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PODCAST: Women in Home Inspections (with Uli Sommers and Jaymie Paternoster)

The home inspection industry is male-dominated. Today, Uli Sommers and Jaymie Paternoster join the show to talk about the presence of women in the field.


Reuben recalls the multitude of feedback he received from his blog post entitled ”Home Inspectors don’t have to be old white guys’‘. In the blog, he mentions that there is a huge demand for female home inspectors in the industry that needs to be met. 


Uli tells her story from practicing nursing to becoming a home inspector; from remodeling their first house in the U.S., taking the ASHI school, to getting the general contractor’s and home inspection licenses. She highlights the significance of attention to detail and communication in the industry. She also shares the advantage of being a woman in the industry and having an extremely supportive home. 


Jaymie talks about getting tired of working in facility management and finding her passion for home inspection. She shares about becoming a home inspector and the excitement of empowering homeowners to make well-informed decisions. She advises having confidence in the journey, knowing yourself and your boundaries, and having fun. 


Tessa shares about having the podcast as a platform to inspire listeners who aspire to become home inspectors. She tells her story about meeting Reuben and receiving an offer to become an inspector. She highlights that finding mentors willing to help is a big part of her success. 


Reuben asks about their home inspection experiences while pregnant. Tessa reads some letters that women had written to the podcast. They discuss motherhood, multitasking, burnout, and proving their worth in the industry. Also, they talk about the future of home inspection, smart-home energy, and news in the Role of Delineation Study.


Bill bids farewell to Structure Talk. 

Get more advice and inspiration from Reuben’s blog through this link:




The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.


Bill Oelrich: Welcome, everyone. You’re listening to Structure Talk, a Structure Tech presentation. My name is Bill Oelrich, alongside Tessa Murry and Reuben Saltzman. As always, your three-legged stool coming to you from the Northland, talking all things houses, home inspections, and anything else that’s rattling around in our brains. Well, welcome to the end of December. Weather’s turned cold, and this is officially my last show in front of the big microphone here. So we’re going to start just by acknowledging that, and then we’re moving on. So thanks, everybody. I appreciate all the kind words I’ve heard over the last couple of years. But…


Reuben Saltzman: And lots of great emails that have come in after you had announced that you’re going to be going. A lot of people are going to miss you, Bill. I’m so going to miss your inquisitive nature, your natural curiosity. Oh my goodness, Bill. It will not be the same without you.


BO: It’s the one thing that I was born with.


RS: Yeah, you’re…


BO: So, curiosity. So thank you. I appreciate everybody who did mention or took the time to write in. We appreciate it. It’s been a fun run, but let’s turn to today’s episode. This has been a show that’s been in the making, at least the discussion phase for probably what, Tessa, six weeks? Maybe a little bit better than that? 


Tessa Murry: Since October, we got a couple of emails in from some women that listen to our show, that are home inspectors and Reuben, you can speak to this, right? ‘Cause they sent you an email or sent the podcast emails.


BO: Reuben, I don’t mean to step on you, but let me just set this up real quick. In our profession, we have long been known to be made up of a certain demographic and that’s changing. Thankfully, there’s a lot of people getting into this business who you wouldn’t typically think of as home inspectors. So we wanted to have a conversation with women home inspectors. About how they got into the business and what’s it been like for them in this business and how can we get more women to get into the business? 


RS: Yeah, that’s the goal.


BO: Yeah. So, so that’s where this conversation is going today. And we are lucky enough to have three women home inspectors on the podcast today, Tessa, which everybody knows. But we also have Uli. I’ll let you… I’ll let you introduce yourself. So I don’t mispronounce any names. And then after Uli gets done introducing herself, we’re going to turn to Jamie. And Uli is based in Oregon and Jamie’s based in Michigan. And so why don’t you start Uli, just go ahead and introduce yourself.


Uli Sommers: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me on. I’m really honored. My name is Uli Summers. As you mentioned, I’m from Portland area, Oregon, and I’ve been in the business now for exactly 10 years on December 24th is my 10 year anniversary. To be officially a home inspector.


TM: Wow. Congrats.


BO: Woo-hoo. Congratulations.


RS: Did you do a home inspection on December 24th? 


US: No, I did not. That’s what my license says.


BO: All right. Very good. Thank you. And Jamie, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself.


Jamie: Thank you. So I am in Detroit, Michigan and this past July made 13 years for being first paid home inspection that I walked in. And it’s been quite a ride.


BO: Wow.


RS: Fantastic. And you know, I, I want to say I picked both of you because it’s not like you are second generation home inspectors where you were kind of born into this. And you are not spouses of a man who was doing home inspections and then they taught you how to do this. You are both 100% self starters where you just both went completely out on your own and said, I want to do this and you built it up from there. So I thought what better people to have on than people like you two.


TM: And can I add, not only are they successful at home inspections, but they are just both amazing people.


US: Thank you.


RS: Yes, yeah, I’ve gotten to know both of you very well. In addition to this, Uli serves on the board for the examination board of professional home inspectors. She is a director there and she’s been doing that for how long has it been? Uli, five years? 


US: Yeah, this is my fifth year. So I have one more year to go. So a six year term and yeah, I’ve been doing it for five years now. It’s hard to believe.


RS: And we… I think we first met when Uli was serving on the ASHI education committee as well.


US: That’s right. That was a long time ago.


RS: That was a long time ago. Yeah. So you’ve been very involved in the home inspection… Well, what should I say? I don’t want to say community, just leadership of the home inspection field. And then Jamie, you’ve got a multi-inspector company. How many inspectors are you up to? Tell me more about your company now. What you’ve grown it to.


Jamie: Well, it started my business in the state of Indiana after kind of learning from someone else as a home inspector, like as an apprentice. I moved to Indiana where I was from and I just started from the ground up. It’s funny. Imagine a… Like a seven month pregnant girl coming into… [laughter]


TM: Wow.


Jamie: That was fun. But I grew that business to where it was three of us full-time doing inspections. And then… And then I just wanted to go to a bigger city, a more dense population, more opportunity. And Detroit was kind of a melting pot of people, lots of opportunity, dense population to grow my business. So I sold the Indiana one and came out to Detroit about five years ago. And it’s been a lot of fun. We’re up to four full-time inspectors, but we actually have a team of eight. So just the people that we feel are necessary for us to, you know, operate and continue to succeed. So that’s been pretty cool. Not only realizing how to be an effective, phenomenal home inspector with a good reputation, like that’s… That’s the whole premise of a successful business, right? But then to also learn the things I didn’t realize I was going to have to learn until I was in the middle of it, like being a leader and then training other people, that was really fun to try on and then realize, oh man, I need some other people to wear some of these other hats. So that’s where we are right now.


RS: Awesome. That kind of sets the stage about what kind of power we’re bringing to this podcast, got some awesome people on here. And what really started this topic. I mean, Bill said, we’ve been talking about doing a podcast on this for probably about two months now, but even before then, back in October of 2020, I wrote a blog post and this one took me probably a couple of months to write and revise and have people read over. And the title of this one was home inspectors don’t have to be old white guys and oh my goodness, that’s definitely the most controversial blog post I have ever written. I did a YouTube video to go along with it, just titled home inspector diversity. And the whole, the whole idea here is that it, well, it’s exactly in the title. You don’t have to be an old white guy to be a home inspector. You can be a young person. You don’t have to be white to do this. You don’t have to be, you don’t have to be a man. You can be any of these other things and still get into it.


RS: But yet when you go to a conference and you look at a picture of the entire room, I mean, I’m just calling a spade a spade. It’s old white guys. That’s what you see. And you know who got offended at this? Old white guys.


US: Old white guys.


RS: Yes. Old white guys. They were so mad. A lot of them… I say they were so mad. Probably two thirds of the feedback I got was from old white guys saying, amen, preach it and how dare you call me old. But I mean, it was… It was very supportive, but there was a handful of people who just got super whipped up. And I don’t understand why they were so upset by this, but they’re like, who said you have to be that? Nobody ever said that. It’s like, yeah, nobody said it, but it’s just… It’s just kind of unwritten. And it’s what a lot of people expect. And I remember showing up when I was younger to home inspections, people saying, well, you don’t look like you’re old enough to do this. I mean, I got the age thing going for myself when I first started doing this at 24, 25, whatever it was. That’s just to kind of set the stage for this. And we want to talk about how you ladies got into this, what obstacles you had to overcome and where your life is at today after having done this, both of you for more than a decade, Bill, I’ll turn it back over to you. I just wanted to set that up a little bit.


BO: Well, no, that was good background. And I guess I’m always curious for… For both of you… ‘Cause I know this from Tessa, like what led you to even want to be in this business? 


RS: Uli, let’s start with you.


US: Yeah. Okay. So my… Just to go back to my background, my original background, that’s actually nursing and my husband and I moved here from Germany in 2000, that was supposed to be for a year. He did an internship and we were able to stay and made this our permanent home. And so at the time we had two kids, we had one more later on and I’ve always liked remodeling back in Germany already. And then when we purchased our first home here in Oregon in 2002, that was really very rundown to say it politely. It was a fixer upper. And when we moved in, we had some friends help us and they, you could tell by the looks of it, like what the heck did you buy? And… But we had a vision and we are still in the same house. We probably didn’t leave any stone or stud unturned and did all the work ourselves and when we had our home inspection back then, I remember the inspector going over everything that wasn’t working and I said, let’s just talk about what works because we’ll be done a lot sooner here. So we just started remodeling and I loved it.


US: And at the back of my mind was always that home inspection that, when we had that done, I thought that would be a very cool job. And then once the kids got older and were a little more, you know, able to be home on their own, I thought, it’s now or never, and I’m going to jump into this and go for it and I’m so happy I did. And yeah, here I am 10 years later.


TM: Did you get any schooling, any formal training on that? 


US: So I was actually very lucky. I actually had talked to a couple of inspectors within our… The ASHI association, which I was kind of, you know, somebody pointed me to that. And I went to the meeting and I found somebody who kind of took me under his wings and he was getting close to retiring and he has been an amazing mentor to me. He took me on all his inspections and I did a ton of ride alongs and then I also did the ASHI school in California. And so that kind of set me up to take all the tests and at the time you had to do, or if you have a… Your own business, you also have to be… Have to have a general contractor’s license. You’re exempt from taking classes in Oregon if you’re only working as a home inspector, but I’m carrying that license just in case, ’cause you never know.


TM: Is your license general contractor too? 


US: Yes. Yes.


TM: Wow. That’s amazing.


RS: Awesome. Is Oregon a licensed state? 


US: Yes, it is. Yes. At the time it was a paper and pencil test that was quite old and outdated. And I thought, you know, I just studied for all of this. I better also take the national exam now that I… Everything’s fresh in my mind. You never know when it’s good for. And I’m so glad I did because for, you know, being an ASHI member, but also for being a board member on the examination board, you need to have the test taken. So I was glad I kind of got it all out of the way in the beginning.


TM: Wow. That took a huge leap of faith, Uli, to not have any background in construction or it sounds like or trades or anything like that and go from nursing, a career in nursing to then, Hey, I want to be a home inspector. I’m just diving in. It’s a lot of courage.


US: Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that. I do like home inspection more than nursing. I can say that for sure.


RS: I feel you. My wife is a nurse and I don’t know how anybody can do it.


US: Well, especially the last couple of years, tested all the medical staff for sure.


RS: Yes.


Jamie: Nursing, there’s immediate attention to detail and there’s this immediate bedside manner that you have. And how incredible does that relate to being a successful home inspector? Because you also, like, even just in going through the renovation of your house, you realize that you had this vision and wow, how useful is that? Like, I’m sorry. Not just useful. How absolutely necessary is that to be an inspector now? You know, you realize what you wanted to do yourself. You’ve got this like grit and this attention to detail. I think it was a natural move.


US: And I’ve heard that before. I’ve had people say, you know, that attention to detail comes in handy now that you needed a nursing and, you know, just for the record, because every home inspector always cringes when they talk about engineers. So I’m married to one, so I know all about that, too. So there’s two people with attention to detail that might not always have the same view on things. But thank you. I appreciate that, Jamie.


BO: Where do you guys rate this communication thing on a scale of one to ten in how successful people are in this business? 


RS: I’ll give it a ten.


TM: It’s extremely important. You can have someone who understands all the technical pieces to inspecting a house. But if they don’t know how to communicate them effectively to their clients, they will not be successful.


Jamie: Just as important, if not perhaps more important than the technical detail.


US: I agree with that. And I think it’s communication, verbal communication with a client, whether it’s for a recap after the inspection or on the phone for follow up questions, but also in the report writing. I think it’s key to be, you know, detailed and the communication goes into the report writing as well I think.


TM: Yes very important.


Jamie: Yeah, like saying what you said.


US: Yeah, right. Good.


TM: And what do you mean? Give it some context. Yeah.


BO: All right. So let’s get us back on track here. Jamie, how did you get into the business and what led you down this road? 


Jamie: Well, I always joke and say, and I think I’ll always say this. My first toy was a Lego. Like, I just appreciated being able to build something from nothing for a reason, because I really I appreciate the function of everything. Like, why is this here and is it serving a purpose and is it of value? And is it working like it’s supposed to? Like, I’ve always just been interested in that. You know, I’m 43 now. I think it probably took all of 20 plus years to realize that that’s why I liked all of this, you know, but to be honest, when I was finally an adult-ish, I suppose, let’s see 43 now, 13 years ago. So what would that made me? About 30 when I finally became a home inspector. My background was in facility management and architectural design. So I understood how a building functioned. And I understood how to delegate projects or issues to the correct people. And to tell you the truth, when I finally understood that home inspection was even a thing, I was tired of working in a commercial building all day because that’s where I was managing facilities.


Jamie: You know, it was in a commercial building, same people, same view, same four walls. And so when someone approached me just in conversation in a restaurant about, you know, had you ever thought of being a home inspector? I said, well, no. Back to your point, because it was like I wasn’t an old white guy. I was a 29 and a half year old woman. So I imagined it being this person who was a retired engineer or a builder with a clipboard and a posture that presented perhaps authority that I didn’t think that picture was me and also, you know, think about it. Thirteen years ago, HD TV wasn’t a thing like a wasn’t a thing 13 years ago. So the representation of what home inspection even was, wasn’t really clearly defined to understand the opportunity in it until I was presented with the question. And I was like, well, sure, what do I have to lose? Let’s go learn what this is. And I remember my first I guess it was an interview because there was a person that wanted me to be a home inspector for him. He had this area and he was like, listen, I would like for you to be my first home inspector.


Jamie: I thought, oh, gosh, let’s see what this is all about. And I remember after sitting down with him that first time, he says, all right, come on over to my house, change your shoes and we’re going to walk on my roof. And I thought, oh, my gosh, what? I was afraid of heights. I go wobbling up this ladder, you know, and I got up there and there was a sense of freedom that I had never felt before. I felt like an apprenticeship. The next few months, it took me probably, I think, four months where it was like an apprenticeship, you know, it was in the state of Louisiana. So it was a second most difficult state. Everything’s difficult in Texas. You know. It was the second most difficult state to get your home inspector license by the state. So I had to study and I followed him and then he followed me. And then he finally released me. I passed my exam on the first round and got my license. And in July was my first like fee paid by myself home inspection. And I remember feeling so, so much excitement for the knowledge I was about to empower people with because I felt like if someone is going to hire a home inspector, they already know that, you know, more than them…


Jamie: That’s why they’re hiring you. They want you to walk them through the house and tell them the things. And I can’t tell you all how excited I was to bring that knowledge to the table, like the transfer of value I was about to give. And I haven’t looked back.


TM: That’s really cool.


US: Sounds very cool. Yeah.


TM: Who is this person in the restaurant that approached you to ask you if you’d be a home inspector out of the blue? 




Jamie: Well, I… Like if you can imagine, I talk to people. [laughter] The owner of a home inspection company when I lived in Louisiana and we and we there were just a bunch of people around and we were just chatting and it was like, oh, what do you do for a living? And I explained, you know, I manage these projects and stuff and never really got around to what he did, but he owned this home inspection company. He says, listen, one of my guys, he has this this territory and he needs help. He needs a home inspector. And so before I even met the guy that was going to hire me, he basically was saying, hey, you need to hire this girl.


Jamie: And I remember showing up… And we’ll probably get to this in a minute, but I remember showing up on site for probably for the several months. They did not expect me, like they did not expect this 30 year old girl with a long ponytail and a big old smile beat bopping around the house, you know. So when I came up instead of, you know, the guy that taught me everything for the next several months, I had to navigate how I felt about that and the posture I was going to decide to have from now on. And that was a pretty cool, again, empowering thing, to decide who you’re going to be and just go unapologetically be it. And then, man, get that hearty handshake at the end. That’s like the coolest thing ever. That builds your confidence in, Yeah, I know what I’m doing and the transfer of value that I know I bring to the table doesn’t have to be this scary thing for our clients. It can literally be this human thing where this person that I’m hiring has this attention to detail, knows exactly what they’re talking about. And they’re telling me with this like, Uli, with this like bedside manner that makes me feel like I just got a ton of super valuable information about this giant investment and oh, by the way, she beat bopped around with a ponytail like that’s pretty cool.


TM: That’s amazing. It is. It’s helping people feel empowered to make decisions that are right for them. And also at the same time, even if it may not be perfect news, because most of the time, let’s be real, we’re not delivering good news, we’re delivering bad news. But at least that person understands what they’re getting into and they can say yes or no to it and they can approach it eyes wide open. And I think that that offers people relief.


Jamie: Agreed.


TM: You know? 


US: Yeah, I think they’re very appreciative. And sometimes it is a downer for them because they didn’t expect that. But at the end, it’s like, well, better find out now. And my mentor, he would always tell his clients, you know, I’m a paid pessimist. And I do that sometimes, too, because I really like that because that’s what it comes down to. Right? 


BO: Yeah.


TM: How have I never heard that before? 


US: And it does break the ice a little, you know.


Jamie: Yeah. Like I go into it being cautiously optimistic.


US: Exactly.


BO: Okay. It feels like both of you absolutely took the bull by the horns when you decided to get into this industry, right? You weren’t going to wait for somebody to let you in. You were going in and it was a matter of, well, if you don’t like it tough, but if you like me, this could be great. I don’t know that that’s the experience for a lot of people out there. So how do you… What would your advice be to somebody who’s looking to get into this industry and how do they grab that bull by the horns in a way that accomplish what you guys accomplish? Because it feels like you got from A to Z in a very short order.


US: Yeah, I think for me, at least. Well, first of all, I have an extremely supportive husband. And he was always there. And in the beginning, it took me forever to write reports. He started to learn how to cook, so I didn’t have to do that.


RS: Wow.


US: And, you know, the things that I would normally do around the house, he did that just so I could focus on it. And I think that certainly it has been an amazing help for me to have that and have that support at home. But then also I… In my area, at least, I can’t speak for other parts, but it’s been actually maybe even to my advantage being a woman because there are so few women out there. And so when you work with a real estate agent or clients, you’re like, wow, I’ve never seen a woman inspector and this is great. And I want to support women in this business. And so that’s kind of for me where it took off from there. And I certainly had an advantage as a woman. I feel like that obviously you still have to prove yourself while doing your job and do it correctly and the way you present it and all that comes with it. But I think for me, it’s been an advantage being a woman.


RS: Do you think you’ve gotten any business that you wouldn’t have had otherwise if you weren’t a woman where people were just seeking you out because you’re a woman? 


US: Yes, I have. I have had specifically asked clients, asked their real estate agent to have a female inspector.


5 RS: Okay. All right. Cool. Jamie, what about you? 


Jamie: Just starting from the end and then working backwards. Yeah, I’ve seen realtors that have decided to use me or my team really, but decided to use me because of the type of client they had, maybe with past situations or certain requirements that they really did feel most comfortable knowing that there was a female and they didn’t necessarily seek out a female. But perhaps we had met or they knew about me from another person or something where they decided, oh, yes, this would be best for my client. So I think that’s an advantage of being a female. Also, one of the things that I love is when you realize, so any female that’s listening that wants to lean into what it might be like to be a female inspector, to have confidence in the journey that you’re about to go on and then not waver from that because there are some agents that just refuse because I am a female and that’s fine and I have to decide, well, they’re not going to know the value that I have to add compared to who they might be using right now. And if they’re not willing to see past my ponytail, that has to be okay with me.


Jamie: And eventually, by word of mouth, through the community, they’ll realize what they’ve been missing. But also from a female perspective, but also just on a human level, whatever you do needs to be fun. So whether you’re a female or not, or young or old or whatever, man, if what you’re doing isn’t fun, like if you decide to be a home inspector and then you just… You’ve got to enjoy it thoroughly. There’s some details of every day and like running a business and stuff, like some lessons that I’ve learned and some really deep… Like deep hearted stuff that I’ve had to figure out whether I want or not. But when it comes down to it, the transfer value that we add, that like mental, I say what we’re selling is like this mental knowledge, we’re selling… Gosh, I can’t think of the term, but it’s a transfer of knowledge. And if I’m not happy with what I know, being able to pour into somebody else, or if I don’t… If they don’t like the fact that I’m a female, I’m going to move on to the next client, like I’m going to move on to the next agent because I really want to work with people that know, like and trust my team. And at that point, it doesn’t matter whether I’m a female or not. Like, I just have to be confident in what I stand for and what my vision is and what I want out of the deal and the fact that I’m a female, you know, that just… That just determines my niche. That’s all.


BO: I like that.


US: Very well said.


BO: Yeah. And what I like is the fact that you’re not going to waste good energy on bad. And you didn’t say this, but if you don’t like me too bad, I got 15 other people who would be happy to have me walk in their house and bop around and be super positive and help you understand what you’re going to buy so you can close with confidence. And that’s really what the currency of this business is confidence.


RS: Yeah.


US: I think, too, that at the end of the day, I mean, for some people, it does make a difference whether you’re a woman or a man. But at the end of the day, they just want you to do your job and do it well. And, you know, whether you’re a man or a woman, you will meet agents that you can tell from the first moment it clicks, you get along well with them. And, you know, there’s probably another job coming. And there are others where you’re like, yeah, I just didn’t feel it. And it’s probably the only time we’ve worked together. And that’s totally fine, too.


RS: Sure.


BO: The universe is talking at that point.


US: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.


RS: Jamie, I wanted to ask you real quick. Are you still in the field doing home inspections or have you stepped back into just an ownership role? 


Jamie: Yeah. So I kind of wear all the hats right now. So I have been in the field a little. So instead of doing 10 to 15 inspections a week, right now I’m doing like two to five a week. So a couple of years ago, I stepped out because I had complete burnout just in my business, not as a home inspector, but just as a business owner. I skipped over the part… Like, my husband has been completely supportive. We’ve been together about 20 years. Andhe is, of course, my biggest cheerleader. But he also helped me figure out how to run this thing as a business, because there’s only so long that you can answer the phone while you’re in an attic or a crawlspace, right? And then it becomes unprofessional and unproductive. And so he helped me kind of figure out the things and make connections with the community around me that can kind of set me up for success. So as I’ve been navigating through that, I also had three children. [laughter] My oldest is now eight. So eight, five and one are my kids. So through COVID, I was then doing like four inspections a day, four to five days a week.


BO: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. That’s insane.


TM: Yeah.


Jamie: When you think you’ve got superpowers as… I mean, seriously, ladies, we think we have superpowers sometimes and we’re just human. So then it comes full circle where you hit your head on a planter because you’re just not looking at stuff and it knocks you to your feet and you’re like, wait a minute. I think I’m overdoing it. So then I realized I was like… I was just… I was overworked. I was burnt out. I was expecting too much of myself. And I do warn women in that because it’s just a thing that we do. And not that it’s acceptable. Like, that’s not okay, you guys. So when you decide to do something like this, it’s to prove it to yourself that you want to do something and that you’re really good at it. No one expects you to do anything other than what you are capable of. So I wish someone had said that to me back when. But when I’m surrounded by males, that’s not something necessarily that males are built to tell each other, because like, even I speak about my husband. He’s very good. I think that like women and men are like, we’re like a filing cabinet, right? 


Jamie: To where like my husband is really good at like opening one file drawer, getting what he needs and then closing it mentally, you know. And women, we’re like in all the drawers at the same time. We call it multitasking, but everyone knows that multitasking means you’re not doing anything superiorly, you’re just doing it all at the same time. And that’s why we need those brackets to hold it up against the wall or else the whole stinking filing cabinet is going to fall over.


US: I love that analogy.


Jamie: No one said you have to work in all the file cabinets and drawers at the same time. But I got to this place where I was like, oh, man, I’m so good at this. I can do this, cheerfully, you know. And then in August of 2020, like just very regretfully. And I was like, I have to take care of myself. And then I became pregnant with kiddo number three. And I was like, this is quite the incredible… Not excuse. I just can’t think of a word right now. But this is quite the incredible reason to go through this next season in my life. And I said, okay, team, I need to step out of the field completely and we need to figure this out and reevaluate.


Jamie: So fortunately, I had two full time inspectors at the time and they just stepped in and did it and I stepped out and I was out for about two years, Reuben. And that’s where you’re like, you know, are you still out of the field? I was out of the field for two years figuring out how to run this thing as a business and then also figuring out how to, you know, have another baby in the household. Like, that’s just a lot. And as women, we often forget, you know, we’re really good at this thing and we’re really good at that thing and in whatever capacities you have in your life, like wife and mom and business owner and home inspector and relationship manager to realtors where we get our business from. And you’re really good at all these things. And oh, by the way, I never realized that budgeting was a thing. And like, I had to choose an accountant and then I had to decide, well, what the heck sewer scope should we use? And I’m like, this is too much. So I’m back in the field just as of a few months, probably about six months back in the field for one, because I love it.


Jamie: I think that if you run a business, you need to know what is in the field. And for two, it fuels my soul being able to really have that transfer of knowledge to other people. Like, I like to be able to go into a property and tell an investor what they’re literally inheriting or going into a property and telling that first time home buyer, don’t be afraid. Like it’s just this and you can just call this person and that’s okay. I’m back in for lots of reasons.


RS: Sure. Okay, cool. Now I got a couple of follow-ups here, first, when you weren’t in the field, did you have any other female home inspectors on your team? Do you have any now? 


Jamie: I’ve been looking for female home inspectors, not as exhaustingly as I probably could, but man, do I desire another female inspector. There’s something about the grit and attention to detail and like the empathy that I believe I might be able to find in a female inspector, whether they’re already an inspector or not, if they’re a nurse wanting to change fields, you know, I’m so interested in that.


RS: And then one more, and this is for both of you, Uli, let’s just start with you. I want to know what it looked like when you were inspecting when you were pregnant.


US: That was before.


RS: Oh, okay.


US: I had, yeah, so the kids are older and mine are actually on the other spectrum of where yours are, Jamie, mine are 25, 23 and 18. So I started when my daughter was eight, which was kind of… And the boys were, you know, older, I was able to just, you know, have them kind of fend for themselves at home and I could, you know, I didn’t have to be there every minute of the day. I would like to jump on what Jamie had said, I think, and I appreciate your honesty about that, Jamie. I think the burnout is really something that it’s a real thing. And in the beginning, you’re so excited and you want to take on every job. And I remember working sometimes seven days a week and just, you know, nonstop and thinking I need to take on every job so that I don’t lose a client or an agent. And I did that for quite some time and then realized, I’m a nicer person to everybody and… And if I take a break and do something else as well, and so I tried dialing it back a little bit and, you know, try not to work weekends.


US: So that’s family time. So my husband and I get to do fun stuff and it still entails, you know, driving around, setting up or picking up radon monitors, but it’s not a full inspection and having to write a report. And so I think that’s very important to touch on that we need to take time for ourselves and have other things in our life to… To have that balance and not get to that burnout.


Jamie: This is such an industry where a lot of home inspectors, whether you’re female or not, have like a fear of scarcity mindset, because what it is that we do is an… As an added value for most more often than not a real estate transaction. And we feel like if we don’t say yes, then perhaps we won’t even get asked the next time. So then I remember… Like for… So I had all three kiddos, well the last one I was just out of the field, but for my first two kiddos, I was on a roof the day before I gave birth. The reason I say that is because that’s just what I expected of myself. It was okay. It wasn’t like, I’m on bed rest. I’m a… Every woman is different. But I say that to say then as I continued on, I remember with baby number two, I was in triage and an agent called me and I… And I answered and she had a complaint about something, like she couldn’t find something. And so I like frantically like, you know, went on my phone, like between breaths, you know…


TM: Oh my gosh! 


Jamie: She had no idea what I was doing. That wasn’t her fault. Like she wasn’t crossing a boundary. She wasn’t being disrespectful. I wasn’t being honest about who I was as a human in that very moment. And it took me probably days or weeks to even realize, oh my gosh, I am the only one that expects myself to show up in this certain capacity. So I really had to flip my mindset to say, I’m awesome at this, I’ve trained a pretty, you know, kick A team to be awesome at this. We we’re going to continue to be successful and move in an upward trajectory. And we are who we are. And if we don’t take care of ourselves first or have like our own expectations of what we can put out on the table, then how do we expect anyone else to know what to expect from us? 


Jamie: So it was that phone call and triage between breaths where I was like, oh, this realtor. And I thought, Oh, wait a minute. That was all me. Like she had no clue. And that kind of shifted the journey of me figuring out like, okay, if I’m going to, you know, blaze this trail, you know, for females, you know, in the area… If I’m going to be along the journey on this, I’ve got to be really clear about what it is that I want. Do I want accolades for being a female in this thing? And I work really hard or do I just want to like have a successful business in a like in a role that I really love because brings value to my household and my family and like me as a human. And that’s what I have to attach myself to now.


BO: That that awareness is…


US: So mature.


BO: Really, really pretty important, regardless if you’re a male or female, just understanding how to create boundaries that people can digest. And obviously they would understand, but you’re like, I can’t… I’m not turning my cards over yet. Right. Like I’m going to solve this problem and we’ll have a conversation later. Right. Like you’ll, know that I was in that position later, but I’m not going to do it now, but that’s pretty fantastic.


US: I can relate to a lot of things that you said, Jamie, especially with, you know, around having kids, I had my final nursing exam like three days after my son was born. And so my teachers were holding the baby while I was in there testing.




TM: Oh my gosh! Wow! 


US: So, but it’s, you’re so right. We put this on ourselves and you know, and I’m like, no, I’m going home after giving birth. I’m not staying here. I have to take care of my kids at home. And after the third one, right. And if we put this on ourselves and the saying no part is really important. And that’s something we have to learn. And I don’t know, I can only speak for myself, but from what you said, I think that’s a female thing that we always feel like, especially in a man’s world, we have to prove ourselves. But just what you just said, Bill, I was recently listening to a podcast and the podcast guest, she was… She was talking about the learning how to say no. And, you know, finding that, and that’s a hard thing for many people in general to do, and she said, I always think about it. If it’s not a solid or a hell yes, then it’s a no. So that’s where differentiation, right. So, and I think sometimes I need to get to that point.


BO: Well, can I follow up on something you just mentioned, like feeling like you needed to prove yourself. Did you carry that with you for a period of time? And do you remember the day of liberation when you’re like, there’s nothing left to prove. You can either show up and use me or you can go find somebody else.


US: I’m not sure. I don’t think there was a specific moment that I can recall at least where this happened. I think it’s a gradual shift. And I also want to say that, ’cause we’re talking about, you know, dialing back a little bit and not working quite as much. I do understand how lucky I am to have a husband that has a good income. And so we’re not relying on just my income. And I know for a lot of male home inspectors, that’s not the case, right? So the women are often supporting them in the business by doing scheduling, but the main income comes from the home inspection business. So it’s a little bit a different approach. And then you almost feel like you have to take every job because you don’t know how the market is going to go in a few months. And we’re seeing that right now and during COVID, right. So I’m in a very lucky position that way. But I think for me, it was just a gradual shift where I realized, you know, it’s not the end of the world if I don’t take this job right now. And I want to be there for my kids and, you know, my family.


BO: Jamie, did you feel like you had to prove it for a period of time? 


Jamie: I think in the beginning I did because I was being fed inspections in a full time capacity when I first came on board as an employee. And so when they expected Ed to show up and instead got me, there was disappointment because he had been doing it for so long. And then I got used to… I have a master’s degree in communications. So I think that’s one of the things that was pretty exciting that I got to like use that, you know, kind of like the game we play with humans. Granted it’s a flippant thing, but it’s pretty cool to be able to read someone’s mannerisms.


Jamie: So it was really fun. And I still think it’s fun. But I think not that I necessarily… I do agree with Uli. I think that put on ourselves to maybe prove our worth without thinking that it’s a negative thing. But no, we do understand the industry that we’re in and we do want to say, I promise you, I’m really good at this. And that’s called proving our worth. That’s okay. It’s not a negative thing. But I feel like, like Uli said, it was a gradual thing. I don’t necessarily think there was a moment where I was like, “Oh, it’s a daily thing.” And I think that’s just what we know getting into the industry. And that’s the posture that I talked about earlier. Like you got to be confident in the fact that you have this knowledge and you have this like different, perhaps even charismatic way of communicating that knowledge. And that is why you’re…


BO: Yeah. This business will humble you too, because you’re never done learning. Right? Like, and for everyone to say that.


Jamie: You know, it’s one of my favorite things when a client, like an agent, kind of, that’s really good at their job. You know, there’s so many hats that a realtor wears. Oh my goodness gracious. That’s why I’m not a realtor. I’m a home inspector because I like one hat. Then they have this client who’s bringing their dad, the engineer. If dad wants to bring in his knowledge, you know what? I’m going to invite him in. ‘Cause like what you said, you never stop learning. Right? So the dad walks up and I could be super intimidated by his like overly strong, kind of condescending handshake.


Jamie: And I could be like, all right, dad, let’s do this. And I bring him along and he’s pleasantly surprised by the end where he’s like, wow, I didn’t need to be as scary dad as I thought I needed to be. That becomes fun and human and collaborative. And now we’re all on the same page and we all know that we really just want to be honest about the house so that daughter, Susie, isn’t surprised by anything. And dad has to cut a check three months in, you know, and it becomes this fun human process.


US: I can vouch for that experience. And as women, I think we probably get the looks more often. I still remember one time, especially I could just tell on their faces when my clients walked in that when they saw me, because my name doesn’t necessarily give away that I’m a woman. Right? So they come in and just the look on their face, I knew I had some… I needed some time to show them, “Hey, I know what I’m talking about.” And at the end…


BO: Did you acknowledge it right away? Did you like…


US: I did not. No, I didn’t. I just kind of, you know, kept going. And as we talked during the inspection, they realized, and they were super friendly and appreciative afterwards. And, yeah, so, but it’s kind of funny sometimes.


BO: I’m convinced there’s nothing really bad to find in a home inspection. I mean, there’s just things to fix. And if you just keep a level head about it, big deal. Like who’s going to pay for it. You do this, maybe somebody pays for it… Somebody else pays for it. If you don’t do this, maybe you pay for it. Okay. Uli, do you have other home inspectors on your team or is it, are you? 


US: I don’t, no… It’s just me, you know, I thought about it for a while. I had a couple of people who asked me if I was looking for an inspector who would have loved to join me, but I just haven’t made that. I don’t know. I just kind of like it the way it is and just, you know, I still answer my phone and maybe that’s the control freak in me and, just, you know, doing it all and yeah, no, I don’t.


BO: Well, it kind of goes back to what Jamie was saying. Just know yourself or know your boundaries. And if, that’s… There’s nothing wrong with whatever you choose as… So long as it fits you the way you want it to.


US: Right. Exactly. Exactly.


BO: So we had this conversation before we started, but sometimes we get so caught up in what other people think about us that we get lost in what we actually think of us. So…


RS: Well, Bill, if it’s okay, just for time’s sake, I would love for Tessa to share a little bit of her history on all of this too, thinking back to a lot of these questions that we’ve been covering, a lot of stuff that Jamie and Uli have been talking about. I’ll love it if you could take us back to the beginning Tess and kind of guide us through your journey as a home inspector too.


TM: Well, first of all, I just want to say, I feel so humbled to be a part of this conversation with Uli and Jamie here, because you guys are just, you’re so inspirational, but I think that’s the point of this podcast is that a lot of times we lose sight of how amazing we are as individuals and, we look at, you know, someone else, we compare ourselves and we’re like, well, I’m not as smart as them, or I’m not as capable as them. And I realized that after doing this podcast for several years, that there’s probably a lot of people listening that hear my voice and hopefully I can be an inspiration to them even without talking about this subject that here we are having a discussion about home inspections.


TM: I’m a woman and I didn’t even think about that honestly, until we started, having this discussion is like, you know, I think we can all be inspirations to each other, wherever we are on our journey, you know, of growth and self-development. And I think it’s really important too one thing that you were saying, Jamie and Uli is like learning boundaries and learning how to kind of understand what you need to function well as a human. And when you can be your best self, like that is the recipe for success, for you to be able to, I think, be the person that you’re meant to be and live your purpose on this earth is if you can really learn who you are and take care of yourself and we’re all on this journey, it looks different for all of us. But I think I’m just so inspired by these women that have contacted us offline from this podcast that inspired this whole podcast too. And I hope I can share some of their stories too, if we’ve got time, but…


RS: Oh we will.


TM: Just me personally… Good, we should, just me personally, I feel like I’m a step ahead. I’m lucky in the sense that I went to school for building science, which opened up a lot of doors for me in this industry. And I had internships with very knowledgeable people that, you know, kind of involved a lot of hands-on in the field, learning of houses and building science. And then I also had my AmeriCorps experience of building houses for Habitat for Humanity after Katrina. And then just, Mike, Jamie, when you were saying you had a conversation with someone in a restaurant and they asked if you want to be a home inspector, I started laughing because that’s literally my story too. I was in this, you know, this energy efficiency kind of building science world. And I was… I was ready for a change and I didn’t know what that looked like. And I was kind of like thinking, well, I’m probably going to have to move to a different state if I want a change because I can’t see any other way around it if I stay here in the Twin Cities area. And then literally like Ruben contacted me to have coffee with him. I met him and he’s like, hey, have you ever thought about being a home inspector? 




US: Awesome.


TM: And I was this close to accepting a job offer in a different state at the time. And I said, you know, no, the thought had never crossed my mind before, but what is this? And, you know, and it sounded intriguing. And I said, yes. And I’m so glad that I did. That was in 2000… What was it? January, February of 2016, I think. And I didn’t have any formal…


RS: No. ’15.


TM: Okay. ’15. Was it? 


RS: ’15.Yeah, it was.


TM: Oh my gosh. So I didn’t have any formal training for a home inspection. And I mean, I thought I knew a lot about houses coming into this field. But I realized as soon as I started working at Structure Tech, I didn’t know anything. And again, I, you know, went through this humble process of learning about all these different aspects of houses and the systems, electrical plumbing, these things I didn’t know anything about. And I look back and I’m like, wow, six years ago, what I knew then and then what I know now. And it’s just, I feel lucky to be in this place where, you know, I’ve got all of these great mentors that have helped me along. I think that’s been the key to my success is just having mentors like you said, Uli and you, Jamie, like finding these people along the way that are looking, willing to help you. And I know we’ve all… Speaking to women that are in this industry, we definitely have all experienced challenges along the way because we’re women, but interestingly enough, I look back and all of my mentors throughout my life have been men and probably because I’m in this industry. Shout out to Bob Myers, Bob and Doris for my Habitat Day.


TM: Shout out to Pat Hellman at the U of M and Tom Sherber. Shout out to mr Steve, who is my site boss. And then you, of course, Ruben and your dad, Neil, and everybody else on the team, I’m thinking like Melinda and George and all the other inspectors that took the time to teach me things about home inspection. I’m just so, so grateful to that. And it’s an industry that you’ll… You’re always going to be learning in. So it’s important to stay humble. And so anyways, yeah, I kind of rambled a lot there. Hopefully I answered some questions, but that’s a little bit about how I got here.


Jamie: That’s phenomenal, Tessa. And I love that you… I love that you keep going back to, it’s an industry that you’re always learning something in. And I think that’s one of the intriguing things about inspection in the first place is that we get into it curious and if we’re not always learning, oh my gosh, how boring would that be, you know? And I also say that to inspectors that are out there, maybe complacent. Perhaps it’s because you should maybe open your mind to learning that next thing or learning that next software or learning that next way to get your business to the next level, to not be complacent. ‘Cause that’s just the nature of home inspection in the first place. Yeah. Houses are still built with rooms and walls and roofs, but there is always something to learn and once we don’t enjoy that part, that’s when you need to shift your perspective to maybe something else.


US: Well, I think just looking back at to how it’s evolved, like when I first had our house, when we had it inspected 20 years ago, it was a piece of paper that we got, that was our report, right? It was checked off. This works, couple notes, and that was it. And look where we’re now with pictures and videos and reports. And I’m kind of interested to see where this is going to go in the next 20 years and, you know, what we think is now pretty cool, it’s going to look pretty boring in 20 years in terms of reporting.


Jamie: Yeah. I think it’s gonna.


BO: Yeah. I was going to say, do you have any predictions, right? Like 20 years from now, what, does this process look like? 


US: Yeah. I don’t know. I mean, I’m just seeing, you know, and we we’ve been having these discussions about all these smart elements now coming into the homes and, you know, solar and energy efficiency playing more of a role as all the prices are going up for utilities and yeah, but the smart energy really, I think it’s… There’s going to be a lot coming. I mean, who would have thought of the iPhone, you know, I don’t know what 20 or 15 years ago and yeah. That’s gonna be interesting.


BO: Does smart energy become part of the SOP? At some point in the future…


US: Probably.


RS: Uli, Uli you have to be one of the of the most qualified people on earth to answer that question. I mean, let’s talk about the RDS.


US: Yeah. Let’s talk about the RDS.


RS: That just went out. Have you looked over the results yet? I mean, tell the listeners what the RDS is.


US: So, the examination board for professional home inspectors does a role delineation study every five years, which is essentially just to kind of, you know, keep it at minimum here. It’s a survey that goes out to as many inspectors as we can reach within the country and Canada to find out what they’re inspecting, what, how important certain items for them are, and there’s a long list of this. So yeah, there’s various ratings, but we’re also looking into what we think is going to come in the future. So is there a trend towards things that some people are already doing as part of their inspection, whether it’s an add-on or whether it’s integrated and how is this kind of evolving? 


US: And so we’re doing that and just kind of keeping track of what’s coming and smart home energy is a part of that. And so it’s, it is a tricky one because there aren’t really any code books for it that we could be writing questions to and sourcing them to, it’s more driven by manufacturers that come out with their own products. But as an inspector, it can be hard when you have a smart home, a brand new home where everything you do, whether it’s turning on the fireplace is a digital display and the whole house is run through that. So we’re going to get to the point where we have to learn that, or we have to exclude half of the inspection from the home because we don’t know how to turn on the furnace or the fireplace because it’s all digitalized or through an app on the phone that we don’t have access to. So it’s going to be interesting.


Jamie: That’s actually one thing I’m really excited about, Uli, is I think that eventually we’re not necessarily going to be inspectors, we’re going to be advocates. So because everything is going so digital and so smart home, we’re going to be the ones going into a house and interpreting it to the new owner. And the digital is going to stay there. Like the house will always know the last time the water heater was replaced. Now we get to open the app and interpret the house the new buyer or whoever hired us to say, okay, teach me about this house. We get to teach ’em not only about it, but what the app says the condition of it is, and the last time someone was there to perhaps do work because now they have to log into the house and log what they did in the house. Like I just… There’s so much that technology could do for the home that it’s going to shift our industry completely. And we’ve kind of got to be ready for the ride. And I’m pretty excited to see what it’s going to do because it’s going to happen so fast once it turns that technology corner and we’ve got to be able to shift how we interpret the house. Sure, we might still inspect some things, but we’re going to log in in the app and then we’re going to interpret what the app says happened the last nine years in this home or whatever.


US: Right. And just to go quickly back to the RDS to finish that off so people understand it better, the results from that real delineation study and the survey, we can see that trend and that feedback is what we’re using to create new test question to keep the exam current with the standards that and what people are inspecting these days. So that’s kind of where it comes back full circle.


TM: Awesome.


BO: So I imagine, Jamie, what you were just explaining, something similar to what you were saying, something similar to a code, you know, when your car throws codes and they can plug it in and Nelson’s like, oh, your furnace shut off for 15 minutes on this day, what the hell happened type of thing. I think that’d be super powerful because unfortunately there’s this loss of knowledge in the ownership transfer. And that could be extremely costly to one person and it might benefit another person. So it’d be awesome if we could get to that point. I think we’re a long way from it.


RS: On that topic, I’ll just tease this likely our next guest and our next podcast will probably be about a month from now. We’re probably going to be going to a one podcast a month type of format after this one. But our next guest is likely going to be somebody who’s going to come on and talk about exactly this topic, the Internet of Things and technology and houses and what we can do. He’s not a home inspector, but someone who knows a lot about this stuff. So that’s probably going to be our next topic. Just kinda to tease that before I forget.


US: Very cool.


Jamie: That’s really exciting.


BO: Hopefully they can bring some like sense of security to the conversation because I think there’s so much we can do to move forward with something like this. But then there’s going to be this whole host of conspiracy theorists that are going to be like, oh, you’re going to track my every movement. It’s like, please let’s stop.


Jamie: No, this is to tell you if the dishwasher is leaking.


BO: Exactly. Nobody cares what you do. Nobody cares. But does your dishwasher work? That they care about? Right? 


RS: So Tess, while your mic is hot, I also want to bring up some of these letters that some other women had written into the podcast. I’m hoping you could share some of the stuff that they had shared with you. ‘Cause I thought these were some good stories, just good things to share for other… For the listeners.


TM: Well, yeah. So we heard from a couple of women that reached out to us actually before we knew we were doing this podcast and just had some general questions and some, you know, some experiences that they wanted to share about, you know, being a woman in the home inspection industry and maybe we can actually… We can kind of… We’ve covered some of these questions already. One of them was like, can you be pregnant and be a home inspector at the same time? Is that even possible? 


US: Yes, you can.




Jamie: I have raised a baby before, you know, all of that.


TM: Start with…


BO: Just on a side note there. I’m scared for myself onto the roof. I’m not sure I’d be like not terrified to not be able to move if I had a second person.


Jamie: I’m not saying it was responsible.


US: Okay. I hope it was at least a low pitched roof.


TM: Okay. So here’s one question from one of the women. They were curious of like, how many women home inspectors do you think there are in the industry and can anyone here answer that question? 


US: I don’t know. Yeah, that’s a tough one. I mean, just look… At the beginning. I, you know, going to conferences, it was very few and I remember taking pictures just with the female home inspectors and compared to the men, I mean, it was maybe at the beginning, maybe 20, 25. I’m sure it’s gotten more. I’m curious to see now that we’re starting to meet back up at conferences. I will say, though, and this is always what people ask me when they think what’s the benefit, I say one huge benefit. If you’re going to a conference where you are the minority as a woman, there is never a line at the bathroom. And I love that because normally it’s the other way around at the airport, wherever you go.


RS: You know, I can just share when I wrote this blog two years ago, ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors, they reported that 2% of their members were females. InterNACHI, another organization for home inspectors, reported that 4% of their home inspectors were female. So whatever it is, it’s very low.


Jamie: Very low.


TM: Okay. Yeah. That’s, that’s helpful, I think. So I just want to highlight, she’s another woman on our team who’s a home inspector at Structure Tech and just give a little bit of her background. She said she’d always been interested in houses and different cultures. So she went to the U of M and got a degree in what was it? She said, Bachelors in Housing Studies. And she was required to do a paid internship through that program. And so she ended up working for the city of Brooklyn Park first. And then she eventually ended up at the city of Hopkins doing code enforcement. And she worked at the city of Hopkins for 20 years, over 20 years doing this code enforcement stuff. And so she has a lot of stories. She could fill up an hour of podcasts, just talking about her experience being a woman in that industry.


TM: And I know it was not easy. And, I mean, she had some pretty intense things happen to her in that role. And one of them was like, I think she had to get a restraining order, but she’s been through a lot. And during COVID, the city decided to dissolve her position, a few other positions. And so then she was like, okay, well, what am I going to do next? And she knew the Saltzman’s and the Saltzman’s knew her and thought it would be a great opportunity to have her join the Structure Tech team.


TM: And so she did two years ago, she came on to Structure Tech and she’s been home inspector with us and we’re lucky to have her and she she’s bilingual. She speaks Spanish fluently. So it’s like, check all the boxes. Like she’s a woman and she speaks Spanish. So she’s such added value to the team, but just for anyone else that’s out there thinking about a career change or, you know, has a background that doesn’t perfectly align with home inspection, there’s opportunities out there for you. So thanks Liz, for joining Structure Tech and being an inspiration to other women.


TM: And then there’s another one too, who sent us an email, shout out to Yolanda, I think is her name. Yeah, Yolanda, she’s in California. And she was asking us just, you know, basics on like, how do I get training? I’m trying to get into this industry as a woman and I’m finding it really hard. I can’t find anyone who will allow me to shadow them a job. It’s like you said, we’ve talked about this before where, you know, you don’t want to train your competition in this industry. A lot of the times that’s how people look at it. So she’s like, I just… I can’t find people I can shadow. And she’s done, she’s pursued online education. She’s been… She’s got her certification, I think with InterNACHI and one other organization. And she’s done this all while working a full-time job and raising four kids. She has, I think three little boys under the age of 10, and then she just had a little girl at the start of COVID. And so she had started a new job and had a baby and was having to homeschool kind of through Zoom her other kids.


TM: And like you were saying, Jamie, it’s just like, you know, I think yes, women have several files open at the same time because we have to, like, that’s how just what’s expected of us. And that’s, you know, the responsibilities we’ve picked up. And I think we’re going through this shift, hopefully as a collective of where there can be starting with ourselves, this awareness of, you know, this imbalance or, you know, ways that we can take care of ourselves better and still show up for other people too. So she’s just, you know, I just looked at her and I’m like, wow, you know, that she’s still pursuing this changing career. She has no background in construction, no experience in the trades. She wants to get into this and going to like a community college and taking night classes is not a good fit because it’s in an unsafe neighborhood and an unsafe city and she’d be a woman alone at night and she’s not comfortable with this. And I get that. So do you guys have any advice for women like her that are trying to get in this industry? And I mean, all I can think about is Reuben, you wrote a really good blog, which we’ll link in the show notes about training advice.


TM: And if you haven’t read it already and you’re thinking about getting into this industry, check that out. I think it comes down to finding a mentor and finding someone you can shadow because you get that training through books, you know, you can, but it’s not the same thing. It doesn’t translate and it’s hard to do it without that. I don’t know how you do.


Jamie: Yolanda probably knows darn well that her business comes from relationship with real estate agents in that there’s no harm in being transparent and authentic and your journey Yolanda because when you tell people, listen, I have this deep desire to be a home inspector and I’m going through X, Y, and Z training. And the only missing piece is to follow another inspector. Who… What inspector are you passionate about? You know, Susie Realtor. And when they tell her, perhaps they could make that connection with this other home inspector because if a real estate agent who uses somebody passionately or whatever the words she wants to use, like who you really like, I’ll tell you, there’s a reason, it’s because they’re probably a good human. And the chances are of her being able to shadow somebody who’s a really good human are way better than just reaching out to everyone on the NACHI list.


TM: Great advice yeah.


Jamie: You’re going to get no’s. And then who’s doing really good business because first of all, Yolanda, you’re going to kick butt once you get out there. I just know it. ‘Cause you got some like… You’ve got some grit girl. And with that being said, of course you want your competition to train you. Someone who is doing a lot because they’re going to want you to be at the high caliber that they are so that there really is somebody else out there that’s doing a great job and you can be advocates for each other. You know, in Metro Detroit, there’s like 2000 home inspectors here. Well, it’s a big stinking city, but when it comes down to it, there’s really only three or four companies that are doing really good work. And I am proud that they’re my competition because they do really good work, but figure out who those people are and reach out to them because they’re not going to say no girl. Like hold yourself to the standard that you want to be.


US: To add to that, maybe it might be beneficial to go to a local chapter meeting of home inspectors or so to show that interest and kind of show who you are because people are more inclined if you ask them face to face, whether they would be willing to take you on a ride along than if they just cold call home inspectors or send emails and I’ve had so many people contact me asking, you know, do you have some time, how to get into that business? And I would sit down with them and have a coffee or whatever and never heard a word from them. And so it’s like, take that step, go to a meeting, see what it’s all about and figure out if it’s really for you. I know Yolanda is in a different state because she really knows that’s what she wants to do. But maybe going to that face to face meeting and approaching people individually, she has more luck with that.


RS: Awesome advice from both of you.


TM: Great advice.


RS: Thank you.


BO: I love the fact that would you go out and find a hotshot in the industry and pick their brain, right? Like find somebody who’s on the cutting edge and pick their brain. Don’t find the most seasoned veteran and maybe you guys can all, maybe you’ll disagree with me, but go find people who are pushing it, either real estate agents or inspectors. But I think to Jamie’s point, you’re going to find a better fit through real estate agents than you will through inspectors because they’re busy doing inspecting stuff.


TM: Yeah. So if you’re a woman and you’re thinking about joining this industry or not even a woman, but someone who may not be an old stereotypical white guy and you’re thinking about joining this industry, hopefully we can give you some inspiration that it’s possible.


BO: Well, it’s all possible. Look, I mean, you guys did it. It’s super achievable. You just you know what you want, you work hard for it and cream rises to the top. Nobody gave you anything. You earned every bit of it. So that’s some good advice. Put your work boots on and let’s go. [laughter] All right. Well, is there anything else you’d like to share? Tess, Jamie, we’ve covered a lot of ground here. We’ve been going for a…


Jamie: We did.


BO: A good 120 minutes. If my math is right, something like that. No, it’s not that long. We’ve been going for an hour and 20 minutes. I heard my math is terrible, terrible.


US: We knew what you meant.


BO: Yeah. Thank you. At least somebody does. All right. Well, if there’s nothing else to add, everybody’s contact information and business information, we’ll link up your websites and everything. I’m sure that you might get some questions. And so who’s ever listening, we’ll put all that contact information in the show notes. So you could join a group like IEB if you’re interested in that. You can learn a whole bunch of great people and get into some good relationships to help you grow your business if more than inspecting is what you want to do as well. So, all right. Reuben, are we good to go? Should we sign off here? 


RS: I think we’re good to go Bill.


BO: All right. Sounds good.


RS: This has been a really, really fun three and a half years or whatever this has been doing the podcast with you. I’m going to miss you tremendously, Bill. This is not going to be the same without you.


BO: You’ll be fine.


RS: We will continue on, but it will not be the same. And the questions, I’ll try to ask questions that are half as good as yours, Bill.


TM: Thank you so much, Bill. And as Reuben said, it’s been a really fun educational journey that we’ve had the last three years doing this, and it won’t be the same without you. And people are going to miss The Three-legged Stool, but we’re going to have to transition over to a ladder.


BO: Just leaning it up to the wall.


RS: Two-legged Ladder.


TM: Two-legged Ladder.




BO: Well, I will say this. I’ve been told many times throughout my life that you’re only as valuable as the time it takes to replace you. Now, I don’t know if I fully believe that, but I appreciate your kind words. You will find somebody else who is just as curious or maybe Tessa is the curious one to step in. It’ll all be good. Trust me.


RS: Thanks Bill.


BO: I have a lot of faith. You’ve been listening to Structure Talk, a Structure Tech presentation. My name is Bill Oelrich alongside Tessa Murry and Ruben Saltzman. Thanks for listening. Reuben and Tessa will catch you next time.




BO: Hi, everybody. Bill here again with Structure Talk. We really want to thank you for listening to this podcast. It’s been a ton of fun for us to put this presentation together. And if you could, we would love it if you would go to any of the podcast platforms where you find Structure Talk and leave us a rating and subscribe to the show. You can also subscribe to our blog at And of course, you can listen to this show on the internet at Thanks again for listening. We appreciate the support. And if you have any suggestions for show topics, please email them to Thanks for listening.