The past image of today’s home inspector as a person only skilled in the basic inspection procedures is one that will not get you into tomorrow’s market. The successful home inspector in the year 2013 and beyond will be a home inspector who is a master of many talents, a person who combines an impressive array of skills to serve the needs of today’s homebuyers, sellers and yes, Realtors®.
Today’s buyers are much more knowledgeable about home inspectors and inspection procedures than those of the past. Sellers who want to know more about what’s wrong with their homes and Realtors all need to understand the inspection process and what is required by the current American Society of Home Inspectors Standards of Practice.
A home inspection firm, because of its firsthand knowledge of what was observed during the inspection process, can give information to its customers in the report and offer recommendations to correct the items that will require repairs. The Standards of Practice advises us (home inspectors inspect, observe, and recommend) to inform our customers about the condition of the house. We must know how to identify the items that will require major expenditures in the home that was inspected. Even though cosmetic items aren’t considered major expenditures, we need to make our clients aware that these are items that also will require $$ to correct.
We must be talented communicators who possess the verbal skills necessary to help the prospective buyer understand what is in the inspection report. Sometimes the inspector must serve as a counselor, helping customers understand that the home they want could require costly repairs or replacements in the near future. Our job is to make them aware of the items that could cost a sizeable investment beyond just the selling price.
We must be proficient schedulers so that we can allow adequate time for the inspection process and the time needed to finalize the inspection results. Our job is not over when we complete the inspection report. The customer has put a certain amount of trust in our skills and that may require time to explain our findings not only at the time of the inspection but with advice after the inspection.
The skilled home inspector will need to have a mastery of ever-evolving knowledge of the materials used in the home construction industry and remain abreast of the latest developments and information in the home construction industry. Continued information is out there from the market suppliers on the Internet, as well as at the building supply centers. Also, you can stay updated using home study programs, in-classroom courses, on-line training, educational seminars with ASHI chapters, our Smart Track educational modules, our new e-Learning catalog offered on-line and all the education available at the local technical institutions. We just have to make the effort to find the required knowledge wherever that may be. Your ASHI chapter is a good place to start; all chapters should be presenting programs that will benefit their members, interesting beginning inspectors and encouraging those who don’t have the necessary skills to seek that improvement. Many manufacturers have on-line programs of interest to inspectors, who can take advantage of them to earn educational credits.
As a dedicated professional home inspector, you owe it to yourself, your customers and your profession to make the effort to learn as much as possible and pass that information on. Your reward will be that you are giving back to the profession that helps you make a living. So are you going to be an INNOVATIVE HOME INSPECTOR OR JUST HANG ON?