How To launch Your Long Island Home Inspection Career
If you've ever thought about a career as a professional home inspector, the spectacular hi-tech growth boom combined with the sprawling beauty and architectural diversity of Long Island, NY, makes it an irresistible home inspection services location.
"Make it on Long Island and you'll make it anywhere!"
So, what exactly does a home inspector do?
By definition, a home inspector performs a limited, non-invasive inspection of a home, typically (but not always) associated with the sale of that home. He or she must be certified and licensed according to the State rules governing home inspections (See New York State Licensing below).
Upon completing the inspection the home inspector prepares and delivers a comprehensive written report to the client. The client then utilises the findings in the report to make an informed decision around the pending purchase of the home they're looking to buy.
What services does a home inspection company offer?
The services offered by home inspectors throughout the U.S. vary slightly from state to state. This is because the climatic variations have differing impacts on both the structures and materials used to build houses in those states. And of course, there's the "critter factor" to take into consideration as well.
The sorts of animals and insects that make themselves perfectly at home (no pun intended) in a house in Wyoming are likely to be very different to the animals and insects you'll find in Arizona. NOTE: Long Island residents don't have bears, wolves or pythons to worry about. But termites? That's a whole different story.
To summarize, the primary services offered by property inspection companies, including those on Long Island, include, but are not limited to:
⦁ Systems Reviews – Electrical, Plumbing, Water, Heating and Air Conditioning
⦁ Basement Inspections
⦁ Structural Reviews
What about education and training?
It just so happens that New York is one of the states that requires their home inspection consultants to satisfy both education and licensure requirements. The educational requirement includes completing 140 hours of training of which 40 must involve the conduction of free inspections done in the field under the direct supervision of a licensed examiner.
After these (140) hours are completed, you must sit for the New York State licensing exam. There are several online preparatory practice exams where you can test your knowledge prior to the real exam. There are also a few professional organizations that, once having become a member, allow you to use their own practice exams and online training for preparation purposes.
New York State Licensing parameters
A license allows a property inspector only to work in the state where they are licensed. In New York, licenses must be renewed every two years. During this time, there are 24 hours of continuing education (CE) credits that are completed, as required by the State of New York. If these hours are not completed before license expiration, licensure will lapse until the CE work is completed.
Certification – Requirements and Process
Beyond licensing, there is the Certified Real Estate Inspector(CRI) certification. Getting certified requires that someone has been working as a licensed professional, and has completed 250 full, fee-paid inspections. Once these field hours are completed, there is a National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) certification exam.
The reasons why a house inspection consultant would want to seek certification is because it carries a certain amount of credibility. It says you are a serious and seasoned professional. Also, when people are searching for inspectors, those that are certified are at the top of the list. This positioning will naturally mean more business.
After successfully passing the exam, you will have the distinguished CRI certification, the only designation available in this industry for proven home inspection professionals. You'll also have access to a CRI logo that you can put on your business cards and in your advertising.
Certified agents also gain access to promotional CRI materials, like foil seals, for example, that can be used to dress up a final report given to potential homebuyers. NOTE: These seals are only available to NAHI CRI members
What about trade association memberships?
There are some professions that are fairly solitary in nature. Building inspectors are among them. But this certainly doesn't mean that you or the Long Island home inspection company that you (hopefully) will one day work for, need go it alone. There are many advantages to be had by being part of an established trade association.
Employees of home inspection companies can also get free or low-cost training or certification. They are made aware of new job opportunities. They can take advantage of discounts offered on equipment and supplies. And they can stay well informed about changes and breaking news from the industry that may affect their work.
Membership Benefits for Inspectors
In the case of InterNACHI, members are guaranteed up to five hundred hours of continuing education, and as many as thirty certifications. Members are permitted access to a huge database of current and upcoming jobs, as well as access to an exclusive online members only club.
Members get links to supply discounts, and the InterNACHI site provides free graphics to help members create their websites and free advertising. Membership is $49 per month or $499 per year.
ASHI offers free on-line training, affiliate discounts for car and health insurance, permission to use its logo in advertising, and templates for producing company brochures and promotional materials.
NAHI benefits include reduced-cost educational training, permission to use the NAHI logo in advertising, and the opportunity for certification training. This association also offers a mentoring program for its members.
Being a member of InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) can make a tremendous difference to the quality of house inspections you're hired to perform. Not only because the services offered by this Association help qualify you for such work, but because clients know that InterNACHI certified inspectors guarantee professional, thorough inspections, and so people seek you out.
Background To Home Inspection-Related Trade Associations
The organization known as InterNACHI was founded in 1990 and is now the largest home inspector's association on the planet. It has members in more than sixty-five countries, including the entire United States and eight of Canada's provinces. Its website gets hundreds of millions of hits per year and is hundreds of thousands of pages in length.
INTERNachi's main office is located in Boulder, Colorado. Its twelve thousand international members are required to be in compliance with its Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.
ASHI was founded in 1976 and membership is limited to U.S. based inspectors and inspection companies. ASHI has its own mandatory Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that members must adhere to at all times.
NAHI was founded in 1987 as a professional association for home inspection workers within the United States. Like the other two organizations, NAHI has its standards and ethics codes.
Insurance and the 300,000 reasons you need it
Home inspectors must be insured for at least $300,000 for errors and omissions and general liability for “Home Inspections”. And believe me, your prospective customers are going to ask you if you have it. Just make sure the policy lists coverage for Home Inspections and not something else like construction, roofing, painting, or other types of contracting.
What about consumer guarantees?
Members of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) will GUARANTEE TO BUY YOUR CUSTOMER'S HOME BACK if you are unfortunate enough to miss something. The details of Nachi's insurance are as follows:
1. Honored for 90 days after closing.
2. Valid for home inspections performed for home buyers by participating InterNACHI members.
3. Your customers will be paid an amount equivalent to what they paid for their home.
4. The home must be listed with a licensed real estate agent.
Know the available Long Island housing stock situation
You can 'bet the bank' that anyone planning to buy a home in Long Island, NY, is going to lean towards an inspector who is demonstrably knowledgeable about the various types of housing in and around the area you're looking buy.
Nassau County for example, has many older homes built in the early 1900’s. These older-style homes need a specialized approach to determine what 'if any' weaknesses they may have. Homes in Suffolk County on the other hand, are much newer and may be subject to a very different set of construction guidelines.
It's worth pointing out that Long Island is famous for its housing developments, especially the larger ones. Take Levittown for example – those homes must be checked thoroughly for cheap and/or inferior materials that may not be up to the sort of punishment Long Island weather can dish out.
Also, there are countless apartments that require special sets of checklists to review. Queens County, although officially part of New York City, is often considered part of Long Island, NY and has many buildings converted into two and three family dwelling structures with multiple renovations over the years.
As you can see, taking the time getting to know the housing stock situation on Long Island could well prove to be the single biggest lead generation asset you could have. Make the effort and you'll surely reap the rewards.
So, you're sold on becoming a home inspector – where to next?
If the lure of a Long Island home inspection career has hit its mark, the next thing you need to do is check out the job opportunities for home inspectors in Nassau County and Suffolk County. You can do this by going to Indeed.com and doing a Google search for "long island rookie home inspection careers and job vacancies."
Learn the tricks of the trade from one of your future competitors!
Tom Driscoll of www.bestlongislandhomeinspection.com is a bit of a legend on Long Island. As one of the original local home inspectors he knows the place like the back of his hand. You might think that Tom would be kinda 'put out' by someone drilling him for info on the ins and outs of becoming a home inspector on his own home turf, but he's quite the opposite. Give him a call and offer to buy him a beer in exchange for a quick chat. Knowing Tom, hey, it might just work!
But if you're not quite ready to eyeball the enemy just yet, you could always do a bit of home grown competitor research by going to Yelp and checking out the Top 10 Home Inspectors on Long Island