Questions and Answers on Home Inspections
most persons, purchasing a home is the largest investment they will ever
make. It is no wonder then that many homebuyers employ professionals to
inspect the structural and mechanical systems of the home and report to them
on their condition. Sometimes sellers also employ Home Inspectors to alert
them to problems with their homes which could arise later in the
transaction. But normally Home Inspectors are employed by buyers. For this
reason, this brochure is written from the viewpoint of the potential
brochure is a joint publication of the North Carolina Home Inspector
Licensure Board and the North Carolina Real Estate Commission designed to
give consumers a better understanding of the home inspection process. What a
home inspection is, who can perform an inspection and what to expect. If you
have further questions regarding home inspections and Home Inspectors, you
should contact the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board, 410 North
Boylan Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27603, Phone 919/715-0991.
a home inspection?
an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home
(plumbing system, roof, etc.) and is intended to give the client (usually a
homebuyer) a better understanding of their condition. It is also important
to know what a home inspection is not! It is not an appraisal of the
property's value; nor should you expect it to address the cost of repairs.
It does not guarantee that the home complies with local building codes
(which are subject to periodic change) or protect you in the event an item
inspected fails in the future. [Note: Warranties can be purchased to cover
many items.] Nor should it be considered a "technically exhaustive"
evaluation, but rather an evaluation of the property on the day it is
inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear.
anyone perform a home inspection?
Only persons licensed by the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board
are permitted to perform home inspections for compensation. To qualify for
licensure, they must satisfy certain education and experience requirements
and pass a state licensing examination. Their inspections must be conducted
in accordance with the Board's Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.
should I have the home inspected?
homebuyers lack the knowledge, skill and emotional detachment needed to
inspect homes themselves. By using the services of a licensed Home
Inspector, they can gain a better understanding of the condition of the
property, especially whether any items do not "function as intended" or
"adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling" or "warrant further
investigation" by a person who specializes in the item in question.
home purchase I have chosen to sign the standard Offer to Purchase and
Contract* form which many real estate and legal professionals use. It
states that I have the right to have the home inspected and the right to
request that the seller repair identified problems with the home. Will the
home inspection identify all of these problems?
*Jointly approved and copyrighted by the North Carolina Association of
REALTORS® and the North Carolina Bar Association.
No. Home Inspectors typically evaluate structural components (floors, walls,
roofs, chimneys, foundations, etc.), mechanical systems (plumbing,
electrical, heating/air conditioning, installed appliances and other major
components of the property. The Home Inspector Licensure Board's Standards
of Practice do not require Home Inspectors to report on: wood-destroying
insects, environmental contamination, pools and spas, detached structures
and certain other items listed in the Offer to Purchase and Contract form.
Always ask the Home Inspector if he covers all the things which are
important to you. If not, it is your responsibility to arrange for an
inspection of these items by the appropriate professionals. For a
description of the services to be provided by the Home Inspector (and their
cost), you should read carefully the written contract which the Home
Inspector must give you and which you must sign before the Home Inspection
can be performed.
I request a home inspection, and who will pay for it?
arrange for the home inspection or ask your real estate agent to assist you.
Unless you otherwise agree, you will be responsible for payment of the home
inspection and any subsequent inspections. If the inspection is to be
performed after you have signed the purchase contract, be sure to schedule
the inspection as soon as possible to allow adequate time for any repairs to
I be present when the home inspection is performed?
Whenever possible, you should be present. The inspector can review with you
the results of the inspection and point out any problems found. Usually the
inspection of the home can be completed in two to three hours (the time can
vary depending upon the size and age of the dwelling). The Home Inspector
must give you a written report of the home inspection within three business
days after the inspection is performed (unless otherwise stated in your
contract with the Home Inspector). The home inspection report is your
property. The Home Inspector may only give it to you and may not share it
with other persons without your permission.
inspection reports the same?
While the Home Inspector Licensure Board has established a minimum
requirement for report-writing, reports can vary greatly. They can range
from a "checklist" of the systems and components to a full narrative
evaluation or any combination of the two. Home Inspectors are required to
give you a written "Summary" of their inspection identifying any system or
component that does not function as intended, or adversely affects the
habitability of the dwelling, or appears to warrant further investigation by
a specialist. The summary does not necessarily include all items that have
been found to be defective or deficient. Therefore, do not read only the
summary. Carefully read and understand the entire home inspection report.
should I do if I feel something has been missed on the inspection?
any repairs are made (except emergency repairs), call the inspector or
inspection company to discuss the problem. Many times a "trip charge" can be
saved by explaining the problem to the inspector who can answer the question
over the telephone. This also gives the inspector a chance to promptly
handle any problems that may have been overlooked in the inspection.
following the home inspection, the seller repairs an item found in the home
inspection, may I have the Home Inspector perform a "re-inspection"?
Some repairs may not be as straightforward as they might seem. The inspector
may be able to help you evaluate the repair, but you should be aware that
the re-inspection is not a warranty of the repairs that have been made. Some
Home Inspectors charge a fee for re-inspections.
Home Inspector Licensure Board
410 N. Boylan Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27603