Become a home inspector
In response to inquiries about pursuing a home inspection career and starting a home inspection business, we offer the following information and also encourage you to join ASHI.
Home Inspection Opportunities
Since home inspection came on the real estate scene in the mid-1970s, consumer demand for the service has been growing. Home inspection is a young and growing professional, consulting service aimed at helping homebuyers make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. Savvy and demanding buyers want to know all they can about their potential homes before making their final decisions. As a result, the opportunity is there for you to succeed as an ASHI home inspector.
The Market is There for You to Become a Home Inspector
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. The market is still underserved and the remaining growth potential is considerable. This trend leaves room for many to become home inspectors, build a career, even establish a home inspection company.
Home inspectors with talent and ambition can expand their business services to include commercial inspections and expert witness testimony. Radon, lead-based paint, septic systems and indoor air testing are just a few of the services that home inspectors can provide for additional fees. The financial investment and overhead needed to run a home inspection business are small compared to other businesses, perfect for establishing a small business.
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Do you have what it takes to be a successful home inspector?
How would you define a home inspection?
What does a home inspector do all day?
How does a home inspection company operate?
Can a home inspector diversify?
So where can I get some help becoming a professional home inspector?
Are you the kind of person who
- Doesn't want to be tied to a desk all day,
- Has a desire to run a small business,
- 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, and
- Is willing to learn and take initiative?
If that sounds like you, then now is the perfect time to start taking steps toward a challenging and rewarding career in home inspection!
A home inspection is a documented, professional opinion of a home-based on a visual evaluation and operational testing of the home’s systems and components to determine their current condition.
A typical home inspector spends his or her day inspecting homes for buyers, writing reports, speaking with prospective clients and marketing to consumers and real estate agents.
A typical home inspection begins when a client or real estate agent calls and books an inspection. The fee is set when the inspection is booked, and the inspector may have e-mailed or faxed the contract to the client, detailing the scope of work, often defined by the ASHI Standards of Practice. ASHI recommends inspectors invite clients to attend the inspection.
When the inspector and client arrive at the inspection, the contract is signed (if this has not been done earlier). The inspector explains the process and begins the inspection. An inspection may last from two to four hours or longer.
The inspector looks at the building exterior, including the garage. He or she explains the findings to the client, describing the building’s condition and any improvements recommended. The inspection continues inside the home and includes any basement or crawlspace, the living spaces, and any accessible attic or roof spaces. Inspectors 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 others write the report after the inspection from their field notes.
The inspection report is delivered quickly to the client, often within 24 hours, because the real estate transaction may hang 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."
Some inspectors perform up to three inspections in a day. The inspector keeps a copy of the report on file.
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 deal with administrative duties, pay bills and all the responsibilities of running a business.
Inspectors also need to market themselves to build their business. This can include sending flyers, placing advertisements, building and updating a Web site, conducting presentations in real estate offices, writing technical articles, and building professional relationships with referral sources such as 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. ASHI members meet and share experiences with peers by attending chapter meetings and communicating through discussion forums.
Many home inspectors diversify, offering a variety of inspections, such as termite, swimming pool and spa, well and septic system, and home maintenance. Troubleshooting inspections for homes with problems, prelisting inspections for homes about to be sold, and inspections of new homes throughout the construction process or at the pre-delivery stage can also be offered. Some inspectors do radon, lead, asbestos, and carbon monoxide testing; mold inspections; and inspections of commercial buildings. There are many opportunities to offer a full range of services to consumers.
A good first step is joining the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Through the ASHI Education Inc. you can get access to terrific educational opportunities including comprehensive distance education and classroom training.
In addition to the training available through ASHI, you will also learn a great deal about the profession by joining your local ASHI chapter and attending meetings. Getting involved is a wonderful way to get your feet wet and learn to avoid the mistakes made by those who have gone before you.
Through ASHI's Web site you can participate in home inspector discussions and stay in touch with experienced professionals.
ASHI puts you in touch with many products and services for home inspectors. Your ASHI membership gives you access to special discounts, resources, and networking opportunities designed to grow your inspection business and make you a better inspector.
We invite you to catch up on the latest industry news, contact your state representative, or even get a competitive rate on your health or professional liability insurance.
ASHI's monthly magazine, the ASHI Reporter, is essential reading for members. There are technical articles, industry news, and products and services tailored to home inspection professionals.
ASHI helps you build your business, providing marketing materials for members. These include more than 10 consumer brochures and an ASHI publicity kit. ASHI also offers continuing education because home inspectors have to continually upgrade their knowledge base to keep pace with our fast-changing world
Home inspection is a professional consulting business that allows inspectors to work in the field, providing key information at a critical time for consumers who are making one of the largest purchases of their life. Home inspection is rewarding because in a matter of hours inspectors can help people make an informed buying decision. A well-executed home inspection combines broad technical knowledge of all house systems with an ability to communicate technical issues in terms that a layperson can understand.
The home inspection business comes with the freedom of setting your own working hours and days. You may choose to grow into a multi-inspector firm, or prefer to operate as a sole practitioner. Either path can work well, with your reward being well compensated for adding considerable value to people's lives at a crucial time.