2021 Ultimate FAQ for Home Inspections


In the course of our careers we have attended and reviewed thousands of home inspections. Home  inspections can take place prior to listing, as a preemptive measure by a seller to determine whether they will need to make reasonable repairs or correctly price a property for a quick sale, or home inspections will take place at the expense of the buyer to better assess a home's value and give them anInspection stuff understanding of issues they may need or wish to address after purchasing a property. To the uninitiated, a home inspection sounds routine, unemotional, and a formality in the transaction of a home sale, or it may also be dreaded. They can be anything but routine, as we wrote aboutherein detail, and it is very important to manage your expectations when going into a home inspection, both on the buyer side and the seller side. For this to take place, we have some guideposts and insider considerations to keep in mind.


North Carolina is a Caveat Emptor state which means let the "Buyer Beware". Sellers are not required to disclose defects in homes, despite the North Carolina Association of Realtors attempts to make it more meaningful. Buyer's need to understand that the Seller Residential Property Disclosure makes it extremely difficult to legally enforce. A Seller answers yes or no questions and no can either mean that they are unaware if there is a problem or that there's no problem. Additionally here in North Carolina Sellers are given the option to answer "No Representation". This makes it of the utmost importance for a buyer to hire a reputable and experienced inspector, even if the seller has had the home inspected prior. In the current sellers market, when buying a resale home; buyers should presume they are likely buying "As-Is". While our contracts give the buyers the opportunity to try and renegotiate during the diligence period, the seller is under no obligation to do so.


You'll want to choose an accredited inspector, preferably one who is a member of a reputable professional association, with multiple years of experience. Your Realtor should be able to supply you a list of inspectors they've personally vetted. Having a buyer agent who has extensive experience is to your benefit as they can help you navigate what is in fact a big deal and what is cosmetic in nature or relatively minor in the scheme of things. All the agents at My NC Homes have built and/or remodeled their own homes and have attended thousands of inspections. We only recommend inspectors that are members of ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) or InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors). These organizations have codes of ethics, require continuing education, and have strict testing and certification procedures.


Generally the buyer obtains, pays for, and owns the home inspection, however, in some cases, a seller will obtain a home inspection prior to listing their home, to make it more attractive to buyers. Buyers must authorize their inspectors to send a report to their real estate broker for discussion and analysis, and in the event that consideration is requested based on findings. The inspection report or select pages related to the request will be sent to the seller and listing agent.

Understanding the Basic Inspection

What is in a home inspection report, and how long will it take? A basic home inspection covers the below areas, and an inspection of a 2,000 sq ft home will take around 2-3 hours. Larger or older homes can take anywhere from 3-5 hours. Inspectors are thorough but the examination is non invasive. The report is generally emailed in under 24 hours.

  1. Roofing

  2. Exterior

  3. Structure

  4. Electrical

  5. Heating and Cooling

  6. Kitchen Appliances

  7. Insultation

  8. Plumbing

  9. Interior

What other inspections will I need?

If you are buying a luxury home with extra amenities or a home that offers systems that are upgrades or storm protected, we recommended separate inspections. These can include,

  1. Swimming Pools

  2. Wells 

  3. Structural Engineering

  4. Ground under a home

  5. Fireplace and Chimney

  6. Generators

  7. Irrigation Systems

What about Water Testing?

Basic inspections do not cover inspections of wells and septic. If you are purchasing a home with a water/waste system that is not connected to a municipal system, plan on getting get these inspected. In the Triangle Area, well inspections cost around $150-$250 and septic inspections are upward of $400. We have a complete blog on wells and septic and the various things you must be aware of here. Your water inspection will include the opening of well or septic, collected and analyzed samples, measurement of flow rate and well depth, (this can change over time), the health of your pressure tank. In order to get a good septic system inspection, the tank needs to be pumped and this generally adds another couple of hundred dollars in cost. The inspector will check the state of septic field and tank and when possible pull copies of the septic permit which will describe the type of system and let you know how many bedrooms it was designated for. This is of critical importance. Replacing new systems can be very costly and they are integral to the operation of the most basic household and a modern essential.

The difference between Big and Small Problems?

This is where your Realtor® is one of your best assets and just one of the many reasons experience counts. Many items that are found in an inspector's report are minor. Likely there will be 5-10 that will need to be addressed sooner, rather than later, and keep in mind that if we are looking at a resale home; wear and tear should be expected. In a seller's market using the inspection report as a negotiation is a terrible idea. Your realtor should tell you when something is a serious problem and worth attempting to negotiate with the Seller. If you are buying a new home,contact us here, because it is a different criterion, and your inspection report becomes more of a punch list for the builder. If the market is favoring Buyers, then an inspection report can be used to negotiate the price more effectively.

What do I do if there are a lot of BIG problems?

When your inspection comes back, you and your Realtor® should go over the findings together. An inspection report to the untrained or inexperienced eye can be daunting. Some items that might jump out are not really cause for alarm in resale homes. Often the inspection report will note that some items are not up to code such as a lack of a GFCI in the bath or incorrect spacing between spindles in a staircase. Homes built prior to the enactment of certain codes do not require the previous owner to bring the home up to, and there should be no expectation for a seller to make these changes. You may also see language recommending a "licensed contractor" evaluate an item. Buyers need to understand there are only a few specific contractors that are required to have licenses, General Contractor, HVAC, Electrician and Plumber. There is no such thing as a licensed roofing or siding contractor etc. This language is primarily CYA Forget All or Nothing Negotiations language and needs to be understood as such. If the findings reveal a serious issue with foundation, the roof, electrical, plumbing or the HVAC systems, you will need to plot a course of action to ensure to address these. We advise our clients that successful negotiations aren't "All or Nothing."

Bottom Line Advice on Inspections Related Negotiations 

If the inspection report come back with problems that require considerations in price or repairs by the owner, we almost unilaterally recommend hashing it out in dollars and cents if possible. Since repairs must be done "in a workmanlike manner" there is a lot of grey area and room for misinterpretation. What one considers a "good job" another may not. Additionally, buyers have a vested interest in a quality repair, where sellers do not. Again, this comes down to hiring an Agent who is experienced and who understands the value of certain repairs and replacements that result from an inspection. My NC Homes has decades of experience and thousands of inspections under their belts, if you are looking for a home in the Triangle Area, give us a call 919-451-7868

Posted by Larry Tollen on


Email Send a link to post via Email Print

Leave A Comment

e.g. yourwebsitename.com
Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.