Home inspectors are private businesses hired to evaluate the condition of residential real estate for prospective buyers and sellers, including plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling, foundations and roofing. (Building inspectors work for municipalities to ensure new construction and renovations comply with codes and safety standards).
What Do Home Inspectors Do?
Whether a home is newly built or previously occupied, it must be inspected for compliance with codified regulations; home inspectors are responsible for performing these evaluations. The process of buying and selling a home almost always involves hiring a home inspector to examine both the owner’s current home and the home they wish to buy, and new construction is subject to inspection as well. Home inspectors assess the overall structural integrity and quality of a home, as well as all of the home’s features and systems: roof, exterior and interior walls, plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling. Although home inspectors do not have the authority to compel compliance with codes and regulations, their job is essential to helping homeowners, buyers, and sellers to determine the safety and quality of their current or future dwelling.
Home inspectors typically inspect newly built or previously owned homes, condominiums, townhomes, and other dwellings. Prospective home buyers often hire home inspectors to check and report on a home’s structure and overall condition.
A home inspector will look at a house's HVAC system, interior plumbing and electrical systems, roof, attic, floors. windows and doors, foundation, basement and structural components, then provide a written report with results to the prospective buyer.
Home Inspectors typically inspect these major home systems to ensure functionality and adherence to any respective codes:
- Water Damage
- Structural Issues
- Old/Damaged Roof
- Damaged Electrical System
- Plumbing Problems
- Insect and Pest Infestation
- Issues with the HVAC System
As well, Home Inspectors do the following
- Use instruments, metering devices, and test equipment to perform inspections
- Verify alignment, level, and elevation of structures to ensure building meets specifications
- Keep daily logs, including photographs taken during inspections
- Provide written documentation of findings
Education and Experience
A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to enter the occupation. Some employers may seek candidates who have studied engineering or architecture or who have a certificate or an associate’s degree that includes courses in building inspection, home inspection, construction technology, and drafting. Many community colleges offer programs in home and building inspection technology. Courses in blueprint reading, vocational subjects, algebra, geometry, and writing are also useful. Courses in business management are helpful for those who plan to run their own inspection business.
- Annual pay: As of May 2019, construction and building inspectors earned an average base salary of $60,000
- Employment growth forecast 2018-2028: 7%
- Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent
Career Growth Opportunity
Public interest in safety and the desire to improve the quality of home construction should continue to create demand for Home Inspectors. Certified Home Inspectors who can perform a variety of inspections (plumbing, electrical, mechanical, etc.) should have the best job opportunities.
- International Code Council - The ICC is a nonprofit association that provides a wide range of building safety solutions including product evaluation, accreditation, certification, codification and training. It develops model codes and standards used worldwide to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures.
- National Fire Protection Association - The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global self-funded nonprofit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards.
- International Association of Electrical Inspectors – This organization is a non-profit professional trade association committed to public safety from electrical hazards by providing expert, unbiased leadership in electrical code and standards development and premier education and certification for electrical professionals.
- International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials - The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials has been protecting the public’s health and safety for ninety-three years by working in concert with government and industry to implement comprehensive plumbing and mechanical systems around the world.
- American Society of Home Inspectors - By upholding professional excellence throughout its membership, ASHI strives to keep the home inspection industry at a high standard.
- American Society of Civil Engineers - ASCE strives to give you the best professional and technical resources.
- Building Inspection Engineers Certification Institute - Building Inspection Engineering is a 50-year-old specialty within the engineering community. This specialty deserves a board-certified endorsement of the engineer who has been tested in the special skills and knowledge about inspection, assessment and evaluation of buildings of all types.
- Housing Inspection Foundation - HIF was founded in 1991 to help the real estate industry meet the need for qualified Home Inspectors.
- Certified Commerical Property Inspectors Association - The goal of CCPIA is to help its members become skilled commercial property inspectors and successful leaders in the industry.
- National Association of Commercial Building Inspectors - NACBI is the leading member association for the commercial building inspection and building science thermography industries.
- International Association of Certified Home Inspectors - InterNACHI is a non-profit trade organization of residential and commercial property inspectors.
- Home Builders Institute - This organization’s mission is to advance and provide education, career development, training and placement of men and women serving the building industry.
- National Association of Home Builders - NAHB strives to protect the American Dream of housing opportunities for all, while working to achieve professional success for its members who build communities, create jobs and strengthen our economy.
- The Associated General Contractors of America - The AGC of America works to ensure the continued success of the commercial construction industry by advocating for federal, state and local measures that support the industry; providing opportunities for firms to learn about ways to become more accomplished; and connecting them with the resources and individuals they need to be successful businesses and corporate citizens.
- National Association of the Remodeling Industry - NARI connects homeowners with its professional members and provides tips and tricks so that consumers have a positive remodeling experience with a professional, qualified remodeler.
- National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) - This mission of this organization is to build a safe, productive and sustainable workforce of craft professionals. Their vision is to be universally recognized by industry and government as the training, assessment, certification and career development standard for construction and maintenance craft professionals.
- Structural Building Components Association - SBCA is the only international trade association representing manufacturers of structural building components.
Publications and Newsletters
- Home Inspector Magazine - published to help home inspectors build their businesses, reduce their risk of liability and stay informed on important technology and industry issues.
- SBC Magazine – a publication of the Structural Building Components Association
- Building Design and Construction Magazine Issues - latest magazines available to view and read online
- Home Inspector Magazine - helps home inspectors stay informed and get the most up-to-date home inspector information, advice, news, tips, and training from others in their industry
- Professional Builder Magazine - ProBuilder offers business advice, sales and marketing tips, product reviews, education, more...
- Residential Contractors Magazine - This newsletter is for homebuilders, remodelers and subcontractors.