Frequently Asked Questions
As Home Inspectors, we get many questions. Here are some that the members of the NCLHIA get most often.
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is an objective, visual examination of a home’s structure, systems and mechanical systems. Think of it like having a personal physical check-up. A home inspection is not technically exhaustive.
What does an inspection include?
The home inspector is required to observe readily visible and accessible installed systems which include: structural components, exterior, roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating, central air conditioning, interiors, built-in kitchen appliances, insulation and ventilation. The home inspector shall operate the mechanical systems using normal operating controls except when conditions or other circumstances may cause equipment damage. The minimum standards for home inspections in North Carolina are established by the NC Licensed Home Inspector Board and can be reviewed at nchilb.com.
What will it cost?
Inspection fees vary depending upon the size of the house, its age, location and the home inspector service. Typical fees can start as low as $250 for small condominiums and can cost in excess of $500 for larger and/or older homes. Inspection fees are not regulated and it is a good idea to check local prices on your own. Remember the inspector’s experience and qualifications, the depth of the inspection and the type of report should be considered when pricing an inspection and selecting an inspector.
Can I do a home inspection myself?
Of course you can inspect the home yourself. However, most homeowners lack the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. Professional home inspectors are familiar with the many elements of home construction, their proper installation and maintenance and will document their findings to you in writing.
Are home inspectors required to be licensed?
Yes, in North Carolina, all home inspections performed for a fee are required to be done by a NC Licensed Home Inspector. The regulatory body governing home inspectors in North Carolina is the NC Home Inspector Licensure Board. Their home page is nchilb.com
What if the inspection reveals problems with the house?
No house is perfect. Just because the house may have some problems doesn’t mean it isn’t a good investment. The inspection will help you understand the condition of the house. It is up to you and your contract with the seller to determine which problems you can live with, if you may be able to get repairs done before closing, or to negotiate with the seller on the price of the home.
Can a house fail inspection?
No, a house can not fail since the inspection is an objective, visual examination of a home’s structure, systems and mechanical systems. A home inspection is not a municipal inspection, which verifies local building code compliance. A home inspection in this context can not pass or fail, it is simply reporting the condition of the home from a visual examination of the structure and systems at that point in time.
How do I find a home inspector?
We recommend you hire a professional full time home inspector. NCLHIA Home Inspectors are those individuals that have invested valuable time and resources to belong to our association, which promotes excellence in home inspections and integrity above all. A good place to start is with our chapter members
Should I be present at the home inspection?
It isn’t required for you to be present at the inspection; however, attending the inspection or at least near the end will help you learn about your new home. Since inspections can take several hours many client arrive near the end for a summary of the findings and to ask questions. It is never a good idea to invite friends, family members, children or contractors as it can be quite distracting for the inspector. Additionally, even though you intend to purchase the home it's technically not your's, so there is an element of care that needs to be exercised for the owner of the home. Think of it this way, would you like a bunch of people you don't know looking around your home?
Is a contract required for a home inspection?
Yes, all licensed home inspectors in North Carolina are required to provide a written contract that shall describe the services performed, standards of practice, limitations and the cost or the services. This contract is required to be signed before the home inspection is performed.
When should I call a home inspector?
Most home buyers typically call an inspector after you have made an offer to purchase the property and before closing. Many “offer to purchase” contracts include an “inspection clause” in the contract, making your purchase contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. This inspection clause often specifies the time frame when the inspection must be completed. However, if you plan on selling your home, it's a good idea to have it inspected prior to listing it for sale. This will help identify conditions that could "kill the deal" in advance and allow time to address these issues prior to listing the home.