Defect Recognition and Report Writing Course

Welcome to InterNACHI's free, online Defect Recognition and Report Writing Course.
The goal of this course is to teach the home inspector to write a comprehensive home inspection report according to the standards and the inspector's observations.
Upon successful completion of this course, the student shall be able to:
  • enter data into a checklist;
  • describe the difference between a checklist and a narrative report;
  • list the three functions of a report narrative;
  • accept the level of assumption;
  • identify defects found during a typical home inspection in writing; 
  • develop customized report narratives for the inspection report;
  • use "no visible evidence" language;
  • asses the risks of exceeding the standards of practice; 
  • communicate what happens when an inspector misses something;
  • list five ways inspectors can avoid lawsuits by writing great inspection reports; and
  • communicate in writing the need of correcting defects. 
Course includes:
  • 23,208 words;
  • student book;
  • inspection and writing assignment;
  • reading and writing assignment;
  • 80 quiz questions in 8 quizzes;
  • a 25-question final exam (drawn from a larger pool);
  • instant grading; and
  • a downloadable, printable Certificate of Completion.

Defect Recognition and Report Writing Course

Course # 4400



Estimated hours for the average student

Academic Engagement

Reading online course instructional material at 140 words per minute


Taking quizzes


Taking the exam


Conducting a directed and independent inspection study performed according to the Standards of Practice, including the development of an inspection report 


Submitting an inspection and writing assignment

Submitting a research and writing assignment




Studying and reviewing instructional material in preparation for taking quizzes and exam


Reading the downloaded student course book including taking the quizzes with the book
Reading, research, and studying related to completing the research and writing assignment
Studying and preparing for inspection processes according to a Standards of Practice, including capturing and storing digital images with a camera or device, making observations, evaluating conditions, deducing, formulating opinions, communicating observations in written form, attaining competency in performing inspections and using an inspection checklist or software and other inspection tools in producing a report. 



Sub Total


Overall Total

33.0 hours / 0.7 SCH

And, in keeping with InterNACHI's commitment to Continuing Education, this online training course is open and free to all members, and can be taken again and again, without limit.
Reminder to members:  InterNACHI's Code of Ethics 1.10 requires that you comply with all government rules and licensing requirements of the jurisdiction where you conduct business.  InterNACHI's courses and Standards generally exceed the Standards of Practice that you are required to abide by locally.  
This course has been approved by:

The course covers the following categories:

Student Verification and Interactivity



Home Inspection Reports: What to Expect

  • Introduction
  • Development of Standards
  • Checklist and Narrative Reports
  • Development of Reporting Software
  • Narrative Content
  • Report Content
  • Sample Reports

Home Inspection Reports: Engage Your Senses

  • Engage Your Senses

3 Functions of a Report Narrative

  • Accurate Condition Identification
  • Assessment of a Condition's Severity
  • Transfer of Liability

Simple vs. Comprehensive Report Narratives

  • Introduction
  • Level of Assumption
  • Quoting Code
  • Should Inspectors Write Their Own Narratives?

Roof: Defect Recognition and Description

Exterior: Defect Recognition and Description

Foundation & Structure: Defect Recognition and Description

Heating: Defect Recognition and Description

Cooling: Defect Recognition and Description

Plumbing: Defect Recognition and Description

Electrical: Defect Recognition and Description

Fireplace: Defect Recognition and Description

Attic & Insulation: Defect Recognition and Description

Doors, Windows & Interior: Defect Recognition and Description

"No Visible Evidence" Language

  • May Be Evidence Against You

If a Home Inspector Misses Something

  • Introduction
  • Was it Really a Miss?
  • Was the "Miss" Handled Well?

Tips To Help Home Inspectors Avoid Lawsuits

  • Introduction
  • InterNACHI's Pre-Inspection Agreement
  • InterNACHI's Library of Narratives
  • InterNACHI's "Estimated Life Expectancy Chart
  • InterNACHI's Home Maintenance Book

To Exceed or Not to Exceed the Standards of Practice

  • That is the Question

Upon completion of this course and passing of the 25-question final exam (drawn from a larger pool), the student can download and print his/her own Certificate of Completion, which is auto-generated in the inspector's own name.
The student's (InterNACHI member's) information is recorded on InterNACHI's servers for membership compliance verification, and automatically logs completion into InterNACHI's online Continuing Education log. 
Non-members may view only the first page of the course.
Members will need their username and password.  If you have forgotten your password, CLICK HERE (instant response) or email and request it (don't forget your name). 
InterNACHI... #1 in inspection education.
Some features which make InterNACHI's courses superior to existing continuing education options:
  • The course is free for all InterNACHI members.
  • The course is written in pure XHTML code for quick loading.  The course loads fine on old computers and loads fast, even with dial-up.
  • The course is designed using a hierarchal menu coupled with a sequential page navigation.  This provides the student with the option to easily repeat areas of weakness.
  • The course permits the student to start, stop and restart any part of the course as often as desired.
  • There are a variety of images within the course, including diagrams, illustrations and photos. 
  • The illustrations can be enlarged for clearer viewing by clicking on them.
  • The text is integrated into InterNACHI's Inspector Glossary.  Rolling over blue-colored terms provides their definition.
  • The final exam uses multiple-choice questions that reference the images. 
  • The course's quizzes and final exam have numerous advantages over traditional exam systems:
    1. The course, quizzes and final exam incorporate built-in intelligence which identifies and strengthens each student's unique subject weaknesses.
    2. Not only is each question weighted with regard to score, but each answer is weighted, as well as the correctness of each answer being weighted.
      1. Answers to easy questions are weighted such that the student is penalized, in terms of score, for answering incorrectly, but rewarded modestly for answering correctly.
      2. Answers to difficult questions are weighted such that the student is rewarded, in terms of score, for answering correctly, but not penalized for answering incorrectly.
      3. Answers to questions regarding basic safety, or questions every inspector should know the answer to, are weighted such that the student is severely penalized, in terms of score, for answering incorrectly.
  • Upon passing the final exam, the student can print out a Certificate of Completion which is auto-generated in their own name.
The student's (InterNACHI member's) information is recorded on InterNACHI's servers for membership compliance verification, and automatically logs completion into InterNACHI's online Continuing Education log.