Is Online Training Sufficient For New Home Inspector?

Most of the home inspection certification bodies have recognized that a combination of formal training and hands-on experience would produce the best field performance for all the home inspectors. Although there are many online home inspector training programs in the market, people have doubts on that. They are worried that they don’t have enough exposure through online education. Their main concern is whether they can really evaluate the properties in a professional manner and they won’t be sued by clients for errors and omissions.

Online training provides us with flexible study time at any venue. We can learn all the necessary knowledge through an online school. In order to sharpen your technical skills, you are advised to take your own initiative to obtain new knowledge continuously through educational conferences and seminars in the industry. Attending these events is important in updating yourself with all the latest construction practices and legislation.

In fact, all of us know that practice makes perfect. Study online will only provide us with academic qualification and certification. However, in order to gain real experience, you are advised to get professional mentoring by learning from a certified and experienced home inspector. While you are taking lessons online, you should look for a part time job in any home inspection company. Join the company as an intern or a trainee so that you can have a clearer understanding about what inspectors do. Go along with them to different houses and buildings to observe how they execute their jobs.

To sum up, as a newcomer in this industry, bear in mind that you must always make yourself competent. You still need to accumulate as much experience as you can no matter you are pursing online or offline training.

So You Want to Be a Home Inspector?

What I am about to tell you may get me in hot water with all those self help experts and schools that promote home inspection courses and basically anyone who makes money off of new home inspector’s. That’s OK I can take the heat.

First let’s take care of the myth that a home inspector can make $20,000 to $30,000 a year part time and $60,000 to $80,000 full time. This myth is perpetuated by educators and self help experts. The reality is that you do not make any where near that type of money in the first year, maybe the second year but for most it’ll be the third year. Many new inspectors are not aware of this reality and become disillusioned and do one of two things either quit or slash their inspection fees hoping to gain more business. The latter is not a good idea because it will hurt your fellow inspectors and more than likely you’ll quit finding that the lower fees won’t pay the bills.

Another reality that you are not informed about is cost. It can cost you a pretty penny from thermal cameras, high tech equipment to educational courses. These could cost you between $10,000 and $15,000 and that doesn’t even include vehicles, licenses, errors and omission and general liability insurance, association fees etc… Are you scared yet? you should be.

You need to walk into this with your eyes open and you’ll be OK. Oh, and by the way you will need a second income to survive. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great industry to get involved in and the rewards can be great in the long term and the key words are long term. You need to develop a game plan and stick to it through thick and thin and it should involve a lot of marketing, website development and personal study. Below are some quick pointers to guide you along the right path.

Before you start anything do your research and the first place to hit is the industries message boards. Here you will feel the pulse of the industry from new and seasoned inspectors. Go to local chapter meetings. When you have completed that first step and feel you still want to become an inspector research your local community and see if it can support another inspector at this time. In the big urban areas this is not as much a factor as it is in rural areas.

If you are still interested then it is time to research your education. Research your home inspector schools, not all are created equal. Pick the best one that fits your budget. If you have a trades background you’ll have a leg up, but remember building, repairs and installation are different animals than inspecting. If you do not have a trades background it’s time to hit the books and read on everything about the systems of a home.

You should also join a national association, the three biggies in the U.S. are the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, American Society of Home Inspectors and National Association Of Home Inspectors. In Canada you have the Canadian National Association of Certified Home Inspectors and Canadian Association of Property and Home Inspectors. For dollar value I think InterNACHI is the best with the amount of free education and member benefits they offer inspectors. Many states and provinces have their regional associations as well, think about joining them they represent you at a local level.

Now that you are on your way to becoming a home inspector, another item that should be in your arsenal is your reporting software. The most popular are Home Inspector Pro, Home Gauge and 3D. I personally use HIP because of it’s ease of use. The other inspecting programs are just as good. You need to research which one will suit your needs. They all offer free trial downloads so that you can experiment with them. Remember, you definitely need software, checklists are so 80’s and 90’s that they scream newbie. Also get a website that matches your software. In this day and age of online shopping you are basically dead without one.

I have given you some reality checks and some pointers even though I did not touch on many things that will effect you, that is part of your research assignment about entering the property inspection field. Remember my warning, this isn’t a get rich quick scheme, instead it is a lot of hard work and long hours. If anyone tells you differently they are doing you a disservice. So take off those rose colored glasses, get down to some hard work and a lot of studying, some heart breaking moments which will eventually be followed by elation and join me in this wonderful world of home inspections.

Choose the Right Home Inspector When Buying a Home

There’s no sense in getting a home inspected if the professional you hire is unwilling, or unable to catch all the problems, or provide the services that will meet the standards you should expect. Making any fast, erroneous decisions by selecting the first business that you find online can cost you thousands of dollars cause you to regret buying the house in the first place.

Interview the inspector. Ask the inspector a few questions, like: how long it takes them to inspect the average sized home. If they can get the job done in less than a couple hours, they will probably not do a thorough enough job. Don’t let them convince you that they are so experienced, they can do it in less time. Also, ask them if they do pest inspections in addition to home inspections? If so, you could have both done at the same time and save yourself time, money and effort.

Ask for references. A good home inspector is going to have a lot of happy past customers who would be more than willing to brag about what a great job they’ve done. Call a couple of them and hear what they have to say.

Don’t choose the inspector solely on what they charge. Oftentimes, inspectors who don’t get repeat business, don’t do a good job, or hardly have any experience as an inspector offer a discounted price for their services. Sometimes new inspectors are still good and deserve a chance to talk with you about what they have to offer, but contact more than one professional before making your final decision.

Inquire about their experience and education. An inspector who has previous experience, even in other fields, might have an advantage over other inspectors. Some might have construction experience in their past, which will provide an in depth knowledge of how a house is put together correctly and what standards must be met in the construction of a home.

How helpful are they? A home inspector who cares is going to be one of the best professionals to work with because they will work hard to catch problems and explain them to you as they see them. They should be okay with walking around the property and showing you what issues they see, how soon each they need to be fixed, and how much money it’s going to cost you to get the property up to a reasonable standard.