Home inspectors look for potential problems with safety issues, structural damage, and other faults outside and inside a condo, a home, or any other residential building. Their knowledge of building codes, building construction, and home systems help them inform residents and homebuyers of the potential solutions and risks to make the building functional and safe.
Factors such as location, whether the home inspector works for somebody else or is self-employed, building size, and the inspector’s experience, affect how much a home inspector’s pay will be. Generally, independent house inspectors have greater control over their earnings than those on staff for a firm. They choose to work irregular hours to accommodate clients and can set their own inspection fees.
Checking for safety issues and quality, home inspectors carefully examine the home’s exterior and interior components. They use their attention to detail and their knowledge of building construction to detect any signs of mold and water damage, plumbing or faulty wiring or roof damage, heating systems or failing air conditioning, and foundation issues.
This work demands physical stamina to climb on to roofs, move around in tight crawl spaces, and use ladders to access attics. Home inspectors also note potential violations of safety laws and building codes and the possible improvements to the home that can reduce risks to the residents. They put all of their findings, recommendations, and photographs, in a comprehensive report that they usually give to existing or potential homeowners.
Aspiring home inspectors need to have a driver’s license and a high school diploma and must meet state licensing criteria. Some states, such as Indiana, California, Georgia, Maine, do not require a license. However, most locations have licensing requirements that can include previous inspection or construction experience, pre-licensing coursework, and a certification exam.
Home inspector training programs cover topics such as electrical and plumbing systems, roof inspection, heating, flooring, walls, exterior spaces, and air conditioning systems. Some courses have a hands-on component, as well. The most general certification exam that states require for licensure is the NHIE (National Home Inspector Examination), from the ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors). Once home inspectors are licensed, they can complete continuing education for renewal.
Home inspectors most commonly work as employees for home inspection companies or contractors. Few work for architectural or construction firms or perform inspections for the local government. They can also opt to start their own home-inspection enterprise. Most home inspectors work with employers to determine the scope of the inspection or homeowners and real estate agents.
Their work mostly takes place during the daytime hours and mostly alone, although they also spend additional time completing documentation after inspections and traveling to locations. Self-employed inspectors can have more variable work hours if they make themselves available to clients in the evenings or on the weekends.
How Much Do Home Inspectors Make
On the report of the BLS, the median pay for all building and construction inspectors is $60,710 as of May 2019, with half of the inspectors earning more and half making less. Wages fall below $36,440 for the least-paid 10 percent to over $98,820 for the highest-earning 10 percent.
The average salaries for the top employers are $61,430 for local government and $62,840 for engineering, architectural, and related services. A California home inspector averages the most at $86,660, while a home inspector in Texas makes $57,820 on average. While the BLS doesn’t report specific incomes based on employment status, a self-employed home inspector salary will ultimately depend on project cost, economic conditions, the number of clients, and home size.
A house inspector salary may increase, with changes to pay rates based on experience. Also, as a self-employed home inspector builds a client base, this can increase his income. As of July 2020, these figures from PayScale show what the home inspector average salary looks like over time:
- 0 to 5 years: $44,057
- 5 to 10 years: $51,615
- 10 to 20 years: $52,088
- 20 or more years: $61,391
Careers in Europe: An early career Building Inspector with 1-5 years of experience makes an average total compensation (includes bonus, tips, and overtime pay) of £33,099. A mid-career Building Inspector with 5-10 years of experience makes an average total compensation of £35,375. In their late-career (20 plus years and higher), employees make an average total compensation of £43,000.
Careers in Asia: The average building inspector pay in Malaysia is RM70,570 or an equivalent hourly rate of RM34.
Job Growth Trend
The BLS predicts excellent job prospects for all building and construction inspectors, because of an increased focus on building quality and safety. Overall, job growth is estimated at an above-average rate of ten percent between 2016 and 2026.(1)
Home inspectors working for specialized-services firms or the government can expect good job opportunities if they have the experience, certification, and training. However, fluctuating economic conditions can affect how much work self-employed home inspectors can find, and this can make their employment status less stable.