If you’re thinking about becoming a home inspector, you might believe you have most of the facts about the industry. Then again, you might not. Because virtually everyone has lived in a home of some type, you probably know at least a little about the systems that make up residential property. But the home inspection industry remains rather mysterious.
Here are 5 facts that might just surprise you:
#1: Home Inspectors Don’t Need a Background in Construction
This is either a no-brainer or a surprising fact. Home inspectors need training, so it’s safe to assume that you can learn what you need to know without working in the construction industry. But if you’ve never looked into it before now, you might be surprised to learn that many successful home inspectors have never framed a house or run electrical wiring.
Educational programs such as ICA School are designed to teach everything that you need to know to start a home inspection business. You don’t need an engineering degree or a plumbing license. You also don’t need to understand the difference between live load and dead load to identify a structural anomaly that makes a house unsafe. That’s what home inspection courses are for.
#2: Code Violations Aren’t Necessarily Defects
In construction, code is a very big deal. Not only that, it’s always changing. What was code three years ago might be grounds for failing an electrical inspection today. But code and defects aren’t always the same.
A code violation might make for unsafe conditions, but oftentimes that’s not the case. Houses built in 1990 might be perfectly safe today even though they were built to different standards. Home inspectors look for material defects. They include damage, unsafe workmanship, and any other issue that either puts the homeowner at risk of being hurt or becoming ill, or impairs the home’s ability to function as it should.
#3: Inspections and Appraisals are Different
Why do customers need an inspection if they’ll have an appraisal as part of the sale? Because inspections and appraisals aren’t the same things. The most glaring difference is the customer. Appraisers work for the lender and have their best interest at heart. Home inspectors work for the buyer in most cases, and that’s where their loyalty lies.
The differences grow from there. Home inspectors and appraisers both look for damage, but appraisers only try to determine the fair market value of the home. Inspectors look specifically for damage or defects that every buyer should know before committing to a mortgage. Appraisers keep lenders happy. Home inspectors keep buyers informed.
#4: You Can Go to Work with a Few Basic Tools
There are plenty of gadgets on the market that make home inspections more efficient than they used to be. But in reality, you can probably start a home inspection business with only a few ordinary tools such as a flashlight, an electrical tester, and a screwdriver. From there, anything that you add to your arsenal is a bonus.
Home inspectors don’t take things apart, dig into walls, pull up flooring or otherwise deconstruct a house. They inspect what’s visible and accessible. That said, some inspectors go the extra mile. They invest in drones for roof inspections and thermal imaging to pinpoint energy leaks. But you can add those tools over time. They’re not required to start.
#5: Women are Gaining Traction in Home Inspecting
Most home inspectors are men, but that’s changing. More women enter the field every year and the numbers are expected to grow. Women still face hurdles, but that’s changing, too. For example, inspector Arlene Puentes tells ASHI Reporter that some customers still believe women “don’t know as much about building science as men do.” But inspector Miki Mertz says some customers, especially other women, “feel more comfortable talking to a female home inspector.”
Mertz recommends that women learn everything they can about houses, including getting an education and working with a mentor. Puentes says women should follow their bliss. “If it’s right for you, don’t let anyone or anything get in your way.”
Everyone knows a little about homes, but home inspecting usually requires some training. Even in states where licensing isn’t required, training gives inspectors a better foundation so they can enter the industry with an understanding of every home system and defects to watch out for.
If you’re thinking about becoming a home inspector, it’s a great time to begin. With ICA School, you can study at your own pace and earn your certification on your own schedule. Then you’ll be ready for licensing or to go to work in the field. Enroll now and get started today.