Frequently Asked Questions> Real Estate Agent

Can a Real Estate Agent Be a Home Inspector

Starting out in real estate can be scary. You wake up every morning with a heavy weight of uncertainty hanging over your bank balance. You don’t know how many clients you will get in a day, and frankly, success is not guaranteed.

I know it’s ironic for a $45,3 trillion industry.

Not surprisingly, most agents are looking to moonlight. But the manner in which they do so matters. Can a real estate agent be a home inspector? Yes, they can. There is no law in the country restricting licensed agents from pursuing dual licensure as inspectors.

However, there are several factors to consider before you can proceed with licensure.

What are they? And how can you get your license? Below we explore the legal considerations and licensing journey to becoming a licensed home inspector. Grab your notebook, and hard hat, and let’s get started.

Mind Your Step

Holding a real estate license and a home inspector license are rather complimentary. After all, a home inspection is an indispensable part of a property sale.

Perhaps you could even inspect one of your listings. This would allow you to earn more on one transaction and offer your clients a comprehensive service.

Wrong! That is considered a conflict of interest and can earn you a one-way ticket to court. 

If you have given the article: Can You Have a Real Estate License and Mortgage License a read, then you know, acting in a dual capacity in any transaction is not welcome in real estate.

While you can, and I’d say should if you are interested, get an inspection license as a real estate agent, be clear on your operation in every transaction. If you are hired as a home inspector on a property, do not act as the agent on that same property.

How to Become a Home Inspector?

Now, how do you get that home inspection license and start inspecting homes? It all starts with four steps:

Adhere to Regulations

On this website, we often discuss the licensing journeys of real estate agents. In fact, becoming a home inspector is one of our favorite non-traditional real estate careers.

The first thing I often tell aspiring agents is that licensing rules differ from state to state. That means you need to know your particular state’s rules and regulations.

This applies to home inspection licensing.

Every state has its unique regulations, so before you start your licensing journey, research your state’s licensure requirements. Some states don’t have requirements for hopeful home inspectors.

For example, the Golden State doesn’t have a regulatory licensing process for home inspectors. If you want certification in California as a home inspector, you will need to turn to associations like the California Real Estate Inspection Association.

Though not a legal requirement, CREIA has several requirements for its members. One notable rule is that CREIA members must complete 30 hours of continuing education courses every year.

But other states like Arkansas have lengthy regulatory requirements. The state demands pre-licensing education, hands-on training, examination, and insurance requirements.

StatePre-licensing RequirementsExaminationInsurance
Alabama120 hoursASHI and NHIERequired
AlaskaNot RequiredASHI/ NHIE/ ICCRequired
Arizona84 hoursNHIERequired
Arkansas80 hoursASHI and NHIERequired
CaliforniaNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
ColoradoNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
Connecticut40 hoursNHIERequired
Delaware140 hoursNHIERequired
Florida120 hoursNHIE/FAB/InterNACHI FL/ CI-HPIRequired
GeorgiaNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
HawaiiNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
IdahoNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
Illinois60 hoursIL Home Inspection Exam Required
Indiana60 hoursNHIERequired
IowaNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
KansasNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
Kentucky64 hoursNHIERequired
Louisiana90 hoursNHIERequired
MaineNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
Maryland72 hoursNHIERequired
Massachusetts 75 hours – must complete no less than a year as an associate inspectorNHIERequired
MichiganNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
MinnesotaNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
Mississippi60 hoursNHIERequired
MissouriNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
Montana40 hoursNHIERequired
NebraskaNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
Nevada40 hoursNHIERequired
New Hampshire80 hoursNHIERequired
New Jersey180NHIERequired
New Mexico80 hoursNHIERequired
New York140 hoursNHIE/ New York State Home Inspector ExaminationRequired
North Carolina120North Carolina ExamRequired
North DakotaNot RequiredASHI/ NHIE/ InterNACHI/ ICCRequired
Ohio80 hoursNHIE Required
Oklahoma90 hoursNHIE/ EquivalentRequired
Oregan60 hoursNHIERequired
PennsylvaniaNot Specified, but must complete 100 home inspectionsNHIERequired
Rhode IslandNot SpecifiedNHIERequired
South Carolina120 hoursNHIE/ South Carolina Specific Exam + South Carolina Business Management and Law examRequired
South Dakota40 hoursNHIERequired
Tennessee90 hoursNHIERequired
Texas194 hoursNHIE + Texas Specific ExamRequired
UtahNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified
Vermont80 hoursNHIERequired
Virginia70 hoursNHIERequired
Washington120 hoursWashington State ExamRequired
West Virginia80 hoursNHIERequired
Wisconsin40 hoursNHIE/ Wisconsin State ExamRequired
WyomingNot RequiredNot RequiredNot Specified

Take a Course

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with your state’s regulations, the next step is to take a home inspection course. Ensure that you enroll in a state-accredited course, otherwise, your efforts won’t count toward licensure.

Like real estate licensing agencies, most inspection licensing bodies have a list of accredited course providers on their websites. Check those out or join one of the prominent inspection associations that offer detailed and accredited courses.

Whether you’re comfortable in a traditional classroom or prefer studying at your own pace online, these courses are designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of all aspects related to home inspections.

Even if your state doesn’t have explicit training or education requirements, it’s still highly recommended that real estate agents who wish to wear this additional hat should enroll in these programs. This not only equips them with necessary technical knowledge but also enhances credibility among clients by demonstrating commitment towards professional development.

Ace the Exam

The third step, depending on your state’s requirements, is to prepare yourself for exam day. Most states with licensure laws require applicants to take the National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE).

This 200-multiple-choice exam can be taken over four hours, and it has three domains categorized:

  • Domain 1: Property and Building Inspection (63%)
  • Domain 2: Analysis of Findings and Reporting (25%)
  • Domain 3: Professional Responsibilities (12%)

Other accepted exams across states are the American Society of Home Inspector Exam and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

Apply for Licensure

Once you’ve successfully passed your examination, the next step is to apply for licensure. This process varies from state to state but typically involves completing a comprehensive home inspector application and paying an associated fee.

Some states also require proof of errors and omissions insurance, and general liability insurance.

While these insurances may not be mandatory in all states, it’s highly recommended that aspiring home inspectors acquire them regardless. These policies can provide financial protection against potential claims or lawsuits arising from inspection activities, a crucial safety net in this profession where overlooking even minor defects can have significant consequences.

Best Associations for Home Inspectors

Joining a professional association can provide numerous benefits for both aspiring and established home inspectors. These organizations offer resources, networking opportunities, and credibility to their members.

Here are some of the most reputable associations that you might consider joining:

North America Association of Home Inspectors (AHI)

This organization is dedicated to promoting excellence within the profession, particularly in states without licensing requirements. The AHI bridges the gap with its accredited courses and training programs, allowing members to be better prepared to take on the industry.

Since its founding in 2003, the North American Association of Home Inspectors has pursued a five-part mission. At the very top is its aim to advocate for higher standards of practice.

American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

Founded in 1976, the American Society of Home Inspectors was created as an answer to two concerns:

  • Awareness of the profession
  • Operational standards

45 years later, the society is still the industry benchmark. Its aim has not yet changed: to uphold professional excellence.

The ASHI also has exams used across different states as part of the licensing process for inspectors.

International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI):

Known for its rigorous training programs and extensive online resources, InterNACHI offers certification courses that cover everything from structural components to electrical systems.

Born in 1994, InterNACHI is one of the largest inspectors’ associations. The organization has expanded beyond Boulder, Colorado, to 64 countries.

The InterNACHI School is not only an accredited non-profit post-secondary institution, but it is also recognized by several government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Career Colleges of Canada.

Its House of Horrors, housed at its headquarters in Colorado, has been the training center for countless aspiring home inspectors. Their vision? Inspect the world.

Holding Both Licenses

Becoming a home inspector as a licensed real estate agent is not only legal but also has the potential to add another dimension to your professional portfolio. However, it requires careful planning and adherence to regulations.

Next Steps:
Ready to take action? Here are some steps you might consider:

1. Research: Understand your state’s specific licensing rules for home inspectors.
2. Enroll: Take a course from an accredited provider that aligns with your state’s regulations.
3. Prepare: Study hard and ace the required examination, usually NHIE.
4. Apply: Fill out the necessary documentation and pay any associated fees for licensure in your state.
5. Join Associations: Consider becoming part of respected organizations such as AHI, ASHI, or InterNACHI that offer additional training programs and resources.

Now we want to hear from you! Have any questions about obtaining dual licenses or experiences navigating this process? Feel free to share them in the comments section below!

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