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New Real Estate Inspector Certificate Program Provides In-Demand Skills

Lone Star College–Montgomery instructors and administrators joined with recent graduates of the real estate inspector program for a celebratory dinner. Many of the program graduates will use their new skills to become working inspectors, while others completed the program to increase their overall personal knowledge of home inspection.

Buying a home is most likely the largest single investment someone will ever make, so it stands to reason to make sure it is worth every penny before signing on the dotted line.

A new continuing education certificate program offered by Montgomery College  Conroe Center is training real estate inspectors--those who give houses a “physical” before purchase--for entry into an excellent and very rewarding job market, said Dr. Roberto Rodriguez, director of the Montgomery College Conroe Center.

According to the America’s Career InfoNet Occupation Report there will be a 22 percent increase in this field over the next seven years, said Dr. Rodriguez. And in Texas, real estate inspectors average $39,700 a year and can make up to $58,900 or more, he said.

A February 2007 MLS (Multiple Listing Service) press release stated that Greater Houston area real estate sales have increased nearly nine percent compared to last January, which highlights the continued difference between Houston real estate trends and reports from much of the rest of the country.
“There is a great real estate market in our area right now which translates into excellent opportunity for real estate inspectors,” said Dr. Rodriguez. “We have developed a thorough program up to the high standards of the state licensing requirements of the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) and we are pleased that our first group to have completed the program in December is well on its way.”

Essentially, when a house is going to be sold, a real estate inspector will evaluate it inside and out including the roof, windows, foundation, and the electrical, plumbing, heating and air systems to make sure that “all systems are go and if they aren’t that it is reported so that further evaluation by master professionals can be done and so that the prospective buyer is aware of anything that isn’t functioning properly,” said Robert Pemberton, an instructor with the college’s real estate inspector program.

“I think that most people are aware of real estate appraisers--who basically evaluate a home to determine a property’s value for sale--but the real estate inspector actually rolls up his sleeves and looks at every single aspect of the house and the performance of its systems,” he said.

The Lone Star College–Montgomery real estate inspector certificate program offers two levels of training: real estate inspector and professional inspector.

“The professional inspector program parallels what a real estate broker would be to a realtor, so we are able to offer entry as well as upper level training,” said Pemberton.

The real estate inspector training consists of 120 classroom hours of core real estate inspection courses. Of the 120 hours, 30 hours of core inspector education contains 10 hours credit each for the structural, mechanical (including appliances, plumbing, and HVAC components), and electrical systems found in improvements to real property.

Professional inspector training consists of 448 classroom hours of core real estate inspection courses which includes eight hours of the study of standards of practice, legal issues, or ethics related to the profession of real estate inspections; 320 hours in specific professional inspector education alternative courses and the 120 hours of the real estate inspector training.

Once coursework is completed students are eligible to sit for the TREC state certification exam, which, upon passing, results in state licensure.

Kyle Boden, who owns his own painting business, was among the first group to complete the real estate inspector program.

“This was one of the most intense trainings I have ever experienced,” said Boden. “I really feel like we were basically taught how to build a house from the ground up, which represents an incredible amount of knowledge. I know that I am well prepared for this field and I am very happy that Lone Star College–Montgomery chose to offer this program because I feel like it will benefit a great amount of people.”

Pemberton said students in the program come from a variety of fields--contractors, handymen, realtors and even professionals from Fortune 500 companies.

“It’s a great program for those wanting to pursue a career, but it’s also not bad to know in general just as homeowners and future home purchasers,” Pemberton said.
The first class in the real estate inspection program (Inspection Part I) begins in October and runs for eight weeks on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. In addition to both the real estate inspection and professional inspector programs, the college also offers real estate sales pre-licensure coursework at the main campus on College Park Drive. For more information on any of these programs, call (936) 273-7446, or visit http://montgomery.lonestar.edu/67815.

The Montgomery College Conroe Center is located at 102 Longview Drive in Conroe, just east of downtown off Highway 105—just past the FM 1314 intersection. The Montgomery College main campus is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call (936) 273-7000 or visit http://montgomery.lonestar.edu/.

NHMCCD, among the five largest and fastest growing community colleges in Texas, comprise, Cy-Fair College, Kingwood College, Montgomery College, North Harris College, Tomball College, six satellite centers, and The University Center.