Home Inspector Job Description
Home inspectors evaluate residential properties to ensure they’re in compliance with regulations and that there are no malfunctioning systems, safety hazards, or infrastructure damages. A typical inspection can take two to three hours at minimum, depending on the scope, but it can easily extend to several days, as home inspectors must examine every area of the property, interview homeowners, check construction documents, and perform tests, all while taking documentation in the form of photographs and notes. It’s their responsibility to coordinate with clients the entire time and prepare reports about their findings. Most home inspectors work in real estate and construction or at banks, although self-employment is possible, and they alternate between staying at the office and making site visits.
Home Inspector Duties and Responsibilities
Regardless of their industry, home inspectors must complete many daily responsibilities to perform their jobs effectively:
Home inspectors conduct inspections on residential properties to check for compliance and assess if there are hazards or structural defects. This entails examining both the interior and exterior of the property, including infrastructure, electrical and plumbing systems, and water quality.
In response to issues discovered during inspections, home inspectors communicate with realtors, homeowners, or potential buyers to coordinate repairs and improvements, which may include carpentry, plumbing fixes, and system reinstallation.
It’s the job of home inspectors to create detailed reports about their inspection findings and present these to homeowners. Aside from descriptions of defects and recommendations for repair and maintenance, these also contain extensive photos, diagrams of property structures, and notes from site observation.
Home inspectors work closely with clients throughout every step of the process, approaching inspections based on client requirements and regularly updating them about progress and issues encountered. They strive to be as transparent as possible by relaying all inspection information to clients.
Lead generation is a major function of home inspectors, who proactively contribute to sales and marketing efforts. Beyond maintaining good working relationships with existing clients, they may develop marketing campaigns, make cold calls, and attend community and networking events to expand their client base.
Home Inspector Skills and Qualifications
Home inspectors are organized, detail-oriented people who are knowledgeable about construction, basic engineering, and regulations, and who can explain these concepts well to clients. In addition to certification, employers look for the following skills:
- Technical expertise – even though they follow established procedures, home inspectors need engineering knowledge to correctly evaluate properties, and they should be able to take measurements and read and create property diagrams
- Data entry – documentation is a crucial part of home inspections, which often turn up a massive amount of data that home inspectors must organize into an easily understood format, so they must be accurate and efficient with data entry
- Communication skills – it’s essential for home inspectors to have excellent writing skills, since they prepare exhaustive summary reports after every inspection. They should also be able to explain findings to clients face-to-face
- Attention to detail – home inspectors are thorough and meticulous, taking into account every aspect of a property and seeking to identify all hazards for the safety of homeowners
- Customer service – since home inspection can be complex and confusing, home inspectors create a comfortable experience for clients by developing rapport with them, addressing all of their inquiries, and promptly troubleshooting issues
Tools of the Trade
Home inspectors use the following tools to do their job:
- Data entry software (Microsoft Word, Excel)
- Field inspection tools (electrical testers, digital cameras, radon kits)
- Inspection report software (Spectora, HomeGauge, HORIZON)
- Building or property documents (blueprints, architectural drawings, contracts)
Home Inspector Education and Training
The minimum educational requirement for home inspectors is a high school diploma, but having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, or a similar field is an advantage. Employers place more emphasis on licensing or certification, which is necessary in many states. Aspiring home inspectors can acquire this from schools and institutions such as American Home Inspectors Training (AHIT) and International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Employers also prefer those with at least one year of experience.
Home Inspector Salary and Outlook
According to PayScale, home inspectors have a median annual salary of $46,000, with the top 10 percent of earners making more than $76,000 every year and the lowest 10 percent earning less than $28,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics further reports that construction and building inspectors, a sector that includes home inspectors, can look forward to a 10 percent growth in employment through 2026. As public safety becomes a higher priority and standards for buildings increase, there will also be higher demand for inspectors.
Are you interested in exploring the career path of a home inspector? If so, check out the resources below:
American Society of Home Inspectors – a premier association for home inspectors in North America, ASHI made its mark by being the first to establish official ethics and standards of practice in the industry. Their website is a one-stop hub for news, state regulations and best practices, event announcements, and educational opportunities for members
The Complete Guide to Home Inspection – recommended by both home inspectors and homeowners, this comprehensive reference guide tackles all home areas and systems, from heating and cooling to attics. It’s full of insider tips and trade secrets from experienced authors, as well as photographs and illustrations that make for a user-friendly read
International Association of Certified Home Inspectors – geared toward certified property inspectors, InterNACHI provides an exceptional collection of articles, tutorials, and videos that amounts to more than 200,000 pages of content. It also offers a certification program and hosts one of the most active industry forums
The House Whisperer: Becoming a Successful Home Inspector – written by a certified master inspector, this career guide gives readers a good overview of what it takes to break into the profession and thrive. It provides step-by-step guidance on educational requirements and technical aspects of the job, such as report creation, as well as advertising and marketing
Working RE – home inspectors can subscribe to this monthly print and digital magazine to get news updates and diverse content. In addition, it publishes sample articles twice a month, which are viewable on the website for free
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