Home Inspections Q & A

Questions and Answers on:

For most, purchasing a home is the largest investment they will ever make. It’s no wonder that many buyers employ professionals to inspect the home and report on its condition.

This 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, 322 Chapanoke Road, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27603 (919) 662-4480.North Carolina Home Inspection Information

Q: What is a home inspection?

A: It is an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home (plumbing system, roof, etc.) and is intended to give the client 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 doesn’t guarantee that the home complies with local building codes or protect you if 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 an evaluation of the property on the day it is inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear.

North Carolina Home Inspection Information

Q: Can anyone perform a home inspection?

A: No. Only persons licensed by the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board are permitted to perform home inspections. 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.

North Carolina Home Inspection Information

Q: Why should I have the home inspected?

A: Most buyers 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. The inspection will highlight whether any items don’t “function as intended”, “adversely affect the habitability” or “warrant further investigation”.

Q: In my home purchase I have signed the standard Offer to Purchase and Contract* form. It states that I have the right to have the home inspected and to request that the seller repair identified problems with the home. Will the home inspection identify all of these problems?


A: Yes and 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. The Home Inspector Board’s Standards do not require Home Inspectors to report on: wood-destroying insects, environmental contamination, pools and spas, detached structures and certain other items. Always ask the Home Inspector if he covers other things which are important to you. If not, it is your responsibility to arrange an inspection of these items. For a description of the services to be provided by the Home Inspector (and their cost), you should read the written contract which the Home Inspector must give you.

North Caroline Home Inspection InformationQ: How do I request a home inspection, and who will pay for it?

A: You can 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 be performed.

Q: Should I be present when the home inspection is performed?

A: 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.

North Carolina Home Inspection InformationQ: Are all inspection reports the same?

A: No. 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, adversely affects the habitability of the dwelling, or appears to warrant further investigation. 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.North Carolina Home Inspection Information

Q: What should I do if I feel something has been missed on the inspection?

A: Before any repairs are made (except emergency repairs), call the inspector or inspection company to discuss the problem. Often 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.

Q: If the seller repairs an item found in the home inspection may I have the Home Inspector perform a “re-inspection”?

A: Yes. Some repairs may not be as straightforward as they might seem. The inspector may be able to help evaluate the repair, but the re-inspection is not a warranty of them. Some Home Inspectors charge a fee for re-inspections.

*Jointly approved and copyrighted by the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® and the North Carolina Bar Association.
Brochure Home Inspection Information Used With Express Permission from The North Carolina Real Estate Commission