Home inspection is an exciting new career choice which is fast opening up for South Africans. This process could now be accelerated and between 2 000 and 6 000 jobs for home inspectors may be created if home inspection became mandatory in South Africa, as recommended by Berry Everitt, MD of Chas Everitt.
John Graham CEO of HouseCheck says that if similar market penetration is achieved in South Africa to that in the US, then there is room for about 2 000 trained home inspectors at the top end of the SA home inspection market. Graham defines this market segment as housing units priced between R800 000 and R5-million. According to industry sources more than 22 000 houses in this price bracket are sold every month.
Graham adds that the low-cost housing market, where the need for consumer protection is even greater, could boost the potential demand for home inspectors by an additional factor of two or three. The Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale has spoken out against the low standard of low cost housing and the huge wastage that occurs in this area.
Graham says that a home inspection business can be very lucrative for a sole entrepreneur. Home inspection fees average around R3000 for a three bedroom, two bathroom house. Graham says that, just like in the US, larger established home inspection franchised businesses will probably dominate the South African home inspection industry.
A home inspector, usually works on behalf of home buyers. The inspector checks for structural problems with the roof, walls and foundations, leaks, damp damage, drainage issues, defective electrical, plumbing and gas installations, problems with finishes and anything else that can affect the value or safety of a home.
A home inspection service is usually called in by the prospective buyer before an offer is made, or after a conditional contract has been signed. This allows the buyer to walk away or renegotiate if the buyer is dissatisfied with the condition of the house as documented in the inspection report.
The home inspection field is expanding rapidly worldwide: In the US, nearly 80 per cent of home buyers hire an inspector, according to a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors and the American Society of Home Inspectors.
With the growing popularity of the home inspection service in South Africa there is an increasing need for home inspection expertise and for the regulation of the home inspection industry.
Lorraine Mocheko, chief executive officer of the South African Home Inspection Training Academy says her organisation offers students the opportunity to study home inspection part-time via a 32-module online SAHITA course (www.sahita.co.za). Mocheko says the SAHITA study material has been especially written for the South African building environment. All HouseCheck inspectors are SAHITA-trained.
Mocheko explains that a home inspector needs to be an “all-rounder” with a working knowledge of all aspects of house building. She says the SAHITA course material is unique in that it covers all aspects of the South African house building envelope – including finishes and services.