Chapter 2: Inspector License Levels

The process of buying a home can be very stressful. To find and hire an eligible home inspector is critical in property transactions.

Home inspectors must have license issued by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). TREC is a governing entity in Texas. Its mission is to ensure building safety in Texas, and protect real estate investments by investors and home owners.

In Texas, home inspectors are regulated by Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) and fall into three occupational levels:

  • Apprentice Inspector – APIN
  • Real Estate Inspector – REIN
  • Professional Inspector – PRIN

Apprentice Inspectors are home inspection individuals that are directly supervised by their sponsoring Professional Inspector. Their business cards and inspection reports must display their sponsor’s (Professional Inspector) name and license number. Their PRIN sponsor is responsible for their inspection outcome. If their PRIN sponsor’s license is suspended or questioned, all their Apprentice Inspectors’ licenses become invalid immediately. During building inspection, their sponsoring Professional Inspectors must be present onsite. In other words, there should be 2 home inspectors onsite.

Real Estate Inspectors are indirectly supervised by their sponsoring Professional Inspector. Their business cards and inspection reports must display their sponsor’s (Professional Inspector) name and license number. Their PRIN sponsor is responsible for their inspection outcome. When inspector reports are completed, they must submit the reports to their sponsor. Their sponsoring Professional Inspector performs the final check. The inspection reports will display 2 signatures and 2 inspector license numbers.

Professional Inspectors have gone through vigorous training. They have passed background check performed by TREC. They also have passed comprehensive and thorough technical tests. They are qualified to perform home inspections independently, can also hire other home inspectors. PRIN is the highest category a home inspector can reach.

Professional Inspectors must purchase professional liability insurance no less than $100,000. If a professional inspector fails to comply with TREC regulations, this insurance will cover the lost to protect public safety. If the insurance can not cover the total loss, the rest comes from the real estate funds.

Professional Inspector license is once every two years. Professional Inspector must complete Continuing Education (CE) of at least 32 hours. They must have clean record examined by TREC to renew their license.

TREC mandates that there must be at least one person within the company that holds the Professional Inspector license.

There are multiple ways to identify home inspector level. The simplest way is to obtain their business cards. TREC has strict rules on home inspectors’ business cards and advertisements to prevent fraud. The business card of an Apprentice Inspector or Real Estate Inspector must display the name and license number of their sponsoring Professional Inspector. To prevent fraud, go to TREC’s official website or click on the image below to verify the inspector is licensed at the level you expect. On TREC website, check “Inspector” button and enter the license number or the name of the inspector you intent to hire.

Regulated by TREC


Inspector license has two states: Active and Inactive. Home inspectors are allowed to legally inspect buildings only when the license is Active.

I sincerely hope that you can find a reliable home inspector in your real estate transactions.

By Michael Zhang

Published in the June 2013 edition of Texas Capital News