Frequently Asked Questions on becoming a Home Inspector?
Do I need to have building experience to be a home inspector?
While home inspection remains an unregulated profession in most of Canada (with the exceptions of British Columbia & Alberta) technically anyone can "hang out their shingle" as a potential home inspector. This leaves the consumer as "fair and often unsuspecting game" for unqualified individuals who pass themselves off as true home inspectors. It is for this reason that many professionally trained home inspectors (with designations) and their professional associations are working hard to lobby for formal recognition, standards of practice and codes of ethics for this profession nationally.
With this said, home inspection candidates should not even consider getting into the profession without seriously considering aligning themselves with a professional association (there are several throughout Canada and the United States). These professional associations grant formal designations to qualified candidates who have passed their examination, course and report submission requirements.
Serious home inspection candidates should meet the prerequisites for entrance into any professional association or course. Candidates should have a solid knowledge of home construction or be licensed in a related trade or profession. More important is an ability and willingness to work with people, the most successful home inspectors are those who are able to develop a strong trust with real estate professionals, solicitors, mortgage lenders, home buyers and sellers, based on their technical expertise.. Home inspectors come from all walks of life including people looking for a second career, women seeking nontraditional careers, retirees, college and university graduates, architects, engineers, construction technologists, trades people, federal and municipal building inspectors, insurance adjusters and real estate appraisers.
Will I have to pay franchise fees if I take your course?
No. The Home Inspectors Institute® charges NO FRANCHISE FEES. We have absolutely nothing to do with franchises, we don't sell them or endorse them - PERIOD! All the money you make in your own home inspection business is yours to keep. There is only an initial consultation and training fee.
How much could I earn as a home inspector?
Depending on the time you devote to promoting your business, the sky's the limit as far as income is concerned. At approximately $350 per average inspection, your business could remain small enough for you to manage on your own with a healthy income. However, with the anticipated demand for inspections (it is rumoured 90% of all homes may require inspections by 2015... including new construction, resale houses, older buildings, rural properties, multifamily dwellings, condominiums and recreational homes) you could plan to expand your business within a relatively short period of time and generate a substantial income. Your energy, enthusiasm and business acumen will determine your success in this regard.
So what is involved in becoming a professional home inspector?
Anyone interested in home inspection needs to realize these important facts first.
- You should not consider home inspection as a career choice unless you are willing to devote your efforts towards obtaining a professionally recognized designation.
- Don't get into this professional unless you are dedicated towards continual learning.
- If you own property, don't even consider conducting home inspections unless you carry errors and omissions insurance. This is becoming increasingly difficult for new inspectors to obtain. E & O insurance is not easy to obtain unless you hold a professional designation or are a member in some capacity with a professional home inspection association - even at that, you may not be able to find a company willing to insure you until you have been in business a few years. .You may wish to consider transferring all assets to a spouse before establishing your business.
- You may eventually have someone attempt to sue you as this is an extremely litigious profession and your technical expertise and professionalism may be questioned. Knowledge is power!
As previously mentioned, home inspection is not yet regulated in most of Canada. To be successful, credible and respected in the business you must apply yourself to become a dedicated professional.
Here are some steps in the process:
- Gain the technical knowledge required to be able to meet course or association entrance requirements. This will mean additional training in Defect Recognition for all trades and professionals including engineers and architects as well as course in plumbing, electrical, HVAC, Structural, and Residential Building codes to name just a few. This may be achieved through any of the various course offerings either by classroom or correspondence. In order to gain a professional designation, be prepared to have to take approx 6 courses. Many courses do not offer practical applications however and this is an integral part of the learning process.
- Based on what you learned in Step 1 or during the process- Complete a formal business plan.
- Apply as a membership candidate with a professional home inspection association.
- Fulfill any additional educational requirements that the association demands.
- Obtain Errors and Omissions insurance coverage (if it is available). If not, make other arrangements with respects to limiting your net worth.
- Study for and write the technical examination offered by your association.
- Work towards your practical requirement for your association – submission of sample reports.
- Gain your professional designation and keep up to date. Home inspectors must be dedicated to continual learning and upgrading.