We’ve got our first probably annual pickleball tournament that we’re going to be doing. We’re doing an age… A real estate agent event where we are hosting a pickleball tournament and there’s going to be a million people coming, hopefully. We’ll see how that goes.

TM: This is a Structure Tech pickleball event? 

RS: Yeah, it is. Okay. I don’t think we have officially announced the date. I may have to check with her before I air this podcast and I may have to cut this. She may say it’s not official yet, but it’s coming. That’s the only big thing that I can think of. Otherwise we’re just trying to, trying to stay busy, trying to keep the inspectors busy. That’s my only big focus right now.

TM: Yeah. And one thing I think that’s that, something I respect that you do that helps you stay organized and focused is you always have kind of a, you set aside time at the beginning of the year to kind of plan out both professionally and personally what the year looks like and what your goals are. So are you doing a planning session like that at the beginning of 2024? 

RS: Yeah, I am. My wife and I always take two days and it’s called the annual spouse planning retreat, and we go over all the areas in our life and figure out what we want to do over the next year.

RS: This is something that I picked up from. Who is it? Gary Keller, he had this thing that he had put together and it, you look at all the areas of your life, like health and business and children and finances and investments and vacations, like all the stuff that you want to plan out for the year. And you spend about two days and you go over all of it and you spend, I mean, we’re talking hours and hours of planning, but it’s worth it to get that done at the beginning of the year. And that’s coming up in just a couple of days. We’ll be doing that.

TM: Good for you, are, is there any resource? Is it, is there a book that someone can get ahold of if they want to learn more about that or try it themselves? 

RS: It’s really simple. I’ll put a, I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. I think it’s called the ultimate kick-ass guide couples planning retreat or something like that. I’ll put the link in the show notes.

TM: Perfect. Okay. That’s great. I think that’s a great resource for anyone that’s wants to increase their I guess their focus and efficiency and prosperity and hopefully happiness.

RS: Exactly.

TM: An intentional way. You’re very intentional about that and consistent. That’s one thing about you Reuben, you’re super consistent, you’re really good about doing that.

RS: Like nothing else. I am consistent yep. I get stuff done. Well, cool. Well, this is a, this is great, Tess.

TM: Yeah. I think the last thing I just want to say is thank you to all of our listeners and our amazing guests we’ve had on this year. And just thank you for your feedback that you give us on episodes. And on the ideas that you have.

TM: And we really appreciate your support. And if you would be so kind to give us a rating or review on any platform and you listen to us that would be wonderful and yeah, send us any comments or ideas that you have at Reuben. What’s the email? 

RS: We read them all.

TM: Yes. Perfect.

RS: All right.

TM: Well, we wish everybody a happy new year and thank you again for listening.

RS: Thanks for tuning in. We appreciate all of you. Well put Tessa. Thank you. Thanks for closing out the year. Happy new year everyone.

TM: Happy new year. We’ll catch you next year.

RS: All right. Take care.

TM: Bye.