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  1. #1
    John McGowan's Avatar
    John McGowan Guest

    Default General Interest

    Hello all, my name is John and I am 26 years of age, I have an interest in becoming a building inspector, however I have NO construction or remodeling expierience. I will tell you I have been in the sales/customer service field for about 8 years, I have strong communication skills and great attention to detail, I am a fast learner and my memory retention is outstanding. I guess where I'm going with this is a question to all on this board; Do you think I could learn the ins and outs of building inspection and make a great inspector not having any construction expierience? If your answer is in the possibly to yes range, what would you recomend for training? I am in the northwest part of Indiana. Please ask questions if you have any for me and I would greatly appreciate any input you have. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this post.

    John McGowan

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: General Interest

    John,

    I got into this 10 years ago with a similar background to yours. I had some construction experience but not as much as most who do this. Knowing your way around computers and today's technology is important in addition to good communication. Some of the things you mention you have are harder to 'learn' than the technical knowledge necessary to do this.

    Houses are really just a big assembled object. Learning the parts and how they go together takes a lot of time. Most, including myself, will argue that there is no end to the knowledge.

    Check with your local community college about a program for inspecting. A lot of them are geared to work for a county or other municipality. Those classes are great and have helped me greatly as a general HI. If I had it to do over again, I'd have taken more classes prior to just jumping in. I worked for a company and had a lot of great people around me but looking back I feel somewhat lucky that I never messed too bad. It's scary to look back at what I didn't know when I first started doing this. I imagine many on this board will share a similar feeling.

    Good luck and don't be afraid to jump in and ask questions around here. This board is by far my most valuable educational tool.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: General Interest

    Quote Originally Posted by John McGowan View Post
    Hello all, my name is John and I am 26 years of age, I have an interest in becoming a building inspector, however I have NO construction or remodeling expierience. I will tell you I have been in the sales/customer service field for about 8 years, I have strong communication skills and great attention to detail, I am a fast learner and my memory retention is outstanding. I guess where I'm going with this is a question to all on this board; Do you think I could learn the ins and outs of building inspection and make a great inspector not having any construction expierience? If your answer is in the possibly to yes range, what would you recomend for training? I am in the northwest part of Indiana. Please ask questions if you have any for me and I would greatly appreciate any input you have. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this post.

    John McGowan
    Hi John,

    Ours is not a difficult profession to learn, but it is a difficult profession to succeed in.

    I noticed that you are in Indiana. This is a licensed state for home inspectors, so you need to find your states home inspector boards website and see what they require in the way of education, etc. They should have a list of approved education providers for the state. Once you see what is involved, including the cost then you will have a better understanding of what it will take to enter the profession.

    Good luck....

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: General Interest

    As Scott said you should find out what the stater requirements are. With no background at all in the building trades my first step would be the basic home inspection course for your requirements. You will see at that point the subjects at hand. I would follow that up with electri, plumbing and hvac classes because the home inspection scholl is only going to hit on the basics. You will need those courses for continuing ed anyway so you might as well jump right into them.

    When taking the course do as Scott said about inquiring to a local inspector association and get to know some inspectors and arrange to go on some inspections with them. Some may allow you to do ride alongs others may charge you a small fee. This is really crucial due to the fact that you never stepped into a home to actually inspect it.

    I don't quite agree with Matt on some things but others I do. What you have done in life is certainly not harder or more difficult to learn at all. This is just another learning curve in life. If you think of all the trades that make up building that big box you live in you will find that it actually takes a great amount of knowledge and a lengthly learning for each subject matter.

    There are codes to everything we inspect. You will not be a code inspector as a home inspector but everything you learn and the plumbing, HVAC, electric, roofing etc etc whether it be in the home inspector class or outside individual classes is based on codes. Don't get to hung up on them at first because what you want to know is what is right and what wrong and you will learn those basics. After that point you will start to learn and in the mean time by a code book or two so as you learn you can flip thru the code book to be able to see why something is wrong.

    Most of home inspection is a trained eye. That takes time


  5. #5
    John McGowan's Avatar
    John McGowan Guest

    Smile Re: General Interest

    I really appreciate the input from you guys, it is exactly what I wanted to hear.

    It is nice to know that "most" people actually care about one another.

    Thank you much.

    ~John


  6. #6
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: General Interest

    Quote Originally Posted by John McGowan View Post
    I really appreciate the input from you guys, it is exactly what I wanted to hear.

    It is nice to know that "most" people actually care about one another.

    Thank you much.

    ~John
    John:

    I think what Scott said hit the nail on the head, albeit in his perennially understated and overly diplomatic fashion. Lots of folks get into this business without any prior construction experience, so from that standpoint it is easy to "learn", if by "learn" you mean get started. Most of them do not proceed to become what I would consider to be competent inspectors. So, it is not an easy business to excel in, even with prior construction experience, depending on what your definition of "excellent" is.

    In my experience, 90% of people are in jobs that they are incapable of performing exceptionally well. That figure may even be higher in this profession. Whether you enter into that 10% that actually masters the profession is entirely up to you. But, it is not easy, not by any stretch of the imagination.

    If you focus on non-stop learning and are persistent you can do it.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Healdsburg, CA
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    Default Re: General Interest

    John
    You have received excellent advice here and I would only add to that see if you can get on with a home inspector franchise to start out with so you can learn this trade on somebody else's nickel. Go on as many ride alongs with as many different old line inspectors as you can and begin building a building code library. The best way to start that is become an ICC member. This is a very litigious profession so don't go out and inspect without a security blanket (E&O insurance.) Should you get sued and they prevail they will take your house, furniture, first-born, and dog. Good luck!

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: General Interest

    Quote Originally Posted by John McGowan View Post
    Hello all, my name is John and I am 26 years of age, I have an interest in becoming a building inspector, however I have NO construction or remodeling expierience. I will tell you I have been in the sales/customer service field for about 8 years, I have strong communication skills and great attention to detail, I am a fast learner and my memory retention is outstanding. I guess where I'm going with this is a question to all on this board; Do you think I could learn the ins and outs of building inspection and make a great inspector not having any construction expierience? If your answer is in the possibly to yes range, what would you recomend for training? I am in the northwest part of Indiana. Please ask questions if you have any for me and I would greatly appreciate any input you have. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this post.

    John McGowan
    John, your description of your work background is a carbon copy of my work background before getting into home inspections. 10 years in C/S, no construction experience aside from the work I've done around my own house, and heavy on the communication and attention to detail. The C/S background is invaluable as you need to be able to communicate and work with people. The training and knowledge and field application of the information required to perform home inspections is big but all doable. Keep in mind that nobody came out of the womb with this knowledge and everybody had to learn it somewhere.

    Is having some construction or trade background valuable? Absolutley. Do you have to have it to make it as an HI? No. I'm 6+years into this and just short of 1,000 inspections.

    You just have to make up your mind to do it.


  9. #9

    Default Re: General Interest

    Should you get sued and they prevail they will take your house, furniture, first-born, and dog. Good luck!
    Sorry to kinda hijack the thread.

    Jerry,

    Do you know of inspector's that have lost their house, etc. after screwing up?


  10. #10
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: General Interest

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Sorry to kinda hijack the thread.

    Jerry,

    Do you know of inspector's that have lost their house, etc. after screwing up?
    Brandon: It cannot happen in Texas with our homestead laws. Only the mortgage company or the IRS can take one's house here.

    The E&O that JM mentioned is something I might have to disagree with. It paints a target on you for litigious clients. Speak with your attorney regarding a legal partitioning of your assets. If you are not a sole proprietor, consider incorporation. These are better avenues for protection. The best, of course, is a well-crafted inspection agreement; a meticulous inspection routine; an excellently written report which leaves no stone unturned; and a very, very good attorney - the best that you can possibly afford.


  11. #11

    Default Re: General Interest

    The E&O that JM mentioned is something I might have to disagree with. It paints a target on you for litigious clients.
    I've had E&O up 'til this year. I'm thinking about dumping it altogether as I've never had a claim/ problem. Crap, did I just say that.........

    Speak with your attorney regarding a legal partitioning of your assets.
    I've never had the need for an attorney, although I've done plenty of work for them............. Again, did I just say that................

    I'm set up as an LLC, and keep all business and personal assets completely separate-- that may help.

    The best, of course, is a well-crafted inspection agreement; a meticulous inspection routine; an excellently written report which leaves no stone unturned; and a very, very good attorney
    Well, I think I'm 3 for 4. Hopefully I don't need the 4th.....

    Thanks for the reply Aaron.


  12. #12
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
    Darrel Hood Guest

    Default Re: General Interest

    John,
    Even with my relative wealth of residential construction experience prior to becoming a HI, I got amazing benefit from doing 20 free inspections and reports before I opened for business. This exercise provided the following benefits:
    1. Developed an inspection checklist and routine that literally shaved wasted hours from an inspection.
    2. Enabled me to appear proficient for paying clients, which helped them have confidence in my information.
    3. Enabled me to make many of the "rookie" mistakes and learn the lessons with no liability.
    4. Strengthened my skill at using the reference material and my knowledge of the basics.
    5. Gave me a little bit of experience to use in my start up marketing.
    6. Helped polish the report creation process, thus saving time and money.
    7. Gives me something to chuckle about when I remember my performance on those inspections.

    In addition to all the other good suggestions you received on this thread, I suggest this one to help with the experience hurdle.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: General Interest

    My .02 worth:

    1) In most areas of the country, this is an awful time to be entering the profession.

    2) Knowledge is less than half of what's needed to succeed, but it is necessary to succeed.

    3) A good way to discover if you are interested in / capable of acquiring that knowledge to start systematically reading your way through the technical topics at at IN, NACHI and TIJ and taking notes as you go. (I created a MS Word doc in outline form with sections for each major topic, and placed the details in end end notes). You will later find this an invaluable reference.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

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