Chris Rhodes’ interest in “fixing things in the house”emerged when she was about 13 years old and her family home had a broken window. She found scraps of materials and fixed it. When the lights went out on a Christmas Eve, she convinced her mother she could fix it; while her mother held the flashlight, she returned power to the home. Today, after military service, college, leading adventure trips, three years in Italy and running her own home repair business, she officially embraced home inspection as her career. She leads Right Angle Home & Building Inspections in Milwaukee, WI. We asked Chris some questions about her path to home inspection.
Q: Tell us about your service in the U.S. Marine Corps and government position.
A: I served in the Marine Corps in my early 20s, from early 1988 to the end of 1993. During my second enlistment, I was injured and discharged. While I was stationed in Japan, and whenever I was in a position to, I loved the opportunity to look at houses and construction.
After my military service, I spent three years in Sicily working for our government. While there, I was also learning about Italian construction and methods. Whether it’s in other countries or other states, seeing the geographic differences is an invaluable experience.
Q: What ultimately prompted you to become a professional home inspector?
A: When I returned to the United States, I went to college. However, needing money, I was also looking for work. I did not find a job in an established business, but some friends would ask me to fix things on their homes. This grew into a full-time business. When I graduated from college with a B.S. degree in recreation management, I decided I liked working on homes and turned it into a full-time home repair business. After awhile, swinging a hammer caught up to me and I had two shoulder surgeries. I thought that I better find something else, but I really liked construction and helping people with their homes. Home inspection seemed to be a good fit.
Q: Your company is located in Milwaukee, but didn’t you begin your home inspection career and join ASHI in Connecticut?
A: Yes, my partner and I had been living in Connecticut and that’s where I joined ASHI. Although not at the time, I now appreciate the certification requirements, 100 home inspections under supervision, and ASHI’s professional activities and educational opportunities. Education is important to me and it’s especially necessary to remain current to be accepted by buyers and professional colleagues. I’m learning all of the time and I really enjoy that.
Q: You have discussed differences between states regarding home inspections. What are they?
A: Our industry suffers from inconsistencies across the United States, including licensing, education requirements and other credentials. I believe this hurts our profession. When there are few or no credentials, and some inspectors charging $250 for any size home, a large portion of the public doesn’t take the profession seriously and, it seems to me, that some home inspectors also don’t take the profession seriously. While there may be some necessary state-to-state differences, I believe there should be basic requirements common to all states, such as the number of required inspections and hours of education or maybe even a community college degree or certificate. Did you know hair dressers have to be licensed in more states than home inspectors?
Right now, I’m training a new inspector in our company. He is fully licensed in Wisconsin and had completed three inspections when I met him. He has stated that he is surprised at what he did not know. Both he and I believe it will be important for him to complete at least 50 supervised inspections to gain on- the-job experience.
Q: You mentioned that there are still challenges to being a “her” in the home inspection profession from buyers and fellow inspectors. When you attended your first InspectionWorld this year, did you meet other female inspectors?
A:Yes, I did. InspectionWorld® was a great experience. The educational programs were really good. I connected with several other female inspectors … very nice and inspiring.
Q: Your business is growing, you do presentations, write a blog and are active in increasing awareness of Right Angle. Any time for other activities?
A:Yes. We own an 1892 Victorian-style home that we’re restoring and renovating.
Chris’ website is www.RightAngleHomeInspections.com