Why should I pay you for a Home Inspection my friend can do?   

August 23, 2019

By Home Inspector Gene Ballin

A 2008 article in Forbes says that it’s common for Olympic athletes to spend “four to eight years training in a sport before making an Olympic team.” 

Having a friend or relative look the house over is not a bad idea. But, unless your friend is experienced at inspecting homes, they might miss something.  Keep this in mind, inspecting homes is not like inspecting widgets coming off an assembly line. Every home is different, even if the plans are the same, every home is unique. Because of this, the process of Home Inspection requires a very broad and high degree of both knowledge and experience.

To become a licensed Home Inspector is not that hard compared to other professions such as a plumber or an electrician. Entry into the Home Inspection field is outlined below.

In Tennessee to be a Licensed Home Inspector it requires:

  1. Is at least eighteen (18) years of age
  2. Has graduated from high school or earned a general education development (GED) certificate
  3. Has successfully completed ninety (90) hours of a commissioner-approved training program on home inspections and the preparation of home inspection reports
  4. Has passed the state-selected National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE)
  5. Has General Liability insurance - must include minimum of $500,000 policy coverage, valid policy number (TBA not accepted), effective coverage dates.
  6. Has Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance. 


In Mississippi to be a Licensed Home Inspector it requires:  

  1. High school Diploma or its equivalent
    2. Twenty-one (21) years of age or older
    3. Successful completion of Real Estate Commission approved sixty (60) hours of home inspection courses with the appropriate documentation
    4. Certification of passing National Home Inspector Exam
    5. Certification of insurance to include two (2) categories: **General liability ($250,000.00 per        occurrence) **Errors & Omissions ($250,000.00 per occurrence)
    6. Fully completed application must be notarized in two sections and accompanied by photos [front photo & profile photo]
    7. Payment of the application fee of $175.00 and the licensing fee of $325.00; totaling $500.00

    For individuals applying for the "NEW HOME" designation, the following additional items must be     included, to wit:                                                                                                                                                 
           1. An active Residential Contractor's (Builders) License
           2. A current International Code Council Certification in one of their disciplines (preferably in                          residential building inspection) 

The process of learning how to inspect a house really begins after you obtain your license. What it takes to build a home has changed in many ways over the millennium. In some ways maybe not much, in some ways quite a bit. But keep in mind, materials and methods are always changing. A good home inspector keeps up with the trends of building and has to still remember how things were done in the past, understanding how the old and the new blend together. To ensure Home Inspectors keep their knowledge current, most states require Home inspectors to take continuing education classes every year, 16 to 20 hours depending on the state. If you have been inspecting homes as long as I have, you can easily accumulate enough continuing education hours to exceed the requirements of an advanced college degree. 

A Home Inspection is both an investigative as well as an informative experience. After the field work activity is completed, the Home Inspector should discuss the major inspection findings with you on-site. This is the best time to review any serious conditions discovered during the Home Inspection. The Home Inspector is then required to generate a Home Inspection Report in an approved format for possible review by a lender, insurance company or possibly a government agency. Please keep in mind some lenders, insurance companies or government agencies may require a Home Inspection with a Home Inspection report as a part of the pre-closing process. A Home Inspection report can be 10-40 pages with 100 to 150 edited pictures included. The  'Home Inspection Report' will list general descriptive information about the systems and components in the home as well as significant defects discovered.


Once you are equipped with the knowledge of the Home Inspection, you can make a better-informed decision about your home purchase.