How To Become A Home Inspector
As long as there are construction projects, contractors, mortgages, and refinancing, there will be a need for home inspectors. Home inspectors are a key factor in determining the condition of a home for sale (and whether a lending institution deems it a good risk), as well as verifying that a contractor did the work that they were paid to do.
Maybe this is the sort of vocation you want to get involved in. You have a good eye for detail, you’re observant, you like houses, so maybe this is a job you’re well-suited for and could actually turn into a good career.
Okay, so fine already; how do you go about doing this? What steps do you need to take in order to become a home inspector? Surely, it’s more than just printing up a bunch of business cards and buying a flashlight and clipboard, right?
Here are the steps you need to take.
Check Your State’s Requirements
Your quest for a home inspection career must absolutely begin here. Almost forty states require a home inspector to have a license before they can start working. Is your state one of them?
If your state requires a home inspector to be licensed, then it’s a safe bet that they expect some official training. So it’s likely that you need to get trained in order to get a license in order to become a home inspector.
On a parting note, bear in mind that some states also require home inspectors to be insured. Even if they don’t, insurance is a good idea, because you just can’t predict what could happen.
Consider Certification By A Reputable Organization
A certified inspector is one who show exceptional proficiency and knowledge in the home inspection field, as determined by a competent organization. For instance, despite the fact that there are many organizations out there that offer certification, the National Association Of Home Inspectors and the American Society of Home Inspectors have the best reputations because their criteria are tough, screening out the would-be inspectors who don’t know what they’re doing.
By being certified by one of the two above-mentioned organizations, an inspector, even one just getting their start, already has a point in their favor and with it a greater likelihood of being hired. Getting certification from the Acme Home Inspection, Bicycle Maintenance, and Beauty School may not carry as much weight, and in fact their certification may be totally meaningless.
Of course, certification also requires the home inspector to maintain those requirements annually by continuing education. The article “Continuing Education Is Part Of Home Inspector Training” points out that continuing education helps the inspector stay informed of new changes in this always evolving industry.
In fact, it would be smart to maintain a professional relationship with a reputable association such as the NAHI or ASHI. Consider joining them, since it helps to be identified with a good professional organization.
For years, the image of a home inspector was someone with a flashlight, clipboard, pen, and maybe a camera that took instant photos. Some of them even had a cheap circuit tester to inspect electrical wiring. While those things are still home inspector staples, you would do well to have a smart phone, maybe even one that’s dedicated exclusively to the business. In fact, having a smart phone will preclude the need for that camera!
There are also numerous apps and software for your phone, tablet, or computer, designed to help with everything from booking appointments to creating an inspection report. It would be smart to stay current with the times and invest in these innovations, especially if they let you tie all of your mobile devices together.
Do a search online for home inspection equipment, and you’ll find plenty of catalogs for every tool an inspector could hope for.
Make Some Business Connections
If you’re planning on jumping into the world of home inspection, here’s a sobering fact: there are already a bunch of home inspectors out there who’ve been at it far longer than you. So, what’s a neophyte to do? Fortunately, sometimes success depends not on what you know, but WHO you know. This is when you start forging connections with people in the industry and get your name out there. Work on building working relationships with contractors and builders; schmoozing is an ideal way to get business referrals.
A Lot Of Work, But Worth It
So as you can see, being a home inspector (or being a successful one, to be exact) is an ongoing process that requires drive, initiative, hard work, and access to useful information. It’s more than just slapping a hat on your head, grabbing a clipboard off some random desk, and declaring yourself an inspector.
If you follow these steps, you give yourself a good chance of having a successful inspection career. Good luck!