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Become a Home Inspector

If you were going to purchase a house, wouldn't you want to know every detail of it including what problems there are? Of course you would, which is why most homeowners hire a home inspector before buying a house or when building one.

Becoming a home inspector is exciting, yet challenging and does hold some element of risk, so you need to be absolutely sure that this job is for you. A home inspector conducts a comprehensive assessment of a previously owned or newly built house, town house, condominiums, manufactured house, commercial building or apartment and performs checks to uncover problems such as old gas pipes or water heaters that might not work, rotten wood, termites and more. Home inspectors need to be physically fit for climbing ladders, moving through crawl spaces and more.

The assessment involves technical work regarding the safety of a house, fire hazards, infestation, and conforming to building practices, where you will list details about repairs and upgrades that need to be made to the house. Your assessment must include the structure of a house, the home systems and features including the roof, flooring, walls and interior electrical work, plumbing, heating, and cooling system, as well as the exterior of the home, any attached garage or carport, and the foundations.

Aside from the technical knowledge you must possess, a home inspector must be good at dealing with homeowners, who can be quite demanding, and you need to be adept at compiling reports for them. These reports are normally used in the process of buying a home, and if a house is purchased with a clean report and then a problem is discovered later, home inspectors can be sued, so you need to be thorough in this line of work.

Home Inspector Salary Information

To balance out the risks involved, home inspectors earn an average salary of anywhere between $50,000 and $64,000 per year with benefits for home inspectors employed privately or by the government including medical or health insurance, paid annual leave and a retirement plan. Government agencies tend to pay more than private consulting firms and engineering or architectural companies. There are also health insurance plans and disability policies that home inspectors must possess whether you work for a company or are self employed, along with liability insurance in the event of any lawsuits.

Becoming a Home Inspector

So how do you go about becoming a home inspector? Well there are a number of steps that you can follow to get into this lucrative real estate career. The first step is to find out what the state laws require of you in terms of age and background. To qualify to become a home inspector, candidates simply require a high school diploma or your GED (General Education Development). It is extremely helpful if you also have a degree or have completed a course in architecture, construction management, and engineering.

Once you have met these requirements it is time to find the perfect training facility. There are plenty of approved ones all over the country such as those found at the American Home Inspectors Training Institute, as well as with the Professional Home Inspection Institute and the National Association of Home Inspectors and the American Society of Home Inspectors. There are offline and online courses to help you become a qualified home inspector and additional courses in blueprint reading will give you an edge, as well as attending regular conferences. State laws differ, but an average of 75 hours of training is required to become a home inspector.

The next step is to find a coach, someone who is a certified home inspector with plenty of experience who can show you the ropes while you are studying. Applying to be a trainee at a home inspection agency is a great way to get on the job experience and prepare for your certification exam.

Once you have completed your training you will need to become certified which you can do through the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and various other associations where you will have to take the National Home Inspectors Exam according to the state in which you wish to work. Aside from passing the exam, you are required to have studied for a certain period of time, and have worked on a certain number of home inspections under supervision. Some states require you to perform a home inspection and send in the report for evaluation. The Residential Building Inspector certification is also acceptable for home inspectors.

With your certification you can get a home inspection job with an inspection company, or even start your own home inspection business. Joining a home inspection agency or being the member of a home inspectors association will boost your credibility and allow you to get more work. You can work on a contract basis for inspection agencies or engineering firms, for local governments, and on behalf of potential home buyers.

The demand for home inspectors increases when new homes are being built and when homes are exchanging hands. The recent innovations in sustainable building development and the keen interest in "green" building technology, has also prompted the need for relevantly qualified home inspectors. Those with experience and a background in architecture, engineering, and construction will have an advantage.

Although tough, this can be a very rewarding career choice and now that you know how to become a home inspector, all you need to do is start searching for the appropriate training course and begin.

Home Inspector Quick Facts

Job Title: Home Inspector
Office: Your office is at an inspection company, consulting firm, or your home office, as well as the properties that you are inspecting.
Description: Your job as a home inspector is to evaluate the condition of buildings outside and inside and report any problems and violations that you discover for potential home buyers.
Certifications/Education: A high school diploma or GED is required to apply for a home inspector training course. After your course you will need to pass a certification exam in the state you are in.
Necessary Skills: You need to be technically minded, have a keen eye to spot problems, have an understanding of blueprints, architecture and construction methods, and be able to communicate effectively with clients verbally and in your written reports.
Potential Employers: Home owners who are about to put their property on the market and wish to identify problems, or home owners who are just about to buy a property. You can also be employed by government organizations and private companies.
Pay: The pay for home inspectors varies according to state and depends on whether you work for a private company, government organization or are self employed. The average salary however for a home inspector is $58,000 annually.

Helpful Links:
American Home Inspectors Training Institute
Professional Home Inspection Institute
National Association of Home Inspectors
International Association of Certified Home Inspectors
American Society of Home Inspectors
National Home Inspector Examination

 

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