How To Become A Home Inspector in 2021 [5 Steps]

Choosing to become a home inspector is a great career for those who want to have job security and financial freedom that many people can only dream of. The process to become a home inspector is more simple than it appears.

This step by step guide will walk you through the general process to become a home inspector as well as what each state requires. It can be simple and straightforward to become a real estate inspector.


Self Employed Home Inspector Salary/Income [How Much Does a Home Inspector Make?]

The salary and income of a home inspector does vary from state to state. But one of the variables that has the greatest impact on salary is how training and education.

Most states don’t have a lot of training requirements, those who take the initiative to do additional training and education classes will be better prepared for their career.

They will also make more money in the long run because they will be better home inspectors.

Based on the reports of the Bureau of Labor home inspectors across the United States make a median salary of $58,000 per year. There are multiple states with averages higher than this but over all, those who become a real estate inspector will make around $28 an hour or $450 per inspection.

The amount of money a home inspector makes relies heavily on how much they are willing to work. Full time inspectors who fit enough houses in for a 40 hour work week can make close to $100,000 a year.

Part time real estate inspectors still have the potential to make a good living with salaries near the national average depending on the state.


General Steps to Become a Home Inspector

steps to become a home inspector

While it is true that every state can set its own steps, there are some general steps that are mostly standard. While the specifics do vary this can serve as a guide to help you launch your career in the right direction.

As we will discuss throughout this guide it is imperative to use this as general guidelines only. Choosing to start this process can lead to a successful new or first career for those motivated enough to do the hard work.

1. Discover Your State’s Requirements to Become a Home Inspector

Other than choosing to become a home inspector in the first place, the most important decision when it comes to how to become a home inspector is researching your state requirements.

There are general guidelines that most states generally adhere to. But the one thing that is the most general is the process and steps involved to become a home inspector.

Each state has the power to design the process to get registered for themselves. Some states don’t even require a pre-licensing education course before taking the licensing exam.

This guide is helpful for interested parties to learn the basics of what could be required and how to become a home inspector. But the difference between what is in this guide and what the state they live in requires could potentially be very different.

At the end of this guide there will be a very brief overview of the requirements for each state to help get you started on the right path. This information can change so it is important to make sure you check the most updated information.

The states that do require pre-licensing courses all vary in the hours required. While the most common number of hours is 60 hours of education there are other states that make it more time consuming to become a certified home inspector.

There are a few states that actually require 400 hours of education to become a real estate inspector. This is a lot of education hours but these states will likely have very well trained home inspectors.

SEE STATE REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME A HOME INSPECTOR

2. Take an Approved Pre-Licensing Home Inspection Course in Your State

Once you have done the research and know what is required by your state to become a certified home inspector, you can finally start the actual process.

For most states the first step will be the pre-licensing home inspection course offered in your state. There are many education companies that will offer this program, but make sure it is tailor made for your state.

On your search for pre-licensing education programs you will stumble upon a course or two that claim to be a one size fits all class. This is not possible and will not be accepted by many, if not all, states.

This is a company trying to make money by targeting people who are unaware of their state’s home inspection requirements. That is why the knowledge found in this guide is imperative when learning how to get a home inspectors license.

One thing that needs to be considered when choosing a pre-licensing education program is that there are states that will not accept online courses. Even though they aren’t accepted as valid there are still programs that will offer them.

Make sure you have all of your information right before you choose your program. It is unlikely that you will get a refund for a course you can’t get credit for. This will waste both time and money.

We suggest the Mbition Home Inspection courses. They are some of the best on the market.



3. Register to Take Your Home Inspection Licensing Exam

Each state will require some type of licensing exam. The only thing that might vary is what type of licensing exam they will have students take.

Many of the states do require the national home inspection licensing exam. But that isn’t something that every state does.

Individual states do have the option of writing their own licensing exam and forgoing the national exam. How potential home inspectors prepare for the exam will depend on how their home state handles licensing.

Preparing for the national exam when a student’s state has their own exam will prove futile and a waste. Some of the information may overlap but it will all be state specific rather than a national generalization.

Once you know which one your state requires you will need to register for the exam. Passing the exam is one of the last steps when it comes to how to get a home inspectors license.

4. Apply for a Home Inspection License in Your State

This is not always required and the process can vary greatly from state to state. But applying for your license once you have passed the licensing exam is something that could be required.

Even the states that require an application could require different forms and information. There is no one size fits all application process for how to become a home inspector.

That is why it is important to check the individual state requirements at the end of this guide to find out exactly what your state requires from applicants.

5. Become Insured for Errors and Omissions

It is easy to assume that once you have applied for your license that you can just go and start inspection homes. While that can be technically true, there is some important housekeeping that needs to be done.

One thing that is imperative to help you keep your license once you get it is Errors and Omissions insurance. This protects your new license from issues that could arise from omitting information or making errors in your reports.

We are all human and it is impossible for even the most seasoned home inspectors to make no mistakes or omissions. Keeping this type of insurance will keep home inspectors working longer by protecting them from possible lawsuits.

Another helpful type of insurance to have is liability insurance. Inspecting a home is a long process and there are things that can be missed as well as accidents that can happen.

Homeowners tend to want to keep their homes safe and aren’t happy when there is an accident that jeopardizes it. That is why liability insurance is important. Getting sued for an accident without insurance is going to cost an inspector their career.

There are several companies that offer these types of insurance for home inspectors as well as other professionals in the real estate field. Ask trusted people in the home inspection field to find out who they use.


Decide on Your Career Path as a Home Inspector

Career Path

Once all of the details are taken care of such as learning the requirements, taking the education courses, and getting licensed it is a good idea to think about how you want your career to go. How to become a home inspector hinges on a career path.

There are two different directions home inspectors can go on the career spectrum and which one they choose will depend on what they want their new careers to look like and the goals they want to achieve.

Some home inspectors end up taking both of these paths before they settle on one for the duration of their career. There is no wrong way to start and home inspectors can change their mind.

The most important part is making sure the inspectors career goals can be met. The two different directions can decide job security as well as income possibilities.

They will also determine the amount of initial legwork that is needed to launch a career as a home inspector.

Working for an Established Home Inspection Company

The first option and the one that can be a more stable choice for those just starting out as a home inspector is to work for a home inspection company. This is a wise choice for those who have no experience in this field and have never been self-employed.

Learning the ropes from seasoned professionals while earning a steady paycheck is beneficial for new home inspectors. It isn’t usually difficult to find an inspection company to hire you due to demand.

However, it depends on your state and your location within that state. Naturally some areas have more demand than others. This is something to look into before starting the education and licensing process.

If it seems as though it may be difficult to find a company that is hiring then you may want to line up a job before committing to the process. Build relationships with the decision makers of the company so you have options when you are licensed.

There is another option when it comes to working with a home inspection company. Buying a home inspection company and becoming not or your own boss but running a team of home inspectors is something that appeals to some inspectors.

This option doesn’t come without its potential pitfalls. Finding a company that is for sale can be difficult depending on your area.

Other than that, running an established home inspection business could be difficult with new inspectors with no experience. It is advisable to get more experience first before buying a home inspection company.

Becoming a Self-Employed Home Inspector

An option that appeals to many new home inspectors is to be self-employed. One of the top reasons people become home inspectors is to work for themselves.

Being able to set your own schedule as well as have some much needed work/life balance is appealing to many students. The self-employment route is a popular way to begin a career as a home inspector.

There are many things to consider when choosing to work for yourself. Taxes are one of them. Do your research and find out the best way to move forward with your own home inspection business.

You may need to register, file paperwork, and do a number of other tasks to run your business legally.

There is a drawback to working for yourself as a home inspector. That is getting jobs. When you work for a company you are given assignments.

However, when you are working for yourself finding the workload falls on you. The best way to get jobs is through networking. If a home inspector doesn’t already have relationships with real estate agents or brokerage firms then they need to start building those.

Real estate agents recommend inspectors to their clients. Because home buyers/owners trust their real estate agent, they will almost certainly choose the home inspector recommended. That is why you need to have good relationships with real estate agents.

They will send a large amount of business your way and help get your career started in the right direction. You will want to work with more than one real estate agent to make sure you have a steady flow of inspections.

A licensed or certified home inspector doesn’t become a home inspector until they have inspection jobs.


Home Inspector FAQS

How long does it take to become a licensed home inspector?

Becoming a licensed home inspector can take as little or as much time as the student wants it to take. Because there is often no required education or training requirements in specific states it comes down to passing the exam.

If you simply want to be a home inspector and think you can pass the exam with no training, then it could take a matter of days to become an inspector depending on your state. But if you want to be a top home inspector in your state it takes more time.

It can take two weeks to three months to take the education and training courses prior to the exam depending on the state. Your other time obligations and limitations also play a part in the time it takes.

Can you make money as a home inspector?

Like any career that falls under the description of self-employment, the amount of money you make varies. How much you make depends on how much you work and how many inspections you do per month.

If you work as a full-time inspector, it is possible to make around $80,000 a year. That number is based on an inspector doing roughly 250 inspections annually. However, if an inspector works part-time that number is significantly lower.

Do you need a degree to be a home inspector?

There are no higher education requirements to become a home inspector. While the requirements do vary from state to state, it is rather standard that there are no degree requirements.

The best thing to do is check with your state to make sure before you start your program or take the exam.

How much do home inspector owners make?

Home inspectors are more often than not, self-employed. This means that they are the owners of their own businesses.

There are times when a home inspector starts a firm and hires other inspectors. This doesn’t change the average salary of home inspectors. However, inspectors will split their fees with the owner.

An owner will typically make their own inspection fees plus 30% to 60% of the other inspector’s fees. The owners can make on average $80,000 a year depending on the number of inspectors in their office.

Are home inspectors in high demand?

Home inspectors will be in demand as long as people are buying and selling homes, businesses, and commercial real estate. This makes the career of home inspector not only in demand but also reliable.

There are things that will dictate how in-demand a home inspector is. Location, the housing market in your particular area, as well as the number of home inspectors can change the demand.

How much can a home inspector make a year?

On average, inspectors make about $450 per inspection depending on the state and the market. According to labor reports, the average salary across the states is in the neighborhood of $48,000-$50,000 a year.

This can vary depending on how many inspections are done annually. It will also depend on whether or not they are independent contractors or work for a multi-inspector agency.

Is being a home inspector dangerous?

There are aspects of home inspections that can be dangerous if precautions aren’t taken. One of the most dangerous parts can be inhaling noxious gases that could be leaking.

Because the home inspection is meant to find anything that could be dangerous or an issue for the sale, the inspector could happen upon less than ideal situations.

To be as safe as possible make sure you have personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and eye protection.

What equipment does a home inspector need?

Because being a home inspector involves checking every home system and aspect, home inspectors need a well-outfitted toolkit. Voltage checkers, flashlights, and various masks or respirators make the top of the list.

Ground testers to check electrical outlets should also be in the toolkit. Finding a seasoned home inspector to tell you the essentials needed will help make sure you don’t have items that are unneeded.

Is being a home inspector easy?

Home inspection is not an easy job. Many home inspectors are self-employed which offers more flexibility but it is likely that you will work long hours.

This is a combination of different skills and home inspectors spend time with reports, inspections, and other bookkeeping tasks. This job is demanding but it can also be enjoyable.

Can a woman become a home inspector?

Yes, women can become a home inspector. This career field is a male-dominated one but that doesn’t mean it is inaccessible to women.

Can you become a home inspector without construction experience?

The short answer is yes, you can. There are a number of very successful home inspectors who have no background in construction or real estate.

It is advised to have some inexperience in a related field or relevant education, but it is not required. It will just take more work to build relationships, network, and grow your career.

How much does it cost to start a home inspection business?

The cost to start a home inspection business can vary based on how the business is started. A new inspector with no building or office will have minimum start-up costs.

With education, business cards, and supplies the minimal start-up costs could be around $500. But the average start-up cost that is typically seen is somewhere around $5000 and $8000.

How do home inspectors get work?

If you are an independent home inspector then you will want to network with banks, real estate agents, and others in the real estate field. Building solid networks will be the best way to get business.

Advertising can also help but is a slower means of finding clients than direct networking and relationship building.

What is the best home inspection software?

Horizon Inspection Software seems to be at the top of the list for many home inspectors. With affordability, a user-friendly interface, and free support it can make the home inspection job more streamlined.

There are many other options and some of them get positive reviews as well such as GoCanvas and Jobber.

How do I market myself as a home inspector?

Building strong relationships with real estate agents in your service area is the number one way to land clients. Buyers trust their real estate agent’s recommendations so making sure your name is the first on the list is imperative.

Marketing and advertising with business cards, ads, and other signage in your area are also effective for many inspectors. It also helps to sponsor events or peewee sports teams in your area to get your name out there.

Can you be a realtor and a home inspector?

Technically yes, you can be a realtor and a home inspector. There isn’t anything saying that it is not allowed. However, it can be a conflict of interest and could come into question if the agent also does the home inspection.

If you decide to do both jobs, it would be wise to not inspect homes for your buyers. It can cause issues with the sellers and their agent.

How much does home inspection software cost?

There are a few different options with many home inspection software programs. If you purchase a license outright it is expensive. Think around $800 and up.

But there are options for monthly storage fees in the cloud and use of their program. Some also have a pay per report option. Monthly fees can be in the range of $50 to $100 monthly while the pay per report fees are in the area of $5 per report.

What do home inspectors wear?

There is no uniform for home inspectors unless you work for a firm and have a company polo. Typically inspectors either wear khakis and a polo or jeans and a plain T-shirt.

The key is to make sure the clothes are clean, free of holes, and look professional.

What is inspection software?

Home inspection software is a tool that can be used to make the work of a home inspector far more efficient. It keeps everything from notes, photos, and reports in one location. It is also easily shared with relevant parties.


Specific State Requirements To Become A Home Inspector

Below you will find the requirements to become a home inspector for each state. Simply find your state to see the license requirements.

Alabama Requirements To Become A Home Inspector

  • 120 hours of education
  • Must attend or participate in 35 home inspections
  • Required to take both the state licensing exam as well as the national exam
  • Pay a $300 application fee
  • Write 25 inspection reports. 10 of these reports must be reviewed and edited by a current home inspector
  • Liability insurance as well as Errors and Omissions insurance
  • 15 hours of continuing education each year
  • High School diploma/equivalent in addition to 100 completions of home inspections ORhave a license as a contractor, architect, engineer, home builder OR approval from one of four agencies to inspect residential new construction OR be a member of one of these professional organizations
  • Housing inspection foundation
  • National institute of building inspectors
  • International association of certified home inspectors
  • American society of home inspectors

Alabama Division of Construction Management

Alaska Requirements To Become A Home Inspector

  • Submit application packet
  • ASHI/NHIE/ICC exams. This will depend on what structures you will be inspecting
  • $300 application fee
  • Must have liability insurance for accidents, property damage, and injuries
  • Application needs to be notarized
  • Eight hours of continuing education on even years

Alaska Home Inspection Regulatory Agency

Arizona Requirements To Become A Home Inspector

  • 84 hours of education
  • 100 home inspections and 30 parallel inspections
  • National Home Inspection Exam
  • $175 application fee
  • Errors and Omission insurance required
  • Department of public safety clearance card and fingerprinting required

Arizona Home Inspection Regulatory Agency

Requirements To Become A Home Inspector In Arkansas

  • National and State ethics and standards exam
  • 80 hours of education
  • $250 application fee every year
  • Liability insurance
  • Notarized application and full disclosure in place of background check
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • 14 hours of continuing education. 10 hours must be in person

Arkansas Home Inspection Regulatory Agency

California Requirements To Become A Home Inspector

  • California does not have any requirements
  • Optional to join the California Real Estate Inspection Association
  • If inspectors join the association they will need to do 30 hours of continuing education annually

Colorado

  • No requirements for education or continuing education

Connecticut Requirements To Become A Home Inspector

  • NHIE Exam
  • 40 hours of home inspection education
  • 90 home inspections under indirect supervision, 10 inspections with direct supervision
  • $220 application fee for a permit and a $290 application fee for a license
  • Errors and Omissions insurance and liability insurance
  • Application must be notarized
  • High School Diploma or Equivalent
  • 20 hours of continuing education every 2 years

Connecticut Home Inspection Regulatory Agency

Delaware Requirements

  • Apply as a trainee
  • 140 hours of education
  • 75 home inspections directly supervised
  • NHIE exam
  • Errors and Omissions insurance, liability insurance
  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Notarized Application. Any criminal history must be disclosed
  • $160 application fee to be a trainee and another application fee of $293 for a license
  • 40 hours of continuing education every 2 years

Delaware Board of Home Inspectors

Florida Requirements

  • 120 hours of home inspection education
  • Several exams are required: NHIE, FABI, InterNACHI-FL, and CI-HPI
  • $125 application fee
  • Liability insurance (must be more than $300,000)
  • Background check and fingerprints
  • 14 hours of continuing education every two years

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Georgia Requirements

  • Letter of recommendation from a financial institution such as a bank
  • Two letters of recommendation from a professional in the construction/home building/engineering industry on a professional letterhead
  • Liability and worker’s comp insurance

Hawaii

  • No requirements

Idaho

  • No Requirements

Illinois Home Inspection License Requirements

  • 60 hours of home inspection education
  • Must perform five mock inspections
  • Illinois home inspector exam
  • $250 application fee
  • Minimum age of 21
  • High school diploma/GED
  • 12 hours of continuing education every two year. 6 hours can be electives
  • 1 hour of sexual harassment prevention training courses

Illinois Home Inspection Regulatory Agency

Indiana Home Inspector Requirements

  • 60 hours of home inspection education
  • 12 hours of the 60 must be in practical experience
  • NHIE
  • $450 application fee
  • Liability coverage
  • High school diploma/GED
  • Minimum age of 18
  • 32 hours of continuing education on odd years

Indiana Home Inspectors Licensing Board

Iowa

  • No requirements

Kansas

  • No requirements

Kentucky Requirements

  • 64 hours of education
  • Three inspections, unpaid and directly supervised by a current home inspector
  • NHIE
  • $250 application fee
  • Liability coverage
  • Background check and fingerprinting
  • 18 years of age
  • High school diploma/GED
  • 28 hours of continuing education every two years

Kentucky Board of Home Inspectors

Louisiana Requirements

  • Report writing seminar
  • 90 hours of education
  • 30 hours of hands on experience
  • NHIE
  • $200 application fee
  • 18 years of age
  • Errors and Omissions insurance, Liability
  • $25,000 bond
  • High school diploma/GED
  • Notarized application
  • Background check and fingerprints
  • 20 hours of continuing education each year. 8 hours can be online

Louisiana State Board of Home Inspectors

Maine

  • No Requirements

Maryland Requirements

  • 72 hours of education
  • NHIE
  • $50 application fee (if given a license application will pay another $325)
  • Liability insurance
  • Notarized application
  • High school diploma/GED
  • 30 hours every two years, 30% can be online

Maryland Commission of Home Inspectors

Massachusetts Requirements To Become A Home Inspector

  • 75 hours of education
  • 25 home inspections under supervision, 100 inspections directly or indirectly supervised
  • NHIE
  • $225 application fee for associate inspector, $338 fee for inspector
  • Errors and Omissions insurance
  • Passport size photo
  • Associate inspector for at least one year
  • 12 hours of continuing education
  • Notarized application and background check
  • High school diploma/GED
  • 12 hours of continuing education every 2 years

Massachusetts Board of Registration of Home Inspectors

Michigan Requirements

  • No requirements

Minnesota Requirements

  • No requirements

Mississippi Requirements To Be A Home Inspector

  • Application Required
  • 60 hours of education
  • NHIE
  • $175 application fee
  • Liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance
  • Notarized application
  • 18 years of age
  • High School Diploma/GED
  • 20 hours of continuing every two years

Mississippi Home Inspector Board

Missouri Requirements

  • No requirements

Montana Requirements

  • 40 hours education
  • NHIE or other approved exam
  • $80 application fee
  • Liability insurance, Errors and Omissions insurance
  • Member of national inspector association
  • 40 hours of continuing education every two years

Montana Department of Labor

Nebraska Requirements

  • No requirements

Nevada Requirements To Become A Home Inspector

  • 40 hours of education
  • Observe 25 home inspections
  • $350 application fee
  • Errors and omissions insurance, liability insurance
  • Notarized application
  • Background check and fingerprints
  • High school diploma/GED
  • 18 years of age
  • 20 hours of continuing education every two years

Nevada Real Estate Division

New Hampshire Requirements

  • 80 hours of education
  • NHIE
  • $200 application fee
  • 18 years of age
  • Liability insurance
  • Background check
  • 20 hours of continuing education every two years

New Hampshire Board of Home Inspectors

Home Inspector Requirements In New Jersey

  • 180 hours of education
  • 250 home inspections under direct supervision
  • NHIE
  • $125 application fee
  • Errors and omissions insurance
  • Notarized application
  • High school diploma/GED
  • 40 hours of continuing education every two years

New Jersey Home Inspection Advisory Committee

New Mexico Requirements

  • No requirements

New York Requirements To Become A Home Inspector

  • 140 hours of education, 40 hours must be in the field
  • NHIE
  • $250 application fee
  • Liability insurance
  • High school diploma/GED
  • 24 hours every two years

New York Division of Licensing Services

North Carolina Home Inspector Requirements

  • 120 hours of education
  • 80 hours in the field
  • North Carolina exam
  • $35 application fee
  • Liability insurance, Bond, Errors and Omissions
  • Background check
  • High school diploma/GED
  • 12 hours of continuing education yearly

North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board

North Dakota Requirements

  • One of four exams: NHIE, InterNACHI, ASHI, ICC
  • $200
  • Errors and Omissions insurance
  • 18 years of age

North Dakota Secretary of State

Ohio Requirements

  • No requirements

Oklahoma Requirements

  • 90 hours of education
  • NHIE or similar exam
  • $280 application
  • Liability insurance
  • Notarized application
  • 18 years
  • 8 years of continuing education

Oklahoma Construction Industries Board

Oregon Requirements

  • 60 hours of education
  • NHIE
  • $150 application
  • Notarized application
  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • 30 hours of continuing education every two years

Oregon Construction Contractors Board

Pennsylvania Requirements

  • 100 inspections
  • NHIE
  • Errors and Omissions insurance, Liability insurance

Rhode Island

  • NHIE
  • Assist in at least 50 home inspections
  • 12 hours of continuing education every two years

Rhode Island Home Inspection Regulatory Agency

South Carolina Requirements To Become A Home Inspector

  • Approved course
  • NHIE or South Carolina and SC residential business management and law test
  • $80 application fee
  • Notarized application, background check in some situations
  • SSC and DL
  • 18 years old

South Carolina Labor Licensing

South Dakota Requirements

  • 40 hours of education
  • NHIE
  • 100 paid inspections
  • $200 application fee
  • Notarized application
  • Background check
  • High school diploma/GED
  • Continuing education every two years

South Dakota Real Estate Comission

Tennessee Requirements

  • 90 hours of education
  • Exam
  • $300 application fee
  • 18 years of age
  • Liability, Errors and omission insurance
  • High School diploma/GED
  • 32 hours of continuing education every two years

Tennessee Regulatory Agency

Texas Home Inspection License Requirements

  • 354 hours of education
  • 40 hours of inspections/training
  • NHIE as well as a Texas specific exam
  • Liability insurance
  • $120 application fee. Extra $10 after exam is passed
  • Fingerprinting and background check
  • Legally able to work in the US
  • 18 years old
  • Have honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness
  • 16 hours CE every year

Visit The TREC Website

Utah License Requirements

  • No requirements

Vermont Requirements

  • 80 hours of education
  • NHIE
  • $100 application fee
  • 18 years of age
  • High school diploma/GED

Visit the Vermont State Website

Virginia Home Inspection License Requirements

  • 35 hours of education
  • 50 inspections that are directly supervised
  • NHIE
  • $80 application fee
  • Liability insurance
  • 18 years of age

Virginia Board

Washington Requirements

  • 120 hours of education
  • 40 hours of inspections
  • State exam
  • $680 application fee
  • 24 hours of CE every two years

Washington State Licensing

Washington DC Requirements

  • No requirements

West Virginia Requirements

  • 80 hours of education
  • NHIE
  • $150 application fee
  • Liability insurance
  • High school diploma/GED
  • Background check/fingerprinting
  • 16 hours of CE every year

Wisconsin Requirements

  • NHIE and state exam
  • $126 application fee
  • 40 hours of continuing education every 2 years

Wisconsin State Website

Wyoming Requirements

  • No Requirements