Taking the career path necessary to become a home inspector means you need to know the steps. This is a rewarding position. You get to help protect people considering buying a home while earning a living.
As a home inspector, you can earn a very nice salary, while helping people. Homebuyers and mortgage companies often use home inspectors to ensure the home purchased is in good shape. Of course, there’s more to this career than just helping buyers.
If you’re considering a career as a home inspector, you want to make sure you know the job duties. Let’s look at what home inspectors do and how you can become one.
Job Duties of a Home Inspector
You will work as an independent person when you become a home inspector. Your main job will be to inspect properties and look for significant issues. This will include looking at how the major systems function, how old they are, and the structural integrity of the home.
A home inspection report doesn’t take into consideration the aesthetic or design aspects of the house. Instead, as a home inspector, you will be looking at how things function and the safety of the property.
Some of the common job duties include:
- Inspecting all areas of the home including the plumbing, foundation, HVAC system, interior, exterior, electrical, and drainage
- Making sure all functionality in the home is working correctly
- Recording any necessary maintenance or repairs
- Providing a report of the findings of your home inspection
- Offering guidance to home buyers when it comes to fixing the issues
Home inspections can vary a bit from one inspector to another. However, they will always cover the interior, exterior, electrical, plumbing, foundation, and HVAC.
As a home inspector, you will not be offering any type of warranty, guarantee, or home appraisal. Instead, your job is to visually inspect the home and report any issues or safety concerns you find.
How To Become a Home Inspector in 6 Steps
Step #1 – Learn your State Requirements
Every state is a bit different, so you want to find out what’s required in your state. You will likely need to take a course and pass an exam if you want to become a home inspector. Some states require longer training and longer courses than others. Make sure you know what your state requires before you take the steps to become a home inspector.
Step #2 – Get Educated
While this position won’t require a college degree, you should still have some education. You may not need formal education, but experience in roofing, electrical, plumbing, or construction can certainly help.
Those planning to work for themselves as home inspectors should consider some business classes. A few basic business classes can go a long way to helping you properly set up your business. Of course, a few marketing courses can also help.
Step #3 – Complete the Necessary Course
Your state may require a home inspector course to be completed before you can take the exam. Even if it’s not required, taking an online course for home inspectors can help you better prepare for the exam. Pre-licensing courses will teach you everything you need to know to pass the exam the first time.
Step #4 – Pass the Exam
While every state is a bit different, you may need to pass an exam to become a licensed home inspector. If this is the case, make sure you understand the materials that will be on the exam.
Most states will require around 75 hours of training before you can take the exam. Make sure you meet all the necessary requirements and you’re fully prepared for your licensing exam.
Step #5 – Get the Necessary Insurance
Whether you work for yourself or you join a firm, you will need to get error and omission insurance, along with liability insurance. These are vital to your safety and your employment.
Step #6 – Network
Home inspectors need to find people they can work for. It’s important, especially when working for yourself, to expand your network. You can join the local Chamber of Commerce, attend networking events, reach out to mortgage companies, work with real estate agents, and more.
The goal should always be to expand your network. Creating long-lasting relationships will help you remain successful as a home inspector.
Necessary Skills for Home Inspectors
Not everybody will fit into this type of career well. You need the right type of skills to become a home inspector. Some of the necessary skills include:
- Attention to Detail– You will need to be very meticulous when looking at a home.
- Communication Skills– It’s important to clearly communicate any issues you find when inspecting a home.
- Excellent Technical Skills– As a home inspector, you will need to understand the systems and components of a home.
- Good Customer Service Skills– Since you will be working with people, you should be able to provide good customer service.
Along with these skills, if you work for yourself, you should also develop good business management skills.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Home Inspector
How much can I make each year as a home inspector?
The average salary for a home inspector is about $55K. However, most home inspectors will also earn commissions. These commissions average about $32K per year.
You can earn more working for top employers, too. Some employers pay more than $150K per year for home inspectors. Others will still pay an above-average salary of more than $65K per year.
Chantilly, Virginia is the highest paying location at an average salary of about $98K for home inspectors. San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Houston also pay an above-average salary.
What type of benefits do home inspectors get?
If you work for an employer as a home inspector, you will likely get a 401(k) and health insurance. It’s common for home inspectors to receive a fuel discount or fuel compensation, too. Paid time off and a flexible schedule are two of the other benefits you might get as a home inspector.
How long will it take me to become a certified home inspector?
Since this career doesn’t require a degree, you can get started pretty quickly. Home inspectors will need to complete a program, which will vary from about 75 to 120 hours in length. It’s also necessary to pass the exam. Training will usually take a few months, as well.
Most people can become home inspectors in less than one year. It’s a pretty fast career to get into without a degree requirement. In some states, you can become a licensed home inspector over a three-day course. However, it will likely take at least a few weeks to a month to prepare for the exam.
If you plan to work for yourself, it will take longer to build your business once you become licensed. Expect to take about a year or even longer to truly build your business up.
What is the cost to become a home inspector?
You will need to pay for your training, which will end up costing around $1,000. This will also include the necessary inspection reporting software.
Are home inspectors in high demand right now?
Yes, home inspectors are in high demand. This career is projected to grow at about 7% per year. This is faster than the average of all occupations.
Which states will require you to be licensed to work as a home inspector?
Every state is a bit different, so you always want to check with your state requirements. However, the states that require a license include:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
- New York
- Washington D.C.
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
While not all states require a license, some may require a certification. Employers may also look for some type of certification.
Will I need a college degree to become a home inspector?
No. There are no higher education requirements. However, gaining experience or education in home construction, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing can certainly help.
Is the job of a home inspector dangerous?
Parts of the job can be dangerous, but precaution can also be taken. It’s common for home inspectors to find a gas leak, which can certainly be dangerous. However, if a danger is present, home inspectors can use the right safety equipment to mitigate the risk.
Who do home inspectors work for the most?
Commonly, home inspectors will find work from real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and homeowners associations. You can advertise to find work or you can use direct networking and relationship building to make connections.
If you want to become a home inspector, you will need to follow the steps above. Every state is a bit different. Look up your state requirements before heading down this career path. As a home inspector, you can earn a nice salary, but it may take some time to build up your business.