So you want to be a successful home inspector? Well, I have some great news! Being a successful home inspector is an amazing career. The money is good bordering on great. You rarely have to travel away from your family. You can largely set your own schedule. And lastly, the work is really enjoyable.

The greatest part to being a successful home inspector is that no training is needed and it’s so easy a child could do it. Also, inspectors assume no liability for mistakes they make, and there is an endless supply of work, regardless of the time of year or the state of the economy. It’s really basic stuff that anyone who has worked on houses before can do.

Okay, time for some honesty. As you might have guessed the first paragraph is totally true and the second is totally false.

Realistically, it is easy in most areas to become a home inspector. Many states still don’t have licensing for the job, so all you really need is a truck, a dog, and a flashlight. But being a successful home inspector is a different story. I’m sure many of you have talked with friends or family over the years who think they should be a home inspector because they know houses. Some are probably even contractors. I’m sure anyone who has hired contractors will readily admit they aren’t all created equal and they make a lot of mistakes. “Don’t worry, the seller is a contractor” is a favorite statement I’ve heard over the years. I’ll let your imagination run wild with how that story plays out (hint: it doesn’t usually end with me getting home early).

Honestly, there is a lot more to being a successful home inspector than people realize. It takes time, experience, good communication skills, good computer skills, good marketing skills, a good lawyer (often), and, most importantly, the right mindset and the desire to succeed. A wife with a steady job and a good health plan doesn’t hurt either. If you’re thinking of being a home inspector for some extra beer money or just something fun to do to kill time in your retirement, my advice would be to forget it. A couple decades ago that may have worked, but the profession has evolved a lot. Today it is chock-full of professionals with a deep skill set and a business model that works. Unless you take it seriously and really do your homework, the best you can hope for is barely hanging on as just a home inspector. Not a successful home inspector.