Become a home inspector in 2024

Last updated: July 23, 2024
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Eleana Bowman
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Become a home inspector in 2024
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Are you ready to pursue a career as a home inspector? Or maybe you’d even like to start your own home inspection business?

With a high income potential and no need for an advanced degree, this career is an excellent choice for those interested in working in the construction industry.

In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide to cementing a career as a home inspector. You’ll find information regarding how much you can expect to earn, what skills you need to succeed in this position, and more.

What is a home inspector?

A home inspector examines the condition and safety of real estate properties.

Employment of home inspectors is projected to decrease by 4% from 2021–2031. Despite this decline, about 14,800 job openings are estimated to arise yearly. These positions usually open up when workers need to be replaced, when they exit the labor workforce, or when they retire.

A good home inspector examines home components and writes a detailed report containing their findings.

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Here’s what’s generally included in home inspections:

Exterior home inspection

The inspector completes a full inspection of the outside of the structure. This will often include them climbing into crawl spaces underneath the home and using a ladder to climb onto the roof. The components of an exterior inspection include the following:

  • Exterior walls

  • Foundation

  • Garage and carport

  • Roof

  • Grading

Interior home inspection

The inspector completes a full inspection of the inside of the structure. This inspection is often less laborious than an exterior one. The components of an interior inspection include the following:

  • Plumbing

  • Water heater

  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)

  • Electrical systems

  • Fire safety

  • Laundry room

  • Bathrooms

  • Attic

  • Basement

The home inspector will take note of anything that might pose a safety or health risk, such as structural defects, mold, or old wiring. They’ll then give a detailed report with their findings to the client.

Some home inspectors also offer other services and types of inspections, such as pool inspections, termite inspections, and thermal imaging.

How much do home inspectors earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction and building inspectors earn an average of $61,640 per year or $29.63 per hour.

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However, home inspectors specifically earn around $50,000 per year, on average.

A home inspector’s salary can be influenced by several factors, including location, specialization, and employment structure.


Home inspectors who live in certain cities can earn far higher wages than others. For example, those who live in Los Angeles can earn 30% more than average, while those in Las Vegas can earn 8% less than average.

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Other locations where home inspectors tend to earn more include the following:

  • Those who live in San Jose can make up to 115% more than average.

  • Those in Atlanta can earn 19% more than average.

  • Those in Miami can make 15% more than average.

  • Those in Colorado Springs can earn 10% more than average.

  • Those in Tampa can make 8% more than average.


If you offer additional services or have special skills, such as radon testing or pool and spa inspecting, you’ll be able to charge more. On the other hand, if you’re a public home inspector employed by the government, your pay may be limited regardless of your specialization.

Employment structures

  • Self-employment: If you choose to start your own business, your income potential becomes limitless. But how much money you make will ultimately depend on the amount of work you put in and how big you grow your company.

  • Independent contractor or contract worker: You may work for an established inspection company without being a full-time employee. This option also opens the door for high-income potential since you can work for several companies simultaneously and get paid per hour.

  • Employee of an inspection firm: You can also choose to work as a full-time employee for an inspection company. This option is the most secure since you’ll work full-time hours and get a steady paycheck. However, you can only grow your income as far as your employers will let you.

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Learn more about different ways workers can get paid.

As a self-employed home inspector, you get to set your own rates. However, it’s important to do market research so that you don’t end up overcharging or undercharging.

Additionally, whether you work for yourself or not, you can benefit from using job boards and structured resumes or portfolios to prove your trustworthiness and expertise. This will help you gain more clients and work opportunities.

What skills do home inspectors need?

Here's a list of some of the top skills you need to become a home inspector:

Knowledge of construction

Home inspectors need to be experts in construction and all house components. This means they need to have experience in roofing, electrical wiring, foundations, and more.

Communication skills

Home inspectors need to report their findings to their customers. Thus, they’ll need good communication skills. They’ll use verbal communication to talk to customers over the phone and while on-site, and they’ll use written communication to write inspection reports and emails containing their findings and to answer any questions customers may have.

Time-management skills

Home inspectors need to be able to plan and organize their days while keeping several things in mind, including the time it’ll take them to travel, what they’ll need to complete during the inspections themselves, and the reports they’ll need to prepare.

Business management skills

Self-employed home inspectors need to be able to manage their businesses, including their staff, processes, and finances, effectively.

Marketing skills

In addition to business management skills, self-employed home inspectors need marketing skills to get customers. They can use several local marketing tactics, such as local SEO, newspapers, and brochures.

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Alternatively, they can hire someone to handle the marketing aspect of their business.

Steps to become a home inspector

Here are the steps you must follow to become a home inspector.

1. Research the license requirements in your state

There’s no national inspector certification standard. Rather, each state has different requirements to become a home inspector. While some only require 60 hours of education, others require close to 400 hours.

Similarly, some states only require you to pass the National Home Inspector Exam, while others require you to pass both their own exam and the national exam. Be cautious of taking the wrong programs since they’re not all equal and might not be accepted in all states.

For example, Washington, New Mexico, and Ohio don’t accept home inspectors who underwent online training.

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Find out the home inspector requirements by state. Simply click on the state you’re interested in working in to see its requirements.

2. Get home inspection training

While not all states require you to be licensed to work as a home inspector, there are different business practices and inspections you’ll legally need to abide by.

Professional home inspection training from a reputable home inspection school will help you understand these business practices and establish you as a trusted expert.

Furthermore, real estate agents and potential employers prefer working with professional home inspectors who hold a license since their business operations rely on you.

However, if you do decide to undergo training, beware of cookie-cutter education providers that aren’t state specific. Otherwise, you may just end up wasting your time and money.

3. Pass the National Home Inspector Exam

After finishing your home inspection training, your next step is to pass the National Home Inspector Exam.

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This exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions covering the following three main domains that every home inspector should know:

  • Property and Building Inspection or Site Review

  • Professional Responsibilities

  • Analysis of Findings and Reporting

The exam will cost you $225 in most states. However, make sure you confirm the cost when you call or register online.

4. Start networking

Networking is an essential part of being a successful business owner.

If you’re planning on starting your own home inspection company, you can expand your network by joining organizations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).

Discover 10 other effective ways to expand your network.

5. Take out liability policies

We’re all human, and it’s human nature to make mistakes. Unfortunately, one mistake in the inspection industry can have devastating consequences.

You’ll need to take out general liability and/or errors and omissions insurance. This will protect you and your livelihood from pricey lawsuits that could destroy your credibility, your career, or your entire business.

General liability insurance for small businesses is just over $40 per month on average, while errors and omissions insurance will cost around $60 per month.

6. Get hired or start your own business

After you pass your exam and obtain your inspection certification, it’s time to search for a home inspector job or start your own business.

It’s better to work for an employer first to gain some experience. This way, you’ll see firsthand how processes work, what customers expect, and more so you can get a better idea of what your business needs to succeed.

To find a job, you can simply head to Jobcase’s Job Board, enter “home inspector” in the search bar alongside your location, and see what pops up. You can look through the job openings to find a position that suits your specialization and experience.

Remember to write a resume that’ll help you stand out. Here are some of our top resume tips you can follow.

Once you’ve gained some experience and know what it takes to build and run a home inspection company, you can start your business. You’ll need to write a business plan, choose a business structure, register your business as a sole proprietor or LLC, hire employees, etc.

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Discover what others in the Jobcase community are saying about starting your own business.

FAQs about home inspectors

How long does it take to become a home inspector?

Many home inspection courses can be completed in two to three weeks, and the National Home Inspector Exam takes about four hours to complete. This means you can technically become a home inspector in less than a month.

However, starting your own home inspector business will take much longer since the business registration and hiring processes take time.

What is the best state in which to become a home inspector?

Some states pay far higher salaries to home inspectors than others. States that pay the most include Colorado, California, Georgia, and Florida.

Is being a home inspector difficult?

Being a home inspector can be hard and stressful since the position comes with long days, drives, and physical demands. You may also have to work more hours than expected on a given day if an accident or another problem occurs.

If you have your own business, you may need to work during the evenings or over weekends to finalize reports, manage finances, and more.

Pursue a career as a home inspector

Becoming a home inspector isn’t a long, drawn-out process that involves getting several degrees. Instead, you can follow the steps outlined in this article. Start by researching the requirements in your state, and go from there.

If you’d like to own a home inspection business, you can start by working for an employer and gaining experience in the field. You can then use what you learn to build your own company.

Search for other construction and trade jobs that are available right now.



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