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“There are women out there who would be perfect for this career, they just don’t realize it is an option because it has never crossed their radar, and that is something I want to personally push to change.”
The Home Inspection Industry Needs More Women Home Inspectors
By Kaycee Molina
“So is your husband coming? Should we wait for him before we begin?”
I had to hold in a chuckle when the client said this to me. It was the third sentence she and her husband said to me upon meeting them. At this point they were already 3 for 3 on gender bias comments. The ironic part of her statement being that my husband, though handy around the house, is absolutely unqualified to be performing a home inspection. He is a diesel mechanic by trade. He is as qualified to do my job as I am to do his, which would be, not at all. Yet, because he was a man, this couple assumed he would be a better fit for doing my job than I was. And they definitely were not the only people I’ve encountered who felt this way.
I grew up in a place where equality was practically a given. A very different place than everywhere else I’ve encountered since leaving. Because in Alaska, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, we are all needed to survive. We are all needed to cook, clean, haul wood, fix the truck or build the cabin. I grew up with little to no prejudice to my gender, judged, rightfully so, on my abilities instead. Entering the workforce outside of Alaska opened my eyes to the idiotic comments and prejudice that women in this industry and others face every day.
It would be one thing if we were judged after the inspection. If they saw my report and decided I was inadequate based on my report, my inspection skills or my knowledge. It would even be one thing to only be judged by my looks and first impression. But instead, I’m judged before they even lay eyes on me. I am often judged from the moment they see my name on their inspection confirmation. I wish this was a joke, I really do, but when you have a long string of people cancel within minutes of receiving that confirmation email with my name on it as their inspector, there isn’t any denying the trend. No one was canceling inspections with the two men I was working with. Instead, my name alone became censored.
I try not to hold people’s ignorance against them. Indoctrination is a real thing. Different generations are all indoctrinated in different ways and the way we are raised, and are taught to believe can be a hard thing to change. I don’t hold your ignorance against you, however if your ignorance is challenged and shown to be in fact ignorance, and you still choose to continue your stance on the matter, that is when I hold it against it you. That is when you are no longer ignorant, you are a part of the problem. How can we expect future generations to be better, when we won’t even better ourselves?
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But for every negative comment that I receive, I’m inspired by 5 more encouraging ones. I meet people of all kinds who are ecstatic when they see me walk up to an inspection. Because for each person out there holding to their archaic idea that women shouldn’t be doing this, there are a dozen more who believe it’s a perfect fit for us. I had a client a while back who had a smirk on her face from the moment I arrived on site. She was a middle-aged woman. She watched me dive into a crawlspace, relay to them each of the items I found inside the crawl and answer their subsequent questions, and then she just shook her head and told me, “I think it is bad ass that you do this. I wanted to do this when I was young, but I couldn’t get my foot in the door. It wasn’t something women did and I couldn’t find a way past that barrier. I’m so glad you did.”
I’m so thankful that things have improved in that past few decades. I’m grateful for these comments from other women because they remind me that we have come a long way since then. But even so, less than 5% of home inspectors are women. This is an outrageously low percentage. And I personally believe that the key contributor to the low numbers is that there is a lack of vocal outreach about the possibility of it as a career for women.
Before home inspections I had a wide range of previous jobs. I was a carpenter, a seamstress, a mechanic, a waitress, a teacher, a newspaper deliverer, a customer service representative. And for a few years before I started this career, I was a stay-at-home mom with my two children. This job didn’t just find me, I didn’t wake up one day and consider it. Thankfully, my father-in-law is a home inspector and has been for over 20 years. He gave me insight into a career that would fit with my experience and my schedule perfectly, as this job only keeps me away from the house for about 4 or 5 hours at a time for each inspection.
There are women out there who would be perfect for this career, they just don’t realize it is an option because it has never crossed their radar, and that is something I want to personally push to change. Spreading the word is the first step. There are many women who may have considered it, but just haven’t gotten past that gender barrier. All I can really do for this part, is encourage you. Because this industry NEEDS more women. Women have a natural attention to detail. We know the ins and outs of running a household which adds an entirely different outlook to performing an inspection, and with the proper education and training we can learn all the rest. All of that together makes for an impressive and competent home inspector.
I can’t tell you there won’t be discouraging moments and people. In fact, I can guarantee that there will be plenty along the way. I could practically write a book on all of the gender-biased comments I’ve received in the years I’ve been in Indiana, and some days it just plain sucks. But, all the positive comments and people you encounter will be far more encouraging, and the job itself is so rewarding.
A home inspector’s main job is to protect a buyer as they consider one of the most expensive purchases of their lives. The home inspector’s allegiance lies with their client and the client alone, and we are there to lay out the true and accurate condition of the home. The secondary job of a home inspector is education. We are always educating on the job as we walk through and talk to our clients. The more someone knows about the home, current and future issues to look for, the more confident they are in the purchase. And doing this job right, is incredibly rewarding and it makes all of it worth it.
About the Author
Kaycee Molina, InterNACHI certified and state of Indiana licensed home inspector with MC2 Home Inspections in Indianapolis.
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Presenter: Isaac Peck, President of OREP
Isaac Peck, President of OREP Insurance Services, shares his insights and advice gained over nearly 10 years of providing risk management and E&O insurance for home inspectors. You will not hear many of these insights anywhere else.
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