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Field Guide to Home Inspections

(Updated March 2015)

Home inspections are a critical part of the home buying and selling process. Knowledge in the field of property inspection has become invaluable, especially in light of stricter legislation on both a state and national level. The following information sources will assist you and in turn, your clients, in understanding home inspections, the home inspection process and working with home inspectors.  You will also uncover valuable tips on the importance of a home inspection and helpful links to a variety of professional home inspection organizations and useful information available to you from the National Association. (K. Bartlett Walsh, Senior Quality Assurance/Customer Advocate)

Q - ProQuest articles available for NAR members only.  Password can be found on the ProQuest/Find Articles page.

NAR & ASHI 2001 Home Inspection Survey Highlights

The majority of home buyers (77%) had a home inspection prior to purchasing their home.  Among these homebuyers:

  • 81% had a contingency placed in the contract for the inspection.
  • 79% attended and participated in the home inspection.
  • 97% believe that the home inspection was a good value for the price they paid.

More than half (54%) of home buyers had knowledge of the inspector being a member of a professional home inspector organization.  Of those aware of their inspectors’ professional affiliations, the most frequently (18%) cited organization was the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

Source: NAR & ASHI 2001 Home Inspection Study, (American Society of Home Inspectors, Feb. 2001).

Home Inspection 101

Frequently Asked Questions on Home Inspections, (American Society of Home Inspectors, 2015).

ASHI’s Virtual Home Inspection Tour, (American Society of Home Inspectors, 2015).

Links to Consumer Protection Information, (American Society of Home Inspectors, 2015).

10 Questions to Ask Home Inspectors (REALTOR® Magazine Online, 2015).

What a Home Inspection Should Cover (REALTOR® Magazine Online, 2015).

The Home Inspector’s File (REALTOR® Magazine Online, 2015).

ASHI's Virtual Home Inspection Tour, (American Society of Home Inspectors, 2014).

Staying safe and sound, (The Billings Gazette, June 30, 2013). Q

Ten tips to ensure roof reliability, (HouseLogic.com, Apr. 30, 2013).

Are your plumbing pipes worn out?, (HouseLogic.com, Nov. 12, 2010).

5 Tips for Inspecting and Maintaining Your Garage, (HouseLogic.com, Mar. 15, 2010).

Treatment Options for Getting Rid of Insects, (HouseLogic.com, Mar. 10, 2010).

The Value of Home Maintenance, (HouseLogic.com, Mar. 10, 2010).

Detect Termites and other Wood-Destroying Insects, (HouseLogic.com, Mar. 9, 2010).

Inspecting and Maintaining Your Roof, (HouseLogic.com, Feb. 17, 2010).

Fast Fixes for Common Gutter Problems, (HouseLogic.com, Dec. 4, 2009).

Can I Cut My Title Insurance Fees?, (Money, Jan. 2009). Q

Legal & Regulatory Issues

Community & Political Affairs—State Issues Tracker, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2015).

Home Inspector Sues Agent for Calling Him “Total Idiot”  (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Daily Real Estate News, Jan. 18, 2012).

Let’s Ask the Inspector - Even If You Know the Difference Between a Ground Rod and a Two Gang, Avoid Acting Like a Home Inspector (REALTOR® Magazine Online, News and Commentary, Mar., 2011).

Quality of Home Inspection Varies by Region, (Realty Times, Jan. 11, 2008).

Cleaning Up The House; What You Can't See Can Make You Sick.  How to Get Rid of it,  (Newsweek, Aug. 11, 2006). Q

The New Word in Home Sales: 'Canceled'—Buyers Back Out of Deals in Record Numbers - A $30,000 Deposit Lost, (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 3, 2006). Q

The Home Inspection Professional

Find a Home Inspector, (American Society of Home Inspectors, 2015).

Existing state home inspector regulatory legislation, (American Society of Home Inspectors, 2014).

Becoming an inspector, (American Society of Home Inspectors, 2014).

Finding the Next Right Thing, (Associations Now, June 2006). Q

Home Inspections and the Real Estate Licensee, (Journal of Real Estate Practice and Education, 2003). Q

Code of Ethics of the American Society of Home Inspectors, (American Society of Home Inspectors, June 13, 2004).


American Society of Home Inspectors
932 Lee St., Ste. 101
Des Plaines, IL 60016
Tel. 847-759-2820

National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers
P.O. Box 403
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703
Tel. 800-294-7729

International Association of Certified Home Inspectors
1750 30th Street
Boulder, CO 80301

National Association of Home Inspectors
4248 Park Glen Rd.
Minneapolis, MN 55416
Tel. 800-448-3942 or 612-928-4641

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

The 30 Second Commute—The Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating a Home-Based Business (Adobe eReader)

The Clutter Cure—Three Steps to Letting Go of Stuff, Organizing Your Space and Creating the Home of Your Dreams (Adobe eReader)

The Complete Book of Home Inspection (Adobe eReader)

The Complete Guide to Zoning (Adobe eReader)

Home Closing Checklist (Adobe eReader)

How to Increase the Value of Your Home (Adobe eReader)

Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise (Adobe eReader)

What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Mold (Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Mystical Guide to Home Inspection, (Author House, 2005). HD 1375 R17

Navigating USPAP - Practical Applications, (Appraisal Foundation, 2005). HD 1387 H46

Mold & Real Estate: A Handbook for Buyers and Sellers, (Thomson South-Western, 2004). TD 883 St8

Secrets of the Happy Home Inspectors, (Someday Publishing, 2004). HD 1341 C76

REBAC Roundtable 2003, Volume II: Home Inspections and Buyer's Rep Liability, (Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council, Inc., 2003). HF 296 R24r

2003 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Survey of Real Estate Services, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2003). HD 1375 N21 sr

Inspecting a House, (Newton, CT: Taunton, 2001). TH 4817.5 C31

Real Estate Home Inspection, (Chicago, IL: Dearborn Financial Publishing, 1999). HD 1387 Bu91

Start Your Own Home Inspection Business, (Paramus, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1999). HD 1375 P91

Home Inspector's Guide to Training the Real Estate Professional: An Overview of the Home Inspection Process, (Hurricane Press, 1998). HD 1341 Sh8h

Red Flags: Property Inspection Guide, (Chicago, IL: Real Estate Education Company, 1995). TH 4817.5 P91

The Real Estate Inspection Book, (Canton, OH: Kooba Company, 1995). HD 1341 M31

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Lead Based Paint

Field Guide to Mold and Health Issues

Field Guide to Preparing & Staging a House for Sale

Information Services Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.