A home inspector has an important role to play in any residential real estate transaction. The job of a home inspector is to ensure that the house is up to code and in good repair before the deal is closed. It is a position of huge responsibility because the results of the inspection may alter the terms of the sale or halt the transaction altogether.
If you’re thinking about becoming a home inspector, here are some of the most important steps you will have to take. Often, though not always, one of the steps involves acquiring a home inspection license.
1. Brush Up on Your Construction Knowledge
Prior experience in construction is not required to become a home inspector, although it may be helpful. It is required, however, that you have a general knowledge of construction to enable you to accurately assess the integrity and safety of a home. Even if you have prior construction experience, as an inspector you will be assessing homes built in all different eras, from the Victorian to the contemporary, and it may be helpful to educate yourself in areas where you may have gaps in your knowledge.
2. Learn the Requirements
Find out what the minimum requirements are in the states where you want to work. Most states require home inspectors to be licensed, although a few do not. If your state does not require licensing but you’d still like to gain a home inspection credential, you can become certified instead.
3. Obtain a License/Certificate
If you know the steps involved in acquiring a real estate license, obtaining a home inspection license should feel familiar because the steps are very similar:
- Go through a pre-licensing course
- Pass the exam
- Join a professional organization (optional)
As with a real estate license, there are different types of courses available, both online and in classroom settings, and there are fees involved to take both the pre-licensing course and the exam.
4. Decide Where and How You Want To Work
Once you’ve obtained your license, you can decide whether you want to start your own home inspection business, work for an existing firm, or purchase an inspection franchise. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but once you’re licensed, you can choose your own path.