A resume of the trainee to better understand his or her
Be enrolled of have taken valid courses in home
is necessary to begin to learn the technical aspects of a home.
Work in the office to learn that inspections are not
just walking through a house/property and making out a report.There are computer programs, report writing, records, telephone
conversations, advertising, follow up inspections, insurance, office
Attend professional meetings to meet people in the
field and learn more about the field beyond the classroom. The war stories
at these meetings are stories that are not forgotten.
Become computer savvy to use the internet to
communicate, to reference information and simplify the office management of
a business among other things. Home inspection is now in cyberspace whether
or not you are comfortable with this.
A mentor agreement between the inspector and trainee
are some techniques to become a more effective teacher.
Be a role model
Exhibit a strong commitment to the profession
Demonstrate a commitment to a career long lifespan of
learning about the profession
Be reflective and willing to learn from your mistakes
and mistakes of others
Be eager to share information and ideas.
Be flexible, persistent and open minded.
Be humorous and resourceful
Be willing to accept new challenges
Be a problem solver and share the experience with your
Be willing to admit to others you do not know something
but will get the information
Other skills needed:
a good listener
able to articulate your thoughts
positive and productive critiques / encouragement
enthusiasm and passion for the field
Learning/teaching techniques before the inspection:
the clients if it would be acceptable to have a trainee attend the
inspection and explain the role of the trainee in the inspection process.The trainee is a student and not an inspector.The home inspector is the person responsible for written and spoken
the importance of being a good listener to the trainee.Make the trainee understand that this is not a classroom but an
actual job.Clients are on site
and need the inspector’s direct attention.
recommend that the trainee be a good observer.
the trainee to take good notes.
to the trainee that purchasing real estate is usually a very emotional
experience for the purchaser and this must be considered.
the trainee understand that the all encompassing task of the home inspector
is to help the client become a smart consumer in the area of your specialty,
that of home inspection.
Learning/teaching techniques during
The overriding issue is that the student is attending an
actual inspection and it is not purely an on site classroom.It really must be a modified field experience.
will be many questions initially by the trainee.Recommend these questions be deferred until the end of the
inspection. As the trainee develops experience, helpful comments and
observations can be offered to the inspector to share with the client.This will be determined by the inspector and degree of experience of
moments. Occasionally and quite unexpectedly there will be moments when a
question may arise from a condition observed.For example, an underground oil tank on the property.The trainee may ask”How did you know that there may be an oil
tank?” If this question wasn’t answered during the inspection by the
home inspector addressing the clients, the inspector can explain that a
patch was noticed in the plastered foundation. It made the inspector
suspicious and thus further investigation was needed.Recommend that the trainee listen first and ask questions after the
inspection despite the teachable moment.The question can be jotted down by the trainee for discussion after
listen now and ask later.The
home inspection should not be a detailed training session for there will be
many teachable moments and opportunities for learning.
contrived experiences. The old statement, Dewey…”Learn by doing.”
Allowing the trainee to learn by doing is a gradual process that can only be
determined by the individual differences of the trainee.Gradually allowing the trainee to crawl, then walk, then run is
something that needs to be monitored by the teacher.Initially “doing” will be just listening to how to converse with
the client and following the inspector through the inspection.As experience is gained through repetition of the inspection process,
“doing” can be for example, asking the trainee to observe the water
heater as the inspector is doing and then have the trainee explain what was
observed.Some inspectors will
allow a very brief discussion during the inspection with a more detailed
evaluation of the observation after the inspection.
Direct experiences through repetition help to “automatize” the
inspection process initially mentally then physically.Yes, generally home inspectors develop a routine with variations from
the basic routine at each inspection.The
automatized routine is the foundation of a sound inspection.Keep doing it until you get it.You may remember, isn’t that how we learned to ride a bike?
Reinforcement.Reaffirming a positive action will help the trainee reinforce good
habits and like what they are doing. Statements such as, “Hey, good job, I
didn’t notice that leak under the bathroom sink.”
Frustration/Change.Remember that learning requires changing patterns of behavior.Whenever we change patterns of behavior, humans develop some
frustration.Generally as the
frustration fades, learning takes place.Encouragement from the home inspector is always recommended to ease
the pain of frustration.
it fun.Sugar coating the pill
of learning with humor and enjoyment of what people are doing is a great
elixir.Keep it available at
aware that a barrage of questions and discussions about home inspection and
a particular home inspection will probably take place driving to and from
the inspection.These are those
teachable moments discussed earlier.
As time progresses and the trainee become more
competent, additional tasks and responsibilities will follow.Allow the trainee to develop, learn and grow into the profession. You
will become the teacher of a professional home inspector. This person will be a
credit to home inspection.This
student eventually will hang out his or her shingle; he or she will be a credit
to the profession.You have done
your share in training a real professional. You have given this person roots and
wings, and his or her flight will be at a higher level, that will make our
profession better.Our profession
What about more concrete remuneration?Some inspectors charge a realistic fee.This is certainly not unreasonable. Others just request that after all
this education, the new home inspector be a credit to the profession and never
stop learning and growing as a professional.
As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we
get, but we make a life by what we give”
Joe Staub is a retired public school teacher and
carpenter/builder as well for some twenty seven years.After retiring from those fields, he became a home inspector and has
worked in the profession for the past seven years. He has written articles in
chapter publications as well as made presentations to local Real Estate
professionals to help them understand the profession of home inspection.He also volunteers to train prospective home inspectors.
Joseph W. Staub, President
Staub Home Inspection
N.J. Home Inspector License #GI0206
Member of the American Society of Home Inspectors #202689
Director Garden State ASHI