Housing Inspector Job Description
Housing inspectors evaluate buildings and properties and guide homeowners towards compliance with code regulations. Their employers are often government agencies or companies in construction, architecture, or real estate. They spend much of their time on site visits, where they conduct inspections, consult with homeowners, process violations, and make recommendations regarding repairs and improvements. Despite the hands-on nature of the job, housing inspectors also deal with significant paperwork, as they must prepare reports and documentation for all inspections. Their work schedule is often flexible, and they may have to be available on weekends or evenings.
Housing Inspector Duties and Responsibilities
Housing inspectors carry out a wide range of tasks depending on the organization they work for. Based on job listings we analyzed, a housing inspector’s duties usually involve:
Housing inspectors examine buildings and housing projects for compliance with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards, building codes, and state regulations. This requires thoroughly checking the building’s interior and exterior, sanitation and ventilation systems, surrounding area, and ownership paperwork.
An important responsibility of housing inspectors is handling violations. Whether they notice these during routine inspections or they’re investigating a complaint, they must inform property owners immediately and go through the code enforcement process, which may result in contract suspension, termination, or abatement if the violation persists.
Upon finishing an inspection, housing inspectors recommend repairs, improvements, and other modifications to the property, and give suggestions regarding maintenance. They may even assist tenants and property owners by looking for third-party vendors and proactively scheduling service.
Housing inspectors prepare written reports about inspection results and save them into a computer system. These reports usually cover initial and follow-up assessments and include observation notes and photographs for evidence.
Since much of their job is technical, housing inspectors interpret and explain housing regulations and procedures to homeowners, tenants, and the general public. They also answer inquiries readily and provide inspection updates to involved parties.
Housing Inspector Skills and Qualifications
Housing inspectors are observant and analytical, using their expertise with construction and housing regulations to ensure sturdy, high-quality homes for the public. Typically, employers require a background in construction or engineering as well as the following abilities:
- Familiarity with industry regulations – housing inspectors are well versed in state housing and building regulations as well as penalty enforcement for violations. They understand how to apply these to individual situations, and they keep abreast of changes
- Construction knowledge – in order to assess buildings for safety and compliance, housing inspectors must have basic knowledge of construction procedures and materials, as well as electrical, plumbing, and heating systems within buildings
- Attention to detail – as they examine every facet of a building, housing inspectors rely significantly on their ability to notice details. They must be thorough and meticulous in order to guarantee complete compliance
- Documentation – housing inspectors are comfortable creating comprehensive written reports about their inspections and performing efficient data entry, possibly for several buildings in one day
- Communication skills – building and property laws and inspection procedures can be confusing for most people, so housing inspectors must be able to express them in easy-to-understand terms for clear communication
Tools of the Trade
Housing inspectors use the following tools to complete their duties, both in the office and the field:
- Building inspection tools (electrical testers, gas detectors, moisture meters)
- Inspection report software (Spectora, HomeGauge, HORIZON)
Housing Inspector Education and Training
The minimum educational requirement for housing inspectors is a high school diploma, but it’s advantageous for candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, construction management, or a related field. In addition, some states require home inspectors to obtain a license by passing a state exam. Even though employers commonly provide on-the-job training, they also prefer candidates with at least one year of building inspection experience.
Housing Inspector Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for housing inspectors is around $41,000, according to PayScale. Housing inspectors in the bottom 10 percent earn about $24,000 a year, and the highest paid make in excess of $56,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that industry employment of construction and building inspectors is projected to grow 10 percent through 2026. This is a faster-than-average rate that’s driven by the increasing demand for public safety and building quality.
We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn about becoming a housing inspector:
Complete Book of Home Inspection – effective both for beginners and seasoned inspectors, this informative reference book discusses all aspects of home inspection, complete with step-by-step procedures, illustrations, checklists, and worksheets
American Society of Home Inspectors – ASHI is the premier community for home inspectors nationwide. It made its mark in the industry by advocating for better ethics and practices, and its website contains a membership directory for networking and technical articles
How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home – this book gives a comprehensive explanation of how appliances, electro-mechanical systems, and other building elements work within a house. Its full-color drawings show how each of these is put together, and it tackles common questions about functionality and repair needs
National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials – NAHRO is the top advocate for housing and community development in the US. Housing inspectors can benefit from obtaining its specialist certification in inspection housing quality standards
Code Check: An Illustrated Guide to Building a Safe House – written by a building inspector and lecturer, this condensed guide extracts the most commonly used international residential codes out of thousands and summarizes them in practical terms