Thinking of entering into the field of home inspection in Texas? Being a home inspector is a profitable career for people interested in real estate and seeking flexible job opportunities with great earning possibilities.
The global home inspection services market grew from $11.35 billion in 2021 to $12.82 billion in 2022. It is expected to reach $19.75 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 11.4%, projecting a bright future in this field.
Navigating the whole process can be taxing without having a guide. That is why we have compiled this comprehensive step-by-step guide to walk you through the process. From understanding the basic tiers of home inspector to securing your license, consider this article your roadmap to a successful home inspection career in the Lone Star State.
Ready to kickstart your home inspection career? Let’s explore all that you need to know from the ground up.
Types of inspector licenses in Texas
There are three tiers of inspector licenses, according to the Texas Real Estate Commission. Typically, home inspectors start with an entry-level apprentice position, progressing toward becoming licensed professional home inspectors. This section will cover all you need to know about each tier to help you make informed decisions.
The first tier is the apprentice license. This tier is a junior position that allows the apprentice to acquire hands-on work experience, often with the aim of eventually becoming a professional licensed inspector. An apprentice home inspector’s job is to work closely with a professional home inspector to help home buyers make the best choices when they are looking for a house to buy.
Upon meeting the TREC’s requirements, this apprentice license qualifies you to carry out home inspections under the direct supervision of a professional inspector.
What do I need to become an apprentice inspector?
To become an apprentice home inspector, you must meet the general qualifications, which cut across all tiers. These qualifications include being a citizen of the United States or a legal immigrant, being 18 years or above, and meeting the TREC‘s qualifications of honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness. Other specific requirements for obtaining an apprentice inspector license include:
- Being sponsored by a professional inspector
- Completing your application and pay your fee
- Get your fingerprints taken and pass the background check
- Providing proof of financial responsibility
Also, consider requesting a Fitness Determination before proceeding to apply for a license to confirm your eligibility.
How long does it take & how much does it cost?
Once you have filed your application, you have one year for you to meet the needed requirements, after which the application will expire. The application fee for an Apprentice Home Inspector License is $60, and there is no waiting period to become an apprentice home inspector in Texas. TREC will mail your license once they are done with the processing
Real Estate Inspector License
The next stage after the apprentice home inspector is the Real Estate Inspector License. It is referred to as the intermediate level. The real estate inspector is allowed to work as a home inspector, but unlike the apprentice inspector, the real estate inspector works under the indirect supervision of a Professional Real Estate Inspector. This means that while you can work unaccompanied as a real estate inspector, you can’t work under your own established home inspection company just yet.
Requirements to become a real estate inspector
After meeting the general requirements stated earlier, the real estate inspector must obtain sponsorship from a professional inspector. Aside from these, other requirements include:
- Within the 12 months leading up to the application date, you must have a minimum of three months of active experience as a licensed apprentice inspector under the sponsorship of a Texas professional inspector.
- Complete 25 real estate inspections under direct supervision.
- Complete 90 hours of coursework from an approved school. 80 hours in the two modules of Property and Building Inspection and 10 in Business Operations and Professional Responsibility
- Proceed to take the real estate inspector exam once TREC grants you approval.
What if I never got my apprentice license?
You can obtain a real estate inspector license without prior experience as a licensed apprentice, but you will need to complete an additional 64 hours of coursework.
How long does it take & how much does it cost?
You can obtain your real estate inspector license within as little as three months, assuming an exceptionally fast TREC processing time and the completion of all coursework within that period. We advise that you plan for a slightly longer timeframe.
Professional Real Estate Inspector License
The highest stage of becoming a home Inspector in Texas is the Professional tier. A Professional Real Estate Inspector is trained and certified to work as a real estate inspector. At this level, you can work solo, have your own established home inspection company, and get hired by buyers and sellers of properties for inspection. In addition, you can sponsor and hire other home inspectors.
Requirements to become a professional real estate inspector
- Work as a licensed real estate inspector for at least one year under the sponsorship of a professional inspector.
- Complete 175 home inspections under the direct supervision of a sponsor or professional home inspector.
- Submit your application and pay the fee.
- Complete the coursework.
- Take and pass the exams, which consist of the National Home Inspector Examination and Texas’ state exam.
What if I never got my real estate inspector license?
It is also possible to become a professional real estate inspector without a real estate inspector license. However, this will require an additional 60 hours of coursework.
How long does it take & how much does it cost?
Getting your professional real estate inspector license should take you one year from the time you got your Real Estate Inspector license. However, certain factors, like the TREC’s processing, can stretch the timeframe. The application for a Professional Inspector License costs just $120.
How to become a licensed home inspector in Texas
Whether you want to be a real estate inspector or a professional real estate inspector, there are processes you have to go through. Obtaining your home inspection license should be hassle-free if you follow the steps we explained below. Let’s get started.
1. Enroll in & complete Texas-Approved home inspection courses
The first step in becoming a licensed home inspector in Texas is to enroll in an accredited school offering TREC-approved home inspection courses. There are various options available to fit your schedule and study needs. Some schools offer online courses, others operate onsite, while others offer a hybrid program for a flexible and hands-on learning experience. Regardless, all schools must include practicum hours, which is the field training for real home inspection experience.
Bear in mind that the two tiers of licenses come with different learning requirements, so you must select the education program for the level of license you intend to obtain. The hour requirement for each tier is outlined below:
- Real estate inspector license: 154 hours of study
- Professional real estate inspector license: 194 hours of study
2. Complete 40-hour live inspection training (practicum)
Although the course requirements for both tiers of licenses are different, prospective home inspectors are expected to complete the required hours of home inspection training. Both tiers require a 40-hours of field training with a licensed Texas home inspector, also known as practicum.
This training gives applicants the opportunity to gain field experience as a home inspector. It also serves as an essential foundation to set them up for a successful career. The benefits of this field training are learning to use the REI 7-6 and writing inspection reports that can be given to clients. You’ll also gain practical, hands-on experience with the tools and equipment that inspectors use everyday.
3. Apply for your real estate or professional real estate inspector license
Once you have completed the first two steps above, you are ready to apply for your home inspection license in Texas. The application is straightforward once you have met the basic requirements, such as being a citizen or legal immigrant in the United States and being 18 years and above.
The application form is available on the TREC website and contains the necessary process. The process includes filing your fingerprints with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and submitting copies of course completion certificates and experience.
The application for the Real Estate Inspector License in Texas is $100, while the Professional Real Estate Inspector License costs $120. Candidates have one year from the date of application to meet al license requirements.
4. Pass the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE) & Texas Real Estate Law Exam
Once you’ve met the education and experience requirements, you’ll be sent an exam approval notice. This notification will have instructions for scheduling the exam and obtaining a copy of the Candidate Handbook and study materials.
The home inspection licensing exam is made up of national and state exams, both of which cost $199 if taken at the same time. The National Home Inspector Exam is made up of 200 multiple choice questions, 25 of which are not scored, and test takers have 4 hours to complete the exam. The Texas Real Estate Law Exam, on the other hand, can be taken at any Pearson Vue testing center. The state exam consists of 30 questions with a 45 minute time limit.
The national home inspector exam is usually scored on a scale of 200 to 800, and candidates need to score 500 or more to receive a passing grade. You have to wait for 30 days before retaking an exam if you do not meet the cut-off score. However, if you fail either exam three times, you have to take additional course work before retaking the exam. Consider enrolling in an Exam Prep course to improve your odds of passing the test on your first attempt, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars in exam retake fees.
5. Get fingerprints taken & pass a background check
Applicants are required by law to have fingerprints in the Texas Department of Public Safety database. You will only receive your license after submitting fingerprints and passing a background check. Visit the Texas Division of Real Estate website to learn more about submitting your fingerprints.
Both procedures are done to ensure that prospective real estate inspectors meet the TREC’s requirements of honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity and have clear criminal records. It is often advised that applicants request a Fitness Determination before applying to ensure that they have no records that can impede them from getting the license.
After submission of the required documents, the commission reviews the request and makes a fitness determination within 30 days. The fitness determination cost is a $52 non-refundable fee.
6. Obtain proof of professional liability insurance (general liability & EO insurance)
You are required to submit proof of Professional Liability Insurance coverage to work as a home inspector in Texas. Your policy must cover violations of the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1102, Subchapter G, with a minimum of $100,000 per occurrence and an annual aggregate total of at least $100,000. This insurance contains both General Liability and Errors & Omissions insurance. Both of them cover different risks exposure.
Just like its name, General Liability insurance safeguards home inspectors against third-party lawsuits like property damage, bodily injury, etc. E&O, on the other hand, protects your business against claims of negligence, real or not. These claims include omissions and negligence.
7. Continuing education (CE) & license renewal
Texas home inspectors must renew their licenses every two years. This renewal process involves completing 32 hours of continuing education, including 4 hours of legal updates. Continuing education (CE) is a great advantage to expand your knowledge base and expertise in your home inspection career, which can set you apart from competitors and create more working opportunities.
Continuing education covers various aspects of home inspection, such as changes in regulations, new technologies, and ever-changing industry standards, ensuring that home inspectors are up-to-date in the field. Some of the home inspection training courses and certifications include home energy auditor, Certified Radon Tester, Certified Mold Inspector among others.
8. Network to promote your inspection business
Living in an increasingly digital world, home inspectors should leverage available digital tools to promote their business. As a new inspector who is just getting into business, it may seem challenging to get the needed exposure to grow your business. Still, you can proactively promote your business through networking, marketing, and social media.
Home inspector networking provides the avenue to connect not just with potential clients but with other experts in your field. These experts can provide valuable industry insights, increased visibility, opportunities for professional advancement, collaboration, and so much more.
We strongly recommend learning basic home inspector marketing strategies to help you thrive in this competitive field. With a well-designed home inspector website and a good marketing plan, you can set yourself apart from the crowd, give your home inspection business the needed visibility, and expand your client list. From your business’ logo design and branding to paid advertising and the other aspects of digital marketing, there are many opportunities that you can explore to give your business the needed visibility.
Home inspector social media marketing opens up a whole new world for you to connect with possible clients on multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), Linkedin, and many others. By positioning your business on these platforms strategically, you can connect with your target audience and set your home inspection up for success.
Wrapping Up Our Guide on How to Become a Home Inspector in Texas
If you have read up to this point, it means that you are ready to skyrocket your home inspector career, and we are excited for you. We started out by exploring the types of inspector licenses in Texas along with the requirements to obtain each tier of license. Then we looked at the steps involved to become a home inspector here in the Lone Star State. From enrolling in approved courses and completing 40-hours of practicum to applying for your license and passing the exams to submitting fingerprints, passing a background check, and obtaining the proper insurance coverage, we’ve covered a lot. Once you’re a licensed inspector, it’s your responsibility to keep up with the continuing education requirements.
By following the guidelines outlined in this article, the process is straightforward. We also provided valuable tips for becoming a successful home inspector in Texas. One last piece of advice is to find the best home inspection software for you. Don’t just settle for the first software you come across. Do some research, read reviews, and most importantly find a software that you’re comfortable using. We offer a student discount program that will help you save some money while giving our Home Inspection Software a try. Get started with our Free Trial to unlock the benefits experienced by EZ HIS’ other users.