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i really want to be a home inspector ...


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i really want to be a home inspector but dont know where to begin. ive did some research on the different types of associations/foundations and dont know which is best: CREIA, AII, ASHI, HIF, NAHI?? Does it really boil down to the NHIE - National home Inspection Examination. There's no campus here in Sacramento, CA so i was thinking of taking an online course at Allied Home Inspection school. It seemed as though Allied is much cheaper than ITA or other schools. Does anyone know if Allied is a good choice? Allied is nationnaly accredited by Distant education and training council or DETC. Does that mean anything? And after i get the Certificate of Completion by Allied, do i have to take another test (NHIE)or join ASHI?

I'm not sure if Allied is a good choice. ITA school looks very nice but they have so many courses and much more expensive than Allied.

Can anyone help me get started in this field. Remember i do not know much so please respond with a " Getting started in HI for dummies " sort of approach. Thanks

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Marvin,

That question is a little too big to answer in one post. You are smart to admit to yourself that you don't know much. Many newcomers to our field seem to think they know it all before they do their first inspection. In our business, overconfidence is the short road to failure.

I suggest that you attend as many meetings of the local chapters of CREIA, ASHI, NAHI, NACHI, etc. as you can. Each org has a distinctly different feel and you'll soon learn which one is the best fit for you. If I lived in California, I'd probably start with CREIA.

Good Luck,

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Like they said already, being in California -look at CREIA to start. Taking the NHIE does not have anything to do with you being able to do home inspections - its just a test and there are many of them depending on where you're at and which group you belong to.

The NHIE used to be ASHI's test then it got renamed and packaged to make it easier to promote in states with licensure. In my area we've had a much higher passing rate on people taking the NHIE than when it was the ASHI test. I've had guys fail the old ASHI test 3 or 4 times then take the NHIE and sail thru - they said it was easier than the old ASHI tests.

Two of our local inspectors (under 5 months in business) recently took the new NAHI exam for the CRI designation, and then took the NHIE just to try it. Both said the NHIE was easier than NAHI's exam.

Dan Bowers

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Originally posted by a46geo

[quote]Originally posted by Renron

George,

U B Brutal dude

I are,

Ron

Ok, I took that off too.

The problem is, that was about as nice as I can be and still be honest. I really did think that honesty is what these guys need. I also did think its what they deserve and I thought its is what they wanted.

Back when I went to school, if you didn't do the work or you didn't do the work correct, you got an E. Now that wasn't very nice of the teacher, but it did make me learn. Years later while serving an apprenticeship, the journeyman I served under were not very nice either, but gosh, did I learn and I learned quick.

I know we live in a new world. I am just an old dinosaur with a lot of old ideas, most of which I have not yet learned to keep to myself.

George

FWIW I agree with George. What's worse, pointing out someone's shortcomings before, or during, the deposition?

I love to sing, and actually thought I sounded pretty good. Then I was told by a music teacher that I should try sports! She was right!

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Thank you guys for such great advices!! I am committed and will attend to these meetings. I'm currently taking online courses for my MBA. I've always been successful to in school but really never knew what i wanted to do when i graduate. Now i do. I want to be a HI.

So according to all the advices i've got so far, i'm having seconds thoughts on taking the online course w/ Allied. However Allied's complete packet is just about $700 compare to thousands.

http://homeinspectioncourse.com/aboutTheCourse.html

Can i buy this packet, study my A _ _ off and get the certification. Then take the NHIE. Then go join the CREIA or ASHI. Hoever i know that i would need hands on training and therefore i will attend to the CREIA or AII meetings here in Sacramento,CA. (Thanks for the news Jim, DLRAmbo, Douglas, Ron, and fellow HI.)

I guess my question is... can i do self study with different books and go take the NHIE (or other examinations) on my own? Or do i have to enroll to a specific school/institute/vocational training and get "their" certification?

Can any one here sponsor me? (is there such a thing? probably not)

i know i have to be patient and determined for this profession. It feels good to finally know what i want to do. Thank you all for such great support and i'm proud to be a new member of this forum =).

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Hi Marvin,

Everyone that gets into this business is different, so there is no set blueprint. Some folks have a lot of acquired learning and don't need to do a whole lot of learning to pick the business up - others have very little acquired learning that relates to this field and they have a harder time. Since I don't know, your background or your capabilities, I'll assume you know nothing about construction or the home inspection business, other than some ad that you read in a magazine for a correspondence school, and I'll couch my comments at that level.

No, you don't have to belong to any association or graduate from any school to take the NHIE. However, if you take it cold and don't have well-rounded experience with construction, electrical systems, heating systems, plumbing and some life/safety issues you probably have a high probability of failing it, in which case you'll then be out the cost of the test. However, that might be money well spent, since it will help you to figure out what areas you are weak in.

Taking the NHIE and passing it will not make you a good home inspector nor even a competent one. It only means that you've passed a test of 'basic' knowledge. You still have to develop your ability to 'read' a house, become familiar with the most commonly seen issues facing home inspectors and develop your report writing and interpersonal skills. Some of us, myself included, will tell you that the ability to clearly and concisely report what you see is at least, if not more, important than the ability to do the physical part of an inspection.

Don't focus on the course yet and stop focusing on the cost of a course. The cost of the best course out there will certainly be worth it, if you learn enough to not miss an issue on your first inspection that could get you sued and wipe out your livelihood. You're investing in your future, Guy. You can't put a finite price on that.

Go to one of the local AII, ASHI or CREIA meetings (Not sure if they have a strong NACHI or NAHI presence in your area or not) and talk to inspectors face-to-face and start to get a feel for the business. Most professional association chapters will let you attend several chapter meetings before they expect you to join, so you'll be able to gain a lot of insight into the business before you spend a lot of money on a course.

If, after you've attended a few meetings, talked to some inspectors and maybe gone on one or two ride-alongs, you still want to do it, then take a decent course like Carson-Dunlop's or attend one of the better resident type schools and then go find the best mentor that you can and do your best imitation of a sponge for a few months.

If you can find a mentor, try to get him or her, after you've accompanied them on a set number of inspections, allow you to do the inspection of one system of the house at a time under their supervision and 'present' those findings to the client and try to increase the amount you are inspecting every time, until the point where you can do it on your own and your mentor has complete confidence in you.

At that point, you'll be where you need to be to go out on your own and be able to stay out of trouble.

Good luck in your quest.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Marvin,

Don't take a correspondence course. If you are serious, spend the money and go to ITA's two week class. You will learn so much more there than through any other method. [Dislcaimer: I teach for ITA in Tampa]

Most students come to class wondering what the heck they are going to do for two weeks. After about the second day, their heads are spinning from the amount of information they've received. I've NEVER had a student say they wish they hadn't taken the two week class. OTOH, many one week class students wish they had taken the two week class.

The point is, you really have no idea what you don't know. And it's far more than you can imagine. Students are always surprised to discover how much they need to know to be a half way decent home inspector. The more time you spend in the classroom, the better off you will be when you begin.

Good luck.

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I agree w/Cramer. Forget the correspondence course(s). Total waste of money.

Find the time & money to take, at minimum, a 2 week course; it takes 2 weeks to just brush over the fundamentals. The ITA classes are quite excellent, the instructors are some of the brightest bulbs in the profession, & they have excellent facilities & resources; it's a "real" school. It is now owned by Kaplan, a large institutional education provider, & they are putting their (substantial) resources behind promotion of the HI school.

The downside of ITA is that their report system is a mess. It is very widely used, largely due to the unrelenting marketing skills of the founder(s) of ITA. It was kind of cute approx. 20 years ago, but in todays market it is an anachronism. That hasn't kept several thousand home inspectors from using it, but that speaks more to the communication skills of those HI's (non-existent) than it does to the quality of the report system. Go to the school, but don't get sucked into the hick ITA report system.

What report system you one day might use is an endlessly complex topic, much too much to get into here. Good luck.

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I agree whole-heartedly with those who feel that a correspondence course is simply not sufficient training if one is to have a serious chance to succeed. I attended ITA Tampa for my initial home inspection training, under the Great Markster himself. I took the 1 week course out of economic lack-of-choice, and I felt I was given as much as one could possibly expect to get under that time frame. It's been enough for me BUT I had more than 16 years of experience in construction related fields to start from, AND I spent ALL of my spare time during that week in Tampa with my head in a book away from class, AND I paid attention and participated constantly in class, AND I had already been self-employed for 9 years. Most of the other chaps there at the time were less focused...some much less so. You get back what you put in, same as always. Spend the money, get good training.

Brian G.

A Chip Off the Ole' Markster [:-angel]

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Doug Hansen is right-on about the little folks on your shoulders. They are there the whole time (all the time anyway, right?) and begging for your attention. Get knowledgeable and listen to the little guy with the golden halo. The brokers have the same crew on their shoulders, too. Many listen to the pitchfork guy, many listen to the little golden halo guy. That is their problem.

You take care of your shoulder-crew.

As for ways to get trained, I'd say the mentor/ride-along is the best in addition to the class/study things.

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Marvin,

Unless you have a long and varied background in home construction, your $ will be well spent on a hands on 2 week course. I have 24 years in construction, am a General Contractor in CA and have owned my own sucessful business for the last 8 years. Mark Cramer is spot on with his comment "you really have no idea what you don't know", I am walking proof of that statement. I took ITA's long distance learning course ~$1200 and it was worth every penny for me. I still don't know jack. Save your money, take the 2 week hands on course and go on many ride-alongs with experienced Inspectors. Find a mentor, wash his truck, clean his ladder and watch him like a halk. There is nothing like "being there" with a client looking over your shoulder with a thousand questions.

Ron

(you've got my phone # call me)

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Thank you all! Great advices! I'm a rookie when it comes to HI knowledge. For better words... i'm like one sperm cell. Not much but i'm very dedicated to becoming a HI. i'm 26 yrs old and my goal is to get the certifications/licenses needed by the time i'm 27. Remember... it only take 1 sperm cell to succeed...

The 2-week cours with ITA sounds great. However, the nearest campus is in Oceanside,CA. Being a student, i have no money to commute 8 hours plus motel cost. I can probably dig up $1200 for the online course. Does anyone recommend the online course? Excuse my lack of knowlege but is the online course the same as correspondence course(s)?

I believe i'm pass the point of deciding whether or not this is the right profession. I know it is. My next step is to get the education and training required to succeed in this field.

I'll probably stick with the Halo guy...

I'm gonna listen to all you senior HI. Tell me where to start all i'm there. I know that i've been advised to go to the local meetings. The next CREIA meeting is March 16 and i can't wait. However i know that after the meeting my starting point would be the same... buy a course and hit the books, learn and pass the test. The next step after would be to get some field experience.

Perhaps after i get my certificate/licenses, i would find myself an experienced HI to ride along. And yes i am willing to wash anyones truck. Maybe i should carry a sign that says " Will work for HI experience."

Has anyone here ever been extremely anxious to do or accompplish something? That's how i feel right now.... but maybe that's just the guy with the pitch folk calling...

I know patients and hard work is the key. You've all been very informative and helpful. Thank you so much.

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Marvin

If you are interested, the Nevada Association of Certified Real Estate Inspectors (NACREI)is having their annual Sierra Inspection Seminar on May 15th, in Reno, which is just two hours away from you in Sacramento. This years program will be presented by Doug Hansen, who has already responed previously to your post. For more info, go to www.nacrei.org

Frank Johnson

Capital Home Inspection Services

Tahoe/Truckee

Northern Nevada

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Originally posted by Jerry Simon

Writing reports is a big part of the business.

Very, very true. Marv, I realize you're just banging off posts to other inspectors on the internet, but you should go ahead and get in the habit / practice of writing as if you were doing a report for a client. Proper grammer, punctuation, captalization, spelling, etc. It doesn't have to be absolutely perfect, but if looks and reads poorly it will reflect on you that way no matter how skilled you might be as an inspector. That's the way it is.

Brian G.

Practice, Practice, Practice...It's Like Sex, But Not as Much Fun [:-dev3]

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We as home inspectors need to start working to break the myth that the home inspection business is one that is easy to break into. One of the things I had to continually fight against here in Alabama when the provisions of licensing were being developed, was the belief that the unskilled and unqualified had some inalienable right to attend a 1 or 2 week class and then be turned loose on an unsuspecting public with a checklist, screwdriver and flashlight for a couple of years of on the job training.

As long as we as an industry continue to support that model, we will continue to be looked upon as a trade, not a profession. Our fees will also continue to reflect the lack of professionalism the industry as a whole projects. Just because you have a hankering to be a home inspector does not mean that you are qualified. Our clients have a right to expect a minimal level of competency.

Another thing that Marvin needs to understand is that even if he attains a minimum level of competency, building this business is an extreme challenge. It is currently a fact of life that you will have to market to realtors as you start out. There are two kinds of inspectors that realtors don’t like. The new ones who don’t yet understand what is important and what is not because this can result in needless headaches and work for them to smooth over the issues that are less significant. Then there are the experienced inspectors who know their stuff and report it as they see it without regard to “being fair to the houseâ€

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I normally stick to my policy of not disagreeing with people who are twice as smart as I am, but I have to disagree with Bill Loden on this one.

Good HI's spend a lot of time learning throughout their career. We are reminded daily (often hourly) that we'll never know it all. It can leave the most experienced person feeling like they are perpetually one seminar away from being comfortably competent.

But the fact is, a monkey could be trained to do most of the technical part of what we do. If you don't believe me, wait 18 months until Kurt's first generation of monkeycams is out of development and on the market. I don't have a degree in construction technology, zero business training, and I have comparatively little construction experience. What I am is a reasonably intelligent person whose father was willing to hire him when the people in charge in my chosen field weren't. I worked alongside him, went to every seminar within driving distance (and still do), and read whatever I could get my hands on (and still do). I was probably 22 when I did my first one on my own (after being a helper for 5 years) I don't mean to compare myself to Albert Einstein, but like him, I know I don't know 1% of anything. However, I know enough to do what we do.

Most of the guys in this business were dangerously incompetent when they started, myself included. It's a very different standard than NASA's- and thank God for that. I'll give you $100 for every inspector you can dig up who has been at this job for 20 years and looking back, thinks he was ready when he did his first one. The standards Bill suggested are fabulous, but if they were minimum standards for HI work, there would be no new inspectors. Great for business, but somewhat unfair.

That said, I am also tired of big fat guys on construction sites asking me how much I charge for an inspection and telling me they want to get their HI license because they are tired of working hard. I aint skinny because I avoid beer and fatty foods...

It aint easy, and it aint always lucrative, but (forgive me this once), it aint rocket science either.

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I agree Jim. By the same token there are guys out there with all the "technical" experience in the world, that are crappy inspectors. this is a people business, and having people skills is sometimes more important than technical knowledge. I'd hire an ambitious kid before an older "experienced" guy, with his head up his arse. (Can I say arse, Mike) but I wouldn't let the kid out on his own until he had enough knowledge to know when he's over his head.

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

I normally stick to my policy of not disagreeing with people who are twice as smart as I am, but I have to disagree with Bill Loden on this one.

Well I can tell you that you haven't broken your policy yet. If anyone is twice as smart as you it ain't me.

I threw out the degree thing just to get some lively discussion, not because I really believe it is necessary. The best inspectors I know and have known do not have a construction degree and most don't have any kind of degree.

My construction degree from MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY, HOME OF THE BULLDOGS, did not prepare me to do home inspections though it did give me some background to understand what I was learning in the field when I started. (God help those poor home buyers. I'm still praying for the statute of limitations to run out)

I threw out the degree thing to get people to thinking that maybe spending $4,000 to $6,000 on a deluxe course through ITA or Carson might just be a real bargain when you consider what I spent in time and money on a four year degree.

I am training my son in the inspection business. He has been working with me off an on for the last 3 years while earning a degree in liberal arts. He is going to make a good HI someday. Before I turn him loose, I will purchase one of the better coorespondence courses for him.

BTW, most engineers would not be good home inspectors because of their terrible writing skills. Most of them are absolutely awful with the written word.

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Hi,

Yes Chris, you can say arse. You can say ass if you like and it isn't necessary to tiptoe around me. I don't think there are any home inspectors who will be so shocked that they pass out when they hear the word ass or a whole slew of other colorful words that you'll commonly encounter on a construction site. Just be aware that when you use them you can never be sure whose going to take offense, so you're better off just to try and not use them.

The word cop in this software only has four words that I think cross the line and I think most would agree they have no business here. The rest? Well, if this was a business populated by alter boys, I guess we'd have Mary Poppins set up the word cop. Problem is, a retired Army Master Sergeant set up this one, so you've got a whole lot of leeway.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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