New Career for Deployed Army Veteran

Hey Everyone,

Let me start off by saying that if this isn’t the correct discussion area for this post, please feel free to move it and yell at me. I looked around and didn’t really see a newbies or introduction section. And please excuse the long post.

I am a Colorado native and am 28 years old. I am in the Army Reserve and currently deployed overseas. I get back in about 8 months, and will be going back to school at CSU Fort Collins for Construction Management. I have some construction background, but not a lot in the housing area. I understand the basics of home construction, however, I still have A LOT to learn. I am handy, and used to own an aquarium design and maintenance company that I did really well with. It taught me a lot about dealing with wholesalers, dealers, subcontractors (reinforcing structures for large scale aquariums over 1000 gallons), retail and customer service. I also ran this business while in college and hit my break even point about 2 months into starting up. I also do site setup and construction in the Army; and have done home improvements on my parents farm for years.

I got interested in real estate about 2 years ago, when I was working for a mortgage fraud investigation firm. We did post close mortgage fraud analysis on the mortgage and appraisal side of the transaction. It was a fascinating position, but the 60 hours of office work drove me crazy. However, it served as an invaluable learning tool as far as real estate goes.

So I am here today. I have some hands-on experience, some managerial experience, some business owner experience and some real estate experience. In buying my first house, I found a friend who showed me just how little I knew about inspections. He was a building inspector for El Paso County Colorado, and his insights and guidance were priceless. He also opened my eyes to the inspection world and made me realize how much I enjoyed learning about it.

My goal for when I get back is to get into CSU’s CM program, but to also start learning the home inspection trade. I will be financially stable, I have all debt paid off, 15k saved from deployment and I will be using TA and my GI Bill for three years to go to school fulltime. I am eager and willing to learn to this trade and I understand that I have a lot to learn. I will be taking online classes through NACHI; however I believe that actual hands-on time doing inspections is vital to the education of a future inspector. Does anyone know that if once I get my NACHI license, if there are Colorado members that would be willing to provide an internship or apprenticeship on a part-time basis? Like I said, I am new to this industry, and trying to get guidance on how the actual side really works. I have been trying to network, but in this tough industry it seems a lot of existing home inspectors are single members and understandably cautious in providing an apprenticeship because of possible competition. This has led me to believe that a classroom based program is best, however the startup costs are a bit high, and it seems you get very little hands-on for that price. Costs outweigh benefits it seems, but any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help!


SPC Brandon Willingham


First, let me start off by saying thanks for your service to our country. It is men and women like you that answer the call that keep our country safe and free.

I dont think you will have a difficult time finding those in your home area willing to at least let you ride along with them to get your feet wet. InterNachi is by far the best organization for learning and for support. I would recommend joining now and not waiting. You can be down the learning road a long ways between now and when you return home. There are many training sources and some are, as you can imagine, far better than others. I personally completed training though Professional Home Inspection Institute. I think Jeffrey Pope and some other members of InterNachi studied through ITA. I will say that the training resources available to members here are very good also.


I appreciate your quick reply. That is exactly my thought process. I will be signing up here shortly and getting all the online training out of the way, that way when I get back I can focus on the hands-on ridealongs. I understand that I will always be learning, but I want a good foundation before I start doing paid inspections. I don’t want to short change my customers, and if that means taking some education then I am all for it.

This will be a part time thing until I graduate with my CM. I figure that if I am successful then I can continue in inspections and my degree will help me. However, if I do go into real estate with my CM as a GC, my inspection background will be priceless.

I will try and network, but from what I have seen, it is difficult to get someone to agree to ridealongs. Maybe once I’m licensed it will be different. Also, maybe I am not networking with the right people yet. I also thought about the school you mentioned, but with 8 months out here, I will have to wait and I could be getting a lot done online.

Thanks again!

Also, being new to the industry its hard to know what training programs are legit and which ones are diploma mills. Still doing my research on that one!

You mention a “Nachi license”… there is no such thing. I also believe there is no Colorado license (for Home Inspectors) at this time, so what license are you referring to?

Hi Brandon,
As Jeff mentioned there is no licensing in the State of Colorado but the legislature is trying to push that thru this year/early next.

There are monthly meetings of the Denver NACHI Chapter that you are welcome to attend. They are free and you don’t have to be a member. There is an inspector that lives in the Ft. Collins area that comes to most of the meetings.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do.