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How to Prepare for the National Home Inspector Exam

Olivia Oksenhorn 10/30/23 7:42 AM
A man studying, surrounded by books.

If you're thinking about becoming a home inspector, you've likely heard of the National Home Inspector Exam. 

In some states, passing the NHIE is required to become a home inspector. In others, the NHIE is a way home inspectors can get credibility and set themselves apart from their competitors. Regardless, here is what you need to know about the NHIE.  

What is the National Home Inspector Exam?

The National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE) is a standardized test in the U.S. that assesses the knowledge and competency of prospective home inspectors. 

If your state requires home inspectors to be licensed to practice, chances are that you'll have to pass the NHIE. 

While it's a lengthy and daunting exam, it's definitely possible to pass with flying colors if you take the time to prepare beforehand. 

NHIE Structure

The NHIE is 200 multiple-choice questions, divided into three sections:

  • Domain 1: Property and Building Inspection Site/Review
  • Domain 2: Analysis of Findings and Reporting 
  • Domain 3: Professional Responsibilities 

Of those 200 questions, 25 are not graded -- so you'll only be scored based on your answers to 175 questions.  The exam is "scale scored" from 200-800, and anything over 500 is considered a passing score. You'll have four hours to complete the exam. 

The Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors provides a full exam overview to help you prepare for the content, and what to expect.  


When you take the National Home Inspector Exam, you'll have to pay $225 per test attempt in most states. Be sure to check your local registration cost when you sign up to take the test.   

National Home Inspector Exam Preparation

The Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors provides preparation resources including:

  • NHIE study manuals
  • Exam content outlines
  • Practice quizzes

It's important to note that inspectors must pay for individual practice quizzes, which can only be taken once (unless you pay again). 

There are also many inspector-generated resources to help you prep, including a full NHIE Exam Practice Quizlet

We recommend taking advantage of the practice and preparation resources provided by EBHI and other home inspectors alike to fully prepare.

Additionally, joining a training organization like InterNACHI, ASHI, or ICA will help you learn about the material you'll be tested on in the NHIE (it's important to note that these organizations are not dedicated to test prep, and are not affiliated with the NHIE). 

We also recommend waiting to sign up for the exam until you feel fully prepared. While you can retake the NHIE as many times as you need to pass, you will have to pay for the exam each time and wait 30 days between exam attempts.  

Who Needs to Take the National Home Inspector Exam

In states that require home inspectors to be licensed, all prospective home inspectors will need to take the NHIE before becoming home inspector. 

In states that don't require licensing for home inspectors, taking the NHIE is optional; however, we highly recommend that anyone looking to become a home inspector takes and passes the NHIE. It provides:

  1. Important knowledge required to be a competent home inspector.
  2. Credibility that will set home inspectors apart from their unlicensed competitors (in states that don't require licensing).  

Additionally, some local chapters of organizations like ASHI and InterNACHI may require members to pass the NHIE.  

How to Register for the Exam

If you're ready to register for the NHIE, congratulations!

You can register for the exam here. Because the exam is a live, proctored test, you will be required to take the test at a designated testing location in most states. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to pass the NHIE?

Home inspectors report that the NHIE is a difficult (but passable) exam. According to the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI), many inspectors have difficulty passing the first time they take the exam. 

You can retake the exam as many times as you need to pass. However, you will have to pay the $225 fee for every exam and wait 30 days between exam attempts.

Do I need to pass the NHIE to be a home inspector?

If your state requires you to become licensed, you will likely have to pass the National Home Inspector Exam. Be sure to check your local requirements to see if you need to take the NHIE. 

Should I take the NHIE if my state doesn't require it?

We highly recommend that anyone becoming a home inspector pass the NHIE, regardless if their state requires it. The NHIE assesses the competency of individuals required to become a home inspector nationwide. 

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