How Much Do Home Inspectors Earn?
You’ve been thinking 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 regular job. You’re obviously curious as to how much money you can expect to earn. The best answer is, “It depends.” There are some areas of the country where an experienced, full-time home inspector’s salary can be $90,000 or more a year, while in others the maximum is somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 annually.
Certified home inspectors are currently in high demand throughout the country, but that hasn’t always been the case. During the 1960s, only about 5% of all home purchases included the services of a professional home inspector. Today, approximately 80% of all homes sold are professionally inspected before title is transferred.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2017 median annual pay for all home inspectors was around $59,000. Of these, the highest 10% of inspectors earned over $95,000 annually, while those in the lowest 10% brought in less than $35,000 per year. There are, however, several variables that affect the amount of a home inspector’s salary.
Factors Affecting a Home Inspector’s Earnings
- Location. The average annual earnings of home inspectors vary among the different regions of the country. Home inspectors on the West Coast, most of the Eastern Seaboard (excluding Maine), along with Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Texas and Louisiana earn the most. Generally speaking, home inspectors are most in demand—and therefore receive the most amount of money for their services—in areas where there’s lots of new home construction activity and existing houses are being sold by homeowners moving up the property ladder.
- Experience. The longer you’ve been inspecting homes, the more you’ll probably be able to charge for your services. Your reputation as an inspector will have been established, and it’s likely you’ll also be receiving referral business from previous clients. Over time, you’ll presumably have learned how to conduct home inspections and issue reports more quickly and efficiently, which means you’ll be able to increase your earnings by taking on more work.
- Self-Employed vs. Working for an Inspection Company. Whether you’re a self-employed inspector, work for a private home inspection business or are a government employee will affect your earning potential. Home inspectors who work for governmental agencies tend to be more highly paid than their self-employed counterparts or those who work for private inspection businesses.
Home inspectors’ compensation packages from government and private inspection firms might also include health insurance, Errors & Omissions (E&O) and liability insurance, paid time off and, in some cases, a retirement plan. These employers might also provide inspection tools and equipment free of charge. Home inspectors who work for themselves will need to self-fund these items, which can add up to a substantial amount of money, and will directly affect their home inspection earnings.
- Part-Time vs. Full Time. Obviously, the more hours you work, the more money you can expect to bring in. According to job posting service ZipRecruiter®, home inspectors working part-time earn between $12,000 and $100,00 annually, with the average income being slightly more than $46,000 a year. Just as with full-time home inspectors, their incomes vary throughout the country. On the lower end of the scale, 3% of all part-time inspectors earn between $12,000 and $20,000 annually, while 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 salary of $42,000, while at just over $30,000 per year, part-time inspectors in North Carolina receive the least pay for their services. Many part-time inspectors also hold full-time jobs and conduct their inspections primarily during evenings and on weekends.
- Basic and Additional Home Inspection Services. Most home inspectors’ clients work for home shoppers who are seeking evaluations of houses they’re considering buying. Home inspection clients can also include home sellers, lending institutions, home warranty companies, law firms and various others involved with the real estate industry.
As a certified home inspector, you’ll be retained to assess the condition of new and previously owned houses, condominiums, townhouses, apartments, manufactured housing and commercial buildings as to the quality and condition of their structures and systems. Basic home inspections include checking for and reporting defects in or damages to the home’s plumbing and electrical systems, heating and air conditioning equipment and ducting, roofs and foundations. Basic inspection services also include checking for building code violations.
The average charge to inspect a 2,000 square foot single family home is between $400 and $450. The charge for smaller homes and condos is less, averaging $300 and $350 each. Some home inspectors, however, supplement their incomes by providing additional services, including the following:
- Inspecting crawl spaces of houses on raised foundations for signs of dry rot or the presence of insects, rodents and other pests
- Mold inspections to check for the presence of mold types that can be hazardous to the health of the home’s occupants
- Inspect for lead-based paint and pipes in homes constructed prior to 1978
- Check for asbestos in shingles, insulation, textured ceilings and vinyl tiles in homes built before 1977
- Checking radon levels in and around the home.
Fees for each of these additional services are usually run between $50 and $100 or more.
Ready to enroll and start an exciting and rewarding new career as a certified home inspector? Contact Inspection Certification Associates to enroll today in ICA’s fast and affordable online home inspector training program!