Local News

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

Posted October 9, 2007 8:25 p.m. EDT
Updated November 9, 2007 8:17 a.m. EST

— 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.