The Best home Inspection Training Schools
Want to know what the best home inspection training schools are here in Los Angeles? Well, for those of you looking to start a new career in the home inspection industry it may come to a complete surprise that in my opinion it would be, … none of them. this blog isn’t going to go through all the various schools and what benefits each of them offer and why. Nope. this is a blog about, well. not using a school at all.
What most of you who are looking for in just about every Los Angeles home inspection school is that yes…, they will all teach you “how to be an inspector”. In that, they may teach you the methods of home inspecting, the tools used for home inspecting and perhaps even what issues to look for during a home inspection. But, in a weeks time, do you think it’s remotely possibly that any school and cover “ALL” of the things that for example, get you business? The things that get you clients? Or, the things that will get you sued?
California Home inspection Requirements (there are none)
Im sure most of you already know that there are zero requirements to work as a home inspector here in California. That said, the next best thing is a certification? If you want my opinion and Im sure you do, If I were a home buyer looking for an inspector and had to choose between hiring a “certified” guy vs an ICC certified individual or general contractor with genuine quantitative construction experience. I’m not going to choose the certified guy 100% of the time.
That said, I do however, see the industry changing. I see more and more realtors moving away from the General contractor to those who are in fact certified. Why is this happening? I’d guess its because most people / realtors don’t know that there are no California requirements and therefore, all home inspectors are equal.
Real world experience vs the Classroom
Real world experience. It’s hard to get it when you are just starting out, I’ll give you that. But rather than pay $1500 to attend a week long school where the majority of the time will be spent on that one or two individuals who seem to suck up all the classroom time with their barrage of relentless questions. Being a general contractor and home inspector I see things even today, that amaze me. I think to myself, ” wow, how can anyone teach this in a classroom?”
The biggest differences between learning from a seasoned professional in the field, on the job is that you may have to come with some level of basic construction experience. Whereas the classroom, well, its there that all you will do is learn about the different systems of a single family home. Its also my opinion that there is no classroom in the world that can in a single week teach you all you will need to know to prepare you for the Home inspection industry.
- How to speak to clients and agents
- Patterns in building degradation
- When to call a specialists
- Whats a big deal and what is not
My single piece of advice for any person to become a home inspector in Los Angeles is simple. Study building code. Just study the California building code, sit for the ICC test and trust me, you’ll blow away almost 70% of the “certified” home inspectors out there.
Choose sides… the realtor or the client.
As a home inspector here in Los Angeles for over 22 years, there is one single truth that if you are not familiar with already… you should. In a word, Realtors. These individuals single handedly own the better part of the home inspection industry and its a fact that will never go away. You need to adapt. More importantly, you’ll need to choose sides, the realtor or your client.
A typical home inspector here in Los Angeles will typically have over 75% of his business derive from realtors. So to put that into perspective, if over half of your business is agent referrals, who’s your client?
Despite what you may think… it’s not the buyer. In other words, don’t fool yourself thinking you’re going to get rich marketing to the public outside of the realtor network.
In spite of what you think, let’s be honest, you’re actually working for realtors any way you slice it. No matter who’s representing whom, there’s almost always a realtor involved. and, anytime there is a realtor involved, you have the ability to gain a new client. That is… if realtors are in fact your primary client base.
Why is this important? It’s important because as a home inspector in Los Angeles there are thousands of potential agents doing deals annually which means thousands of potential dollars to be had. But at what cost?
All home buyers all want protection
Regardless of who you align yourself with for your business, there is yet another side to this, home buyers. All home buyers want the exact same thing from their home inspector. That is, protection.
Doing this as long as I have there is one truth that will never change IMO. That is, you cannot serve two clients. Los Angeles home inspectors cannot be an objective neutral disinterested their party which most claim to be, when they are worried about what the realtors will think of them. It’s just a fact.
One day it just happens
As a home inspector when you find yourself tweaking comments to make things sound less dramatic. Or hiding issues deep within the body of a report trust me, you’ve already chosen sides and its not the client. Trust me, these examples are not new. I see it all the time even today.
The downside to this type of inspecting is that you’re not doing the home buyers any favors. Sure there is more money when working with agents directly, but just be careful not to become that guy. A “yes-man” to the agents.
The state of California requires you to be responsible for your home inspection up to four years after the inspection. For the most part… this means you literally own any issue that comes up which you were hired to find. So doo you go balls-out and find everything that may be deficient within a home that you possibly can for the client, or work with half measures to keep the realtor flow going? Sort-of creates a quandary huh?
Home Inspectors Salary
Rather than tell you how easy it is to pile up a bunch of cash, or tell you how much money home inspectors can make in this business I’m going to tell you how difficult it actually is to make money inspecting. Let’s face it… the job of a home inspector really is easy money if you know what you’re doing. But, knowing what you’re doing and doing the right thing are not exactly the same.
Im just going to say this and not really care how it sounds. Realtors want a home inspector, especially here in Los Angeles who is half blind and speaks with the bedside manner of a priest. Are you wiling to be that guy?
Do you think you can objectively inspect and write home inspection reports with the clients best interests in mind? Can you do this with no regard with what the realtors think of you or how you will affect the commission of the realtors? No, you cannot. Not if you’re expecting to make a living or a decent salary from the home inspection business.
As a Home inspector especially here in the city of Los Angeles your salary is determined by how many inspections you perform. Let’s face it, most home buyers go with their realtors list of three inspectors which is a terrible idea. Therefore it makes total sense that you’d go after agents as your primary source of home inspection income right?
A home inspectors income is different from realtor to consumer
It’s no secrete that I cannot stand most all agents. So to illustrate my point above; years ago there was a time where i’d get no less than 5 calls a day almost year-round for Los Angeles home inspections by realtor referral. Those days are long gone for me. What changed? I grew a conscience so I had to choose sides. Since that day, and because I want to do the right thing and be completely impartial, I chose and keep choosing to only work with the public.
As a result, I now get 0% of my business from realtors and 100% from the internet. And you know what…? I still make over $150K annually part time. Now, understand that because I only insect part-time I could do twice that business just from the internet, but I choose not to. That’s correct. I could easily make twice the income I make now just from the web.
So for those of you who think realtors are your only client, think again. There is a life for anyone who wishes to be completely separate from any realtor referral business. Sure, you may be labeled a deal killer. And yes, you won’t get invited to speak at the lame office meetings and feed them donuts. Yet, it’s a decision all of you will eventually have to make.
See no evil… hear no evil… speak no evil.
Many Los Angeles realtors want an inspector who finds everything within a house, but doesn’t. Speaks from the perspective of authority, but not. One who inspects a house in 45 minutes, but takes his time. Understand that realtors only get paid when they close a deal.
Heres a question… Who has some of the most influence over a home buyer during the disclosure period? Besides the loan person I suppose. You do. Interesting fact. The more thorough you are as an inspector the less the realtors will refer you. Once you get one the bad side of a realtor especially here in LA, it spreads like a wild fire. Despite what you may be thinking right now… “Oh, Marc really hates these realtors.” It’s not that I hate or like them, really, these are things that most schools will never prepare you for. Both sides of the business, from the realtors point of view to the home buyers and even your perspective.
SOPs may not save you
Understandably, your organization’s SOPs have limitations and parameters, I get that. But, in a court of law nobody is going to care why you didn’t see this or that because the new buyers contractor did. The words, “I never would have bought this house had I know“, are words you never, ever want to hear.
Contrast that fact with this one. The more you know as a home inspector the more you are likely to discover. Which of course makes sense right? But how many of you are willing to document all that you see? Most home inspectors are not willing to document all that they see for many reasons.
- Its not their job
- SOPs don’t require it
- They are not specialists
- It takes tool long
- Realtors will get pissed off
The problem I see is two fold. For one, the home buyer wants a home inspector who’s takes a looooong time, who’s extremely thorough and finds everything possible wrong with their house. Granted, I’m sure all home inspectors want to do what’s right by their client. Or, if anything… avoid getting sued. Contrary to what many may expect, many agents may not want you to spend a long time at the property. Nor will they like it if you sound like a dooms-day-er or even a specialist.
All houses have issues
All houses have issues. Which is true. Understanding what is a big deal and what is not helps keep things in balance, trust me. Will you school teach you this?
At the same time all of this is going on, you need to eat and pay mortgage etc, so you need money for this. The result is a perpetual balancing act that all seasoned home inspectors are probably used to. Find as much as you can to make the buyer happy all the while, not sounding like, acting like or looking like that proverbial deal killer.
Back to the training schools
Most all if not all home inspection training schools may never touch on these topics, or maybe they will. This is essentially inside information that you’d just learn by trial and error. My advice when choose a training school…, find one by a company who’s primary interest is providing the best educations there is by a real engineer or contractor. Second, one who provides the home buyer with protection. Lastly, a company who’s focus is not based around teaching you how to get on as many realtor lists as possible.