Local News

State Rule Seeks to Limit Home Inspectors to Facts-Only Reports

Posted October 9, 2007
Updated November 9, 2007

— Many home inspectors aren't happy about a new state mandate that they say it will make it harder for them to alert home buyers to safety defects in properties they are considering.

Folks on the other side of the debate have a different take on it, saying it will benefit the public by trying to squeeze inspectors’ opinions out of their reports.

Both sides agree it will make it easier to buy and sell homes.

Inspections are not required in North Carolina, but they are often recommended for both new and existing construction. The reports can be quite lengthy, and buyers often focus on the summary page, not the details.

A new state mandate could change what would appear on that page.

"It tries to get as much opinion out of us as we can," said James Liles, a member of the state Home Inspector Licensure Board in the state Department of Insurance.

The board regulates the 1,000-plus home inspectors statewide.

Liles says the board voted to change the rules to make sure inspectors stick to the facts.

“It (the report) should give whoever, whether it's the buyer, seller, real estate agent, whoever, a picture in time of what that house looks like, what needs to be repaired, what needs further investigation and what safety concerns are if they are of a factual nature," Liles said.

On the other side, home inspectors with whom WRAL spoke say the changes will only make life easier for real estate agents.

"Unwitting buyers will walk into situations where they either have expenses or safety issues that are related to the lack of our ability to tell them what's going on with their house," inspector Bill Delamar said.

"When you omit that sort of opinion, that sort of professional knowledge, which is what that would do, then you put the public in danger," Delamar said.

The mandate has not taken effect yet. Public comments will be accepted until Oct. 15, then reviewed this December by the State Board of Rules and Regulation.


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  • Senator Oct 10, 2007

    rescon, you are exactly right. Consumers from across the state should write or call their elected N.C. House and Senate representative and demand action. Cleaning up the board's composition will require legislative action. The right time for action is now.

  • rescon Oct 10, 2007

    It is clearly time to change the composition of the North Carolina Home Inspection Licensing Board to eliminate those that represent special interest and not the public interest. Any appearance of a conflict needs to be avoided,
    That means that Realtors and builders and any political appointee such as Jim Liles have no business on this board.
    Bill Delamar

  • Senator Oct 10, 2007

    closes…is there a conflict of interest regarding full disclosure of the property’s condition…you betcha. Senator Sam might also point out…the licensing laws for home inspectors, provides in part that its purpose is to provide the client a better understanding of the property’s condition. The Home Inspectors Licensure Board uses qualifying criteria and an extensive examination to test one’s knowledge and ability. According to the licensure board, if a person passes the test he or she is qualified and a license issued. So what is wrong with a qualified person advising his client regarding safety issues? Jim Liles and John Hamrick both need to keep their day job and get out of the home inspection business.

  • Senator Oct 10, 2007

    As Senator Sam Ervin once said…oh what a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Could he have been thinking about real estate agents and those that promote their industry? I wonder what the great senator would have said about this mess. Well, he might say something like…what was the governor thinking when he appointed a state employee (Jim Liles) to the Home Inspector Licensure Board. Jim Liles is not even a practicing home inspector; he is a state employee for crying-out-loud. Senator Sam might also ask…is he just a front man for some other interest group and is he receiving a state salary for time sitting on the board. Senator Sam might go a bit further and ask…what was the N.C. Legislature thinking when they wrote a law that placed a real estate agent (John Hamrick) on the Home Inspector Licensure Board. Can’t you just hear him...anyway you cut it, slice it, or dice it a real estate agent is a sales person…they only make money when the transaction

  • davidgjones Oct 10, 2007

    What people need to know about Mr. Liles is that although he is on the licensing board as a home inspector, he is not currently a home inspector, and has not been one for several years. He is a state employee in a department that has nothing to do with home inspections, and his appointment was very political. He replaced a very competent home inspector, after informing that inspector that his re-appointment was a shoo-in, while working behind the scenes to get himself appointed. His actions since being appointed have not been in the best interests of the home buying public or home inspectors. This has tipped the board away from a balanced organization to one that is acting contrary to the interests of home inspectors and the public.
    Another thing to think about is that hundreds of competent home inspectors that have spent years developing inspection reports that their customers understand and appreciate will have to significantly modify them, in order to meet this new standard

  • Happy Home Oct 10, 2007

    waytogo, I am a home inspector and I am referred by realtors sometimes. And I can at least speak for myself in saying that I certainly do not work for the realtors. I work for my client with their(the clients') best interest soley in mind. So for those reading waytogo's post regarding home inspectors working for the real estate agent I urge you to take referrals from realtors as you would anywhere and get referrences from past clients instead of disregarding the home inspectors credibility just because they are referred by a realtor. Also an honest real estate agent or any realtor for that matter doesn't want to have the inspector they reffered to lie or miss anything because that only opens them(the agent) up to liability lawsuits. And trust me nobody wants that. Hope this is helpful.

  • Factor Oct 9, 2007

    Mr. Liles quoted in the story is not relating all the facts. He initiated this change ~2 years ago as a motion at his first board meeting. Committee was put together and worked on this for 1-2 years and had a proposal ready to go and Mr. Liles issued a different proposal that the committee never saw and at that particular board meeting his motion passed. Safety is fact and it is opinion. All clients should be informed by the home inspector of issues they deem important and these should appear in the summary regardless of the real estate contract. The current rule change (with new interpretation that directly conflicts with our mandatory class training) says that we can put safety on the summary but we can't tell the client what to do with it. But on all other items that we have to put on the summary we have to tell the client what to do with it. As a client - don't you want to know what to do? Please interview all board members! Email board members www.nchilb.com

  • Factor Oct 9, 2007

    Home inspectors can not tell you whether to buy the house or not or whether they would buy it or not. That is against the law. The inspection report is what you use to come to an informed decision.

  • waytogo Oct 9, 2007

    When we bought our house we hired the inspector that our REALTOR recommended. Big mistake. Next time I will find my own inspector. This is not right. There were many things he overlooked. I believe he was working for the realtor and not me.

    I want to know if the inspector would buy the house for himself or not. I want his personal opinion.

  • knothead Oct 9, 2007

    It's the realtors who are driving this change.