When it comes to buying a house, there are a million regulations to follow. Whether dictated by the lender extending the mortgage, the homeowner’s insurance company, or by the state, it seems there are countless hoops to jump through before closing. Of course, the requirements differ slightly for every home that is bought or sold – especially when it comes to requirements for home inspections in certain states. Believe it or not, there are a handful of states that don’t outline any requirements at all for home inspections or the professionals who conduct them.

If you’re considering a career in home inspection in one of those states, there’s nothing stopping you from going out and conducting your first inspection today. In places like California, Virginia, Colorado and Maine, you can theoretically begin advertising your services and accepting jobs without any kind of formal training or certification. The problem? Most realtors, banks, and homebuyers demand education, experience, and a track record of success.

Working with Unlicensed Home Inspectors

Unlicensed home inspectors may develop the skills they require for the job while in the field. This first-hand experience can indeed prepare a professional inspector for a long, healthy career. However, it’s difficult to gain the experience necessary to learn the tricks of the trade without entering into some kind of formal training program. While some home inspection companies in states without licensing requirements may offer apprenticeships, they’re rare.

Instead, many unlicensed home inspectors are self-taught. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can be difficult to make yourself aware of your own blind spots. Inevitably, the blind spots in a home inspector’s skill set can lead to mistakes and oversights. Mistakes lead to upset clients and bad reviews. A single oversight can lead to a tarnished reputation online, and the ultimate demise of a once-promising career in home inspection.

Taking on Liability 

Prior to the 1980s, there was almost no regulation around home inspector licensing. Homebuyers were at the mercy of the seller, hoping they had been honest in their description of the property’s maintenance history. Some turned to knowledgeable friends and contractors before closing on their homes, and soon, a new industry was born. A large majority of homeowners, however, took on a 30-year mortgage with no insight into the health of the house they were buying.

Now, home inspections are considered the industry standard. Even in states without licensing requirements for home inspectors, buyers see these professionals as an investment in their new homes. Most homebuyers wouldn’t dream of spending their hefty down payment without a working understanding of a property’s history, maintenance requirements, and defects. A home without a proper inspection is seen as a liability.

Above and Beyond

While your state may not have any formal requirements for home inspectors, it’s worth pursuing certification. For starters, you’ll find yourself much more marketable with your certification posted clearly on your website. Buyers are looking for transparency, and listing a certification number – like the one ICA extends to all of our graduates – is a great way to show your hand. Buyers agents are always in the market for trusted inspection professionals, and they’ll be eager to pass on the name of certified home inspectors.

Of course, home inspection certification is more than just a savvy marketing tool. The training you’ll complete to become certified will provide you with a thorough education on all things home inspection. Even the most experienced home inspectors can learn a thing or two from a training program like ICA’s! Whether you’re brand new to the industry or have worked on a million construction sites, there’s no denying the benefits of a comprehensive inspector training program.

Certification allows you to master the foundations of a home inspection, but it also gives you unique insight into the best practices currently in vogue. While apprenticeships and internships are great for handing down knowledge from one generation to the next, modern certification programs are informed by industry thought leaders. ICA, for instance, works with organizations like InterNACHI and the American Society of Home Inspectors to craft curriculum around the most state-of-the-art techniques available. These professional groups are committed to research and the development of new technology so you can learn to work smarter, not harder.

Earn Your Home Inspector Certification Now

More than 30 U.S. states mandate home inspector licensing in some form. If your state doesn’t have these regulations in place, you’ll be on your own to pursue adequate training and certification. While you could certainly try to launch your new career without a traditional home inspection education, the road to success isn’t guaranteed. To ensure you’re competitive in your local market, you’ll want to perform at the highest of industry standards – which is much more difficult without formal training.

ICA offers convenient, affordable certification for home inspectors in all 50 states. To learn more about our online training and certification program, click here!

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