You’ve been wanting to change jobs, and have been thinking seriously about starting a new and exciting career as a full-time certified home inspector. Or perhaps you’re looking for a second source of income to supplement the earnings from your present job. You’re bound to be curious about how much money you can expect to make as either a full-time or part-time home inspector. The best answer is “It depends.” There are some parts of the country where a certified and experienced full-time home inspector’s earnings can be $90,000 or more a year, while in other areas the maximum is somewhere in the range of $30,000 and $50,000 per year.
There’s currently a high demand for certified home inspectors throughout the country, although that hasn’t always been the situation. During the 1960s, only about 5% of all home purchases included the services of a professional home inspector. Today, it’s estimated that professional home inspectors are involved in approximately 80% of all homes sold before the title is transferred. So long as people continue to buy and sell houses, there will be a need for certified home inspectors.
A study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that the 2018 median pay for professional home inspectors throughout the country was just under $60,000 per year, or $28.70 per hour. Of these, the highest 10% of inspectors earned more than $97,000 per year, while those in the lowest 10% brought in less than $35,000 per year. There are, however, several variables that affect how much a home inspector makes.
Factors That Affect a Home Inspector’s Income
- Location. The amount of money home inspectors earn varies among the different regions of the country. Professional home inspectors on the West Coast, the Eastern Seaboard (except for Maine), along with Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Texas and Louisiana bring in the most money. Generally speaking, the demand for home inspectors is highest —and therefore where inspectors are paid the most amount of money for their services—in areas where there’s a lot of new home construction activity and homeowners moving up the property ladder are selling their existing houses.
- Experience. The longer you’ve been working as a home inspector and gaining hands-on professional experience, and the more valuable your services will be able to clients. With time, your reputation as an inspector will have been established, making it likely you’ll also be receiving referral business from your previous customers. Over time, you’ll earn how to conduct home inspections and issue reports of your findings more quickly and efficiently, which means you’ll be in a position to increase your earnings by taking on more assignments.
- Being Self-Employed vs. Working for a Home Inspection Company. Whether you’re a self-employed home inspector, inspecting houses for an established home inspection business or are employed by the government all will affect your potential earnings. Home inspectors who work for the government usually receive higher pay than their counterparts who are self-employed or work for private sector inspection
Home inspectors’ compensation packages from government and private inspection firms might also include some fringe benefits, such as health insurance, Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance, liability insurance, paid time off and, in some cases, a retirement plan. These employers might also provide inspectors with inspection tools and equipment free of charge. Home inspectors who work for themselves will need to pay for these items out of their funds, which can add up to a substantial amount of money, and will directly affect their net earnings as home inspectors.
- Part-Time vs. Full Time. How much a Home Inspector makes depends upon whether he or she works part time or full time. It’s evident that the more hours a home inspector puts in, the more money he or she can expect to earn. According to the online job posting service ZipRecruiter®, part-time home inspectors’ earnings range from $12,500 and $100,500 annually, with the national part-time inspector’s income averaging $47,600 a year as of April 2019.
Just as with full-time home inspectors, part-time inspectors’ incomes vary by regions of the country. Three percent of all part-time inspectors at the lower end of the scale earn between $12,000 and $20,000 a year, while those in the top 1% bring in between $92,000 and $100,000. Part-time home inspectors in New York are the most highly paid, with an average annual income of $42,000. North Carolina part-time inspectors receive the least pay for their services, bringing in an average of just over $30,000 a year. Many part-time inspectors also hold full-time jobs and conduct inspections mostly during evenings and on weekends.
- Basic and Additional Home Inspection Services. Most home inspectors’ clients are people shopping for homes and want an independent evaluation of the condition of the house they’re thinking about buying. Home inspectors’ clients might also include home sellers, lending institutions, home warranty companies, law firms and various others involved with residential real estate.
As a certified home inspector, it will be your job to assess the following types of residential properties as to the quality and condition of their structures and systems:
- Newly constructed homes
- Previously owned homes
- Apartment buildings
- Manufactured housing
Basic home inspections involve examining and evaluating the condition the structure itself, as well as checking for defects in or damages to the various components of a house, including the following:
- Exterior Walls
- Attached carport or garage
- Interior walls
- Patios and porches
- Driveways and walkways
- HVAC ducting and equipment
- Electrical system
- Plumbing system and fixtures
Basic home inspection services also include checking for compliance with applicable building codes, although home inspectors lack the authority to enforce them.
Additional Home Inspection Services
The charge for inspecting a 2,000 square foot single family residence is typically between $400 and $450. The cost to inspect smaller, two bedroom homes and condos is usually less, averaging between $300 and $350 each. How much a home inspector makes on an assignment can be increased by providing clients with additional services such as the following:
- Inspecting crawl spaces beneath houses built on raised foundations to check for signs of dry rot or infestations of insects, rodents and other types of pests
- Conduct mold inspections for the presence of mold types that can be hazardous to the home’s occupants
- Check for lead-based paint and lead plumbing pipes in houses built before 1978
- Inspect for the presence of asbestos in roof and siding shingles, insulation, textured ceilings and vinyl floor tiles in houses constructed before 1977
- Check the radon levels in and around the house
- Conduct pool and spa inspections
- Use thermal imaging to identify areas of moisture intrusion, energy loss and hot spots
Home inspectors typically charge between $50 and $100 for each of these and similar additional services.
Is a Home Inspector a Good Career Choice?
Contrary to what many people think, experience in construction, architecture, engineering or related fields isn’t necessary to be successful as a home inspector. Men and women of all ages and backgrounds have chosen careers as certified home inspectors.
If being your own boss, setting your own schedule and providing a much-needed service sound good to you, becoming a certified home inspector can be an excellent choice for a challenging and rewarding career. There are also opportunities for certified home inspectors to work for established home inspection businesses, state and local building departments and other governmental agencies or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Inspection Certification Associates home inspector training is the fastest, easiest and most affordable way to become a certified home inspector. Completing ICA’s online training will qualify you to work as a home inspector career in just about every state across the country (see state licensing for the requirements in your area). Enroll today and you’ll soon be on your way to an exciting and rewarding Certified Home Inspector career!
Have questions or need more information? Contact ICA online or give us a call at 888-374-4096 – we’re here to help!