Home Inspector Salary Guide

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Laura Leavitt
September 27, 2021

If you'd like to make more than $60,000 on average, have a strong eye for detail, and enjoy architecture or construction, becoming a home inspector might be the career for you.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), home inspectors examine dwellings for wear and tear, damage, deferred maintenance, and overall upkeep in order to report back on needed maintenance. Their work helps sellers and buyers understand the home's value and move forward in a transaction.

How Much Does a Home Inspector Make in the United States?

Given the average salary for all professions in the U.S. is a little over $56,000, most building and construction inspectors make substantially more than that. On average, a home inspector salary is $66,470 a year, though this wage can vary depending on location and demand for home inspectors at a given time.

Home inspection includes some evening and weekend work, but quite a few home inspectors are self-employed, allowing them some flexibility to make their own schedules for work-life balance.

Salary Changes Throughout the Career Path

Here are some examples of how you might move through your career as a home inspector.

One way to get into home inspection is to begin by working in residential home construction. If, for instance, you framed houses as a residential building carpenter, you'd make more than $54,000 on average. Perhaps you realize that you're interested in a more flexible career that is also less physical and exposed to the elements, and you've already developed knowledge of some building codes and the ways inspectors look at homes. This is a good beginning to being a home inspector.

After taking post secondary coursework in building inspection technology or earning a bachelor's degree in engineering or architecture, you might begin as an intern or apprentice with a home inspector. At this point, you'd assist the home inspector in exchange for learning how to apply the building codes and construction knowledge you'd gained. While there isn't a standardized pay rate for interns and apprentices in this field, you'll likely take a bit of a pay hit until you complete your intern or apprentice phase.

After gaining some experience and applying for licensure, you can begin working as a home inspector. Because the average rate of $66,470 includes those who have decades of experience or own their own business, your initial offer at a home inspection company might be lower. However, it is often a good way to start, since they will already have an established reputation and client base and will allow you to grow and build your own reputation in the area.

One way to grow your earnings as a very experienced home inspector is to own your own company. Your inspections will yield a higher rate of pay because you won't be sharing a cut with an employer, and you will also receive a cut from any home inspectors you employ. That said, you'll have expenses, such as maintaining an office or marketing your services, so you should take these factors into account.

Home inspection experience can also dovetail well with moving into a master tradesman role since you'll have intimate knowledge of the kinds of codes you'd be working toward in contracting, electrical work, HVAC repair, or vehicle mechanic work.

Pay Difference By Location

State

Data from O*Net Online, a U.S. Department of Labor Website

Career Opportunities and Job Growth for Home Inspectors

Construction and building inspectors are growing, as a field, at about a rate of 3%, though the demand for home inspectors in particular could be higher in your area. Oklahoma, Hawaii, and New Jersey have high concentrations of inspectors, according to BLS data.

Other Benefits of Becoming a Home Inspector

As a salaried home inspector, you can expect a benefits package that includes things like healthcare, dental insurance, and membership in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. If you work for yourself, you will need to provide those benefits yourself, but will likely have a stronger take-home pay per inspection as a result of owning your own business.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Home Inspector?

Many home inspectors take coursework at a community college. If you take local courses for a year, you could pay under $4,000.

If you opt to take a bachelor's degree in engineering or architecture, which are helpful but usually not required, you'll pay more, with average four-year degrees at in-state public colleges costing a little over $40,000. In addition, you'll want to factor in licensure exams, which vary state to state, but the National Home Inspector Exam fee itself is usually between $200 and $225. Given how much home inspectors make, it's well worth the costs of preparation.

Salaries for Related Jobs

Contractor

  • Salary: $43,000
  • Cost to become: GED minimum, on the job training and vocational/technical skills course optional.

Electrician

  • Salary: $61,550
  • Cost to become: GED, community college/vocational school program, licensure exam fee.

HVAC Technician

  • Salary: $53,410
  • Cost to become: Diploma or associate's degree, on-the-job training, licensure exam/certification fees.

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Laura Leavitt
Contributing Writer

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