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How Do I Become a New Home Inspector?

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  • Written By: Synthia L. Rose
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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To become a new home inspector, a candidate must complete required coursework at a university or trade school and take a licensing exam. After obtaining a home inspector’s license, an inspector can help homebuyers by assessing the safety and structural soundness of newly-built homes. These duties can be carried out independently by contracting with new homebuilders or real estate offices specializing in the sale of new homes. Otherwise, a new home inspector can work as an employee for municipalities who regularly send agents out to investigate new homes for quality before they can be put on the market and sold.

The coursework and field training required to become a new home inspector can be taken at any certified school that tenders a degree, whether it is a technical school or an actual college. Most local governments require between 60 and 120 hours of classes. These classes teach students how to conduct inspections of a home’s exterior and interior. Students learn how to analyze roofing, plumbing, the skeletal structure of a home, and the electrical system. In addition, techniques for inspecting appliances and a home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) are taught.

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Roughly 40% to 50% of training can include fieldwork where students go to an actual new home and analyze its quality under the supervision of instructors who are also certified inspectors; some local governments, however, do not require hands-on field training. Additional training to become a new home inspector might include the investigation of drainage outside the home and the propensity for mold and dampness inside the home. Most governments also require inspectors to know how to check for harmful gases accumulating in ground underneath a home, such as radon.

Within two years of finishing coursework, a person aspiring to become a new home inspector should pay a fee to take a certification exam, which will cover all the information taught during class and field instruction. While many municipalities offer their own exams, in the U.S., many local governments rely on the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) exam or the National Home Inspector Exam, formerly known as the American Society of Home Inspectors Exam (ASHI). The NAHI test is two-hours-long and contains 140 questions, while the other test is 200 questions long and can require up to four hours to complete.

If you pass the exam, applying to a local government agency for an inspector’s license is the final step to become a new home inspector. A license is typically good for one or two years. After that, individuals must renew it. Some governments require that candidates complete a certain number of actual home inspections before getting a license — typically between 40 and 100.

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