What to Know About the National Home Inspector Exam®

The National Home Inspector Exam® is the only independent and original home inspector exam which also has independent accreditation in the US. It is an independent not-for-profit organization that serves the public interest. Because not all states are regulated yet, the exam goes beyond the minimal requirements and intends to achieve a national standard. Home inspectors who have completed the NHIE® are career-ready and poised to win business from buyers, sellers, developers, and real estate professionals.

What Is The National Home Inspector Exam?

The National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE®) is the industry standard for home inspectors in 35 states. It ensures the basic knowledge and practices for regulation, and the exam tests three areas of performance: Building Inspections/Site Review, Analysis of Findings and Reporting, and Professional responsibilities.

It is also required to enter memberships like the American Society of Home Inspectors and the California Real Estate Inspection Association.

Idaho, Hawaii, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and Georgia are unregulated states. California is also unregulated state, but a passing grade on the exam is required for entrance into their state home inspector associations. North Carolina uses its state-created exam.

Who is eligible to take the NHIE®?

Anyone interested in becoming a Home Inspector in the US can take the exam. Submit an application, pay the fees, pass the exam, and undergo background checks and moral character determinations. You may need to undergo further requirements depending on the state. Check online for your state to determine your specific requirements.

Taking the National Home Inspector Exam®

The NHIE® exam covers professional practices, inspection methods, reporting, and building systems. The bulk of the exam is the on-site review and building inspection. Participants will need to demonstrate their knowledge of a property’s exterior and surrounding areas like vegetation, grade, drainage, driveways, and walkways. The exterior also refers to decks, stoops, siding, flashing, roofs and stairs. As you move into the home, you need to know how to differentiate and inspect foundations, walls, vertical supports, floor roof, and ceiling structure. Fixtures, service panels, wiring methods, and alternative heating methods are just a few electrical systems you will need to know about. Plumbing, heating, gas, and moisture issues are also part of the building systems portion of the exam.

The second part of the exam analyzes findings and reporting, making up roughly 25% of the exam. Professional responsibilities round out the last 12% of the exam. 

The cost to take the exam in the US is $225. If you do not pass the exam the first time, you must pay for the full cost of the exam again. 

There are more than 300 testing centers in North America. Most are available six days a week. In Illinois, South Dakota, and Washington, the exam is administered by Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP). In Florida, Texas, and Nevada, the exam is administered by PearsonVUE. You can find out where and when you can write your exam here

You will have four hours to complete the exam. There are 200 questions though the first 25 questions are ‘pretest’ and not scored. It is scored on a scale from 200 to 800, and the passing score is 500. If you answered enough questions correctly to meet or exceed the examination’s passing score, you would receive a passing grade. If you fail the exam, you will need to wait 30 days before retaking it.

Passing The Exam

The Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to develop and maintain examinations for the real estate inspection profession. Their focus is on protecting the consumer, not gathering membership dues. As such, their exams are thorough and challenging. People who have passed the exam have demonstrated they can operate to the highest standards in the profession. It is not uncommon for people taking the exam to fail on their first try. They have developed study guides and offer practice exams to help prepare you for your NHIE®.

NHIE® Practice Test

You can purchase one or all of the five online practice exams the NHIE website offers and practice the exam from the comfort of your home or anywhere you have access to the internet. The whole house exam is 50 questions. The HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and structural practice exams have 25 questions each. Each quiz purchased can only be taken once. You need to make another purchase to retake the quiz.

NHIE® Study Guide

The Mechanical and Content Manual and Structural and Business Manual are available for purchase on the NHIE website individually or as a set. The individual digital versions are $80 each, and the print versions are $129.50 each. There is a price discount when you purchase the set.

Starting a new career and small business can be scary and exciting. If you are considering a career as a home inspector, the NHIE® website offers step-by-step instructions on preparing and the manuals to study and practice for exams. Contact the NHIE® team today and get a jump on your career as a Home Inspector.