So You Want to Be a Home Inspector?

What I am about to tell you may get me in hot water with all those self help experts and schools that promote home inspection courses and basically anyone who makes money off of new home inspector’s. That’s OK I can take the heat.

First let’s take care of the myth that a home inspector can make $20,000 to $30,000 a year part time and $60,000 to $80,000 full time. This myth is perpetuated by educators and self help experts. The reality is that you do not make any where near that type of money in the first year, maybe the second year but for most it’ll be the third year. Many new inspectors are not aware of this reality and become disillusioned and do one of two things either quit or slash their inspection fees hoping to gain more business. The latter is not a good idea because it will hurt your fellow inspectors and more than likely you’ll quit finding that the lower fees won’t pay the bills.

Another reality that you are not informed about is cost. It can cost you a pretty penny from thermal cameras, high tech equipment to educational courses. These could cost you between $10,000 and $15,000 and that doesn’t even include vehicles, licenses, errors and omission and general liability insurance, association fees etc… Are you scared yet? you should be.

You need to walk into this with your eyes open and you’ll be OK. Oh, and by the way you will need a second income to survive. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great industry to get involved in and the rewards can be great in the long term and the key words are long term. You need to develop a game plan and stick to it through thick and thin and it should involve a lot of marketing, website development and personal study. Below are some quick pointers to guide you along the right path.

Before you start anything do your research and the first place to hit is the industries message boards. Here you will feel the pulse of the industry from new and seasoned inspectors. Go to local chapter meetings. When you have completed that first step and feel you still want to become an inspector research your local community and see if it can support another inspector at this time. In the big urban areas this is not as much a factor as it is in rural areas.

If you are still interested then it is time to research your education. Research your home inspector schools, not all are created equal. Pick the best one that fits your budget. If you have a trades background you’ll have a leg up, but remember building, repairs and installation are different animals than inspecting. If you do not have a trades background it’s time to hit the books and read on everything about the systems of a home.

You should also join a national association, the three biggies in the U.S. are the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, American Society of Home Inspectors and National Association Of Home Inspectors. In Canada you have the Canadian National Association of Certified Home Inspectors and Canadian Association of Property and Home Inspectors. For dollar value I think InterNACHI is the best with the amount of free education and member benefits they offer inspectors. Many states and provinces have their regional associations as well, think about joining them they represent you at a local level.

Now that you are on your way to becoming a home inspector, another item that should be in your arsenal is your reporting software. The most popular are Home Inspector Pro, Home Gauge and 3D. I personally use HIP because of it’s ease of use. The other inspecting programs are just as good. You need to research which one will suit your needs. They all offer free trial downloads so that you can experiment with them. Remember, you definitely need software, checklists are so 80’s and 90’s that they scream newbie. Also get a website that matches your software. In this day and age of online shopping you are basically dead without one.

I have given you some reality checks and some pointers even though I did not touch on many things that will effect you, that is part of your research assignment about entering the property inspection field. Remember my warning, this isn’t a get rich quick scheme, instead it is a lot of hard work and long hours. If anyone tells you differently they are doing you a disservice. So take off those rose colored glasses, get down to some hard work and a lot of studying, some heart breaking moments which will eventually be followed by elation and join me in this wonderful world of home inspections.

The Best Online Home Inspector Course Avenues

Home inspection is one field that does not require you to have a degree which is a good thing in these times of recession, where people are looking to save money on education and degrees that are costly and long. But most importantly, home inspection is a profession that is widely respected. Moreover, it is deemed as something that is professional and career oriented.

There are various avenues where you can get home inspector course education. As home inspection is a technical field, its education is not widely available, though many colleges and institutes offer this education. A typical course runs for only a few months as compared to a whole degree. The home inspector course provides you with the basics of home inspection. These basics or the foundation courses help you to become more aware of the field of home inspection.

The first place where you can look for a home inspector course is online. There are various online technical colleges which are now offering short courses on inspection of homes. These courses are quite exhaustive and offer you a broad based curriculum. Many people believe that home inspection is rather an all out practical job, where you would be getting your hands dirty during home inspections.

On the contrary, this is certainly not the case; inspection of home is very technical job which requires the experience and expertise of the home inspectors in order to spot the problems in houses which are not detectable to home owners.

So, after you have completed the online education, you must get some sort of practical experience. This experience can be gained by going to the various home inspections technical colleges which not only offer home inspector course, but also apprenticeships that would give you the most needed experience.

Once you are done with the courses whether online or at college, you would have sufficient knowledge to handle new and old home problems that most of the home owners face. You would be able to make preemptive measures on how to solve problems such as water seepage, asbestos, heating and flooring.

These are the basics in any house and it would require an experienced home inspector to identify these problems. When you are involved in acquiring home inspector education, you will also be taught some real estate dealings and determining the prices of the homes that have certain problems. A career of home inspector is certainly very much in demand and would always be, as people buy and sell homes all the time.

Anyone, who is thinking about becoming a home inspector, must get all the information about this field; this is certainly not your common office job. It also has a fair amount of practical and traveling work that is part of the job. Many inspectors travel to different homes for inspections. Some inspectors have their teams to carry out the inspection. All in all, it depends on the individual on how he or she handles a particular home inspection job.

Why Is It Necessary To Hire Your Own Independent Home Inspector?

It is a positive and a much needed change that home buyers are hiring their own home inspectors now, rather than hiring an inspector as recommended by their agent. Many of these home buyers specifically decline the home inspector just because their agent recommended him. However, there are still people who hire inspectors as recommended by their agent. This change has occurred because many of the buyers have come to understand that the inspector may not work in their best interest if he is suggested by the realtor or agent.

To understand the importance of home inspection and hiring an independent home inspector, you need to understand the following questions:

Why home inspection is necessary?

One of the most important decisions that you will make in your life involves buying a home. As a matter of fact consider yourself privileged if you get an opportunity to buy a home even once in your lifetime. When this decision is so important, it is advisable that you buy a home for the worth of the amount you are ready to spend on it. This can be done by making sure that the home you are about to buy is in good condition. For this you need a home inspection, which is a process where a thorough evaluation of the home in question is done by a professional expert. The inspector will perform the following tasks while he undertakes an in-depth and impartial study of the home:

  • Check the foundation, physical structure, mechanical systems, heating and cooling systems, electrical connections and equipments, etc.
  • Will evaluate which items need repairs or replacements.
  • He will also give you an estimate of remaining useful life of major parts of the house including the roof.

You can accompany your home inspector while he goes for home inspection, so that you can ask him questions at the time of actual inspection taking place. Once the inspection is over and the inspector has taken notes of everything, you can expect to have a detailed report of the inspection within 24 hours. Remember this is a confidential document and the inspector is not allowed to show this report to anyone else except you, not even the agent.

Why hire an independent home inspector?

If you hire an inspector recommended by your agent, there are chances that the inspector will make a report that will not be totally honest. He may rush through the inspection and report generation to expedite the process; he may not mention certain facts which could lead to cancellation of the deal. This is not true for every inspector, but there is definitely some kind of pressure on an inspector if he is recommended by an agent.

If you really want an unbiased and authentic home inspection report, which is prepared for your interest only then it is better to hire your own independent inspector. You can find such inspectors by searching for them online, many home inspectors are canvassing themselves on internet these days.