New standards of practice for home inspectors in North Carolina

Believe it or not, it actually does take an act of law to change anything in the Standards of Practice for licensed home inspectors in North Carolina, and they have done just that. Effective October 1 of this year, the changes went into effect. Much of what changed is clerical in nature and only intended to make clarifications or to correct grammatical errors etc. However, there are a few changes that are significant and important for the real estate agent and their clients - the home buyer and seller. A brief summary of some of these changes is as follows:

Changes to what home inspectors are NOT REQUIRED to do:

  • Report on the presence of absence of systems installed to control or remove suspected hazardous substances (Radon, Mold, etc.) (Just because they inspect a home with a radon mitigation system, doesn't mean that the system is working properly...)
  • Determine home energy efficiency rating (HERS rating).
  • Report insulation R values.
  • Inspect heat recovery and or whole house ventilation systems.
  • Inspect or determine the presence of back flow prevention valves.
  • Inspect air jet tubs.
  • Inspect sink/tub overflow devices.
  • Inspect shower pan liners.
  • Inspect battery or automotive charging system.
  • Inspect electrical systems to swimming pools or spas.
  • Inspect coatings on and hermetic seals between panes of glass in windows and doors. (this is a big change!!!)
  • Report on the presence of pests such as wood damaging organisms, rodents, or insects...
  • Predict future condition, including failure of components.
  • Inspect: storm windows, storm doors, screening, shutters, awnings, fencing and window safety glazing. (some inspectors do, some don't. Be careful if you shop for the lowest price!)
  • Inspect recreational facilities such as: spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, tennis courts, playground equipment, exercise equipment etc.
  • Inspect for the presence or condition of buried fuel storage tanks. (this can be an expensive environmental issue)
  • Inspect back up electrical generating equipment and or solar systems.
  • Ignite any pilot light. (make sure you get a complete inspection by asking the seller to ignite all pilot lights)
  • Inspect window air conditioner units.
  • Inspect carpet. (interesting; wood, vinyl, and tile, but not carpet!?)

Clarifications on issues that inspectors ARE REQUIRED to report:

  • Inspector SHALL report the presence of ANY single strand aluminum branch circuit wiring.

Many home buyers think their home inspection covers much more than it really does. It is very important to ask a lot of questions, read their inspection agreement closely, and maybe even get a copy of the Standards of Practice so they clearly understand what a home inspection does, and also what it does not include.