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New Home Inspector Tool Tips


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Hello,

I am a future home inspector and I am one lesson away from getting my certification. My books are of no real help when it comes to exactly what I need for tools and looking online has issued the same results on some you need and some you don't. I was wondering if any pros could give me a basic start up list for tools that will help me do my job but not make me poor before I start it.

I will list the tools I already have so someone can just tell me what to add. I have a digital auto ranging multimeter, a voltage pen, digital infrared thermometer, scratch awl, 3 light plug in tester, probe thermometer for water temp testing, tape measure, binoculars, flash lights of different sizes, and a couple different sizes of screw drivers both flat and phillips heads. I am not going to get any kind of roof ladder right now unless the company I work for wants me to get on the roof. I know that the roof topic is kind of a two schools of thought so I am going to wait on that till I know what I am suppose to do by my company standards. Is this enough to be good till I can afford the other things or should I get a cheaper version of the things I am missing till I can afford the expensive tools? Or are there companies that may help me with the tools?

Thanks for any help. I am looking forward to joining the ranks of home inspectors soon.

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I think the roof issue has been discussed over and over again on here, and, I am of the opinion that if you can safely access the roof, you should walk it. Either way, you are going to need a ladder for attic access. I carry the 17ft Little Giant and an XTend and Climb telescoping ladder. You should also invest in a good point and shoot digital camera. There was a nice one mentioned earlier this week by Mike O. Look under the forum link for equipment, should be there.

Does Maryland have licensing for home inspectors? Which company will you be working for?

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I don't see camera on your list. Get a good digital one that can do macro and optical zoom.

I bought a bunch of stuff before I got started and hardly use most of it. Now that I'm settled in, I carry as follows:

On my belt I have a Fenix TK11 flashlight < you should get one

....a multi bit screwdriver, mini vice grips, tape measure, digital camera.

In my right cargo pants leg pocket is a large screwdriver for probing. in my left leg pocket is my 3 prong receptacle tester.

Thats it...99% of what I do gets done with that.

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Hello,

I am a future home inspector and I am one lesson away from getting my certification. My books are of no real help when it comes to exactly what I need for tools and looking online has issued the same results on some you need and some you don't. I was wondering if any pros could give me a basic start up list for tools that will help me do my job but not make me poor before I start it.

I will list the tools I already have so someone can just tell me what to add. I have a digital auto ranging multimeter, a voltage pen, digital infrared thermometer, scratch awl, 3 light plug in tester, probe thermometer for water temp testing, tape measure, binoculars, flash lights of different sizes, and a couple different sizes of screw drivers both flat and phillips heads. I am not going to get any kind of roof ladder right now unless the company I work for wants me to get on the roof. I know that the roof topic is kind of a two schools of thought so I am going to wait on that till I know what I am suppose to do by my company standards. Is this enough to be good till I can afford the other things or should I get a cheaper version of the things I am missing till I can afford the expensive tools? Or are there companies that may help me with the tools?

Thanks for any help. I am looking forward to joining the ranks of home inspectors soon.

BRUNSWICK, MARYLAND! I love that little town - used to hit the dance club there, Red Coach, I think it was, and dance til' they kicked us out. I used to live across the Potomac from you in Purcellville, VA. Lovely country up there. I miss it - especially a good view of the stars.

At any rate, back to tools... You forgot really thick skin...

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You've found a really good tool in this forum, so I'm gonna give you a little lesson in using it. Go to the top of this page, mouse over 'forums' and then click on 'search', type in 'tools' and press enter.

This topic has been discussed lots of times before and there is a tremendous wealth of good info in those old threads. After you've had a good read, come back and see what has been added here.

Mike is right about the thick skin. You're gonna take a few knocks before you find your place here, and in this economy I'm afraid more than a few knocks before you find your place out there.

Good luck.

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I am unsure of what company right now but I have seen a few hiring lately here in MD and in VA so I am hoping that I can get in with one of those. I want to finish my certification before I start talking to companies. I was told from one company that I don't need a license if I work for a company but I was also told I need one from another company so I am not sure. I am waiting and will see what the companies that will hire me will have me do. I am thinking of getting one anyways just in case.

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Sadly, once you sign up with a big outfit two things are certain:

1. Youl'l earn half the inspection fee (or less)

2. You can never go out on your own, unless you leave town, due to a non-competition agreement.

VA is a "right to work" state, so non-competion agreements don't fare well, but I imagine a cmpany could make defending yourself expensive.

It's a shame, because training under someone is priceless.

I found the same challenge when I attempted to get trained to add lead and asbestos testing to my service list

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Isn't US Inspect hiring in your area? They have an in-house three week training course and they supply you with the gear including a digital camera, computer and printer, I heard. I guess when/if you leave them you have to do a non-compete period.

I did a non-compete after I sold my franchise; it wasn't that rough. I had a specific perimeter defined by distance from my old marketing area where I couldn't practice for 1 years. I just drove outside of that radius and started dropping off my card at open houses and dared the realtors at those open houses to have their clients call me or to call me themselves. I didn't tell 'em what kind of inspection I'd do; only that I knew they had a list and I was confident they'd add me to their list.

It worked. S'funny thing about daring someone to call you, people can't resist a challenge and they almost always do call sooner or later.

Yeah, I had to get up a little earlier and got home a little later at night but I got enough work out of it to hang in there.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Ok I am doing the training myself and I am in a situation where I can handle a little bit of time doing it myself but I figured a company would be more helpful for me and help with the early costs of things. I plan on doing this full time but will doing it with a company not be the best thing. I just don't have any kind of construction back ground so I figured it would be good to have a company to ask questions or maybe see a few inspections in action before I go out solo to do them. I am fine with giving up pay to a company if it means that it will help me out with the other costs. I know eventually I want to be out on my own but I had always planned working for someone else for a year or so till I really knew what I was doing.

Also just checked US Inspects site and they are not hiring for any area near me or in one where I can start there and live with family till I can move.

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just don't have any kind of construction back ground so I figured it would be good to have a company to ask questions or maybe see a few inspections in action before I go out solo to do them.

I would discourage you from starting your own business at this point. You should find a company that will put you through some good training. Otherwise, purchase the best insurance you can find, and transfer all of your assets out of your name.

I know eventually I want to be out on my own but I had always planned working for someone else for a year or so till I really knew what I was doing.

A year is not near enough time in my opinion.

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I know the lack of construction background is a concern but I actually know a lot more then that sounds. I just never had a job doing it. I have a basic knowledge of a lot of systems but not a lot of hands on experience. I am already planning on taking courses in another field just to add to my knowledge base. I know most inspectors tend to do the opposite and do it the opposite where they are already in a trade profession and then change. But that is why I was planning on going with a company. I would easily stay with a company for as long as possible as long as it meets my goals for my personal life.

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Why do you want to be an inspector?

List 3 reasons why it is a great idea to become a home inspector

List 3 more reasons why it is a great idea now during the worst real estate industry depression in decades.

Becoming a home inspector because you are tired of what ever you are doing now is a horrible reason.

Becoming a home inspector because the entry cost is low is a horrible reason and tragically flawed.

Becoming a home inspector so you can set your own working hours is true. You will not be working at all so you will have plenty of free time for all those other activities you want to do.

If the reasons don't include:

- Because you absolutely LOVE buildings and get a tingle just poking around in them

- you have a spouse or nest egg to pay all your bills for at least 3 years

- wallowing in muddy crawlspaces and sweating in dusty attics is fun

- I am a good writer and will enjoy spending several hours a day writing

- marketing, book keeping, and advertising holds allure for me

then you are horribly delusional

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One I am not worried about the economy because it always comes back and it is better to be here on a down year when people are leaving a profession then when it is way up and I have to do all the work for nothing due to competition. Two I love knowing things anything period. So poking around a house to find out its story is exciting to me. Three I am good at writing but I don't plan on doing to much of it since I am also a tech geek so I will type everything. Given my typing speed reports won't take that long. Fourth what most people see as making bad money I see as making good money. Fifth it isn't an office job which I hate. It is something new every time out. It isn't sitting behind a desk looking at a bunch of numbers and seeing if they add up. Sixth have never failed at any challenge or risk I have taken in my life and I will not fail now.

Also on the economy I know it is actually on the rise since most of my family is in high priced retail type businesses that depend on the money people don't like to spend when the economy is way down. They didn't do so good at the start of the economy drop but in the last 2 years it has gotten almost back to normal. It is only a matter of time before the housing market is booming again. Then again I would hope that as a professional that you would have a more positive attitude on the market. Besides I know the market is different in every area and some are booming and others are flat. I am also lucky enough that my family is everywhere so if the market here is to flat then I can just move to a different area where it is doing better. Not to sound naive or conceited but I don't take risks in anything just going for it. I plan and research and I really do my homework before I do anything. My numbers tell me I will be fine starting now instead of waiting till the market is flooded with home inspectors coming in because the market is up. I will have the experience over them and have more of my foot in the door then they will.

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Actually I already have the thermometer and one inspection mirror but I am really wanting to get some of different sizes soon because the one I have now is a little big. I have been looking for a lot of the gas leak, carbon monoxide, and refrigerant sniffers and things but I can only seem to find the ones online. Is that the only place I can get them or do I need to look for a specific kind of store? I went to all the places that have everything but the sniffers. I figured if they sell things that can give off odorless and harmful gases then maybe they would see the detectors for it also but that doesn't seem to be the case around where I am right now. Also I am not worried at all by the real estate agents I am not one of those people that makes mountains out of mole hills. I know most don't like it when someone sees something tiny and minor and then recommends that a buyer or seller pays to redo all the plumbing because of one leaky pipe. Also they want to make sure I am not missing anything major. My job is to simply point out the problems of the house and let them know if a problem is major or if it is just something that can be fixed but won't bring the house down if it doesn't.

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Don't even bother wasting your money on gas sniffers. You're going to need every cent you have, so don't bother wasting money on tools that experience is eventually going to tell you to leave in the truck. I spent $1K on gas sniffers when I got into this business and learned within two years that anything that will cause a gas leak can normally be seen and detected without the use of those devices.

Had I had the benefit of this forum before running out and purchasing a bunch of tools, I never would have purchased half the crap I have that sits on a shelf now.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I know I can smell gas leaks from like fireplaces but I haven't heard about refrigerant having a smell or not. I was told I needed a sniffer or detector whatever you call it for that. Is that even important to check or am is it really a waste of time? I want to make sure I can't get in trouble for something that I should have checked but I didn't because I didn't have the tool for it. This is one of the few things that bothers me with trying to understand this profession is that one source tells me I need a lot of tools and another says I barely need any. I looked at so many pages of the tools section and there seems to be a ton of tools I don't have but then some guys say I don't need anywhere close to that many. It is a bit confusing.

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