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
(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.
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 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.
Q: Why should I have the home inspected?
A: Most 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.
Q: In my home purchase I have chosen to sign the standard Offer
to Purchase and Contract* form which mant realestate 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 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 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.
*Jointly approved and copyrighted by the North Carolina
Association of REALTORS(r) and the North Carolina Bar Association.
Q: 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
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 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.
Q: 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, 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.
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. 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.
Q: If, following the home inspection, 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 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.