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Home Inspector Career Guide

What is a home inspector?

A home inspector is a professional who examines residential properties to evaluate their condition. Their main purpose is to deliver a comprehensive report to a potential buyer or seller of a home. This report is designed to help the potential buyer or seller understand the property’s current state and what may need fixing. By doing so, the inspector assists in making informed decisions about the property’s value and whether any remediation work is required. This role is vital to the real estate industry and ensures that buyers don’t have unexpected costs after purchase.

Duties and responsibilities

The primary function of a home inspector is to assess a property’s condition. They are required to conduct a thorough walkthrough of the home, inside and out. In particular, they are tasked with checking essential systems such as electrical, plumbing, and heating or cooling. The inspector must also evaluate the stability and durability of the home’s structure, inspect the roof for any potential leaks or weaknesses, and scrutinize the home for any safety issues, such as the presence of radon gas or signs of mold. Upon completion of the inspection, they will generate a detailed report outlining any problems or concerns uncovered during their evaluation.

Work environment

The work environment for a home inspector is quite varied. It can range from inspecting new homes still under construction, established homes being prepared for sale, or older properties subject to real estate transactions. The job requires binoculars, flashlights, and sophisticated tools to detect issues with the property. There can be considerable independent fieldwork, including climbing onto roofs, entering tight crawl spaces, and handling homes in various states of repair or neglect. Though the profession may pose physical challenges, it can be rewarding for those who love problem-solving and working without too much supervision.

Typical work hours

A typical work week for a home inspector usually aligns closely with regular business hours. However, flexibility is often needed. Inspections are typically scheduled during daylight hours when defects are easier to spot, but these professionals might need to adjust the hours to accommodate clients’ needs. This can sometimes include weekends or evenings. Inspections themselves can often take several hours to complete, and they must also allocate time to prepare and finalize inspection reports.

How to become a home inspector

This career guide section outlines the steps to become a home inspector. The primary steps involve gaining appropriate education, securing necessary certifications, and gaining practical experience in the field.

Step 1: Obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent

The initial step is to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED. This is the minimum educational prerequisite for most certification programs and apprenticeships in the field.

Step 2: Obtain a degree or certification

While not always required, many aspiring professionals choose to pursue post-secondary education in construction technology, building science, or a related field. This provides a strong foundation for understanding the structural elements of residences. Alternatively, you can also complete a certification program for home inspection, frequently offered by community colleges and trade schools.

Step 3: Complete a home inspection training program

Most states require completion of a specific home inspection training program, either in-person or online. These programs usually cover the fundamentals of the profession, including property evaluation, report writing, and local building codes.

Step 4: Obtain practical experience

Hands-on experience is invaluable and can be gained by assisting an experienced professional. You’ll learn how to perform inspections and write up reports in a real-world setting, which is essential for the job.

Step 5: Get licensed or certified

Most states require home inspectors to hold a license. The requirements vary by state but generally include completing an approved training program and passing a licensing exam. Some states also require inspectors to participate in continuing education to maintain their licenses.

Step 6: Join a professional organization

Professional organizations, like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), offer benefits like additional training opportunities, networking events, and industry resources. Membership can benefit your credibility and expand your professional network.

Step 7: Apply for jobs

After obtaining the necessary certifications and getting some experience, it’s time to start applying for jobs. Prepare a professional resume emphasizing your certifications, education, and any practical experience you’ve gained in the field. Tailor your job applications and cover letters to each specific role you’re applying for.

How much do home inspectors make?

Home inspector salaries will vary by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. The income potential often increases with the inspector’s ability to perform specialized inspections and their reputation within their market.

Highest paying industries

  • Architectural and Engineering – $67,540
  • Real Estate – $65,210
  • Local Government – $63,300
  • Building Inspection Services – $62,110
  • State Government – $60,750

Highest paying states

  • Alaska – $73,710
  • California – $69,730
  • Washington – $67,130
  • Nevada – $65,760
  • New York – $63,520

Browse home inspector salary data by market

Types of home inspectors

Below, we explore common career types and areas of specialization for home inspectors. This guide will assist you in understanding the terms and designations within the home inspection profession.

General home inspector

A person who performs a wide range of home inspection services belongs to this category. They are responsible for looking at all facets of a house, from its structure to its systems, including the heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems. They produce a comprehensive report detailing their findings, providing essential feedback to homeowners or potential buyers.

New home inspector

As the name suggests, a new home inspector specializes in evaluating newly constructed houses. This type of expert aids in identifying potential structural issues, system failures, or construction errors before they become severe problems. They help to prevent unforeseen issues that could later require costly repairs.

Pest inspector

This type of home inspector is trained to spot signs of pest infestations, such as termites, rodents, bugs, or other unwanted creatures, in a residential property. Through thorough inspection techniques, they can help homeowners identify and address pest-related threats before they escalate into harmful situations.

Mold inspector

A mold inspector focuses on detecting mold in homes. They use various tools and techniques to identify mold species and levels, highlighting areas of concern in their reports. This invaluable service helps protect family health, as some molds can cause adverse health effects.

Commercial property inspector

Commercial property inspectors specialize in inspecting buildings used for commercial purposes, such as offices, shops, factories, and warehouses. They assess the property for potential risks, including safety and functionality-related issues, assisting business owners in maintaining a safe, functional, and code-compliant workspace.

Radon inspector

Radon inspectors are experienced in identifying the presence of radon gas, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can increase the risk of lung cancer. They have specialized equipment to test for radon levels in a house, providing homeowners or buyers with a detailed report on their findings. This critical service promotes healthy indoor air quality.

Top skills for home inspectors

This career guide section outlines the skills and abilities that will help you find success as a home inspector.


In this field, it’s important to have a sharp eye for details. Missing minor defects during an inspection can lead to significant problems for homeowners down the line. Tending to small details, often overlooked by inexperienced individuals in this field, sets high-performing professionals apart.

Written communication skills

The ability to convey findings clearly and concisely after an inspection is crucial. This often involves writing a comprehensive report that clients can comprehend. Strong written communication skills can make a considerable difference in the client’s understanding and satisfaction.

Critical thinking skills

Critical thinking skills are a must because they may need to assess complex situations on-site, comprehend technical details, and make educated judgments for their clients. Knowledge, experience, and the ability to think on your feet are powerful in this profession.

People skills

Much of this job involves interacting directly with clients. Thus, having excellent people skills can enhance your ability to perform effectively. Being able to patiently explain technical details, calmly handle client anxieties, and build trust quickly are all aspects of good people skills that are highly valued in this job.

Physical stamina

Inspections often involve physical activities such as climbing ladders, crawling in tight spaces, and standing for extended periods. Consequently, physical stamina is a key attribute for success in this field. A good level of physical health and fitness can make these tasks less strenuous and more manageable.

Home inspector career path options

A home inspector typically starts their career journey performing basic home inspections. However, as time progresses, and with an increase in skillset, they can anticipate evolving their careers to specialize in specific types of properties or defects. This specialization opens up a plethora of career opportunities for them.

One of the possibilities for career progression is becoming a senior inspector, responsible for mentoring novice inspectors, controlling the quality and standards of inspections, and ensuring regulatory compliance. This position often comes with added responsibilities and typically requires several years of experience.

Another avenue for career growth could be branching into property and real estate consultation. Instead of inspecting homes, one could provide expert advice for property investors, constructors, or real estate companies. This role might involve analyzing market trends, providing investment strategies, or advising on property management. Those who venture into this field can anticipate broadening their understanding of the real estate industry and real-world financial markets.

For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, there is the possibility of starting their own home inspection business. This involves marketing services, recruiting staff, and handling everyday administrative tasks. Although challenging, the rewards of owning and managing a business can be significant, giving the professional total control over their career’s direction and growth.

The home inspection industry is dynamic yet ever-present globally. It has been impacted by several defining trends in recent years that are shaping the employment landscape for inspectors. Among these are the growing acceptance of home inspection as a necessity, the impact of technology on the industry, and the increased emphasis on green and sustainable living.

Home inspection is now often viewed as a mandatory step in the home buying process, not just in seasoned property markets like the US but also in emerging ones like India, China, and Brazil. This cultural shift has led to increased demand for professionals in this field. Technological advancements have also played a role in shaping the industry. The adoption of digital report generation, infrared and thermal imaging, drone inspections, and 3D scanning technologies has made the inspection job more precise and efficient. Professionals who keep up with these technological trends are often more desirable to employers.

Further shifts in the industry can be seen owing to the increased emphasis on green and sustainable living. Those familiar with green building techniques, energy-efficient systems, and sustainable materials have a unique advantage. They are more equipped to assess and inspect homes built with these principles in mind, providing another market niche where inspectors can specialize.

Employment projections

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest data, the employment of home inspectors is projected to decline by 3 percent through 2031. Despite declining employment, more inspectors will be needed to assess new homes, commercial structures, and non-residential properties.

Home inspector career tips

Understand and apply relevant building codes

You must deeply understand all local, state, and federal building codes that apply in your area of service. This knowledge allows you to accurately inspect homes and ensure they comply with all safety regulations. It’s important to frequently refresh this knowledge, as building codes can evolve.

Stay aware of the latest trends in home construction

Staying informed about the latest developments in home construction techniques, materials, and systems is key to remaining current in this field. Gaining knowledge on these topics will help you provide accurate inspections and impart useful recommendations to homeowners.

Focus on customer service skills

You will interact with homeowners who may be stressed during the buying or selling process. Displaying excellent customer service skills can make a big difference. Communication with clarity, respect, and empathy will help build a professional reputation and create positive relationships with property owners, real estate agents, and future clients.

Build a professional network

Like in many other professions, networking can help home inspectors build their businesses and learn about new opportunities. Professional networking opportunities can be through associations like:

  • American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
  • International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)
  • National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers (NABIE)
  • National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI)

Where the home inspector jobs are

Top employers

  • U.S Inspect
  • Pillar to Post Home Inspectors
  • HomeTeam Inspection Service
  • National Property Inspections
  • HouseMaster

Top states

  • Florida
  • California
  • Texas
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • Inspector Seek
  • ZipRecruiter
  • LinkedIn


What skills do home inspectors need?

They should have an eye for detail and thorough knowledge of home construction to identify problems. It’s also important to be able to convey findings to clients clearly. A basic understanding of architectural standards, building codes, and safety regulations is a must for them. As a good deal of the job may involve climbing ladders and accessing confined spaces, a level of physical fitness is also required.

Do I need a license to become a home inspector?

Credentialing requirements differ by state; in some areas, licensure may not even be necessary. However, even when it’s not mandatory, obtaining licensure can enhance your credibility with potential clients. Licensing typically involves completing a pre-licensure program and an exam. Some states may also require ongoing professional development to maintain licensure.

What type of training do home inspectors need?

Training typically involves a combination of formal education and hands-on experience. Various institutions, including community colleges and vocational schools, offer certificate programs in home inspection. These programs cover areas like structural components, electrical systems, HVAC systems, and plumbing. Some knowledge of local building codes and regulations is also beneficial. In addition to formal education, hands-on training under the supervision of an experienced inspector can be very valuable.

What tools do home inspectors generally use?

They use a variety of tools to assess the condition of various aspects of the home. Some common tools include flashlights, ladders, screwdrivers, infrared cameras for detecting heat loss and water leaks, moisture meters for detecting wetness in walls and materials, electrical testers, and gas leak detectors. These tools allow them to assess the home’s structure and systems.

Is being a home inspector dangerous?

While home inspection has inherent risks, they are usually manageable with safety precautions. Inspectors often spend time in tight spaces, attics, on roofs, and around electricity. Regular safety training, proper equipment, and adherence to safety protocols can reduce the risk of accidents.

Can home inspectors work all year round?

Yes, they can work all year round. The housing market may slow during the colder months in some parts of the U.S., but inspections are necessary whenever a property changes hands, regardless of the season. Still, it’s worth noting that weather can make certain aspects of the job – such as roof inspections – more challenging during the winter months.

What associations exist for home inspectors to join?

Several professional organizations exist, including the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). These organizations offer resources for inspectors, including continuing education, networking opportunities, and professional standards and guidelines.

What does a typical day look like for a home inspector?

Their day typically begins with reviewing the schedule of appointments and planning the route to site visits. Once they arrive at a property, they start inspecting, starting from the exterior and then moving inside. They take notes and photos throughout the inspection process, given that they must provide clients with a detailed report. After all inspections for the day are completed, they return to their office or home to write up their notes and complete the reports, which are then sent to clients.

Is being a home inspector difficult?

The difficulty of this job often comes down to the details. Inspecting a home requires a lot of legwork and attention to detail – if they overlook a potential issue, it could result in costly damages or repairs for the homeowner. The role also requires excellent communication and organizational skills to accurately record information and report it to clients. Hence, while home inspection can be challenging, it can also be very rewarding for those who are detail-oriented and enjoy helping people make informed decisions about properties.