Home Inspector Job Profile
Home inspectors inspect residential buildings on behalf of prospective home buyers. This form of inspection is commonly required by solicitors acting for purchasers, and acts as a formal check on the condition of the premises. Home inspection is carried out on site, usually by appointment. Inspections require full access to all areas of the premises, and the inspector must be able to conduct a complete check for issues before the home is considered to have been properly inspected.
The work environment
The inspection involves checking all parts of the building which may impact the purchaser in terms of costs or statutory compliance:
- Inspection of the structure: This involves a check of the state of construction, quality of the building, compliance with building codes
- Inspection of fittings: Electrical and light fittings, plumbing, gas, and other major installations.
- Inspection of systems like electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, smoke detectors, alarms if fitted, special fixtures like Jacuzzis, etc.
- In some cases foundation supports like piles, or other structural features may require inspection.
The home inspector also has to take into account the age of the building, any indications of deterioration, rising damp, mold, damage, dry rot, or other indications of defective areas in the building. These also represent potential significant costs to the purchaser, and may affect the offer price.
Home inspectors are not legally empowered to deal with violations of building codes or other forms of illegal building. They can report these matters to local authorities, particularly in the case of unsafe structures. In some cases home inspectors are also employed as building inspectors, outsourced by local government agencies.
The home inspector prepares a formal report, detailing each element of the inspection and the results. This report, which may contain a lot of information in cases where faults are discovered, constitutes the basis of a valuation. It’s also part of “due diligence” in terms of the hiring solicitor’s role in conduct of the purchase. In some cases the inspector’s report may result in withdrawal of an offer if too many problems are found.
Wages and Hours
The median pay for a home inspector is $50,000 per year, varying with volume of work. The hours can vary considerably, because of the requirement for full access to premises and workloads.
The career outlook
Home inspection is a natural career progression for qualified building inspectors, and in boom times there’s a lot of business available for experienced people. Career opportunities are based on experience, qualifications and to some extent networking. A local home inspector, having good local knowledge and a building background with local contacts, can conduct the business as self employment.
The home inspector’s best portable career assets are their professional expertise, and strong knowledge of building codes. They can work across a wide range of roles acting for home buyers, real estate agents, solicitors, and local authorities.