Defect Recognition and Report Writing Course

Welcome to InterNACHI's free, online "Defect Recognition and Report Writing Course." This course is provided by our accredited college at


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;
  • assess 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 to correct defects. 

Course includes:

  • 34.0 InterNACHI® CE credit hours; 
  • 23,208 words in the course;
  • 23,208-word course textbook;
  • 17,325-word video transcript study book;
  • technical illustrations and inspection images;
  • 2.3 hours of instructional video; 
  • inspection and writing assignment;
  • reading and writing assignment;
  • 80 quiz reinforcement study questions in 8 quizzes;
  • a 25-question final exam (drawn from a larger pool);
  • instant grading; and
  • a downloadable, printable Certificate of Completion.

You will learn the following topics:

  • 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
Defect Recognition and Report Writing Course
Course #4400, Student Catalog 

Student WorkTime CalculationEstimated Clock Hour Time for the Average Student
Attendance for "Seat Time" 1# of minutes of student attendance / 5018.5
Participation in Learning Activities 2# of minutes of online student participation / 501.0
Interactivity 3# of minutes of student interactivity / 500.5
Reading the Course Text 4# of words in the course / 100 words per minute / 504.6
Reading the Course Textbook and Video Study Book 5# of words in the books / 100 words per minute / 50 5.7
Academic Engagement 6# of words in the course / 100 / 501.0
Direct Communication 7# of minutes of communication / 500.5
Instructional Video Learning 8# of minutes of video / 502.3
Reinforcement Q & A  9# of questions X 1.85 / 502.9
Writing Assignment of the Inspection  102.0 hours per assignment2.0
Writing Assignment of the Research  113.0 hours per assignment3.0
Academic Activities for an Inspection  124.0 hours for each inspection assignment4.0
Performing an Inspection  136.0 hours for each inspection6.0
Total clock hours
34.0 clock hours
34.0 InterNACHI CE Hours
3.4 CEU

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:

Upon completion of this course and passing 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.

Other InterNACHI inspection courses

Some features that 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.

Other approved and accredited inspection courses