Hang On, Women Can Be Home Inspectors Too?
Throughout the years, the industry of home inspection has largely been male-dominated, however we have recently seen a marked increase in the number of women joining the field. This is great news for our job prospects as women, but also because we have the ability to be some of the best inspectors in the business!
I won’t sugarcoat things by saying that it’s easy to get past the stigma of being a female in a traditionally male industry, where we often must “prove” that we are competent in order to be accepted. Specifically for home inspection, we need to show that we are proficient in the technical aspects as well as knowledgeable about the home buying process.
Effort is definitely required to address these obstacles, however when clients see what we are able to accomplish with our unique perspective, hearts and minds are often changed and we are able to create strong working relationships
How to Set Yourself Apart
Here are some steps you can take to gain knowledge and build confidence, ultimately setting yourself apart from the competition:
- Attain baseline knowledge of home systems and inspecting. When it comes to learning about home inspection, you will need a solid foundation to start from. There are many options available, however ICA’s inspection course is a comprehensive training that covers the entire home. The course instructs how each system and component works, how to identify deficiencies, and how to translate this information to a clear and professional report.
- Seek out professional tradespeople to be your mentors in specific fields. Having a mentor you trust to bounce ideas off of when you are stuck is a huge benefit, however it’s important to be respectful of their time and appreciative of their contributions to your success! When asking for help, present your mentor with pictures of the problem and your analysis so they have the info they need to assist with decision making.
- Do some job shadowing. Taking the opportunity to “job shadow” your mentors or other experts in skilled trade fields such as electricians, HVAC contractors, or plumbers. This will help you learn how they do their job, and gives insight into the inner workings of the components or systems they work on.
- Join the ICA Home Inspectors Resource Group on Facebook. This is a great forum to learn from other professionals in the industry and ask questions about any aspect of the home inspection business.
- Invest in yourself. This isn’t just from a monetary aspect! Methods of investing in yourself can include devoting time to beef up your marketing and increase your visibility in the community; taking continuing education courses even if you have already fulfilled the state’s requirements; or even simply listening to podcasts for additional knowledge on certain subjects.
Lean Into Your Strengths
In addition to the above steps that we can use to improve our craft and relationships, it’s also important to acknowledge our inherent strengths as women that we can (and should!) lean into as part of our process, which will benefit both us and our clients.
As examples, women often possess an eye for detail, strong communication skills, the ability to multitask, and effective time management. These are all critical skills for creating a successful career in home inspection as well as running a business, which can give us an advantage over others in these areas.
Also, we are generally empathetic, which gives us insight into the mindset and emotions of our clients and thereby adapt the delivery of our findings to ensure that all concerns are addressed. Relating disappointing findings is often difficult; so the ability to speak with our clients with understanding and compassion cannot be overestimated in building rapport and a strong bond of trust.
The Bottom Line
When I started in the business 15 years ago, there were very few female inspectors on the East Coast, but the few that were present were top-notch. The reason they were so skilled, as we’ve talked about, was that they had passion about the industry and spent many hours expanding their knowledge and building relationships, which helped to set them apart.
For any woman that is considering the home inspection field I would highly recommend you take the leap. The knowledge you will gain will be useful, even in your everyday life!
Sandra Gibbs is an instructor with ICA, and also the CEO and co-owner of Quality Home Inspections, a multi-inspector firm in Virginia and North Carolina. She has 20 years of experience as a former lending officer and Assistant Vice President of a financial institution in the Hampton Roads area, which allows her to understand the complexities of home sales. Sandra has taught hundreds of home inspector courses and regularly participates in continuing education in order to stay abreast of the ever-changing industry.