Becoming a home inspector will soon become the career of choice for many South Africans. Bryan Chaplog, CEO of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), which falls under the Department of Human Settlements, has stated that a target of creating 10,000 new jobs for home inspectors over the next five years is feasible.
A new law, the Property Practitioner’s Bill (PPB), is, according to Chaplog, going to regulate home inspectors and define acceptable training standards for home inspectors. Both HouseCheck, South Africa’s leading home inspection company, and the South African Home Inspection Training Academy (SAHITA) have supported the introduction of the PPB.
John Graham, principal of SAHITA, says government recognition of the home inspection industry is long overdue. Up to now home buying consumers in South Africa have been badly protected when buying homes voetstoots. Most home buyers were not made aware that it would be prudent to get a home inspection report as part of the deal.
Graham says that the home inspection industry was huge in other parts of the world. In the US more than $2bn a year is generated in fees by home inspectors who conduct more than five million home inspections a year. Market penetration is exceptionally high: 80% of houses are inspected when they were sold. In the US, the home inspection business is fairly equally divided between large franchise inspection companies and small, often one-man, home inspection businesses.
Graham says that he expects to see the same trend emerge in South Africa now that government is turning the spotlight onto home inspection services. “It’s an ideal job creator,” says Graham. “Entry costs to the industry relate to training and inspection equipment. Overhead costs to run a home inspection business are low, and many entrepreneurs are already embracing the opportunity.”
SAHITA offers online inspection training for new and existing home inspectors for as little as R8,550. “All you really need to run a home inspection business is suitable training, inspection equipment costing a few thousand rand, an internet connection, a vehicle and a cellphone,” says Graham. Necessary inspection kit includes a computer, camera, moisture meter, various measuring devices, a ladder and a torch.
Graham agrees with Chaplog that home inspection is likely to create a great many jobs over the next few years as buyers become increasingly aware of the need for the service. He expects banks and insurance companies to start requiring home inspection reports. Government agencies such as municipalities, the NHBRC and the Department of Human Settlements also have an on-going and growing need for trained inspectors.
Graham says home inspectors are, by definition, generalists or all-rounders. Home inspectors are required to have a good understanding of all the elements of a South African home, including the legal framework, wet work, roofs, installations and finishes.
“SAHITA provides this training to South Africans,” he says. “The existing SAHITA course will be restructured in order to meet the unit standard requirements of the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA). SAHITA has also employed consultants to get accreditation of the SAHITA course with SETA.”
Currently, SAHITA training is only offered online. However, Graham says that plans are underway to offer practical regional classroom training as an additional module for the existing SAHITA course. This would take the form of various day-long workshops.
“We are also looking at licensing SAHITA-certified home inspectors with a South African-specific inspection software application which will enable the inspectors SAHITA trains to do fast, accurate inspections of various property categories, including existing housing, new builds, rental property, low-cost housing and commercial property.”
What a home inspector looks like
Someone who doesn’t want to be tied to a desk all day
Someone who has a desire to run a small business
Someone who is interested in construction and how things work
Someone who has a technical mind and likes to figure out things
Someone who is organised and clear-thinking
Someone who enjoys meeting and helping people
Someone who is willing to learn and take initiative
Who is John Graham?
John Graham is a South African who has spent more than 30 years in the property industry. He has hands-on experience as a developer, investor, estate agent, home builder and property inspector. John is the founder and CEO of HouseCheck and the principal of the SA Home Inspection Training Academy. He is the author of a number of popular eBooks including: The South African Home Buyer’s Guide; Quality Control for South African Home Building and The Complete Guide to South African Home Inspection.