Real estate is one of those industries that offer many different types of job opportunities. One such profession is a property inspector sometimes referred to as a home inspector. When buying a home or commercial property the buyer will often seek the services of a property inspector to determine the condition of the structure and provide a report detailing any repairs that need to be made. This inspection process is an important part of the escrow process as this is the opportunity for the buyer to do their due diligence and confirm the overall structural integrity of the property. In many cases the inspector will encourage the potential buyer to join them during the inspection process. This allows the potential buyer to ask questions and get verbal details from the inspector as they move through the inspection process. After the inspection is complete and the buyer has received their final report from the inspector, they then have the option to discuss with the seller any repairs that may need to be completed prior to closing on the property. In other cases the buyer may ask for a credit or reduction in price from the seller to compensate for any repairs needed or even back out of the purchase if not satisfied with final inspection results.
The inspector will perform a visual inspection of the property including the roof, framing/support structures, plumbing, the heating and cooling systems, electrical components, water damage and check the foundation of the structure. An inspector will not remove siding or cut through drywall or perform any type of inspection process that would damage the property. Rather the inspector will test water faucets to insure they are in working order, no leaking and provide adequate water pressure. Doors, cabinet and appliances are also checked for proper functionality. Electrical receptacles and switches are inspected to ensure they too are in safe working order and are properly grounded. Attics, basements and crawl spaces are inspected during the process. As well, a thorough check of the roof for leaks and gutters for proper drainage will be performed.
The inspection process is very detailed and can last for several hours or more depending on the size of the structure. During the process the inspector will be climbing on the roof as well as crawling into some tight spaces to do a complete inspection. After the inspection of the property has been completed, the inspector will typically provide a detailed report of the findings and provide this to the perspective buyer.
Depending on the state you reside in there may be specific requirements you must meet in order to qualify as a property inspector. In some states there are no licensing requirements where other states do have required pre-licensing course work that must be completed. Before you begin, be sure to check with your local state agencies to confirm the necessary steps you need to take to get started. It's suggested that a property inspector should also have adequate liability insurance in the case of any accidental damage to the property being inspected. It should also be noted that there is a push for pre-licensing requirements in each state. Having completed the National Home Inspector Examination, even if not currently required in your state, can be a benefit as more states adopt this standard. College courses in engineering and architecture as well as some hands on experience in the construction field are all great aspects to bring to the job, required or not.
The average annual salary for a property inspector is approximately $45k. In some areas a full time property inspector can make in excess of $70,000 per year. Job growth is expected to continue to grow in this field. Growth will typically follow the real estate market. As a new property inspector there are many opportunities to work for an inspection firm. As you gain more experience and begin to network within the industry moving on as an individual contractor or even starting your own inspection firm can be a way to increase your revenue and expand your career.