Question about Becoming a Home Inspector

I am looking in to becoming a Home Inspector. I reide in NJ and I want know what the requirements for this would be. Also direction to either classroom and or online courses with credibility.

Dustin, what experience do you have. Do not believe the crap that you see in the adverts about making $70k a year part time. If you have no experience what makes you think you will make it as a home inspector?

Lots and lots of Construction experience helps .
Even then after spending a lot of time and money
about 90% do not last three years … Roy
We are also in a serious realestate slow down time

You are far more subtle than I am. Great answer to the question from Dustin.

Old post but OH! so true …

Originally Posted by rcooke
Field training with an experienced Home Inspector will be the best thing for you .
I did 60~ with my son and some with other Home Inspectors.
I had over 40 years in Construction and found this was huge help.
Remember use this forum non stop and you will get many ideas.
Unfortunatly past experience seems to confirm about 90% of new Inspectors do not last 3 years .
Many succesful Inspectors have an other income pension? or partner who help give support.
Please look up letter from Chuck Crooker it has good information

I think this is a very frustrating and difficult career to get into. Wonder they the colleges are not cranking out more inspectors?

Let me see if I can sum up the ideal requirements:
You need to have years of experience in the construction business or in one of the trades, which would take, well… years! Hard to get that coming out of a college!

You need to complete a ton of specialized courses that will cost you 4,000 to 6,000 or more, and take about 2 years of a lot of night school, while, presumably, you try to hold down a day job to pay for all this.

You need some equipment, ie: truck or van, ladders, and as many tools as you are foolish enough to use.

You need a reporting system - either computerized ( more bucks) or check off with comments, or… written. I forgot, most folks coming out of the school system would have to take a course on writing… and spelling … and maths…

Then once you have survived all of this cash outflow, you need to get some on the job training - lets say about 50 ride alongs with an experienced HI. Thats a trick, most are one man shops in an area where they do not want further competition, and live in fear of you stealing their contacts and future business, so that should really make this step a challenge, and take …well, years to complete 50 ride alongs!

You can join an association - preferably a professional one that will put you through a lot of hoops and steps and take months before you are allowed to practice inspections. Or, I suppose you could join some mail order group and have instant certification, which will likely be as recognizable to clients and Real Estate agents as any other “certification”.

Then you need insurance … if you can find a company that will insure a “newbie” and have still some money saved up to pay for the first year = lets say 5,000 to 6,000. Of course, you can decide to go without since by now, you probably will not have any assets left, and are highly unlikely to be able to afford any assets for the next several years if you survive in business as a home inspector.

Now, at last, 3 or 4 years later, you are ready to do inspections. Except that expensive cell phone and business line, are not ringing. So, you have to pound on doors, try to get by the pit bull at the front desk of most real estate firms, actually find an agent in the office, and willing to meet with you. You live in hope, that, once they recognize your lack of experience at inspections, but admire your young eagerness(?!) they will actually put you on their referral list - with all of the other inspectors they have used for years. Of course you will not see instances of agents pushing their “preferred” inspector since they are not allowed to do that!

So, once you are in business doing inspections, then the fall and winter arrive, and you are shocked to find out there is next to no inspection business due to the “slow” season in the Real Estate world. So, you have to face several months of no or negligible income with ongoing steady cash drains to support being in business. Opps, forgot all that money you have to find in order to advertize.

By now you have had to undercut all of the competition with the lowest rates in town in hopes that you will pull some business away from the more experienced inspectors out there, who, mysteriously are no longer talking to you. Suddenly you realize that you still do not have enough coming in to cover the costs. Should you have the misfortune of having to pay for an unhappy client, or worse yet, litigation - then you are really up the creek.

Suddenly, by year two or three, if you have made it that far, you wonder why did you even bother to spend all that time and money to get into a business, that, for many, is very stressful with constant concerns of litigation … and bankruptcy, especially when you realize that many experienced inspectors seem to last less than 7 years in this business, before burn out …or bankruptcy beats them down.

I forgot a couple of other ideal prerequisites, 1) independently wealthy - opps that probably means your assets are at risk
2) very understanding spouse who has a great career and is willing to support you, pay all the bills, watch the savings erode, while you struggle to make a go of this business.
3) a healthy retirement income, so you can enjoy this advocation without worry about making ends meet.

Since 1) and 2) are very hard to find these days, then, many inspectors likely fit into category 3)!

Gee, I wonder why so many are in the 50 to 60 age group?

Fear not, many baby boomers will be retiring so our ranks should continue to grow = with 50 to 60 year olds!

A very interesting statistic. Almost half of us are in the 50-60 age group with none under 30. Do you think this is because colleges aren’t promoting home inspection enough to entry level students.

Chuck Crooker I.M.M., Canadian Home Inspector "Not just an inspection, an Education!!!"

Dustin - The information you are going to receive can greatly vary. There are those who are going to be encouraging and those who are discouraging.

First and foremost you have to have the natural ability to work with people. Without this, no mater how much you know it’s worthless. The great ability to learn, adapt to new knowledge and technology. From there anything can be done and learned…and yes, it is that easy.

Read all the nachi info and watch and read the classes…its a great start.

Need anything else, I am here to help. Just email me or use the PM here…

Take care and best wishes.

Firstly, develop a thick skin. Secondly, do some market research for your area (home sales, number of other inspectors, etc, etc. ) Also do the reasearch on what it takes to be a HI. Develop a business plan.

Wow gloom and doom on most of these posts. Looks like the choices are become a home inspector or commit suicide and the suicide options looks
more attractive after reading many of these posts.
Dustin I have been a home inspections for ten years and we are well established and doing OK despite the economy. I find the inspections are easiest part of the job. The most difficult part like any small business is the marketing or keeping your calendar filled. Its a good time to get into this business and establish yourself as many inspectors have dropped out. Here in North Carolina we have gone from over 1500 to about 1000 inspectors in the last two years.
Find a reputable training program and contact an inspector outside your geographic area and offer to help him if he will help you get trained. You might have to drive a few miles to get there but it will be worth it.

Please go back in the arkhives and see how many New homies and no longer a member and no longer doing home Inspections .
The facts are many newbies have spent a lot of money and found out it is hard to get started and have given up.
Go to the CMI web site and see how many CMIs are no longer in business .
These where Homies who where at the top of the industry .

now that’s quite a misnomer!

Good time to get into this business when so many are failing?

I guess if you’re sitting around with nothing to do and you have a great big piggy bank with nothing better to use it on, that’s a good perspective. Especially if you have a optimistic view of our future economy.

The housing market fell below that of the Great Depression yesterday. I think that about says it all.

Many of us are doing very well during this time because so many people can’t survive.

The problem is, it takes several years for you to achieve recognition in the market even under a good economy. That’s just the way it is. If you think you can survive this normal expectation without it affecting your personal financial status you’ll probably do pretty good. Otherwise you’re just be another new inspector doing $99.95 inspections until you go bankrupt.

My state licensing board sent forms to “retire your license” with their annual insurance forms. I guess they figured that so many inspectors were going under they would provide them with the paperwork ahead of time in case they had some money to pay to retire their license!

I got a call from a real estate agent begging and pleading for me to come by and do a reinspection on a house before they closed escrow at 1 PM yesterday. Where did the inspector go that did the initial inspection? Out of business! They were calling every home inspector in the area and couldn’t find a single one to oblige them. ??

They said it would only take 10 min. to reinspect but I had two multimillion dollar homes to inspect and didn’t want to waste my time and possibly screw up my schedule for the day. So as you can see, there is work out there to be had! :slight_smile:

A lot of people refuse to work for real estate agents here, but if you expect to get work from the realtors, I see a lot of “missing realtors” out there these days. Only the ones that can afford not to work and probably were very professional and did it right to start with are still out there working. Reports from them say they’re covered up. Again, the supply and demand thing!

If you choose to invest in this business, I highly recommend that you do it very wisely!

I much prefer a depressed market over a robust one (that goes for every business I’m in). It’s only in very strong markets (where the market makes up for their lack of business acumen) that my weak competitors have a chance of going up against me.

I guess this proves my point. How can Nick be successful in building, Nachi, Mining, Septic systems and whatever else he is in? It all comes down to marketing and finding a Niche to solidfy the market share you get.

So is it really specific expert knowledge or is it just being good on business overall? I think Nick proves the point that successful business men can be damn near successful in ANY business. I do admire his tenacity, his vision on seeing where there is a gap in the market he can fill. I also believe that your going into a business where you THINK failure in a possibility, then don’t do it.

Go into business where you know you providing something that will 100% be successful and failure is not an option. Look a the people here who have a positive outlook and look at their income versus the opposite mentaility.

Just my two cents…

Thanks to all for your time. I appreciate all the input positive or negative. A special thanks to Mr. Kensel.Your positive comment made me feel beter. Thanks for offering to help and take time to enswer any future questions I will have. I am willing to work hard and do what i have to do to make this happen.

Good luck Dustin

Some very good answers given, maybe not the one that your looking for, but honest answers from inspectors that have been in the trenchs for awhile.

Twenty years ago people thought I was nuts for heading into this business. Twenty years later, I changed my plan and worked around the situations. It’s not as easy as some make it out be to be. Jersey is a long way from here, hope they’ve changed the laws somewhat about inspector requirements. Any new start up is a nut buster. Be prepared to make the sacrifice.


Well, Mr. Kensel is that kind of guy.

Dustin, give me a call and will talk.

I hear NJ may be a state requiring over 175 hours of classroom training

See Below:

Home Inspection Candidates can submit an application for Home Inspector after successful completion of a home inspection program consisting of a 180 hour curriculum, of which 40 hours will be dedicated to completing home inspections under the direct supervision of a licensed Home Inspector of the school. Candidates must also pass an examination administered and approved by the Home Inspection Advisory Committee. Correspondence courses are NOT accepted for Pre-LIcensing education.

I can tell you that InterNACHI is the best professional organization I have ever belonged to. The leadership and most members are really interested in you being sucessful in this business.