North Carolina new rule is hindrance

Sunday, October 7, 2007
**Orders revising process resisted
**Home inspectors say new rule is hindrance

By James Romoser
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Many North Carolina home Inspectors are protesting a new state mandate that they say will make it harder to alert home buyers about safety defects in a home.
Supporters of the change say that the inspectors are overreacting and that the new mandate will serve the public by standardizing the written reports that all inspectors prepare. These supporters want home inspectors to stick to the facts, rather than issuing recommendations or opinions about a home’s potential safety problems.
“You can put, ‘House has no smoke alarms.’ You just can’t say the house is going to burn down,” said Jim Liles, the vice chairman of the N.C. Home Inspector Licensure Board, which has approved the new mandate.
But most home inspectors believe that the change will be much more restrictive than that. They accuse the North Carolina real-estate lobby of pushing the change to water down inspection reports and remove obstacles that sometimes complicate home sales.
Real-estate agents “are trying to keep these comments out of home inspectors’ reports so they don’t have to deal with them,” said John Woodmansee, a home inspector in Winston-Salem who is leading the opposition against the new mandate.
The mandate takes the form of a new rule handed down by the state’s licensure board, which has the power to discipline any of the more than 1,000 home inspectors in North Carolina. The rule spells out what information can and cannot be included in the summary section of the written reports that inspectors issue after inspecting a home.
Full inspection reports can be quite long, and inspectors say that home buyers and real-estate agents often ignore everything but the summary.
Under the new rule, the summary must include information about “any system or component that does not function as intended and is in need of repair or warrants further investigation by a specialist.” So, for instance, if a house’s furnace does not work, that fact would go in the summary.
But the rule prohibits inspectors from including in the summary “any recommendation to upgrade or enhance the function, efficiency, or safety of the home.”
That’s because the inspector’s summary should be like “a photograph in time of a house from a factual standpoint,” Liles said. “It eliminates as much opinion and speculation as possible.”
The rule has not yet taken effect. The licensure board is accepting comments from the public about the rule until Oct. 15, and after that, the rule will go before a state rules commission for approval. If 10 or more people write to the rules commission objecting to the rule and asking that it be reviewed by the state legislature, then the rule will get thrown to the legislature, which could either introduce alternative legislation or, by doing nothing, allow the rule to take effect.
If it does take effect, home inspectors say, it will hinder their ability to do their jobs. Home buyers should have as much information as possible so they can decide for themselves what to do with that information, said Gerald Canipe, a home inspector in Fayetteville who is the chairman of the licensure board.
Canipe and two other inspectors on the eight-member board oppose the new rule, but they were outvoted by the other members, most of whom are not home inspectors.
Inspectors worry that the rule will restrict their ability to notify home buyers of safety matters such as a staircase railing that doesn’t have a handrail or a lack of grounded wiring in an old house.
“We like to say in our report that your system does not have grounded wiring in its circuitry,” Woodmansee said. “It would be safer as a system if it had grounding throughout. Not that we would even recommend that it would be changed, but at least they ought to know.”
Most people who have sold a home know that issues in a home inspector’s report can throw a last-minute wrench in the closing. Once an inspector identifies defects, the home buyer and the seller generally work out an agreement about what the seller will fix.
John Hamrick, a real-estate agent in Durham and a member of the home-inspector licensure board, acknowledged that the new rule will make life easier for real-estate agents. But he said he believes that it will make life easier for everyone, including the buyer and seller.
The purpose of the rule, Hamrick said, is to make inspectors’ reports more uniform and to clamp down on overzealous inspectors who, according to Hamrick, sometimes include unmerited opinions and speculation in their summaries.
Hamrick said he believes that inspectors don’t like being told what to do, but he said the new rule will benefit the public.
“If I’m John Q. Public out here and I’m trying to buy a house, I expect you to tell me the defects. But I don’t want you to tell me that this carpet needs to be replaced because you think it’s dirty and you don’t like the color,” Hamrick said.
When it comes to legitimate safety issues, however, inspectors say that sticking to the literal facts, without explaining what they mean, does not make sense.
Many people, for instance, might not know that a lack of grounded wiring can increase the risk of electrocution.
Even for more basic issues, the same limits apply, Woodmansee said.
“What do you say in a report?” he asked. “You say, ‘Well, the stairway to the basement lacks a handrail.’ Period. That’s all you say? Is that good or bad?”
■* James Romoser can be reached at 919-833-9056 or at*


Commissioned salesmen of real estate (and their national and state associations) have no business involving themselves in laws that govern home inspectors. It is an obvious conflict of interest.

It’s too bad HIs don’t have enough clout to turn the tables on the real estate associations and propose legislation tht would add more regulations to control aspects of their buisness. I suspect they wouldn’t get on board.:wink:

Only 10 or more can have the commission review the rule. Thats more than fair. I wonder how many will take the time to actually write?

Good idea Ray now is the time for the NC home Inspectors to do some thing .
This post gets them the message,
… Cookie

Its all being changed but will not likely change much. They like to use gray language like all govt. offices and some businesses.

For example, the proposed rule stated that the summary had to follow the cover page. Would you think this means to be just after the cover page?
I would, and it is obvious or they would not have bothered to insert that statement. One member of the board is on record as stating that it does not mean that and the summary could be at the end of the report since that location still “follows” the cover page. What kind of BS is that? We all know what it says and they can enforce what the rule simply states.

I do have to say that NC does try to weed out the bad inspectors. They will never catch up to the majority of them but at least they try.

I belive the published average of 10 reports they check for compliance to the state SOP, only about 4 actually meet the standards for reporting.

From the NC web site:

The North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board is chartered to safeguard the public health, safety, and welfare - protect the public from being harmed by unqualified persons by regulating the use of the title “Licensed Home Inspector” and by providing for the licensure and regulation of those who perform home inspections for compensation.

Imagine this in a report: :wink:

Your home does not have smoke alarms. I am prevented by the rules of the State Fire Marshall from telling you if this is unsafe or what may happen as a result of their absence. I cannot advise if you should sue the State if someone is killed by this condition because 1) I am not a lawyer 2) I cannot tell you this might kill you. For information about smoke detectors and their importance contact Jim Long, State Fire Marshall at (919) 662-4180.

Send the text to him and the attorney general and see if they will let you use it. I think its GREAT. Dump all the liability on the State Fire Marshal.

This is so stupid. 10 people to object and it goes to legislation? Heck one home inspector with a wife and a few 18 year old kids takes care of half of it. Its over with.

On the other hand all public comments by the Realtors should be publicized accurately on a web site. Google it “What your real estate agent thinks you deserve in a home inspection”.

This is actually great stuff. It is public record proof of public disregard by persons with known conflicts of interest.

or how about:

“The electrical system is not grounded; this is something that anyone who knows about electrical systems would tell you is hazardous. I’m not allowed to tell you what this means due to the NC licensing Act #1234. I recommend you ask the realtor why I’m not allowed to put this in my report.”

Bill Mullen
Sarnia, Ont.

(Courtesy of Kurt Mitenbuler)

Or alternatively, using color codes, punctuation, or smileys:

Your electrical system is ungrounded??? :shock:

Your house has smoke detectors.:slight_smile:

Without seeing the actual bill the devil is in the details.

Published: Oct 17, 2007 12:30 AM Modified: Oct 17, 2007 06:08 AM

Dudley Price, Staff Writer
RALEIGH - North Carolina’s home inspectors are upset about a proposed rule that will change the way they report their findings to home buyers. The change, they say, could cause buyers to overlook unsafe conditions in a home.
Supporters of the change, which was proposed by the board that licenses inspectors, say inspectors are overreacting. They say the new rule is an effort to standardize reports written by 1,500 licensed inspectors and simplify the process for home buyers.
“We don’t have consistency of recommendations,” said James Liles, vice chairman of the N.C. Home Inspector Licensure Board, which issues guidelines for the state’s inspectors and can discipline those who do not follow the rules.
“They have the grounding to state a safety fact: There is no smoke alarm, no rail on the back step, or this step is too low,” Liles said. “But to make recommendations on the best way to repair them, I’m not sure they have that.”
At issue is what can and can’t be included in the summary section of an inspector’s report.
“The summary shall include any system or component that does not function as intended and is in need of repair or warrants further investigation by a specialist,” according to the new rule. But it can’t “contain any recommendation to upgrade or enhance the function, efficiency or safety of the home.”
Raleigh inspector William Delamar said the new rule will mean that, in the summary, he will be able to point out that a house has asbestos but not say what is wrong with asbestos or recommend ways to remove it. Asbestos has been identified as a cancer cause.
Inspectors say the new rule, which could go into effect in January, is being pushed by the real estate community, including the N.C. Association of Realtors. Reports that identify expensive repairs can prolong negotiations between home buyers and sellers or even kill a deal. Streamlined reports could remove such complications.
“It certainly affects our ability to report critical safety issues to our clients, and I can’t think of any reason to do that other than to sell a house,” said Delamar, president of Residential Consulting Home Inspection Services.
Tim Kent, executive director of the N.C. Association of Realtors, said his group supports the new rule but said the change originated with the licensure board.
The change isn’t in effect yet. The licensure board took comments through Monday and is scheduled to finalize it Nov. 20. The rule could go to a state rules commission Dec. 20 for approval. If 10 or more people write to the rules commission and ask that the rule be reviewed by the legislature, it would go to the General Assembly, which could either change it or let the rule stand.
“If I have an electrical problem, I want someone to come over and tell me the best way to fix my house,” Liles said, “but I don’t want an inspector telling me; I want an electrician to tell me.” Liles is a residential rehabilitation specialist for the state Department of Commerce and a home inspector. He said inspectors are free to mention safety problems and potential fixes in the body of their report.
But inspectors say that real estate agents and buyers often read only the summary, bypassing the remainder of the often-lengthy report.
Gerald Canipe, chairman of the licensure board and a Fayetteville home inspector, said the board approved the rule 5-3 and that most of those in support weren’t inspectors. Canipe opposed the change and said most of the state’s inspectors also oppose it.
“There is the potential to buy a home and not be aware of safety issues that exist,” Canipe said. “You have all these inspectors who feel they have a moral obligation to report safety issues. It says something when people making inspections want to report this information and don’t want to be muzzled or restricted from disclosure.” or (919) 829-4525

This part of the rule issue is already in the rules and has been for a long time.

Why does everyone think it is new?

posted on Mon, Oct. 22, 2007
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Home buyers may lose advice

Rule could change what inspectors recommend


Some N.C. home inspectors are upset over a controversial new rule that would limit the amount of information they can include in their summary reports to home buyers.
Most prospective buyers hire an inspector to make sure the house has no hidden problems. An inspection report can top 30 pages, with key findings highlighted in a summary.
Under the change, expected to be adopted next month by the N.C. Home Inspectors Licensure Board, summaries could refer to structural and safety problems – but couldn’t recommend how to fix them.
Critics say that will make it harder for buyers to understand what’s wrong with their homes. They say the change was pushed by real estate agents who want a quick, easy sale. The N.C. Association of Realtors says it supports the new rule, but didn’t propose it.
“What ends up happening is that a person trying to buy a house is going through one of the most tense situations in his entire life,” said Paul King, a Fort Mill, S.C.-based inspector. “They get the 35-page home inspection report and there’s a summary, so what are they going to do? They’re not going to read the 35-page report; they’re going to read the two-page report.”
The board member who proposed the change, Jim Liles, said the board was trying to standardize forms inspectors use to make them easier for real estate agents, buyers and sellers to understand. Critics overstate the effects of the change, he said. Inspectors still would be allowed to make safety recommendations in the full report, he said, and could refer to them in the summary.
Gerald Canipe, board chairman and a Fayetteville home inspector, said he understands the arguments for it but he opposes the change.
While it would lead to quicker sales negotiations, he said, taking recommendations out of summaries would be a conflict of interest “because the home inspector is representing the buyer.”
The licensure board voted 5-3 to approve the rule in September and expects to adopt the change Nov. 9. It would then go before a state rules commission in December. The General Assembly could intervene if 10 or more people object after the rules commission approves it.
One veteran Charlotte inspector said he doesn’t think the change will alter much. Inspection reports generally warn buyers that the summary is just that, and failure to read the entire report is no excuse if something goes wrong later, said Bob Boucek, who owns Beech Home Inspections.
“A summary is a summary, not the whole thing,” Boucek said. “You need to read the rest of the report to get the whole breadth of the inspection.”
The (Raleigh) News & Observer contributed.

At least they know how to put things in the paper in NC

document.write(today_string());Friday, Oct 26, 2007
Posted on Fri, Oct. 26, 2007
Wrong, wrong, wrong

One of the dumbest ideas we’ve heard of in a long time is up for adoption as early as next month: limiting the amount of information licensed home inspectors can give to home buyers in easy-to-read summaries.
The proposal, to be considered by the N.C. Home Inspectors Licensure Board in November, would allow inspectors’ summaries to refer to structural and safety problems, but they would no longer recommend how to fix those problems, the Observer reported Monday.
Why a state licensing board would find it in the public interest to limit the amount of information going to prospective buyers is beyond us, but there are a few words that come to mind to describe it: wrong, wrong, wrong. The licensing board should reject this cockeyed idea when the topic comes up – and if it doesn’t, the N.C. Rules Review Commission or the N.C. General Assembly ought to see to it that the proposal is tossed on the burn pile.
As Observer reporters Greg Lacour and Mike Torralba note in their story, home buyers usually hire inspectors to examine houses to determine if there are hidden problems that need to be addressed. Those reports can run 30 pages or more, with sometimes technical information that purchasers may not realize they should study. Shorter summaries point out key problems.
Under a proposal backed by real estate agents in search of a quicker sale and problem-free closing, those summaries could not recommend how to deal with any structural or safety issues. That information would still be in the report, just not in a summary that would be easier for purchasers to understand.
This is nonsense. Why would a home purchaser engage a professional inspector, if not to find out quickly about any problems and how they might be corrected? For a state agency to endorse the excision of such valuable information from inspectors’ summaries is short-sighted, ill-considered and misguided.
The Home Inspectors Licensure Board should realize that its primary obligation is not to the real estate industry, the home builders or the developers of this state, but to the people of North Carolina who do not have the expertise to examine homes and draw their own conclusions on safety or structural problems. This is, after all, why potential buyers hire home inspectors. They need to know, accurately and quickly, about any problems and how they might be addressed. If the N.C. Home Inspectors Licensure Board doesn’t realize that, the legislature should abolish it and give the job of regulating home inspectors to an organization with a better understanding of what the public interest is all about.


Published: Nov 09, 2007 12:30 AM
Modified: Nov 09, 2007 03:34 AM

Home surveys rule irks Easley

Critics say change would hurt buyers

Frank Norton, Staff Writer
Gov. Mike Easley has joined the rising outcry against a proposal backed by real estate agents to change home inspection reports, saying he’s “greatly troubled” that the plan will hurt home buyers.
The increasing opposition could spur the state board that licenses home inspectors to scrap the proposal, which board members tentatively approved last month. The change would prevent inspectors from recommending repairs in their report summaries.
This morning, about 30 opponents of the proposal, mostly home inspectors, plan to picket the N.C. Home Inspector Licensure Board meeting in Raleigh.
Gerald Canipe, a home inspector and the board’s chairman, voted against the proposal last month because he thinks it would be bad for home buyers. He said Easley’s unusual public stance in the matter illustrates the importance of the issue.
“He sees the magnitude of this decision and its potential impact on what we do,” Canipe said. “We identify safety issues to protect the public. If the changes were to go through, we would not effectively be able to do our job.”
The licensure board has received several dozen letters opposing the change in the past month and none in favor, Canipe said.
Some opponents say the only reason for the change would be to streamline home closings, which would benefit real estate agents. As home sales slow – new home sales in the Triangle are down about 10 percent this year – real estate agents don’t want additional factors that could weaken their business.
The proposal would prevent home inspectors from recommending in the summary section of reports any upgrades meant to improve the function, efficiency or safety of a home. Those details can sometimes delay or derail home sales.
Backers of the change, including real estate agents and N.C. Insurance Commissioner Jim Long, say it would make inspection reports more uniform statewide.
But critics say the change, which could take effect in January, would hamper inspectors’ ability to report critical safety issues to clients: home buyers who typically pay for inspection services.
Specifically, the rule change would require the state’s 1,100 practicing inspectors to limit the report’s summary sections to a checklist of components and systems and whether they function as intended, need repair or warrant further investigation.
Governor weighs in
In a letter to the N.C. Home Inspector Licensure Board this week, Easley urged members to cut the proposal from their agenda.
“I recognize that some [board] members believe that standardization is desirable,” wrote the governor, who appointed three of the eight members of the board. "However, I am greatly troubled by the particular proposal that would limit inspectors from including safety recommendations in the summary section of the report.
“As long as reasonable people believe that the change could result in consumers having less information … we should take no chances and err on the side of safety,” he wrote.
Long, whose agency has a seat on the board, plans to attend this morning’s meeting to help win approval, said Chrissy Pearson, a spokeswoman for N.C Department of Insurance.
A vote could come today if at least one board member calls for a review. A vote to reverse last month’s decision to approve the change would end the matter. A vote in favor would send it to a state review commission, and the public could still weigh in. Depending on the level of opposition, the issue could go to the General Assembly before final adoption.
Tim Kent, executive director of the N.C. Association of Realtors, said last month that his group supports the change. Kent, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, also said at the time that the change originated with the licensure board and not within his association.
The board includes four licensed home inspectors and banking, construction and real estate professionals.
One of those is Realtor John Hamrick, who began the “standardization” effort two years ago when he served as chairman of the licensure board. Hamrick, who still serves on the board and is pushing for the change, said limiting the summary section would encourage home buyers to read through entire reports rather than focusing on one section. He also said it would make reports better organized.
“We were having trouble with the writing of reports, and we felt we could solve that problem with a more standardized format,” Hamrick said. “We need to make an effort to make home inspection reports more uniform.”
Marion Peeples, a home inspector in Oak Ridge and an organizer of today’s planned protest, said that despite real estate agents’ best lobbying efforts, there is unlikely to be much political support for the new rule, outside of the real estate community.
“The light shows that some very powerful real estate interests are behind this change,” Peeples said. “There’s no way you could justify it from a purely logical standpoint.” [RIGHT][/RIGHT] or (919) 829-8926

Good for North Carolina .
It shows others what is needed . Good luck.
… Cookie

Home inspectors protest proposed changes


Eyewitness News**

(11/09/07 – RALEIGH) - Don’t expect any changes to your home inspection reports.
Several home inspectors picketed outside the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board in Raleigh Friday morning.
They’re upset about a change that would prevent inspectors from recommending repairs in their summary reports.
Critics say realtors are behind the deal, wanting to make more money and speed up sales. Supporters say the new report would be more uniform. The board decided to review the changes and hold off on a final decision until March.

I love how some people think…. For years lenders and appraisers screw up the market with sub-prime/ interest only type loans and inflating home value. Now that that bubble has busted let find another way to screw things up (I mean keep the real estate market moving). Too bad it didn’t pass.LOL. But I did like Don’s Idea.

Your electrical system is ungrounded??? :shock:

Your house has smoke detectors :stuck_out_tongue:

Frank Norton, Staff Writer
State regulators on Friday reversed a decision to streamline home inspection reports, dealing a rare setback to the powerful real estate industry.
The about-face followed increasingly vocal outcry from home inspectors and Gov. Mike Easley, who warned that the rule change could harm consumers.
It is unclear whether real estate professionals will continue to push for the change. But experts say their organization, money and influence helped to get the proposal this far in the first place. The group has been traditionally successful at using political clout to get its way. Just this week, the real estate industry helped defeat proposals across the state that would have added a transfer tax to home sales.
Members of the state board that licenses home inspectors voted Friday to reject, for now, a rule change that would have prevented home inspectors from recommending upgrades and safety repairs for homes in the summary section of their reports. Opponents say the real estate industry wanted the change to reduce home inspectors’ potential to delay or derail home-sale closings amid a nationwide housing slump.
“The proposed change caused a lot of concern,” said James Liles, board vice chairman, who originally supported the measure. “Any time enough information comes to us that generates enough concern, it’s important.”
The board’s decision Friday came one month after it tentatively approved the rule change. The initial ruling fueled fierce opposition from home inspectors statewide – more than two dozen picketed the N.C. Home Inspector Licensure Board’s meeting Friday morning.
A muzzled mouth
One inspector, John Farnum of Raleigh, protested with his hands tied in rope and mouth muzzled to express his outrage.
“This is a victory for homeowners and home buyers in North Carolina,” said Frank Moore, a home inspector from Wake Forest who was among those picketing.
The board received dozens of letters from inspectors opposing the change and none in favor.
This week, Easley sent a stern letter to the board asking members to back off the measure, which he said would hurt consumers. Seth Effron, Easley’s spokesman, said Friday the governor was pleased, but Effron declined to comment further.
The board voted 4 to 2 to send the proposal back to a committee, which has until March to recommend a new alteration or abandon the effort. Jim Long, the state insurance commissioner who sits on the board, voted in favor of tabling the rule change, a reversal from his support of the rule a day earlier.
Supporters of the measure, led by real estate agent John Hamrick, who began the effort two years ago when he was chairman of the board, said the change would benefit consumers by standardizing all reports and making information uniform and readable throughout.
Opponents argued that it would jeopardize safety by burying important problems or needed repairs in the often-detailed inspection reports.
Several opponents said they were confident that the real estate agents’ effort would fade before the board’s March deadline to revisit it, despite powerful real estate interests in support of the change.
’Whimpering death’
“I think this may die a quiet, whimpering death,” said Marion Peeples, an inspector from Oak Ridge who helped organize the protest.
Board member Liles voted to send it to committee Friday. “It might not come up again,” Liles said when asked about the proposed rule’s chances of survival. Liles could have a conflict of his own: He’s a licensed real estate broker. The licensure board has, by statute, only one slot for a real estate appointee, and that seat is filled by Hamrick. Easley appointed Liles to the board specifically as a home inspector, a profession in which he is licensed but inactive.

After Gov. Mike Easley intervened, a state licensing board yesterday reversed its initial approval of a controversial state rule opposed by North Carolina home inspectors.
Home inspectors argued that the rule, if adopted, would have made it more difficult for them to warn home buyers of safety problems in homes. That’s because the rule would have limited what type of information an inspector can provide in the summary of an inspection.
The N.C. Home Inspector Licensure Board voted earlier this year in favor of the rule, sparking outrage from home inspectors across the state.
Supporters of the rule said that it was meant to force home inspectors to stick to the facts, rather than issuing opinions about the safety of a home that the inspector may not be qualified to make.
Inspectors say they believe that the rule was pushed mainly by real-estate agents in an effort to remove complications from home sales. Inspectors want to be able to use the summary section of an inspection report to warn home buyers about such potential safety problems as a lack of grounded wiring or a staircase railing that lacks a handrail.
Until this week, the licensure board, which regulates the state’s 1,300 licensed home inspectors, appeared to be on the verge of giving final approval to the rule and sending it forward to a state rules committee for confirmation.
But on Wednesday, Easley sent a letter to the board members urging them to reconsider.
“I am greatly troubled by the particular proposal that would limit inspectors from including safety recommendations in the summary section of the report,” Easley wrote.
A spokesman for Easley said that Easley had seen media coverage about the controversy and was following the status of the rule. It is unusual for the governor to intervene in such obscure state regulations.
Yesterday, at its regular meeting, the licensure board voted not to go forward with the rule. Instead, the board sent it back to a committee, where it will likely be revised.
“We can go ahead and take some time and work it out,” said Jim Long, the state commissioner of insurance.
The N.C. Department of Insurance has a seat on the board, which also includes home inspectors and representatives from the real-estate industry.
Board members said that Easley’s intervention affected the outcome yesterday.
“I think it has a whole lot to do with it,” said Gerald Canipe, the board’s chairman, who opposed the rule early on. “He has defied big business in the interest of safety.”
Jim Liles, the vice chairman of the board, had previously been one of the biggest supporters of the rule, but yesterday, he supported sending it back to committee.
Liles said that the outpouring of negative comments from home inspectors, as well as Easley’s letter, convinced him that the rule needed further review.
A small group of home inspectors formed a picket line outside yesterday’s board meeting to protest the rule. After the meeting, they said that they were pleased with the result - for now.
“But still we sense as home inspectors that there’s a movement to simplify the home-buying process,” said Rick Nipper Jr., a home inspector in Raleigh.
■ James Romoser can be reached at 919-833-9056 or at

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