Becoming a home inspector isn't particularly difficult or even long-term in time and effort, but it is a job for a special kind of person; he or she needs to be what is generally called a "self-starter" (meaning no boss needs to give a command to get them going), with the acumen and reliability to run their own business, have an organized point of view and a mind that runs towards the technical. The best kind of background for a home inspector is experience in the construction business, coupled with the willingness to open up, in as extroverted a way as possible, to meet new people and garner new clients. A career as a home inspector is a challenging one, but it's surprisingly easy to break into the business.
A typical home inspector offers professional opinions about the structural integrity of a home, based on his or her evaluation (usually visual) and operational testing of the systems (security, plumbing, heating, electrical) that the house is furnished with. He or she must be able to establish the house's current condition, whether there is any substantial damage or deterioration in any part of the venue, and report on any problems in a professional and unbiased manner. His work should carry a degree of expertise (remember that the background for a home inspector is ideally in some phase of house-building) and authority, and he should be able to write lucid and clearly detailed reports of his findings.
A typical home inspector will inspect homes (up to three per day, if he has any degree of success in his work) for buyers, create reports, speak with realtors and homeowners about his findings, and market his services to real estate agents and their clients. A typical home inspection is two to four hours in length, and begins at the building's exterior (garage included), proceeds inside the home and includes basement and crawlspace areas, living areas, and accessible roof or attic space.
As the inspection proceeds, the professional inspector should offer his own ideas and tips for maintaining the home (changing filters, rewiring, shutting off the power or gas or water in an emergency). He then reviews all the findings with the client and homeowner (who may or may not be the same person) and quickly delivers his inspection report, usually within 24 hours (there is no escaping the paperwork in this particular vocation).
To get started in becoming a home inspector, one can apply at the ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors), and that particular body of professionals, the largest of its kind in the world, grants access to multiple educational opportunities, whether in classroom or online training. Joining the local ASHI chapter is another way to get into the business quickly, as their chapter meetings are excellent places to find mentors or even job or internship opportunities.
Once the training is complete, the ASHI certifies the professional, who can begin a career as a home inspector either working for a home inspection company or beginning his/her own business, if he/she has the capital and means to invest in such a venture. Many home inspectors can also diversify and specialize in inspecting for pests (such as termites), inspecting particular venues (gardens, spas or swimming pools), septic and well systems and general home maintenance. He/she can become a professional troubleshooter, inspecting homes with established problems for possible solutions (such as clearing out the aforementioned termites), pre listing inspections for realtors about to sell a house and pre-delivery inspections for houses already closed and sold.
Becoming a home inspector invites the self-starting individual to a challenging and enjoyable career, one that allows work in the field rather than the home, and lets one become a key player for people making the biggest decisions of their lives buying homes.