Home inspections are a major part of the home buying process. According to a survey done by Porch, 88% of home buyers got a home inspection before purchase.
We’ve all heard tales of home-buying terror when a seemingly perfect house gets inspected only to reveal a major flaw. Often these types of things are blown out of proportion on HGTV shows, but home inspectors play a vital role in how prepared buyers are when they find the house of their dreams.
What exactly do home inspectors do?
Home inspectors are unbiased, objective third parties who make a visual inspection of the home and identify any issues. In most cases, the buyer will pay for the home inspection. Home inspectors are responsible for looking at the foundational components of a house.
It’s important to note that while they do inspect major areas of the home, they’re not going over everything with a fine tooth comb. For example, home inspectors will look at the roof but they won’t walk across it. They will look at water distribution, but likely wouldn’t inspect sprinkler systems or pools.
Common issues home inspectors find
For major issues, buyers may try to negotiate remediation or price lowering with the seller. The most common issues home inspectors find are:
How do you get certified?
Home inspection requirements vary by state. The Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors offers a National Home Inspector Exam (EBPHI NHIE®) that is required by some but not all states. For those considering home inspection as a career, looking into state requirements and regulations is paramount.
The Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI) is an independent not-for-profit organization.
The NIHE® exam consists of three domains:
- Domain 1: Property and Building Inspection/Site Review
- Domain 2: Analysis of Findings and Reporting
- Domain 3: Professional Responsibilities
The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions and candidates have four hours to complete the exam. Currently, the exam fee in most states is $225.
The exam content outline is available online.
Not all states require the NHIE®. Some states have their own unique licensing requirements. It’s important to know exactly what you need in your state of practice. The EBPHI provides a good online resource to learn more about specific state requirements.
Prerequisites for Certification
States vary in their prerequisites, but most require the applicant to be at least 18 years old and have completed a specified number of hours under the direct supervision of a home inspector. For example, the state of Virginia has the following experience requirements:
- The applicant shall meet the following educational and experience requirements (one of the following):
- Completed 35 contact hours of board-approved pre-license education and have completed a minimum of 100 home inspections prior to 7/1/2017;
- Completed 35 contact hours of board-approved pre-license education and have completed a minimum of 50 home inspections under the direct supervision of a home inspector;
- Completed 70 contact hours of board-approved pre-license education and have completed a minimum of 50 home inspections;
- Completed 70 contact hours of board-approved contact hours and have completed a minimum of 25 home inspections under the direct supervision of a home inspector; or
- Have verification of 10 years’ experience as a home inspector prior to July 1, 2017, with a minimum of 250 home inspections completed during such time period.
New Hampshire does not require field training but does require 20 hours of Continuing Education hours bi-annually and 80 pre-licensing hours. Make sure you understand the exact requirements in your state of choice.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports the median average annual salary for construction and building inspectors is $61,640 (home inspectors fall into this category). Unfortunately, it also reports this profession declining by 4% between 2021 and 2031.
On the other hand, home inspectors are not likely to be replaced by AI or robots anytime soon. While technology can play a helpful role in uncovering problems, the human element is still needed. Another bonus of home inspection is they often set their own hours. This can make it a more flexible career for those who want that.