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Board Delays Decision on Facts-Only Home Inspection Reports

Posted November 9, 2007

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— The Home Inspector Licensure Board voted 4-2 Friday to delay a decision on a proposal that would limit what home inspectors can put in their reports.

The board sent the proposal to its rules committee for further review. They will discuss the issue again in a meeting scheduled for March.

Nearly 30 home inspectors protested outside the board's office Friday. A sign outside read, "inspectors won't be silenced."

Home inspections are not required in North Carolina, but they are usually recommended. An inspector can give his or her opinion in the report, but some people want to change that.

“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," said James Liles, a member of the state Home Inspector Licensure Board that regulates more than 1,000 home inspectors statewide.

Liles is one of the board members who supports changing the rules to standardize home inspection reports.

"It tries to get as much opinion out of us as we can," Liles said.

However, some home inspectors said they were opposed to the idea. Earlier this week, Gov. Mike Easley sent a letter to board members, saying omitting inspectors' opinions could hurt the safety of potential home buyers.

"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," said home inspector Bill Delamar.

Delamar said he believes that change could hurt buyers and 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," he said.

Liles said he believes the board's decision on Friday was in line with what Easley had requested. He added that he will still advocate for the changes.

"I think it clearly says what the governor said in his letter," Liles said. "We need to be in lock step with the home inspectors, and let's come to an agreement and a compromise on being able to discuss safety issues.

"I would still like to see us address the issues. What type of changes are really something we need further discourse on."

State Insurance Commissioner Jim Long said he supports trying to reach some kind of compromise.

"Let's go back and re-work it some more. The issue here is safety of the homeowner," he said.


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  • mrduffin Nov 10, 2007

    I am a licensed home inspector in NC. I am also a licensed electrcial contractor, plumbing contractor, and HVAC contractor. Having the trade license allows me give my opinion in those trades. I do a very good home inspection and my report is what it is. I am working for the buyer and no one else. I am not an alarmist and I am fair. Since I am not a structural engineer I can not give opinions on structural problems but in the same light a SE can not give opinions in the electricial, plumbing, and HVAC trades. If I run across a leaning chimney I always suggest that the buyer get it checked by a SE. They'll either get a report saying it is ok and can use the report when they sell the house or they'll get a report that says it is a problem and it needs to be repaired. Either way someone is going to pay if it needs to be repaired and why should it be the buyers? A good inspection can help a buyer avoid a mistake and/or help them get what they are paying for.

  • WABRS Nov 10, 2007

    RAINDOG wrote: Matter of fact I had a realtor in north Raleigh who used one of her neighbors and it ended up costing me around four thousand dollars. When I protested to my realtor her response to me was "just go ahead and do it ...your'e getting your asking price". --WABRS responds: This does not compute. Whom was the REALTOR representing? If you, why did the selling side of the transaction order an inspection? If the buyer, why do you refer to her as "my" REALTOR?

    As a REALTOR, I often represent buyers. When acting in a Buyer Agent capacity, I recommend getting the toughest inspector possible. And I ALWAYS recommend an inspection on a new home, as well as resales.

    When I am the listing agent, I recommend that the seller get a pre-sale home inspection as part of putting the property on the market. That way, he/she won't negotiate to their lowest price, and then find out later that they have to spend money on major repairs.

  • bobbythreesticks Nov 9, 2007

    To settle: to sink down gradually. Means movement of the foundation in some way. You can buy any house you want, all I'm saying is that to get mad at someone for not wanting to buy a sinking house is ridiculous. This sounds like a perfect job for ram-jack, why don't you give me your address and I'll send them over.

  • carcrazy2 Nov 9, 2007

    After reading through these posts, it is apparent that some people are clueless! Here is an example below.

    "A "home inspector" is basically any person with a truck, a hammer, a ladder and a flashlight. They are a joke. If you really want to know the state of a structure, you need a professional engineer. Spend the extra money and get a qualified professional to look and the structural intergrity of the home, not some yahoo who will poke the baseboards with a pencil".

    Be aware that A Home Inspector has to pass a fairly difficult test of general knowlege pertaining to all aspects of a home. They are also required to have specific applicable experience-such as being a Licensed General Contractor, Engineer, etc. The state mandates annual continuing education requirements. Many of us (members of ASHI) have continuing education well above the state standards. While there are times a Structural Engineer is a good idea, they may lack other knowlege that may be important to a buyer!

  • jetstream Nov 9, 2007

    We had it looked at 5 years ago by two different contractors and they told us the chimney wasn't going anywhere. The foundation is solid. It happened due to normal settling.

    Guess what people??? Houses are not perfect. If you want to buy a home, it will cost you some money!!! GET OVER IT!!!! I look for potential. As long as the foundation, electrical wiring safe, existing walls solid, no major leaks, and a good roof, I buy it! I know that I have to spend $$$ to make it my own anyway. That is what inspectors should look for. Things that affect the liveability. Can you safely live there? Yes? Than shut up and deal with it!!! Don't waste my time with an offer just to break my spirit.

  • git-er-done Nov 9, 2007

    I beg to differ with you Beachnut. I read the article through the first time, but read it again after reading your post. It clearly states that the intention is to remove the inspectors opinion from their report. My opinion is that if an inspector can't back their opinion with facts, then they should keep their opinion to themself.

  • bobby3sticks Nov 9, 2007

    jet: The chimney seperating could be more of a problem than you think. Something had to move, whether it be the foundation of the whole house, the foundation under the chimney, or the chimney itself. I know for a fact that if I see a chimney with cracks or seperated from the house, I'm not buying it. This is not a cosmetic or issue that needs to be overlooked. Your right it has not moved, as far as you know, for 20yrs, that facts are that it could fall as soon as you sign the contract and hand over the money. At that point, it is the new homeowner's problem, not yours. That is why we feel these concerns need to be expressed by the inspectors!!

  • jetstream Nov 9, 2007

    I agree that you should have a home inspection, but how they are completed needs to be changed. Here is an example: I have blogged before about my house in Rocky Mount and how I have not been able to sell it. Back in August, we had an offer come in. But after the inspection, they backed out. They backed out because the inspector said the chimney had separated and could fall over. The darn thing separated 20 years ago and had not budged an inch since then. But because the inspector said what he said, they were scared off. I could have had my house sold.

    They need to separate what is truly a liveability issue from minor problems. This chimney thing is a non-issue. Now because it came out on the report, potential buyers see this and are probably scared too. Totally rediculous!!! You should not be able to back out of a contract for minor or cosmetic issues.

  • Beachnut Nov 9, 2007

    Builder64: I had to chuckle at the irony that, for the same reason most people drew erroneous conclusions from this news article, they also get the wrong impression from your inspection reports: they didn't read either very carefully!

    Folks, as builder64 aptly pointed out, inspectors are free to express their reasonable opinions in an inspection report, the proposed changes will not affect that fact. They simply want inspectors to conform to a common format in the summary section. Read the article (and your inspection report) carefully!

  • bobbythreesticks Nov 9, 2007

    This is maddness. If they are going to use a standardized form, then just give the form to the prospective home owner and tell them to fill this form out and then they will have the same info as if they were paying an inspector to do it. I pay an inspector to perform this service because I want their opinion and the facts. Going off of a fact sheet is kind of like saying, buring gasoline produces carcinogens, so we are not going to alow the buring of gasoline anymore. If this goes through it will hurt the housing industry even more because prospective home buyers will just be given a fact sheet that makes them put in all the work to find out what an experianced inspector can tell them in a few hours.