The National Home Inspector Exam: What to Expect

November 2, 2023

In the ever-evolving world of real estate, there are many roles that play a pivotal part in ensuring smooth real estate transactions and safeguarding the interests of both buyers and sellers. Among these crucial roles is the home inspector. Home inspectors are trained to explore the ins and outs of a home, from its foundation to the roof, to identify potential health and safety issues and ensure the buyer is making an informed decision. Whether it’s identifying structural defects, outdated electrical systems, or potential safety hazards, their findings can influence purchase decisions, pricing, and even loan approvals.

However, to effectively and confidently take on this responsibility, aspiring home inspectors should first demonstrate their expertise. This is where the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE) comes into play. A milestone in the journey of becoming a certified home inspector, the NHIE is more than just a test, it’s an affirmation of one’s dedication to upholding the standards of the industry and ensuring that home buyers and sellers can rely on their unbiased opinion. In this article, we’ll dive deep into various aspects of the NHIE and what you can expect from it, ensuring you’re well-prepared to embark on a rewarding career in home inspection.

What is the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE)?

The National Home Inspector Exam, commonly referred to as the NHIE, is a standardized examination designed specifically for individuals who aspire to become professional home inspectors in the U.S. Administered by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI), this exam not only measures the knowledge and competence of potential home inspectors, but also ensures they meet a uniform standard of practice and ethical conduct.

So, why is it important? In many states, passing the NHIE is a mandatory step to earn a home inspector license. The exam covers crucial home inspection topics, from basic systems like plumbing and electrical to potential structural hazards, ensuring inspectors are well-equipped for their roles.

By undergoing this examination, aspiring home inspectors showcase their dedication to their craft, their knowledge of the industry, and their commitment to ensuring the safety and satisfaction of homeowners across the nation.

Who is Eligible to Take the National Home Inspector Exam?

Eligibility for the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE) often varies depending on individual state requirements. However, there are some common criteria and pathways that most candidates follow to be eligible:

  1. Educational Requirements: Many states require candidates to complete a specific number of educational hours or coursework in home inspection from an accredited institution. This ensures a foundation of knowledge on key inspection concepts and practices.
  2. Field Training and Experience: Some states mandate a certain number of supervised home inspections or hands-on training hours. This provides practical experience and a better understanding of the real-world challenges faced during inspections.
  3. Background Check: It’s not uncommon for states to require a criminal background check to ensure the integrity and trustworthiness of aspiring home inspectors.
  4. Insurance: Depending on the state, candidates may need to possess or be eligible for Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance and general liability insurance.
  5. State-specific Requirements: Beyond what’s mentioned above, certain states might have unique prerequisites, such as passing a state-specific exam or completing additional courses in areas like termite inspections or radon testing.

It’s essential to consult with your state’s home inspector licensing board or regulatory agency to get detailed, up-to-date information on the specific requirements for your area. This ensures you’re on the right path and are fully prepared when it’s time to sit for the NHIE.

Which States Do Not Regulate Home Inspections?

While the NHIE is a recognized standard in many states, some states do not mandate home inspectors to be certified by this exam. If you’re considering a career in home inspection in any of the following states, it’s crucial to be aware that they currently do not regulate home inspections via the NHIE:

  1. California
  2. Colorado
  3. Georgia
  4. Hawaii
  5. Idaho
  6. Iowa
  7. Kansas
  8. Maine
  9. Michigan
  10. Minnesota
  11. Missouri
  12. Nebraska
  13. Utah
  14. Wyoming

However, it’s recommended to check with local real estate boards or relevant state agencies for any recent updates or changes to regulations. Even in states that do not mandate the NHIE, completing it can still offer a competitive advantage by showcasing a commitment to professionalism and industry standards.

How Do I Register for My Exam?

Taking the NHIE is an important step in your journey to becoming a certified home inspector. Fortunately, the registration process is straightforward. Unlike some other tests, the NHIE is a live, proctored exam, ensuring the credibility and reliability of the results.

To register for the National Home Inspector Exam, you can visit the official NHIE registration page, which will guide you through the necessary steps to secure your spot for the exam. It’s recommended to register well in advance to ensure you get your preferred date and time. Also, familiarize yourself with the guidelines and requirements mentioned on the site to be adequately prepared for exam day.

What is the National Home Inspector Exam Fee?

Gold coin in the hourglass

Investing in the National Home Inspector Exam is an essential step for those eager to become certified home inspectors. In most states, the fee for taking the NHIE is set at $225. This fee can easily be paid online during the registration process.

However, it’s crucial to note a couple of things regarding the exam fee:

  • Re-examination Costs: If for any reason you need to retake the NHIE, you’ll be required to pay the original examination fee of $225 each time you attempt the test.
  • No Limit on Attempts: While no one hopes to retake the exam, it’s reassuring to know there are no restrictions on the number of times you can take the NHIE. This allows you the flexibility to reassess, prepare, and try again if needed.

Always ensure you’re well-prepared before attempting the exam to maximize your chances of success on the first try and avoid incurring additional fees.

Exam Content and Structure

For those preparing to tackle the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE), it’s important to understand the structure and content of the exam. This helps you better prepare and ensures you focus your efforts on the areas that carry the most weight.

General Overview:

  • Total Questions: The NHIE consists of 200 questions.
  • Pretest Questions: Out of the 200 questions, the initial 25 are ‘pretest’ questions. It’s important to note that these are not scored. Their primary purpose is for potential inclusion in future exams based on their performance.
  • Scoring Range: The scoring for the NHIE ranges between 200 and 800.
  • Passing Score: To successfully pass the NHIE, you’ll need to attain a score of 500 or above.
  • Duration: Candidates are allotted a total of 4 hours to complete the exam.

Exam Structure Breakdown:

Domain 1: Property and Building Inspection/Site Review – This domain is the bulk of the exam, covering 63% of the questions. It focuses on the physical aspects of the property inspection, including all the different systems and structures within a home.

Domain 2: Analysis of Findings and Reporting – Making up 25% of the exam, this section assesses your ability to interpret your findings and convey them effectively in a report.

Domain 3: Professional Responsibilities – The remaining 12% of the test addresses the ethical and professional duties of a home inspector, ensuring they maintain the highest standards of practice.

For those eager to dive deeper into what each domain entails, you can view the complete content outline of the exam by visiting:

Thoroughly familiarizing yourself with this structure and allocating study time accordingly will give you a significant advantage on exam day.


The journey to becoming a certified home inspector in the U.S. is one that demands dedication, knowledge, and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of practice. Successfully navigating the National Home Inspector Exam is a testament to this dedication, granting professionals a competitive advantage in the industry.

For those looking beyond just certification and aiming to transform their passion into a thriving business, home inspection franchising presents an enticing opportunity. WIN Home Inspection stands at the forefront of this, being the #1 ranked and fastest-growing franchise in the industry. With its unmatched in-house training programs (including preparation for NHIE and state-specific exams) and a comprehensive marketing platform offered at no extra cost, WIN Home Inspection equips its franchise owners with the tools and resources they need to flourish. For more information on becoming a home inspector with WIN, please get in touch with us at (800) 967-8127 or

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