Basic Skills Required for Home Inspection - Curriculum List

  • HOME INSPECTOR SKILLS - CONTENTS: Communication & other skills needed by home inspectors.What does a home inspector need to know? Home inspection training and education curriculum recommendations
  • BUILDING DEFECTS LISTS - separate article
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about home & building inspection courses, standards, for basic home & building inspection skills: speaking, writing clearly, communicating with clients
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This article describes the basic communication skills needed to be a successful and effective home inspector, and suggests how inspectors should evaluate different written home inspection report forms.

This article series, beginning at BUILDING DEFECTS LISTS, provides lists of common building defects and basic defect knowledge that also outline recommended curriculum content for home inspector education. The building defects and inspection points listed in these articles also guide homeowners and home buyers to building areas that merit careful attention and often point areas of safety concern or important maintenance and repair tasks.

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Home Inspection Education Curriculum - Skills


10.1  Professional Practice

10.1.1      Knowledge Base

1.    Describe the goal of a home inspection.

2.    Outline the scope of a home inspection .

3.    Outline the history of home inspection in North America.

4.    Describe the profile of a typical client.

5.    Describe the characteristics of an ethical  home inspector

6.    Describe the tools typically used by a home inspector to perform a basic inspection.

7. Describe the home inspection process, including the pre-inspection routine, introductory discussion, inspection itself, closing discussion, delivery of written report

8. Describe the following with respect to home inspection:

real estate agent and broker, listing and selling agent, buyer broker or buyer agent, agreement of purchase and sale, irrevocable date, expiry date???JDG, closing or closing date, seller disclosure, substitute disclosure, escrow, waiver, closing adjustments, mortgage, equity, mortgage insurance, title insurance, commission, multiple listing service (MLS), sign-back.

9. Identify the licensing or practice laws, inspection standards and codes of ethics which apply to a professional home inspector in your area.

10.   Describe how the home inspection process fits into the real estate transaction, including the home inspector’s interaction with parties other than the client.

11.   Define the following terms with respect to the practice of home inspection:

property conditions, observed, installed systems and components, describe, technically exhaustive, advisability of purchase, cosmetic items, underground items, warranties, guarantees, engineering, occupational license, strength, adequacy, efficiency, normal operating controls, safety controls, hazardous substance, hazardous conditions, future conditions, operating costs, acoustical characteristics, practical experience, honest conviction, good faith, disclosure of information to third parties, compensation, commissions or allowances, conflict of interest, unregulated, pre-purchase home inspection, visual inspection, readily accessible, non-destructive, non-invasive, sampling type inspection, conditional offer, neutral and unbiased, risk management

10.1.2    Home  Inspection Skills Required

1.    Describe sets of circumstances against which the principles of professional practice are tested. Describe how the inspector should handle the situation professionally and ethically.

10.2  Communication

10.2.1      Knowledge Base

1.    Describe the purpose of verbal and written communication with respect to home inspection.

2..   Define the following terms within the context of verbal communication:

sender, receiver, message, encoding, decoding, feedback, medium, noise, personal filter areas, reception, para-verbals, body language, illustrators, emblems, regulators, adaptors, affect displays (emotional displays), mimic technique, credibility, jargon, semantic differences, proximity, information overload, time constraints, empathy, trust, distractions

3.    List three general written report formats.

4.    Describe these common components found in written reports:

description, conditions or evaluations, causes of conditions, implications of conditions, recommended action, limitations, life expectancy, priorities,  estimated costs of repair, further investigation

5.    List four reasons for writing written reports.

6.    Define the following terms within the context of written reports:

Warning: third party liability, on-site reports, report delivery, checklist, narrative, combination, contract, scope, report summary, report body, limitations, client questionnaire, maintenance tips, filing system, cost estimates, home owner letter (seller letter)

7.    Describe the nature of the liabilities that professional home inspectors bear.

8.    Describe two strategies used to limit liability of home inspectors.

9.    Define the following terms with respect to the liability of home inspectors:

Warning: these lists may include unrealistic expectations, gray issues, engineering, competent inspector concept, contractors, 20/20 hindsight, last-one-in syndrome, someone’s fault, prevention strategies, response strategies, walk-through inspections, model contracts, pre-inspection routine, introductory discussion, the inspection itself, closing discussion

10.   Describe the importance of reporting and communicating immediate hazards to the occupant and client.

10.2.2      Inspection Skills

1.    Demonstrate the principles of good verbal communication in a presentation.

2.    Describe the general sequence of a home inspection, outlining the issues communicated at each stage.

3.    Construct a written report using the principles of good written communication.

4.    Read reports and identify which report component(s) each sentence addresses.

Warning: Assumptions - all comments in this curriculum series apply [only] to 1 to 4 family dwellings.

Readers should see Home Inspector, How to Become a for our complete list of articles on this topic.


Use the Search Box at the top or bottom of these pages to find in-depth information about building, energy savings, and indoor environment inspection, diagnosis and repair at this website.

Watch out: these inspection lists do not list all possible defects for the systems discussed, and not all home or building inspectors will examine all of the items listed here.

These curriculae and building defect lists are based on smilar curriculum documents first prepared by Joe Scaduto, an ASHI member who prepared course material for Northeastern University's Building Inspection Certificate program in 1988, subsequently by DF, InspectApedia's editor, for New York University ca 1988 and later, with others, recommended to ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors.

ASHI did not adopt this material though currently that association as well as others offer extensive HOME INSPECTOR EDUCATION material. The curriculum and lists of defects are informed by additional analysis of the process of home inspection that was developed beginning Calgary, AB for Canadian and U.S. home inspector education and certification examinations in 1997

. Other early contributors to home inspection education in the U.S. and Canada include Dr. Jess Aronstein, Alan Carson, Mike Casey, Mark Cramer, John Cox, Dwight Barnett, Douglas Hansen, Rick Heyl, Larry Hoytt, Bill Merrill, Kevin O'Malley, Dennis Robitalille, Keith Peddie, Pat Porzio, Roger Robinson.


Continue reading at HOME & BUILDING INSPECTION METHODS - home, or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.



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