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What Traits do Successful NJ Home inspectors Need to Have?

By
Home Inspector with lookSmart Home Inspections, LLC 24GI00058700

Home inspection is a challenging career. Being a successful NJ Home Inspector is not easy. Fortitude, resilience, and dedication are needed to have any staying power in the profession. I have to say all in all it’s been a rewarding career. I really feel like I made a difference in clients making good decisions about the homes they are buying. and more than once I have kept clients from making big mistakes and stopped them from getting in over their head in certain homes. This career is not for everyone. home inspectors will be tested in multiple ways and there are certain traits that I have found in myself and working with other home inspectors that are beneficial to be successful and have longevity in this career. 

Humility is very important. The Websters Dictionary defines humility are freedom of pride or arrogance. New Jersey Home Inspectors will sometimes make the wrong call.  If you approach your job and your interactions with others with humility and without arrogance people will be more accepting of your shortcomings. No one likes a know it all or someone who has an arrogant I can do no wrong attitude. This type of attitude or pride does nothing for you in this profession.  However, humility and the ability to say “I don’t know” will take you much further.   As a young up-and-comer I thought I had to be better than everyone else. I wanted to be smarter and show that I knew everything about houses. However, this career has a way of humbling you in short order. My advice to new home inspectors would be to approach all people with kindness and humility. Don’t be afraid to say I’m not sure or I don’t know, or I will have to research that. People will have more respect for you if you work with humility than arrogance. Nobody likes a know it all especially if they don’t know it all. I can’t stress it enough that humility is a very important trait to have success as a home inspector. 

Willingness to have a journey of learning:  One of the aspects that I really truly enjoy about the home inspection profession is the learning journey. Home inspectors get better as they do more home inspections. This career is not about learning in books it’s about experience in the field.  I love the fact that there is always something new to learn. As a home inspector you should have a hunger to learn about everything related to homes. There are sometimes systems in homes that I don’t know or don’t understand. To this day I love coming back researching and learning about them.  This is truly how you become a better home inspector. Sure, there are continuing education classes that we all have to take but the real learning is done when no one is watching when you are alone. To be a successful home inspector you need to have the hunger of learning all that you can. Approach every day and every inspection as an opportunity to learn and to grow. 

To be successful in the home inspection profession you need to have the ability to communicate. Communication is king and without it you will not be successful. Home inspectors must be good verbal communicators to explain what they see to their clients. Most clients will attend the home inspection and require you to explain the issues as well as the positive aspects of their prospective new home. As a home inspector you are almost doing a performance for your client. A good communicator will keep information flowing in an interesting and engaging way. If you want to just take notes without having your client involved, you will not be a successful home inspector. Clients want to be part of the process and be involved. Communication is also written. Detailed comprehensive reports must be written so both the client and the attorney understand the issues in the home. Good home inspectors have the ability to put thoughts to paper and communicate effectively by writing. Communication both verbal and written are paramount to having a successful career in the home inspection profession. 

To be a successful home inspector you need to have thick skin: Let’s face it there are going to be people who don’t like what you said or wrote about the home you inspected. When you are making observations or comments about a large asset you are going to get verbal and written arrows because someone is not going to like what you say. Either the agent or the seller is going to get upset. You will get calls from agents or sellers who don’t like what your opinions are or don’t like what you wrote or the photos that you took.  There will be sellers who post negative reviews about you. There will be agents who won’t refer you because you get too good at your job. This is how it goes if you do your job correctly. To be honest this really bothered me especially in the beginning of my career. I wanted everyone to like me. The truth is that everyone liking you in this profession is not possible if you actually do the job.  I have learned that to be a successful home inspector you need to keep one thing in mind and that is put your clients first. Our job as home inspectors is to provide information about the issues in the home so our clients can make good, informed purchase decisions. Our job is not to embellish the issues nor is it to downplay them. Our job is about facts and evidence and the story the home tells us. The first rule of home inspection is do the right thing for your client. If you are working hard for your client, providing honest information, then you can tune out the noise. You need to develop a thick skin if you want to be a multi decade home inspector. 

To be successful in the home inspection profession you need to have a strong work ethic. Home inspection is not a 9 to 5 job. At 5PM you just don’t get up leave your desk tun out the light and go home. Frankly you are always thinking about work, helping clients, doing inspections, wring reports, answering questions, marketing, following up, making phone calls and learning.  It becomes a way of life, a lifestyle.  To be successful as a small business it takes a lot. Both in time and energy to get results. A home inspection business takes time to develop over the years. Expect to get knocked down and to have many setbacks. It’s through setbacks and tough times that we learn and become better. If you can’t work hard with little reward and push through the tough times you will not make it as a home inspector. I find myself working 55-60 hours a week and I can still do more. Doing the actual home inspection is about 1/3 of the job, writing reports is about 1/3 of the job. The other 1/3rd is the part of the job that gets the phone to ring. The behind the scenes work that no one sees often separates the successful from the not.  Work ethic is very important to be a successful home inspector. 

Resilience: The definition of resilience is the ability to cope and recover from setbacks. Successful home inspectors are resilient. Along the way there will be so many setbacks, speed bumps, and challenges. Sometimes you will feel that the whole world wants you to fail. The anecdotal attrition rate for home inspectors is that only 10% make it past the three-year mark. In my own graduating class of 15 there are only two reaming in the profession. Home inspectors need to have the ability to push through obstacles and keep going. The ability to keep going and moving forward in the face of adversity is the only way to break through and be successful in the home inspection profession. You will find so many reasons to quit but don’t keep going. Take one more step than another then break through. Resilience, fortitude, and discipline are very important in this profession. 

Focused: To be successful in the home inspection profession a person must be focused. There can be a lot of distractions during a home inspection. Although it is important to try to limit the attendees at a home inspection, sometimes there will be multiple people and distractions. There will be side conversations and questions being asked. Sellers will try to distract you with incorrect information. However, through all the distractions you must keep your focus on the job at hand.   If you miss something in a home, there will be no excuses. Your client will not want to hear that it was noisy, or you were distracted. A home inspector must be able to keep their focus for three or four hours during a home inspection. 

Patient: A home inspector must be patient. Some clients ask a lot of questions, and you must be patient and answer them. What may seem like an obvious thing for you may not be to the client. Often, they will require clarification on things. You must be patient with them during the home inspection process as well as any follow-up questions that they have after the you provide the inspection report. Your patience will be tested however you must remain calm and kind throughout. You can do a great home inspection but if you are edgy or become frustrated this is what your client will remember. Being patient is a superpower, and you must know how to develop it if you are going to be successful in the home inspection business. 

Claustrophobia or squeamishness is not an option:  As a home inspector you will be entering small dark spaces under homes. Sometimes these crawlspaces have not been entered in years. You must be comfortable entering them. If there is adequate access, you should try to enter with the proper safety equipment.  You will encounter rodents, insects, loose insulation, asbestos, debris, water, waste, and other undesirable elements. It is your job to tell your client about these things. As a home inspector you must reconcile the fact that you will encounter unpleasant things while performing your job. 

Quick to think and to process information: As a home inspector a person needs to be quick thinking and have the ability to process information quickly. As a home inspector a person needs to be able to look at something and make a quick determination if an issue exists or not. A home inspector must be able to process a lot of information quickly. As an inspector you must have the ability to process quickly and keep moving. The typical home inspection will be three or four hours and often there is a lot of ground to cover in that time. The ability to think quickly is imperative in this profession.  

Act with integrity: As a home inspector you will be pressured in certain instances to “go easy” on a home. You must be able to act with integrity and not be pressured to say things in a way that doesn’t reflect the truth. This is a big one. Home inspectors must put their clients’ best interests first. Your client is your purpose, and your job is to protect them. To tell them the truth using your knowledge base to the best of your ability. This goes both ways. A good home inspector does not downplay important issues and does not embellish or dramatize smaller problems. All homes have some issues, it is up to the home inspector to present the issues in a true and meaningful way. We owe it to the client, the seller, and our profession to be truthful in our assessments of the home. 

Discipline & Time management skills: Successful home inspectors are disciplined and have time management skills. Everything you do in the home inspection profession is under time constraint. The client has a limited number of days in their inspection contingency to have the home inspection performed and to get the home inspection report back. Home inspectors need time management skills to meet the time expectations of their clients. Reports need to be written daily. Clients do not want to wait several days to get a home inspection report back. Good home inspectors will strive to have the home inspection back to their client within 24 hours. There are many hats a home inspector has to wear. There are other elements of a successful business that take discipline and time management skills. There is marketing, phone calls, email responses, answering client’s questions, selling your service to prospective clients, radon test retrieval, keeping up with continuing education, marketing efforts, keeping licensing active and back-office administration. If a home inspector lacks discipline and does not have time management skills, they will not be able to meet the demands of the profession. 

Home inspection can be a rewarding and fulfilling career. A person must have or develop the traits necessary to be successful in the profession. All the traits can be learned over time. Performing home inspections is an ongoing learning process. If the New Jersey home inspector is open to continued learning and development and uses every inspection as a learning opportunity the home inspector can have a long and fulfilling career in the profession. I recommend that people thinking about entering the career do their due diligence and learn all they can before embarking on the path to licensing. The ability to do home inspections correctly is challenging and requires a diverse skill set to be of value to your clients and to have a long and successful career. 

Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
Mar 02, 2024 03:36 AM