How Much Does It Cost to Become a Home Inspector?
Home inspection is a growing and profitable field that isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Becoming a home inspector means you’ll have unlimited earning potential, be your own boss, choose your own hours, and help people by ensuring their homes are safe.
As you read up on the requirements for becoming a home inspector in your state, you’ll likely have a burning question: How much does it cost to become a home inspector?
The answer depends on a few things. Keep reading to learn all about the costs of earning your home inspector license and starting your own home inspection business.
What is a Home Inspector and What Do They Do?
Home inspectors are a key part of the real estate transaction process. A home inspector is a qualified specialist hired to visually inspect the major systems, appliances, and structural components of a home. During a home inspection, the inspector identifies immediate and potential problems with these systems and writes a detailed report for the prospective homebuyer or seller.
Homebuyers looking to purchase a home rely on this report as an objective opinion of the overall health and safety of a home. This report is often used as a negotiation tool. Armed with the knowledge an inspection report provides, homebuyers may ask for a repair allowance or a reduction in the sale price of a home if, for example, a system needs repair.
Home inspectors also work with sellers, too. A seller might hire an inspector to complete a pre-inspection of their home before it goes on the market. This helps alert sellers to potential issues or repairs they might need to make before selling their homes.
Home inspectors are also key resources riding the bench of any homeowner’s home maintenance ‘team.’ They perform seasonal home inspections throughout the year and inspect homes after natural disasters. Many home inspectors also offer add-on services that give homeowners peace of mind. These include termite inspections, radon inspections, mold assessments, indoor air quality inspections, septic evaluations, and more.
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Home Inspector?
Becoming a home inspector has a relatively low startup cost when compared to other business startups. It’s not often you see a total startup cost for a new and thriving business of just a few thousand dollars. This makes home inspection an attractive field for career-changers, part-timers, and those just starting out in a career.
In the home inspection field, your startup costs include more than simply paying for your training. The costs of getting licensed, taking your exam (if your state requires it), setting up your business, and running it over time all figure into your total investment.
The Costs of Getting Your Home Inspector License
In most states, you’ll need to become licensed in order to legally work as a home inspector. This means attending a home inspection school and, if required by your state, taking the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE).
Some states don’t require you to have a license. But you may have to meet state-specific licensing requirements or take a state licensing exam. Even in unregulated states, it’s recommended that you complete a home inspection training program to ensure you have basic knowledge of the Standard Operating Procedures.
Today, the cost of home inspection training runs anywhere between $600 and $2,500. This varies depending on whether you enroll in an online program or in-person classes and what’s included when you enroll. At AHIT, for example, you can enroll in an online class or an in-person class if it’s offered in your state. You can also take a hybrid approach, completing some training online and some in the field by practicing home inspections and report writing with an instructor. Keep in mind that your choice of a class depends primarily on your state’s requirements.
Find out the requirements and cost of our home inspection training in your state.
Many home inspection training programs, including AHIT’s, also include add-ons such as the textbook(s) you’ll need, NHIE exam prep materials, marketing education, and inspection report software. When you evaluate home inspection schools, shop around and compare what’s included for the price of your enrollment.
Home Inspector Continuing Education Costs & Maintaining Your Home Inspection License
The cost of earning your home inspector license is just one part of your startup costs as a new home inspector. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of maintaining your home inspection license. This, you guessed it, depends on your state. Generally, it includes the cost of license renewal and Continuing Education (CE) classes.
In states where a license is required, you’ll have to pay a fee to renew it yearly or every two years. To renew your license, you may have to meet a certain number of CE hours each year.
If you live in Arkansas, for example, home inspection licenses are valid for one year, from January 1st through December 31st, and must be renewed yearly by December 1st at a fee of $250. You’ll also have to complete 14 hours of CE.
Find out the cost of renewing a home inspector license and the CE course requirements in your state.
In unregulated states, like Minnesota for instance, there are no home inspector license requirements. That means there’s no need to renew a license or pay for CE courses – though, you may want to pursue CE to keep a competitive edge in the industry.
Your state might also require you to join a home inspection association – like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Both associations (and others that may be state-specific) have annual membership fees.
The Costs of Starting Your Home Inspection Business
With your new business, you’ll also have overhead expenses you’ll need to plan for. Some of these fees will be part of your annual operating budget. Some are one-time costs, and some may recur only every few years.
To get started in your business, be sure to figure in the costs of:
- Inspection Tools – Your inspection toolkit should include the recommended tools you’ll need to complete most home inspection jobs.
- Report Software – Professional home inspector report software is an industry standard for creating simple, polished reports to share with your clients.
- E&O Insurance – In most states, you’ll be required to carry errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. Learn why insurance is important for your business even if you live in a state that doesn’t require it to work as an inspector.
- Small Business Legal Fees – You’ll need to register your new business with your state’s Secretary of State office and the IRS.
- A Website – To help promote your business, you may want to create a website advertising your services.
- Marketing Materials – Business cards, flyers, direct mailers, and more can all help you generate regular leads.
Operating Costs of Running Your Home Inspection Business
Remember to also factor in the practical costs of doing business as a home inspector.
For instance, you’ll be driving to clients’ homes to complete inspections. Factor in the cost of car insurance, gas, and a car payment if you have one.
You may be running your business from home. Factor in the cost of any office equipment, supplies, high-speed Internet, and cell phone service. If you won’t be running it from home, you might need office space. That means adding in the cost of rent.
Check out the table below to see a ballpark startup cost for becoming a home inspector. Of course, many of these fees and estimates depend on the requirements in your state. Do your research and personalize this chart for your projected costs.
|Average Costs of Becoming a Home Inspector
|Home Inspection Training Course
||$600 – $2,000, depending on type of program
|NHIE Fee (if required in your state)
||$225 to take the exam
|Home Inspector License Application (if required in your state)
||$250 on average to apply for state license
|Home Inspection Toolkit
||$500-$700 on average for a starter toolkit
|Home Inspection Reporting Software
||$50 to $100 monthly subscription
||$40 monthly on average depending on your level of coverage
|Registering Your Business in Your State
||$50 to $150, then yearly fee
|Home Inspection Association Fees (if required by your state)
||$50 to $150, then yearly fee
|Ballpark Startup Cost
||$3,000 to $5,000
Do Home Inspection Training Courses Offer Financing?
Financing, payment plans, and even military discounts may be available to you when you begin your home inspection training. AHIT offers all three. Learn more about our payment plans, financing, and military discount program.
Where Can I Get Home Inspector Training?
One search on Google and you’ll quickly see the top home inspection schools serving the U.S. Bob Vila even has a great round-up of the top five. AHIT is ranked “Best Bang for the Buck.”
As you compare schools, remember to consider your own wants and needs in a training program. You may learn best in an in-person environment or live in a state that requires only in-person training for licensing. Or you may want to complete home inspector training at your own pace with online courses while continuing to work at your day job. Your overall cost of becoming a home inspector depends on many factors.
When you train with AHIT, rest assured that we’ll help you meet the inspection training requirements in your state and prepare you fully to run a successful home inspection business. Learn more about AHIT home inspector training and request your free AHIT catalog to dive deeper into the potential of a new home inspection career.