Instructors' Edge Blog Series

The Pros and Cons of Being a Home Inspector: A Day in the Life

The Pros and Cons of Being a Home Inspector: A Day in the Life

I’ve worked as a home inspector since 2001 and, over the years, I’ve seen it all. There are so many great things about working in this field. But as with any job, there are both benefits and challenges to consider when you’re making a change. 

Read on for a rundown of the biggest things to consider when you’re thinking about becoming a home inspector. Plus, get a look into my typical day on the job. 

The Advantages of Becoming a Home Inspector

Among the things I love about this job, I get to help people every single day. I’m not stuck in a 9-to-5 job. I’m outside and inside and never in the same spot. There’s much more. 

You Can Be Your Own Boss 

As a home inspector, I get to make my own hours and I’m also my own boss. If my business succeeds, it’s because of me. If it fails, it’s because of me. I’m the only one accountable for my business, and I prefer it that way. This is a great field if you’re a self-starter who truly wants to work and grow your business all on your own terms. 

There is No Hard Limit to the Amount of Money You Can Make 

In home inspection, the money is great, and your income can easily grow. There’s no limit to the amount of money you can make each year. It all depends on the number of home inspections you want to do each week.  

Inspect more homes and increase your income $70,000 per year is the average, but you can easily make a lot more. Even if you start out working as a part-time home inspector, inspecting a few homes a month, you can still build high-income side business. One day, your part-time income could surpass your primary job salary. 

See how much you could make as a home inspector in your state. 

Home Inspection is Important for the Housing Market 

Home inspection is a field that’s always in demand. Real estate properties change hands every single day. And according to data from the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), 77 percent of all homes are inspected before a purchase. Homebuyers, sellers, homeowners, and commercial building owners all need the services of a good inspector. You can’t beat the job security. 

You Don’t Need a Lot of Money to Start Inspecting Homes 

The startup costs for home inspection are remarkably low when compared to other career fields. This was surprising to me and continues to be for a lot of AHIT students. An investment of just a few thousand dollars (maybe even less) can set you up with the training you need to get licensed (if your state requires it) and the tools you’ll need to start inspecting homes.  

Learn more about how much it costs to become a home inspector. 

The Disadvantages of Becoming a Home Inspector

Every career has its challenges and it’s important to consider them as you would with any life change.  

There Can Be a Lot of Competition in Your Home Inspection Market 

Just as it is with real estate agents, mortgage loan officers, insurance agents, and any service-based jobs – there’s a lot of competition in home inspection. Your local market could be saturated. But I wouldn’t let this deter you. There’s BIG opportunity to set yourself apart from your competitors. 

Research your competitors and see what they do well and don’t do well. Network with local real estate agents to get referrals. Learn the real estate market and what clients look for in a great home inspector.  

Brainstorm ways your services and approach can better serve the clients in your market. Plus, get creative with your marketing, become active on social media, and create a great website to generate leads. These are just a few of the many (and often low-cost!) things you can do to set yourself apart from the competition. 

High Standards to Get the Job Done Right 

In home inspection, it can be difficult to manage client expectations. You might face lot of pressure to get the job done while managing a client’s (or seller’s) pre-conceived expectations about your final report.  

Remember, as a trained and skilled home inspector, you have a set of ethical standards you need to uphold. Your inspection report is an objective opinion about the condition and safety of a home. At the end of the day, that’s what you are tasked to provide.  

I’ve found that when you proactively explain your process and what to expect with your home inspection service – including using a comprehensive pre-inspection agreement – the process goes much smoother. Clients are satisfied and grateful for your services – and you’ve done a great job. 

Industry Standards Can Sometimes Vary 

When training to become home inspector, you’ll notice quickly that every state has different requirements for licensing. For example, in Wyoming, there isn’t a training requirement to become a home inspector. In Florida, there are quite a few requirements. It can be difficult to navigate all the different requirements you’ll need to meet before you start to inspect homes.  

Additionally – while all home inspections are similar in what they cover – your state and locale might have slightly differing inspection standards based on, for example, the regional climate. As a case in point, if you’re inspecting a home in low-lying south Louisiana, spot-checking for water damage or mold growth is part of standard inspection. If you’re inspecting a log home in the mountains outside of Denver, you’ll prioritize checking for foundation settling, evidence of termites, wood rot, and other common issues in mountain homes. 

Inspection standards of practice may vary a little. That’s why it’s important to learn your state’s requirements for becoming a home inspector and performing home inspections.  

A Day in the Life of a Home Inspector 

Every home inspector’s day is a little different. Here’s a look at my typical inspection day. 

Prep the Day Before 

I usually set up my digital inspection reports the night before an inspection. That means if I have two home inspections the next day, I’ll input all the client and property information into the report the day before. When I show up to the inspection the next day, I just have to turn on my tablet. I also charge my flashlights and check my toolkit the night before, so there aren’t any unexpected surprises while I am inspecting. 

The Day of the Inspection 

On the day of the inspection, I usually arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled inspection time. This gives me a chance to walk around the property a few times and get the majority of the exterior inspection done before my client and their real estate agent arrive. When my client and their agent show up, I greet them and walk them around the finished exterior.  After inspecting the home’s exterior, I’ll inspect the garage, the interior, and the basement – all while explaining my findings to my client in a non-alarming manner.  

After the Inspection 

When I leave the property, my report is 99 percent done using my home inspection report software. All I have to do is head home, proofread it, and email it to my client later in the day. 

Final PRO Tip: New home inspectors need to go through training – even if your state doesn’t require it. It’s important. I would also highly recommend doing field training with an instructor. The opportunity to practice real home inspections, report writing, and client communication at real homes, alongside an instructor, is invaluable. It will lay a strong foundation for the home inspection process and better prepare you to start out on your own when you’re ready. 

About the Author: Chris Chirafisi

Chris Chirafisi started his career in home inspection with American Home Inspectors Training (AHIT) in 2001. He is a licensed home inspector in Wisconsin and Florida. Chris has built and managed two home inspection companies and has over 2,000 inspections under his belt. As a tenured Technical Trainer for AHIT, Chris is also a well-known host for AHIT’s free “Becoming a Home Inspector” webinars. Chris holds additional certifications to offer additional services. He’s a BPI professional energy auditor, a Termite/WDO Inspector through Purdue University and Radon professional through-ESA and he’s a licensed code inspector in Wisconsin. Chris extends his reach to the United Kingdom where he’s a Certified Energy Auditor and a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Chris brings real-world tips to the classroom and his energy is focused on helping students succeed.

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