Jeffrey Brookfield is the Business Development Consultant with AmeriSpec of Canada. In this role he provides leadership, guidance, coaching and develops programs for the network of AmeriSpec offices across Canada. We recently checked in with him about the importance of continued training for home inspectors. Here’s what he had to say:
How important is the right training for a professional home inspector to run a successful home inspection business?
It is vital that a proper and comprehensive training program be in place prior to starting a home inspection business. It may not seem apparent, but this profession is extremely complex.
Not only does the inspector need to be technically skilled through self-study, in-class and field training, but they need to fully understand the relationships between your client (normally the buyer), your client’s family members or friends who may attend the inspection, your client’s realtor, the homeowner/seller and their realtor.
What should home inspection training entail? What are the most important areas of education?
As noted above, a program of self-study, in-class and field training with an existing qualified and certified home inspector is vital. But in addition to that is what I call the soft-skills component. That would include proper communication, excellent writing skills, human resources management (if you’re hiring other inspectors), financial management and sales snd marketing.
Where do you think home inspection training programs often fall short?
Normally with the soft skills and marketing components. Even many technically proficient and experienced home inspectors lack in the very important interpersonal and marketing skills.
How often should professional home inspectors brush up on their training? How can they ensure that they’re staying up to date on new technology, trends and/or systems?
Training is a continual process. One should never stop learning. Keeping abreast of new technologies, issues, defects, regulations, marketing opportunities can be addressed through news and updates through your professional association or informal network of business owners.
What sorts of training should home inspectors consider right now to update their skill sets?
I’m going to assume that an inspector is reasonably technically competent. Since the home inspection profession is a very competitive field, so my first priority would be sales and marketing skills.
What are the biggest mistakes or oversights you’ve found home inspectors making?
Probably not taking the effort or time to mount the roof, look thoroughly in the attic or accessing a crawlspace, when it’s safe to do so.
How does these mistakes affect home buyers?
This lack of attention may result in very important defects being missed by the inspector such as:
- Damage to the roof, chimney or flashings, resulting in water infiltration, possible mould growth, structural damage and damage to interior finishings;
- Lack of insulation, pests, structural damage or mould growth in attics;
- Structural issues, electrical or plumbing defects, mould growth, poor or absent ventilation snd insulation in crawlspaces
How do they affect the home inspector’s business?
If significant defects are missed, the inspectors reputation can be impacted and they could face legal action from the buyer.
What are your favorite tools or resources for home inspectors today?
Some of the tools and opportunities that we’re excited about are the Healthy Homes component of helping homeowners which includes indoor air quality testing and surveys, radon testing, mold testing and asbestos sampling.
We’re also looking forward to determining if the use of drones will be of value to our profession so that we can view and inspect areas of buildings that would not be otherwise accessible.
What are the most interesting home inspection or home buying trends you’re following?
Technology is helping our profession become more efficient and thorough as well as improving the communication with our customers.
I think with the proliferation of home improvement shows on the television, the expectations of homebuyers is higher than ever before. Many homebuyers wnat a defect-free home, bu they just don’t exist — new or resale.