Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Move to Limit the Home Inspector’s Reports at Home Buyer’s Expense

The Home Inspector Licensure Board has proposed changes to the Inspection Report that will virtually tie the hands of Home Inspectors in being able to provide any educated professional opinion in their reports.

It is my opinion that this proposed change regarding home inspector services is coming as a result of pressure from the powerful lobby of the large Real Estate firms and their Listing Agents.

As an Exclusive Buyer’s Only Realtor, we rely on the Home Inspector’s report to help protect our Buyers from purchasing a home that could later result in costly repairs. It is important to us that we have as extensive an inspection and report as possible.

Limiting the inspectors to only reporting factual items is rendering the report almost useless. When the Licensing of Home Inspectors was instituted they removed the ability of North Carolina home inspectors to mention code violations in the report. That was the equivalent of tying one hand behind their backs. Now they are proposing to tie both hands-- all at the expense of the Home Buyer and to the advantage of the Seller.

When we go to a Doctor and he examines us, we rely on his professional expertise and his OPINION along with the facts to diagnose us. A home is analogous to our bodies, ever changing, needing maintenance and you can’t always see the exact problem but when you know the signs of future problems, you need to have those things “diagnosed.”

Rather than changing the Report, why don’t they change the requirements to be a Home Inspector? In my opinion, if you can pass the Licensing Exam you can be a home inspector with no real experience in construction, engineering or other related fields.

If they tie the home inspector’s hands, then we might as well hire engineers to do the inspections because they will be able to give opinions and also be able to site code violations.

As Exclusive Buyer’s Agents, we are very selective of the home inspectors we recommend to our buyers, because we do know there are many that are marginally qualified to perform a thorough inspection and provide a detailed report. We have stopped using inspectors because they become more interested in pleasing Real Estate Agents than providing a thorough, detailed report for the Buyer.

There has always been a push from the Listing Real Estate companies for the Home Inspectors to water down their reports as much as possible. It is hoped this new effort to limit the ability of the Home Inspectors to truly serve the Buyers they are working for will be defeated.

If you wish to voice your opinion, you should contact the NC Department of Insurance, Home Inspectors Licensing Division.

I invite you to send us your thoughts and comments on this emerging issue that greatly impacts real estate and home sales throughout RTP and the state of North Carolina.

By Ann Davis, Owner/Broker

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

RALEIGH — 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 North Carolina 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.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Even though there was a decrease in the volume of sales, the prices increased in the 3rd quarter 1.4% over the 2nd quarter in the Raleigh/Cary MSA (metropolitan statistical area) and 2.3% in the Durham MSA according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. These statistics place the 2 MSA’s in the top 10% of the nation for price growth.

Year to date prices have increased 7.2% in Raleigh/Cary and 7.8% in Durham. These statistics reflect the fact that the Triangle never saw the huge rise in housing prices seen elsewhere in the country. In fact, OFHEO said in its news release Thursday, many of the areas where home prices are dropping are areas where they were skyrocketing just a year ago - suggesting that much of the drop seen nationwide is due to local markets correcting themselves.

This should dispel the idea of home buyers that they can get a “good deal” in the Triangle area with tremendous price reductions. Triangle Home Buyers tend to listen to the national news reports and not realize that the national crisis does not apply here.