Becoming a home inspector is a great option for your career, because it offers annual compensation of around $70,000 per year and a schedule that is flexible. For individuals with a background in construction, this is an even better option. If you are interested in real estate, home inspection can be a perfect choice as well. If you want to be a home inspector, this guide will give you all the information that you need. This guide can help you create a lucrative career as a home inspector.
Every state has different licensing requirements. It will be necessary to make sure that you focus on your state when you are looking for information regarding licensing. Kaplan has the best courses available that I could find to become a home inspector.
The flexibility of taking courses at Kaplan is great for individuals who are still working and looking for a career change or those of us with busy lives. Some states require that home inspectors have a high school degree, take courses in college, and passing an exam, before you can get licensed, like in Texas. Others require no license at all.
Licensing Requirements by State
|States where No License is Required||California, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, and Maine.|
|States that require Pre-licensing courses, exam, and classroom hours||Texas (128 Hours), New York (140 hours), and Florida (120 hours)|
|States that require pre-licensing course hours, exam, and experience hours||Illinois (60 course hours and 40 experience hours)|
Assess Your Knowledge Regarding Construction
The main purpose of being a home inspector is to assess the integrity and safety of the heating, plumbing, structural, and electrical systems in homes. For you to be able to do this, you must have a complete understanding of how houses are built and maintained. You will need to know the structural differences between LEED certified modern homes, older style Victorian mansions, and everything in between.
Do you understand how house, new and old, are built? Do you have information about plumbing, heating, and electrical systems and how they should be installed? If so, then you are on the right track to becoming a certified home inspector.
Lacking Construction Experience?
If you are lacking experience in construction, you can still be an efficient home inspector. People with all different backgrounds are becoming home inspectors. You can do it with no construction experience, it will just need a bit of hard work and perseverance to learn the information regarding the home systems you will be checking during an inspection. Home inspection pre-licensing courses and general construction courses can give you the information that you need.
Assess Your People Skills
The second important part of being a home inspector is your skills with people. It will be important to build and maintain relationships with homeowners and retailers. These relationships will keep you in business and keep money coming in for your business. Realtors usually use the same inspector for their home inspections. Therefore, if you build a solid relationship with some realtors, you can keep your business going.
Home inspections can be stressful, and when you have a good rapport with the realtor, you can ease that stress and make the inspection go through a lot easier. When it’s time for an inspection, it usually means that they are close to closing the deal. After several months or even years trying to sell the property and close the deal, it is just one more step that the buyer and seller need to make. When you can ease, their mind regarding your services and build solid relationships with the clients, this is a great way to ease their mind and lower everyone’s stress level.
You want to make sure that you can keep a cool head. This is even when things are starting to get intense. Your clients need your inspection to be accurate and you need to find the issues before the sale is made. You need to be able to work hard under pressure and get the job done.
Finding The Right Courses
There are many schools that offer pre-licensing course for home inspectors. In some states, certain courses are required to obtain your license. You should talk to the advisor to ensure that you have all the information that you need regarding the requirements in your states. Kaplan is a trusted professional in the education industry. They have been offering their students top-notch training for over 70 years. They also offer the best courses in the industry. When you are looking for a school, Kaplan should be the first choice, if you are one of the 25 states where home inspection courses are offered.
Passing Your Home Inspection Licensing Examination
Not all states require that you pass an exam to become a licensed home inspector. If you are in a state that does not require an examination, you can skip over this section and move on.
After acquiring knowledge in regards to construction and other building systems, you will need to pass an exam to showcase that you have retained the necessary knowledge to be successful in the field. There is a lot of knowledge to learn and the more that you know, the better off you will be. Work hard to learn as much as you can.
New building materials and techniques are available and used all the time. That means that you will want to continually learn about the new techniques that are being used and the new materials that are used in the construction of the homes that you may inspect. After you get your license, you will still want to take refresher courses and keep up to date with all the new advances in the industry.
If your state does not require pre-licensing courses or continued education, you should still complete training to learn aspects of home building that you are not knowledgeable about. Remember, that you must compete with other inspectors in the industry. The more knowledge you have, the better off you will have.
There are no laws that require that you join any associations. However, it is a great choice. You should join the National Association of Home Inspectors and the American Society of Home inspectors. These associations will keep you up to date with all the news and information about the industry. It is a great way to help your career.
Both associations offer networking opportunities to help you grow your business, industry professional standard certifications, and top-rated education. They will provide you with the resources that you need and want to become a successful home inspector.
Choose to join them both, or pick the one that works the best for you. Professional home inspectors say that if you aren’t in a national organization, it is like living in a box. You won’t have the information that you need to be successful in the field as the industry evolves. Plus, you will not be able to network, which is essential for your growth. You need all the tools available to you and this is one of the most valuable tools.
Choosing your Career Path
After you have passed your exam and acquired your license, you must decide how you want to start as a home inspector. There are three options to choose from and here is some information on each to help you choose the path that is right for you.
1. Work with an Established Firm
The easiest and fastest way to get started as a home inspector, is to work with a firm that is already established. The company will have an established marketing strategy, brand, stream of clients, and professional certification. That means that you can start working right away with little costs upfront compared to if you decided to start your own company. There are a few drawbacks to working for someone else though.
- You make less money
Just like when you work for any company, they want a piece of the pie. If you are working as an independent contractor for a firm, they will likely take between 40 % and 60 % of each inspection fee, as their cut. Plus, you may have to purchase your own insurance coverage. Add this to the other costs that are not considered startup costs, but still needed to do the job.
- You may have to sign a non-compete contract
Most companies will want you to sign a non-compete agreement that states that you are prohibited by law to work in areas where the company operates if you decide to leave. This may only be for a limited amount of time. However, it can make it impossible to go off on your own in the future, if you decide to branch off, because you won’t be able to work in the same areas that the company operates.
2. Starting your own Firm
When you start your own firm, you can control each aspect of your business. You are your own boss and can make all the decisions in regards to where you work, who you work for, and how much you charge. Although your income is determined by how hard you want to work, most independent home inspectors make between $60,000 and $80,000 a year by going around 8 to 10 inspections a week. You can recruit a few of your own inspectors and build your own firm in no time.
- Expenses and Risks
There is an unlimited potential for earnings, but this does not come without some expenses and risks. You will need to handle your own advertising, pay your own liability and errors and omission insurance, pay your dues, purchase a vehicle, pay for an office space, and purchase tools for your business.
- Realtor Referrals
Partnering with realtors is the easiest way to stay busy and working in this industry. However, most of the experienced realtor have home inspectors that they trust and have been using for some time. It will be a challenge to convince some realtors to utilize your services instead. But, if you can find a way to differentiate your services from the services of those in the area where you are working, you can build a strong connection that will break their bond with their former inspector.
3. Purchase a Franchise
Your third option is to purchase a franchise. When you purchase a home inspection franchise, it is set and ready to go. You can expect to start making money right away. You will be your own boss, instead of working for an employer or firm. And you will be able to benefit from the already established connections and branding that the franchise has built.
You will begin with marketing tools, relationships already established with major companies in the industry, rights to a sales territory, specific industry software, and a brand that people know and trust. It is the easiest way to own your own business and not have to start from the bottom.
As soon as you pass your courses and get your license, you can start working when you choose to buy a franchise. It is a great time saver and despite the upfront costs, will create a ready use industry champion right out of the gate.
Continuing your Education
Now that you have gotten your certification, began your business, and are racking in the dough, don’t forget to stay learning and improving your craft. As time goes on, you will need to still can stay relevant and know about the most up-to-date advances in the industry. It will be important to stay ahead of other inspectors when it comes to new advances in the home building industry.
You have the tools to start an amazing career as a home inspector. So, whether you want to earn a living working for an agency, or start your own business, or own a franchise, you have the information that you need to be successful. So, check with your state department about the licensing requirements in your state and begin your amazing adventure into the art of home inspecting. And don’t forget to continually learn about the new advances in the industry, so that you can stay at the top of your game.