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A home inspection is a visual examination of a structure that determines the condition of its major systems.
Professional home inspection examines the current state of all major systems including:
In addition to the condition of the major systems within a home, Professional home inspection may also include assessing mold and adherence to local ordinances.
In some states, professional home inspection also provides analysis of Radon.
Radon is a radioactive gas, which can build up indoors and increase the risk of lung cancer in those who are exposed.
Depending on the certifications of the home inspector, they may also offer lead paint abatement or containment services.
Learn more about the EPA lead safety certification.
Most home buyers hire a professional to assess the state of a property before closing.
Typically, a home inspector is looking for common issues associated with residential homes.
They are looking for problems that could present themselves and become costly in the future.
Generally, they are looking for:
Pre-purchase Home Inspections
Buyers and sellers are both encouraged to employ the services of a professional home inspector.
The findings from a professional home inspection are sometimes used as a bargaining tool by real estate agents to lower or raise the asking price of a home.
A real estate agent or investor may hold a home inspection certificate in an attempt to increase their credibility with clients and gain listings.
A report issued after an inspection, not a legal document, but it can be used by an insurance company to deny a claim.
Insurance underwriters will almost always demand to see home inspection reports.
The information gained from a home inspection can be used to investigate further flaws within a property.
Whether permits were pulled by past contractors or whether alterations to property were performed up to code can be uncovered by a knowledgeable home inspector.
Buyers should primarily be concerned with the structural soundness of the home. Home inspection professionals should expect their clients to be with them on site during the inspection.
Holding certifications and licenses can avoid the possibility of your clients requiring the services of another inspector if you uncover:
Invest in your knowledge and skill set by holding as many certifications as possible. While you are not officially there as a contractor or engineer, understand that your clients may see you as such.
If you do not have a contractor license, you shouldn’t be offering services that fall outside of the spectrum of home inspection.
Running your business ethically and honestly will ensure your long-term success in this industry.
Have any certification, proof of insurance or licensing readily available for your clients to see if they ask.
Home inspection Costs
According to homeadvisor.com the average cost of a home inspection is between $279-389 sometimes going as high as $500. This figure can fluctuate regionally and from company to company.
Some professional home inspection companies hold state licensing and certifications.
Others may have insurance or offer additional services that may allow them to increase their asking price.
Becoming a professional home inspector is an entrepreneurial venture. Investing in yourself and your continuing education should give you the confidence to ask for more money.
A contractor in California is a tradesman who has 4 years journeyman level experience in a construction trade, has passed an exam and holds a bond.
This person is legally allowed to bid and charge over $500 for their services. Contractors in California are governed by the Contractors State License Board.
Many companies that offer professional home inspection were started by retired general contractors. However, they are different jobs.
A home inspector cannot place a bid or engage in remodeling a property unless they hold a contractor license.
Due to the similar wording, there is some confusion between these two professions.
Building inspectors are employed by local governments to conduct code inspections throughout various counties and municipalities.
An inspector can legally hold up a job site until necessary changes are made to a structure failing to meet code compliance.
Professional home inspection is merely the practice of visually identifying the condition of a structure’s major systems and then producing a report on the findings.
For a more in-depth look at Building Code Inspection, check out this article.
Until relatively recently, a home inspection was not regulated in the United States. In the early days, a home inspection was mainly conducted by a contractor or handyman.
As time went on and the nation saw an increase in residential construction with it grew a need for professional home inspection.
Some states require you to pass the National Home Inspection Exam and have a license. Others require you to complete a course and have proof of insurance. Associations such as:
exist to create uniformity and standard practice within the industry.
Some of these groups facilitate testing and certification courses, but they are not government affiliated and are nonprofit organizations.
In 1976, ASHI was established by a group of home inspectors looking to develop professional practices within the industry.
Not long after, ASHI began offering education courses and standardized testing for home inspectors.
California Real Estate Inspection Association
CREIA is a home inspection nonprofit organization that has over 20 chapters throughout the state of California.
As I am sure you are aware by now, a simple google search will uncover hundreds of results for where to study and become a home inspector.
Typically, a home inspection course will be a blend of technical and business concepts including:
Depending on the state you are in, it is possible that additional certifications and skill sets such as Blueprint Reading are required for certification.
Be sure to research the specific requirements in your state before you purchase a home inspection course.
There are a variety of additional concepts and skills that you may find within a home inspection course. Many courses will include onsite walkthroughs and even one on one training.
If you do not have a background in construction, a live instruction component would be highly beneficial.
If you are looking to get into the home inspection industry in California, your first step should be to find a CREIA or ASHI recognized course.
There is currently no exam requirement in the state of California for home inspection.
California law prohibits the unethical actions of home inspection professionals and encourages courts to consider ASHI’s and CREIA’s standards of code and ethics.
Below is a simple step by step guide to get you started:
The home inspection industry is a thriving industry that is seeing growth year after year.
For knowledgeable people that put the interests of their clients first and commit to being of service, professional home inspection can be highly lucrative.
If you have thought about getting a contractor license in the past but don’t have the required experience, this niche area of construction might be for you.
As with anything, take the time to do your research and invest in your education. If you have found this article helpful be sure to leave us a comment!
Statistically, 21% of all work-related fatalities are in construction.
That equals about 1 and 5 worker deaths on average. In the construction industry, the leading cause of worker deaths is reported as falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between.
The construction industry can be dangerous, especially if your workers are not properly trained.
Home inspection professionals should know the basics of safety. It is helpful to complete some level of OSHA training.
Learn more about OSHA Training!
Understanding Building Permits
A building permit is an official document issued by a government agency approving the construction or alteration of a piece of property.
How a structure is built or remodeled not only effects the safety of the structure itself but also the area that surrounds it.
Before a homeowner or contractor can begin a construction project, they must pull all necessary construction permits.
The term building permit and construction permit are often interchangeable, and virtually identical in meaning.
Building permits create uniformity and help to maintain building standards which ultimately service public safety.
Construction permits to protect property owners and contractors in different ways.
For a construction business, being forced to halt construction or rebuild a particular part of a structure that was not permitted can create additional expenses and cripple a business in some cases.
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