A home inspector is someone who inspects a home for a potential buyer. This consultation service is aimed at helping home buyers make a wise decision when it comes to purchasing a home by providing as much information as possible about the home before the buyer makes their final decision. Today, over 75 percent of all homes sold throughout the United States are inspected by a home inspector beforehand. Here's how to become a home inspector:
- Determine whether the career is right for you. A home inspector is rarely at a desk, but rather spends a majority of their time in the field. Many home inspectors are interested in construction and have a technical, hands-on mind. Consider shadowing a home inspector for a day or week to get a chance to see the day-to-day life of a home inspector. Typical home inspectors travel from home to home, inspecting the physical condition of the house and writing reports for potential buyers. Most inspectors perform up to three inspections in a day, at a cost of $250 to $500 each. Home inspection is an involved career, with variable workdays and new people and places every day.
- Become educated as a home inspector. Contact the ASHI, the world's largest professional society for home inspectors, to learn about educational opportunities, which include online and in-person programs. Most programs designed to provide you the skills to become a home inspector are affiliated with professional home inspection societies. Most people assume that home inspectors only need a knowledge of home repair and maintenance, but they must actually have in-depth knowledge of everything from plumbing to foundations, making them somewhat of a "jack of all trades." Courses that prepare you to become a home inspector range from comprehensive training to programs designed to help you review specific areas of inspection.
- Obtain licensing as a home inspector. Your state may or may not require licensing to work as a home inspector. Sometimes, an examination may be required before the license is granted. If your state requires licensing, there may be ongoing regulations for home inspectors to follow in their day-to-day work, not just initial licensing requirements. As the industry of home inspection grows, state licensing requirements are expected to grow more stringent.
- Join a professional organization. Most home inspectors belong to at least one of these. Besides networking opportunities and continuing education courses, these organizations also lay out ethics requirements for inspectors.
- Keep your education current. Professional associations, like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) require member inspectors to earn continuing education credits each year. This education helps home inspectors keep their knowledge of construction current.
- Start your own business. Compared to other small businesses, the start-up costs of becoming a home inspector are small. Though many home inspectors do get started under established inspection businesses, many start their own businesses.
After you become a home inspector, you may want to add additional services, such as commercial inspections, and testing of lead-based paint, septic systems, and indoor air quality, to increase your revenues.