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Becoming A Home Inspector: What the Home Inspection Schools Dont Want You To Know
Chances are if you're reading this you've thought about becoming a home inspector. You may have even seen the ads that say you can make hundreds of dollars a day as a home inspector. Home inspection schools put many of these ads out. They paint a rosy picture about the profession and how easy it will be for you to make a ton of money virtually overnight. I'm a Professional Real Estate Inspector and I'm going to tell you what the home inspection schools don't want you to know about this profession!
What the Home Inspector schools aren't telling you
What these schools and the various company's selling Home Inspection courses won't tell you is how difficult it is to be successful in this business.
The National school that I attended for my inspector education made it sound so easy to get started. They explained how easy it would be to start doing 1 home inspection a day with little or no effort.
I have many soon-to-be home inspectors email me and call our office asking about the business.
This business is like any other. It takes dedication, strong finances and time to become successful.
Think you'll get started with no money up front?
Many schools do not tell you about the liability side of the home inspection industry. The home inspection industry is a very high liability profession. Every home you inspect is a potential lawsuit. It doesn't matter that you may be the most thorough inspector in your area. Inspectors are sued over things that the homeowners thought they should have found whether or not you could see the defect or not. There's an old saying in this business. "It's not IF you get sued, but WHEN you get sued."
If you can't live under this pressure, you'd be best off looking elsewhere.
All it takes is a ladder and pickup truck...right?
Well, here's more bad news. Like most legitimate businesses, it takes a little more than that.
A new inspector is going to need about $5000 worth of tools just to start.
Then there is about the issue of insurance. Errors & Omissions Insurance will cost a new inspector (if you can even get it) anywhere from $3500 to $5000 per year. Then there's General Liability Insurance that will run you from $400 to $1500 per year.
In some states, you can't even get started without this insurance.
Do you have a rainy day fund? I hope so Brother 'cause it will rain on your parade!
Just like any new business, the 1st year will be a rough one. It may take you from anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to get to the point where you're bringing in a steady income.
Many inspectors came into this business by doing home inspections on the side or part time. That is the approach I would advise any new inspector to take. Don't quit your day job just yet!
What about the Real Estate Agents?
The schools make it sound like there's an agent behind every tree just waiting for you. Odds are they have their favorite inspector already and they're not likely to use a new inspector because they do not know what to expect from you. It will take you many months up to a year or more before you'll be getting regular referrals from real estate agents. Don't count on them to feed your family when you first start.
This industry can be very rewarding in many ways. However it's likely to leave a sour taste in your mouth if you enter thinking that it's a pushover to get started. I've seen way to many good people go broke trying to get started in this business because the home inspection schools left them unprepared for what they were about to face in the real world.
Donald Lawson is a Professional Real Estate Inspector licensed in Texas (#5824) and Oklahoma (#454) and currently owns V.I.P. Home Inspections, a multi-inspector firm in Houston Texas. You can find out more about home inspections by visiting his site at Houston Home Inspections There is also a page with helpful books on home inspection on his site at Home Inspection Books
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