What is a home inspector? If you have ever bought or sold a home, you probably know the answer to this question. But have you ever considered learning how to become a home inspector?
Learning how to become a home inspector in 2020 is a great career decision if you are looking for job security and a good salary.
What Is a Home Inspector?
Home inspectors inspect the conditions of homes that people are either trying to buy or sell. While this may seem like a simple task, home inspectors actually have a lot of details to keep in mind.
To properly assess a home’s condition, home inspectors have to consider all aspects of the home. This includes everything from the walls and floors to HVAC systems. They must determine their condition in regard to the property’s age and type.
What Does a Home Inspector Do?
Home inspectors are required to perform a wide range of tasks. While the actual home inspection is important, they also have to provide reports and help home buyers and sellers.
Inspects All Aspects of a Home
Inspecting a home means taking every small detail about it into consideration. Home inspectors use the type of home and how old it is to determine what the condition of everything else should be. They inspect HVAC systems, electrical and plumbing systems, the roof, foundation, walls and floors, attics, and everything in between.
Provides Written Reports
After completing a home inspection, home inspectors are expected to write a report of their findings. This report is then given to home buyers and sellers as proof of a completed inspection and as a reference to the condition of the home. Home inspectors must explain the report to clients as well so that they know what it means.
Works with Home Buyers and Sellers
Since home inspectors review the conditions of homes, they have to work closely with home buyers and sellers. This involves setting up appointments, explaining findings, providing reports, and sometimes doing follow-ups. Often, this means working with real estate agents as well.
Essential Home Inspector Skills
Extensive Knowledge of Homes
Home inspectors cannot properly determine a home’s condition without extensive knowledge of both new and old homes. A bad condition in one home may be perfectly fine in another. For example, moisture in a new home can easily lead to mold but in an older home, it will more easily dry. Home inspectors are expected to know these differences.
Being in someone’s home and explaining foreign concepts to them requires good communication. Home inspectors must be able to work with both buyers and sellers, so being able to work and communicate well with them is vital to the job. If there is poor communication, the home’s condition may be misinterpreted.
Every small detail matters in a home inspection. Whether it be noticing old paint, a cracking foundation, or moisture build-up, home inspectors must pay attention to all details. Any one of these small things can drastically change the home’s condition.
Home Inspector Salaries and Job outlook
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for construction and building inspectors is $60,710 per year. The overall range of salaries goes from $36,440 to $98,820 per year. While home inspectors are slightly different than construction and building inspectors, they fall into the same category and earn around the same amount.
As with any occupation, home inspectors can earn drastically different salaries due to differences in their job location, education, and experience. To earn the most as a home inspector, it is recommended to have plenty of work experience, complete more education than required, and research the average pay in your area to ensure you are in the highest ranking.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a three percent growth in employment of home inspectors by 2029. This is right around the average growth expected from all occupations, meaning the job is still in-demand and necessary.
Self-employed home inspectors are expected to have a bit more trouble than construction and building inspectors, but they are expected to still find clients and work easily. Becoming certified in as many areas as possible can help increase credibility and bring in more clients, though it is not necessary.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Home Inspector?
Becoming a home inspector is a relatively quick process, as it does not require you to earn a college degree. Instead, future home inspectors will need to complete a training program and take a licensing exam. These are completed more on your own time than a college degree, so how long it takes is really up to you more than anything.
For the average person, completing the home inspector training course only takes a few weeks to a couple of months. Then, some time is often set aside to study for the licensing exam before taking it.
In total, it generally takes no more than a few months to become a home inspector, though if you are motivated and have the means, it is possible to become one in a matter of weeks.
How to Become a Home Inspector: A Step by Step Guide
Learning a new profession can be a confusing process, especially when you are worried about doing it the right way. The great thing about becoming a home inspector is that the process is straightforward and easy to follow.
By following these three easy steps, you will be a home inspector in no time at all.
Step 1: Complete a Training Program
In many states, training programs are not even required to become a home inspector. You will need to research the requirements for the state you intend to work in before you decide not to worry about it. Even if training is not required in your state, it is a good idea to complete a training course anyway so that you learn the proper way to do things.
Home inspector training courses will teach you valuable skills outside of simply home inspections. Most courses put a heavy emphasis on business skills so you emerge from the course ready to start your own business and manage it efficiently.
These training programs also provide opportunities to practice before you set out on your own, helping build your confidence and skills.
Step 2: Take the Licensing Exam
While some states do not require you to have a license, it can really improve business prospects if you do. More clients will be willing to work with you if you have completed both a training program and the licensing exam because it better displays your competency and credibility as a home inspector.
Some states have different requirements for licensing, but the most common exam to take is the National Home Inspector Examination. By passing this exam, home inspectors can join many organizations, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors, which also lend credibility. The exam itself is a computer-based test that consists of three different areas to be tested on.
Step 3: Join a Firm
Even if you plan to set out on your own by starting your own business, working in a firm first is the best way to gain valuable experience. This not only benefits you as a home inspector, but also your future clients. By working in a firm, you can practice your work and also get an idea of how to run your own later on down the road.
After working at a firm for some time, you may feel ready to start your own business. This is when you can look back on the business skills learned in the training course to help you. You may also consider pursuing a degree in business administration if the idea of starting your own seems intimidating and difficult to achieve.
Should You Become a Home Inspector in 2020?
While home inspectors are not the most in-demand professionals of 2020, they are still maintaining steady employment.
With a decent salary, easy education requirements, and relatively low-stress work, becoming a home inspector is a great career decision to make.
Home Inspector FAQ
Home inspectors look for any discrepancies in a home’s condition, from water damage to poor electrical systems.
Most home inspectors work full-time, but it is possible to be part-time. Many home inspectors are self-employed, so they can set their own hours and workload.
Depending on the size of the home, it takes between two and three hours to complete a home inspection. Home inspectors may complete many of these in one day or just a couple depending on their workload.