Turns out, home inspectors can become real estate agents…but why would they? And, maybe more importantly, why wouldn’t they? As a home inspector, you’re already the master of how a home functions, inside and out. You’re the navigator of murky waters (sometimes quite literally), guiding the homebuyer on their way to understanding issues that can arise in a home, and how to handle them. So, who could be a better candidate to become dual-licensed as a real estate agent than you? It could prove to be a smart career move if you’re looking to bolster your income and offer your unique expertise to buyers and sellers alike.
Here, we’ll outline why you should pursue your real estate agent licensure as well as the challenges of having both professions. We’ll also show you how to get there.
What are the benefits of becoming dual-licensed in home inspection and real estate?
A double agent, if you will. When you put on both hats, you may find the best of both worlds in your career…
Being a realtor allows you to see the other side of real estate transactions.
Why is this agent rushing me? What level of detail are agents hoping for in these reports? Why are these clients so freaked out over a leaky sink? With a foot in each door, you’ll be able to see these two sides of the real estate transaction more clearly. Being able to see the process from the other side of the deal can help you establish pain points, and better structure the entire process.
Also, you will be able to understand the inspection report to the fullest capacity, which can help you negotiate sales prices for your clients!
You better understand your clients’ needs.
When you’re better able to understand the whole process, you’re better able to serve your clients in the process. Think about the issues you can save buyers from while you help them find their dream home, all because you understand what should and shouldn’t be going on in a house. You’ll also up your inspector game when you learn how to communicate your findings in a way that a real estate agent can make use of. On the flip side, you can talk your clients off the ledge when they get an inspection report riddled with less-than-favorable news. Say goodbye to the nasty rumor that inspectors kill deals. (More like close deals!)
You’ll open another potential revenue stream.
Being able to take on both roles in the real estate transaction also means more money. If you were networking primarily with real estate agents before, now you can widen the pool and network to buyers and sellers, as well. Let everyone know that you are the real estate jack-of-all-trades, and wait for the job opportunities to trickle in. You’ll be a hot commodity in no time.
Something to keep in mind, however, is that you likely can’t serve both roles in a single transaction. Read on to learn why…
Beware of ethical concerns and conflicts of interest.
Home inspectors know that the key to a great inspection is to remain unbiased and honest, providing your client with all of the details they need to know about the home they’re planning to buy. Not only is impartiality preferred, but in many cases, biased practice will have legal repercussions.
Faulty wiring, some rusted pipes, rotting wood…yikes. Sometimes those details are hard to swallow. We get it. But what’s harder to swallow is getting stuck in court — which can happen if a client claims you did a negligent job inspecting a home, leaving them with a hoard of added expenses. This is such a serious concern that some states prohibit practicing both jobs for the same property, and some (Texas, Florida, and Washington, as of 2021) won’t allow dual licensure at all.
Never operate in any transaction you have a stake in.
This is standard for both professions but is especially scrutinized if you hold double licenses: avoid transactions where any personal bias could impact your work. That means you should probably avoid situations where you are working for friends or family members, or situations where you might be tempted to sway any part of the transaction to help someone make a commission or sell their house more easily.
If you’re aiming to become licensed in both businesses, you probably like helping people, which is a wonderful trait for both careers! However, there is a line that should never be crossed when it comes to personal biases. Don’t risk losing your licenses!
How can a home inspector become a real estate agent?
As a home inspector, you’re probably prepared to take hours of courses, training, and exams to earn your title, whether that is in the form of a license or professional qualifications. Becoming a real estate agent follows a similar process, but in some cases can be much less rigorous than becoming a home inspector!
One big advantage is that as a real estate agent, you don’t need to complete any field work, like the practice inspections that home inspectors in-training have to do. In fact, in many states, you can complete your real estate education online in as few as three weeks!
The first step to starting any new career is to figure out your state requirements. From there, you can find courses tailor-made for you, and get going on your journey.
Check your state’s laws and requirements about dual licensure.
As we mentioned, there are a few states where dual licensure is illegal. To know for sure if you can become a real estate agent in addition to a home inspector, always check your individual state laws and requirements first. From there, we’ve got everything you need to get started with your real estate licensing education and beyond!
You’re on your way to creating an exciting career full of variety and opportunity! For more information on what you can expect as a new real estate agent, check out our blog, and subscribe to our newsletter for the inside scoop on sales, webinars, handy tips, and more!