Home Inspection Frequently Asked Questions
- What skills do I need to become a good home inspector?
- What difference does it make that I have a local instructor?
- Who uses the services of home inspectors?
- Is there an on-going demand for home inspectors?
- How do I get started?
- How much will I work each week?
- How much money can I make?
- How far can I go?
- What will it cost to start my own business?
- Is a business plan important?
- Where do I start when setting up a new business?
- How do I position myself in the market and set myself apart from the competition?
- Where do I find networking opportunities?
- How do I choose a reporting tool that's right for me?
- Where can I get more information?
What skills do I need to become a good home inspector?
Home inspectors need a wide range of abilities to be successful, but the skills required are not difficult and most can be easily obtained or current skills levels can be improved.
The three major areas of proficiency needed for success are:
- Being self motivated — Like many professions, income and success are tied directly to how one applies themselves.
- Interpersonal skills — Home inspectors work with the public and speak to a wide variety of people, hence, good listening and communication skills are required.
- A home inspector must have a working knowledge in the field of construction. Many home inspectors come from related fields, but this is not necessary for the student willing to learn. Arizona School of Real Estate & Business courses are designed to provide the needed materials to become a successful home inspector.
What difference does it make that I have a local instructor?
An instructor who conducts business on a daily basis in your local area is one of your best resources. They can speak to specific issues or problems that are native to the area and they know the market well.
Who uses the services of home inspectors?
The client list is long — Individuals, companies and corporations, lenders, government agencies, insurance companies, attorneys, buyers, sellers, investors, tenants and non-profit agencies that assist first time home buyers.
Really, anyone who may be involved in owning, leasing or investing in residential real estate and is interested in knowing its current condition is a likely user of a home inspector.
Is there an on-going demand for home inspectors?
Absolutely. As the value of housing rises, more and more buyers are concerned with being assured that the property they purchase is in good condition.
With the average family moving every seven years, it is estimated that there will be 15,000,000 inspections performed in the next five years. That equals a 400% growth rate, and it is likely that the industry will need many more home inspectors and inspection firms to meet that demand.
How do I get started?
First you must decide if you are going to work for yourself or work for a home inspection company in your area. For many, gaining experience by first working for an established firm is great way to enter the industry.
If you decide to start by working for an established firm, you will need to apply for a position. Applying for a home inspector position is just like applying for any other job. Create a brief resume of who you are, what you are looking for and what your expectations are in the way of hours and compensation.
Make a contact list. Start by asking yourself, who do I know in the real estate industry that may have contact with home inspectors such as, bankers, realtors, agents, etc. See if they can get you an appointment with the home inspector they work with. Check the yellow pages and see what home inspectors are in your area or if you have Internet access, you may want to do an Internet search for “home inspection” or “whole house inspection” and include the name of your town or city.
Once you have a list of contacts send them a resume, follow-up with a phone call and ask for an interview. Even if someone you contact can not help, remember to ask if they know anyone looking for someone. Be persistent. There’s a growing volume of work in the industry, so there is a job for you. But like most jobs, you need to be in the right place at the right time.
How much will I work each week?
As a home inspector, you may choose a traditional 40-hour-per-week job working for a real estate agency or construction firm. You may also choose to work as an independent home inspector working on a contract basis, which will allow you to determine the number of hours you work each week. The more you work, the more successful you will be.
How much money can I make?
As a home inspector, you will have control over your income and nearly unlimited earning potential. You may choose to hold a salaried position such as with a government agency or construction firm, or find a position which pays you per inspection. You can make between $200 and $350 or more per inspection. The actual amount of your fee will likely depend on the overall size or value of the property being evaluated. The more inspections you complete the greater your income.
How far can I go?
How far you take your career is up to you. If you desire an independent, hands-on career, then home inspection is a great choice. Every day will offer new and challenging opportunities and you may choose to offer additional specialized services to your clients such as mold or termite inspections.
What will it cost to start my own business?
Starting a small one person office will require some basic tools, such as computer, software, printer/copier, phone (land and or cell), somewhere to work (rented office space or from home) camera, inspection equipment, errors and omission insurance, advertising, education, possibly license or registration fees, depending on your state’s laws, some working capital to keep you going as your business begins to grow and of course a car or van.
Depending how many of these items you already have, total basic out of pocket expenses may be in the $2,500 to $6,000 range. The working capital requirement will depend on your specific living expenses. Remember that while the cash flows will start with your first assignment, it will take a while to get the business established and you will need to have money to pay your expenses while the volume of work grows.
Is a business plan important?
It is a vital part of starting a business. It is what you’ll refer to time and time again to assure you’re staying on course and meeting your goals. A good, practical business plan can guide you to success.
Where do I start when setting up a new business?
The first thing you’ll want to do is consider how you want to organize your business. Meet with an attorney and an accountant to discuss the best options for you to meet your business goals. Make a plan that outlines your goals and business practices.
How do I position myself in the market and set myself apart from the competition?
Do your research on your competitors. What messages are they sending about their services? Why do people choose to use their services? Use this research to figure where you fit into your market and what you can offer that no one else does. What is your unique selling proposition?
Where do I find networking opportunities?
One of the best and most cost effective ways to build your business is to take advantage of networking opportunities. Join your local home inspection and real estate trade associations. These organizations often offer several networking opportunities throughout the year.
How do I choose a reporting tool that's right for me?
First take into consideration what you are comfortable with. For instance, if you’re not comfortable with computers, you may want to consider on-site forms that are filled out by hand and can be delivered to the homeowner before you leave the property. Cost is another thing to think about. There are several different forms available so make sure you compare and find what fits into your budget.
Where can I get more information?
There are many resources available to assist you in your decision to become a home inspector. For a personal touch, we recommend calling 480-946-5388 to speak with one of our career specialists, or you can visit one of these Web sites.
- National Association of Home Inspectors
- American Society of Home Inspectors
- Bureau of Labor and Statistics