While the real estate market can be an unpredictable one, it’s certainly the case that home buyers are more informed and cautious than ever when it comes to making a real estate investment. Many people are concerned about buying homes which are of poor quality and/or likely to depreciate.

As a result, many are keen to ensure the property they are purchasing is what they think it is. Home inspectors are crucial in this endeavor in helping buyers to make the right investments and giving peace of mind during one of the most stressful times in their life. This has opened up a fantastic business opportunity for people wishing to start their own venture in the real estate industry.

If you are considering studying for your home inspection certificate and/or are about to launch your own home inspection business, here are 7 essential tips to help you achieve success.

1. Insurance

Unfortunately, the home inspection industry does not legally require inspectors to be certified. This means that the industry is rife with inspectors who do not have insurance. This puts both the inspector and their clients at risk should something go wrong. In most cases, prospective home buyers are advised to hire an inspector who is insured as both parties will be protected financially in the event of legal action being taken. Having Errors and Omissions (E&O) and General Liability (GL) insurance as a home inspector will greatly increase your chances of finding clients, so it’s important to get this sorted as soon as possible.

2. Reporting

When you carry out a home inspection, it will not simply be a case of pass or fail. You will be required to provide your clients with detailed reports relating to all parts of the home. This report will be required by the prospective home buyers in order to obtain home insurance and to get a mortgage for their home. This is obviously a hugely important step and your role is integral to the process.

3. Education

While you will need to obtain your home inspection certificate so you can carry out detailed and safe inspections, this is not where your education ends. You also need to become well-versed in building codes, real estate practices and processes and industry trends which will obviously be changing regularly. To stay relevant in this industry you need to stay connected to other professionals, attend industry events and join associations. You may also be able to attend further training courses later, but much of your most valuable learning will come from experience. The more knowledgeable you are about the home inspection industry, the more confidence you will inspire in prospective clients.

4. Networking

There is much more to building a home inspection business than performing and submitting reports, and as your business grows, it will become important that you have a strong professional network. This includes networking with other professionals in the real estate industry such as realtors, construction companies and prospective buyers, but also professionals in other industries. It’s unlikely that you will have skills in all aspects of running a business, so it may help to build connections with people with expertise in marketing, IT, accounting and customer service, for example.

5. Technology

You need the right tools for the job, and a significant part of this will be your computer technology and a software system which enables you to work efficiently. There are software programs designed specifically for the home inspection industry including home inspection tools and functions which will support you in your operation, from overall business management to scheduling appointments, automating communication, storing information and business reporting.

6. Marketing

Your marketing strategy will be key to your success, but it’s a very complex area which even experienced marketers find challenging. You should create a website for your business and invest some time in digital marketing techniques. You should also print business cards, flyers and brochures which you can distribute. Your branding should be professional and consistent across all aspects of your marketing so you may want to consider consulting with a branding company and/or designer.

7. Funding

Unless you have a large amount of personal wealth or savings, you are likely to need funding in order to launch your home inspection business. There are several options available to you including an SBA Express loan, a bank loan, 401K business financing (using retirement funds without a tax penalty), securing investment from an angel investor or buying an existing business.

By Chakraborty

Dr Chakrabarty is the Chief Innovation Officer of IntuiComp TeraScience. Earlier she was Assistant Professor of Delhi University, a QS ranked university in India. Before that she has held research positions in IIT Mumbai, IIT Chennai and IISc Bangalore. She holds 2 patents and over 20 research publications in her name which are highly cited. Her area of research is in smart technologies, integrated devices and communications. She also has a penchant for blogging and is an editor of Business Fundas.