Introduction to Online Home Inspector Course

Do you have great interest in architecture and workmanship? Home inspection might be a suitable career for you. Looking at the high demand for home inspectors in the housing market, it is in fact a good choice to pursue a home inspection course to obtain an academic qualification. In order to save cost and time attending classes in the campus, online study is a better choice. Let’s take a closer look on what we can gain from this accredited online course.

As we know, in general, home inspections are routinely needed for newly purchased and newly constructed homes, town houses, condominiums, apartments and other residential properties. By pursuing this home inspection training online, the students will be able to learn the necessary techniques on home evaluation. Firstly, they will gain the knowledge about home exteriors which include landscaping and grading, foundations, roofs and roof-mounted structures, paved areas, windows, doors, garages, wood-destroying insects, so on and so forth. Secondly, lessons on interior construction are covered too. The students will be equipped with knowledge related to utilities, plumbing, cooling and heating systems, attics, basements, crawl spaces, insulation, electrical systems, troubleshooting, etc.

All the core modules will be covered through online learning. By completing this course, the students will be scheduled to take the state exam. It is compulsory for them to pass this exam before obtaining certification from the American Society of Home Inspectors. This profession can be started right after the license is obtained.

To enroll to online home inspector course is not a difficult task as there are no educational prerequisites or experience required. The candidates will be guided step by step to obtain certification and become qualified professionals through online study. 

Home Inspector Training – What You Need to Know

If you have ever bought or sold a home, you know just how important that home inspection is. A thorough property inspection can uncover any number of issues with a property that are otherwise invisible to the average home buyer but can result in hundreds and often thousands of dollars in needed or required repairs after the sale goes through. Having information on the actual condition of the property is vital to any potential buyer. An inspection can serve as a basis for negotiations on price or repair allowances in the sales contract, or it sometimes can spur a buyer to walk away from the property entirely. Other times, it can give a buyer peace of mind in knowing they are buying a “good” property with a clean bill of health.

If you have been considering entering the real estate field in some fashion, this line of work can yield a significant income, with many inspectors enjoying income between $50,000 and $100,000 per year, if not more. It often provides you with the ability to control your workload and schedule, too. Before you can enter this field, however, you need to go through home inspector training.

Most states have a licensing requirement for such inspectors, so you will want to review your own state’s requirements before you sign up for any particular home inspector training course. Many states will require that you take a certification class or program, but you will want to make sure that the courses you are signing up for fulfill your state’s requirements. There are many online courses available for home inspection training, and some states also allow or require you to apprentice under a licensed inspector for a certain period of time before earning your certification and license.

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is among the leading organizations in the industry and allows those who are licensed inspectors to join their ranks. Their website contains a full list of state requirements as well and is an excellent resource. You will also want to visit the National Home Inspector Examination website, which also details state requirements and allows you to sign up for the national exam. Currently, only 24 states require you take this national exam, but many professional associations require the exam as a membership requirement including ASHI, the American Institute of Inspections, the National Association of Home Inspectors, and others.

Each state has its own requirements in terms of home inspector training, apprenticeship, certifications, and licensing, and the state requirements will often dictate the path you take to become an inspector. However, whether your state requirements specify training or not, you can see that taking specialized courses in the field can open doors for you in terms of helping to pass the national exam and join prestigious industry associations that can boost your career. Most of the higher paid inspectors belong to numerous professional associations, so the investment into your education will generally be rewarded in income potential for years to come.

How Much Do Home Inspector Certifications Matter Anyway?

A trend I’ve been noticing in a down economy is that when people are losing their jobs, unemployment rises, and work is harder to come by, education systems come out of the wood-works. As people have been forced to become more creative and ‘entrepreneurial-minded’, a whole new industry has boomed, offering professional certifications for just about anything, as long as you have the money to spend.

For example, before I made my way into the home inspection industry in Colorado Springs, I obtained two different certifications while experimenting with other careers in 2007 and 2008 for two very different fields: heavy equipment operation, and personal fitness training.

The heavy equipment operating school I attended in Las Vegas (The Nevada School of Construction, a.k.a. NAHETs) was straight forward, and not completely relevant to what I’m about to point out, except for this: I spent a lot of money to acquire training and certifications to market myself to prospective employers, but in the end, those certifications were basically just ‘marketing tools’. Telling a construction company that I was ‘certified’ was supposed to help me stand out above the rest, but aside from some very basic proficiency with the machines, by the time I found a real job running that heavy equipment, it was completely obvious to that employer how painfully ‘green’ I was while working. Spending a lot of money for that certification was just a way market myself, and it did not mean that I was a good heavy equipment operator.

When I went into personal training, the certification schools available were extremely similar in structure to the certification organizations involved in the home inspection industry, which I’ll get into in a minute.

Most large gyms in Las Vegas only employed trainers who were certified by one or more certain educational organizations. I obtained my certification through NESTA (The National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association), one of the larger (but not the biggest) educational companies out there for trainers.

And here’s how it works:

You pay NESTA $300 or so for some study material (an e-book and a few DVD’s, as I recall), which, upon passing the multiple choice test at an approved testing location, you become a member, and have the right to utilize their logos in marketing yourself. To KEEP your certification and membership, you must regularly enroll in continuing education, choosing from various other courses, indefinitely. Keeping that membership and the title of being ‘NESTA-certified’, you’d have to continue paying the organization, year after year.

Now, in all honesty, I enjoyed the education. But I didn’t learn anything from their materials that I couldn’t have learned just as easily on my own. But I had been convinced that education provided from a certification company was special.

NESTA, and other larger educational organizations like it, have utilized a tactic to carve out a business niche and change the standards of the personal training industry across the country to propagate the belief that such certifications are necessary. And this circular belief continues to reinforce such a standard, while anyone serious about going into the business for themselves could accomplish the same education on their own. Such educational entities ultimately enjoy forcing these small entrepreneurs into becoming a member to satisfy this artificial perception.

In 2012, after years in the construction and home improvement industries (and a brief stint in personal training, of course), I took my residential construction and marketing experience, and set my focus on the home inspection business.

And I was not surprised to see the same, similar model of self-serving professional certification businesses there.

Now, in the home inspection industry, there are likewise many certification companies to choose from. The big ones are ASHI (The American Society of Home Inspectors), NACHI (The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, a.k.a. InterNACHI), NAHI (The National Association of Home Inspectors), and NIBI (The National Institute of Building Inspectors). There are many others, less-widely known.

The model is the same. You pay a few hundred dollars to take their exam and become a member. Some organizations will try to sell you expensive in-person training, and match you up with one of their certified instructors in your state, if possible. You will have to pay substantial yearly dues to remain a member, and you will also need to take continuing education to keep your certification valid. You’ll continue paying the organization, year after year.

To someone new to the real estate or construction industry, this basic education in home inspection (if you opt to pay for the expensive training) can be valuable to an extent, but only as valuable as my basic heavy equipment operating training was to me. A brand new home inspector with a certification may have never raised a hammer before in his life. And even though he may be very inexperienced, even incompetent, he can then use that certification as a banner to get business because the real estate industry has been manipulated to believe that having a big-name certification means he’ll do good work.

The major advantage of being certified is the ability to use the certification organization’s logos and their marketing tools. Some may have a marketing ‘network’ on the web to help provide leads. This marketing ability can actually be quite powerful and effective, because just like with the personal training industry, the home inspection certification industry has carved out their own niche in the real estate world to where many realtors and customers are led to believe that certifications are necessary. And you’ll often see home inspectors with these large, expensive certifications helping to continue this myth, because they are now bound to it by the recurring expense they incur to maintain them.

I believe that the focus of professional certification businesses is to build their own cash flow more than it is to provide the great educational background that people are led to believe a certification stands for. A professional certification can be extremely valuable as a marketing tool for an inspector going into business, but that’s about it. The organization may provide (for sale, of course) the inspector with various forms, maybe a business model, and other shortcuts to get them on their way, but when you examine these things, it becomes clear that the primary goal is to just make more money for the certification companies.

In my business, for instance, I examined some of these forms (available for sale from certification companies) before designing my own, and found their legal strength convoluted and weak. When I first considered getting into the business, I bought an excellent book/manual for the industry from Amazon, and found that many certification companies use that very book for course materials. And as far as their testing standards? One of my inspectors informed me that when he, himself, was perusing the major certification companies, he applied to one of the big organizations online and aced their exam without a lick of study, based on his construction background.

Christopher Solomon of MSN Real Estate, author of the e-article “4 tips for finding the best home inspector”*, states:

“Don’t trust an inspector simply because he or she has a state license or certification… the training may be so minimal that it is ineffective.”

What this all boils down to is that, whether you are a customer looking for a home inspector, or a realtor networking with home inspectors, a builder or construction professional considering home inspection as a new career, or anyone else in the real estate industry exposed to the myth that a certification is required… remember that it’s a myth. Certification organizations are in the business of making money from people who believe they need certifications. And you can bet that those companies, and the successful home inspectors who are tied to them, will continue pushing the myth, even so far as lobbying for state regulation that ends up giving those organizations even more business.

That’s why I don’t pay much attention to certifications, but, instead, focus on the experience a potential (inspector) applicant already HAS, in real estate, development, home building, renovations, etc., before he ever decided to get into the property inspection business in the first place.

And you should too.