Frequently Asked Questions

How much money can I make as a Home Inspector?

Most home inspectors are sole proprietors. There are franchise opportunities available, and larger firms do hire inspectors as employees. An independent home inspector can perform up to roughly 500 inspections per year. ASHI's most current Business Operations Study published in 2011,showed that full-time inspectors do an average of 209 inspections per year at an average inspection fee of $360. At $360 per inspection, 209 inspections would result in a gross income of $75,240. These numbers include full and part-time home inspectors.

A full-time inspector would typically do 300 to 400 inspections per year. Average inspection fees in 2011are roughly $360. Inspectors performing 350 inspections per year can gross $126,000.

Do I need a license to do home inspections?

Currently, 30 states require some form of licensing. The state of Iowa does require licensing for home inspection.

How big does a market have to be to support me as an Inspector?

500 house sales per year within your travel area (by car) is probably an absolute minimum. You can get information about the number of house sales from your local real estate board.

Do I need insurance?

You will want to insure your vehicle and property, of course. You should also have liability insurance in case you damage a house or cause an injury.

You may also want to purchase Errors and Omissions Insurance that protects you if a client accuses you of missing a problem in the home.

There is other insurance to consider as well, including Workers Compensation, health, dental and disability.

What tools do I need?

The basic tools include a ladder, flashlight, set of screwdrivers, electrical tester, camera and moisture meter. There are tool companies that specialize in providing tools to home inspectors.

What kind of reporting do I have to do?

Whether you use technology to create electronic reports or prefer a paper-based approach, the reports should be concise and easy to understand. They should describe both significant issues and minor items in proper context. Perspective is important.

Compare samples for paper reports and electronic reports. Explore features and benefits of electronic reporting systems.
Most vendors will provide free trials, training and support to help you get started.

Do home inspectors work part-time, full-time, for themselves or someone else?

New home inspectors can begin working full or part-time, for themselves or within an established business. They are also franchise opportunities in the home inspection profession. You have an opportunity to work in a way that meets your requirements. Lots of home inspectors, for example, choose to perform only 4 or 5 inspections per week.

Can I start my own business?

Absolutely! Many home inspectors work independently in their own business. If you have little previous background you may want to buy an existing firm, consider a franchise, or look at partnering with someone who has business experience.

Can I do this part-time?

The field has both full-time and part-time practitioners. It is ideal for a retired, or semi-retired individual or anyone who wants to work part-time.

What does the future look like for this field?

Pre-purchase inspections are becoming a common part of every real estate transaction. While accurate numbers are hard to come by, it is estimated that more than 70% of resale homes are currently inspected. Over the next decade, that number is expected to approach 100%. Some home inspectors expand their knowledge and offer inspections for asbestos, carbon monoxide, water quality, lead, air quality testing and radon to name a few. Many owners of new homes also engage professional home inspectors.

Home inspection will also evolve as construction methods and materials change. The recent popularity of hydronic radiant floor heating, steel framing and use of insulated concrete forms are some examples.

With additional training, some home inspectors move into the commercial field.

The opportunities in home inspection are significant and will grow as this young profession matures.

Do home inspectors only look at residential dwellings?

Home Inspections include one- to four-family dwellings. Some home inspectors expand their business to include commercial inspections.

What are the physical demands of the home inspection field?

Home inspectors typically work during the day. The job involves standing, with some squatting, bending, reaching, climbing ladders and crawling into small spaces. The work of a home inspector is primarily visual.

Because of the limited demands of this work, this career appeals to people not well-suited to physically rigorous jobs.

What skills do I need to be successful?

Home inspectors need a broad technical knowledge of the systems of a house, good reasoning abilities and well-developed interpersonal skills to work in a customer service-oriented profession. They enjoy working independently and have an interest in how things work. Their ability to communicate and present themselves professionally are keys to success.

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