A home inspection is a documented professional opinion of a home based on a visual evaluation and operational testing of the home systems and components to determine their present condition.
In a recent study conducted by the National Association of Realtors and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), 77 percent of all recent homebuyers said they’d obtained a home inspection prior to the purchase of their homes
The average home inspection takes only one to two hours of hours.
As a home inspector, you need to have an overall understanding of all aspects of construction in a home – including utilities, landscaping, plumbing, etc.
A home inspector has the responsibility of determining if a house that a prospective homebuyer is about to purchase is sound structurally.
Consumer demand for home inspections has been growing rapidly. It’s a young and growing professional consulting service aimed at helping homebuyers make the biggest financial decision of their lives. The consumer movement has spawned a new breed of savvy and demanding buyers who want to know all they can about their potential homes before making their final decisions.
While the numbers continue to grow, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) estimates that 77 percent of the homes sold in the United States and Canada today are inspected prior to purchase. This means that the market is still underserved and that the remaining growth potential is considerable.
A typical home inspector spends his or her day inspecting homes for buyers, writing reports, speaking with prospective clients, and marketing to consumers or real estate agents.
It’s also your job as a home inspector to frequently offer tips for operating and maintaining the home as they go, (e.g. explaining how to turn off water and power in an emergency, how and when to change furnace filters, etc.).
At the end of the inspection, the inspector and client review the findings.
Some inspectors prepare and deliver their written report on site, while other inspectors write the report, based on their field notes, after the inspection. The inspection report is delivered quickly to the client, often within 24 hours, because the real estate transaction hangs in the balance. The client often pays the inspection fee onsite, and it is not unusual for the client to say something like, “That is the best money that I have ever spent.”
A thorough and overall understanding of the house structures is a necessity. Most states require certification or some type or registration of home inspectors.
For certification, you typically have two options. First is through the National Association of Home Inspectors (AHI) and the other is through the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
Both were formed to maintain standards of excellence for their members, giving homeowners peace of mind when hiring a home inspector.
Someone who starts their own home inspection business will fall into the following categories:
- Doesn’t want to be tied to a desk all day
- Is interested in construction and how things work
- Has a technical mind and likes to figure things out
- Is organized and clear-thinking
- Enjoys meeting and helping people
Home inspection companies have to be prepared to provide fast customer service. The condition in an offer to purchase a home is often for only two or three days. Good telephone service is important to most inspectors. When not inspecting, inspectors may be dealing with administrative duties, paying bills, and handling all the things that all businesses have to address.
Inspectors are also likely to be marketing in order to build their business. This can take many forms including sending out flyers, placing advertisements, building and updating a business Web site, conducting presentations in real estate offices, writing technical articles, and building professional relationships with referral sources like real estate agents and brokers, mortgage lenders, title companies, attorneys, etc.
Inspectors also spend time updating their knowledge of homes. Professional associations like ASHI require members to earn continuing education credits every year to keep their skills sharp and their knowledge of construction current. Inspectors meet and share experiences with their peers by attending chapter meetings of associations and communicating through discussion forums.
How much you can make as a home inspector
According to the US Department of Labor, the median income range is from $37,500 to over $61,000.
The typical fee for a regular-sized home inspection ranges from $250 to $500. Many inspectors perform up to three inspections in a day but there’s a lot of paperwork involved in writing the reports. So therefore, very few inspectors work more than 2-3 full days doing the inspections. So although it seems like a lot, the truth is you’ll make a good, honest income as an inspector. But you’re not going to get rich doing it.
National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc.
4248 Park Glen Road
Minneapolis, MN 55416
Phone: (952) 928-4641 or (800) 448-3942
Fax: (952) 929-1318
ASHI has created several educational opportunities for prospective home inspectors to learn about the profession and gain the skills and knowledge necessary to become a competent home inspector.
Depending on your learning style and preference, you can take courses from the convenience of your home, your local community college or through one of ASHI’s endorsed independent training schools throughout the United States.
American Society of Home Inspectors,® Inc.
932 Lee Street, Suite 101
Des Plaines, Illinois, 60016