How to Become a Home Inspector

When you buy a house, a home inspector will review the home prior to closing to make sure there aren’t any major problems with it like a cracked foundation or holes in the roof. With people constantly buying and selling real estate, consumer demand for this service is always needed, even when the economy is bad.

Career Potential

Home inspections first started in the 1970s, and now the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) estimates that 77 percent of the homes sold in both the United States and Canada are inspected before the buyers purchase them. Since the average cost of a home inspection is just a little more than $300, a full time home inspector who completes just one house a day five days a week for 50 weeks could expect to earn $75,000 per year. And if you are ambitious, you could expand your business to include the inspection of commercial buildings for things like lead-based paint, radon, indoor air quality, proper septic systems, etc.

Duties and Training

Inspecting real estate can be not only a dirty job but also a dangerous one. You will have to crawl under homes, look in attics and basements, and get on ladders to check out roofs. You’ll have to understand all the systems involved in making a home or building function properly so that you can recognize the red flags of when something is wrong. As a result, you need to make sure you are properly trained. There are many courses available. Just make sure you choose one that is reputable and licensed. You also might want to consider working as an apprentice for an experienced home inspector, so he can show you the most important things to look for when inspecting a property.

An important part of your job will be communicating with customers and filling out reports that detail what you discovered about the property. You can either create computer-generated reports, or you can create reports on-site, depending on which one best suits your style and what type of systems you have in place.

Finding Work

While there are a few companies who hire home inspectors to work for them, most people in this business are self employed, so you’ll need good people skills to convince individuals to hire you instead of your competition. You’ll also need to get information about how to set up a business, making decisions like whether you want to be a sole proprietor, work in partnership with someone else, become a limited liability company, or set up a corporation.

Each choice has its advantages and disadvantages, and you might consider hiring an attorney to help you fill out all the paperwork. To determine which one would work best for you, you’ll need to do some research. You also might want to take continuing education classes about starting a business at your local community college.

Once you have set up your business, you’ll need to get customers. You should advertise in the Yellow Pages and set up a web site for starters. Additionally, you need to contact builders, mortgage brokers, real estate agents, and anyone else you can think of who might be in a position to either hire you or refer you to those who are purchasing property. Also, to gain credibility and more knowledge of the industry, you should consider joining the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Home inspectors have a great deal of responsibility, but they are also paid well for what they do. So after considering all the pros and cons, you will be able to determine if a career as a home inspector is the right one for you.