Buying a home is usually the biggest financial decision anyone is going to ever make in their lifetime.  When you buy almost anything from a store or online you would expect that there will be a warranty that comes with that product.  When making a large purchase such as a home, it only makes sense to have peace of mind that there won’t be any major problems with it after you move in.  Therefore, it’s extremely important to get a home inspection before deciding to put an offer for that house you are wanting to purchase (or having your real estate agent put in a clause on an offer, which would not make the offer binding unless you are satisfied with the results of the inspection)  This will protect you incase there are any issues with the house, and you do not want to put money into fixing them.  As of the day this article was written there is not much regulation in the industry.  And beware that some problems may not be detected in a home inspection that may arise in the future.

How To Choose A Credible Home Inspector?

There are many home inspectors out there to choose from.  They all offer slightly different services and vary in how thorough they are in their inspections.  As a rule you get what you pay for, if a certain company or individual is charging ½ the price as compared to everyone else I would be skeptical in the quality of their work.  After all this will most likely be your biggest purchase in your life, major problems that an inspector might miss can possibly cost you tens of thousands of dollars in the future.  Unfortunately, at this time Ontario requires no licensed for inspectors, however the government is currently working on implementing regulations.  However there is an organization called the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors, this organization is dedicated to enhancing professional practice and technical skills of home inspectors.  Members of this organization are held to high standards of practice and must obey a code of ethics.  These members have a designation as a “Registered Home Inspector” It is recommended to get a building inspector that is a member of this organization.        

What Is Inspected In A Home Inspection?

Home Inspections include almost all areas in a home or condominium.  The inspector will do a thorough walk through of your home and check for any problems that could be present.  The inspection will include:

Plumbing – Plumbing pipes, fixtures, hot water tanks, shutoff valves, drains and vent pipes

HVAC – Air Ducts, A/C, Furnace, heat exchangers, humidifier, venting, filter and registers

Electrical – Panels, wiring, outlets, fixtures, electical service, some detectors and grounding

Roofing – Gutters, downspouts, chimneys, flashings, skylights and leaks

Attic – Insulation, ventilation, roof frame, moisture levels, pipes, flashings and leaks

Exterior and Structure – Exterior receptacles, gas meter/piping, windows, doors, foundation, exterior wall coverings and columns

Site Grounds and Grading – Fences and gates, patios, decks, window wells, sidewalks, driveways, retaining walls, grading, and trees

Interior – Stairs, floors, walls, leaks, ceilings, fireplaces, skylights, windows, and doors.

Basement – Foundation, floor joists, sub flooring, leaks, sump pumps, moisture/mildew, mold, ventilation, foundation, columns and insulation

Garage – Flooring, walls, roof, windows, door opener, door, moisture/mildew and recepticles

Thermal Imaging/Infra-Red – Windows, doors and interior walls and ceilings

Costs for Home Inspections

Cost will vary depending on the company you decide to hire and the type and size of your home.  A condo apartment will usually have the least cost to inspect as it is usually the smallest type of home and will only need an indoor inspection.  Generally the higher the square footage of your home the higher cost it is to inspect.  Prices vary $350-$600+ depending on the thoroughness of the inspections.

What an Inspector Might Miss

Certain issues with your home are hidden and won’t be able to get detected.  The inspector might not do a thorough inspection and might have lacking detailed information in the report.  Some inspectors won’t go on top of your roof to inspect the roof as this requires some risk and extra effort to get on top.  Some will not get into very tight locations such as attics or crawl spaces.  There could be hidden electrical issues, structural issues, failing HVAC equipment, leaks and partially blocked sewer lines which most likely won’t be able to get detected.   Some inspectors lack any training whatsoever, so this would mean they are not knowledgeable as to what problems to look for and to diagnose.  Before hiring a home inspector before buying or selling your home, do your research to see what type of credentials they have, and look for reviews online to see what kind of experiences other people had with them.

How an Inspection Can Hurt You

If a seller gets multiple offers for their home, usually they would prefer to accept the offer with the least amount of conditions.  This means that if you want the property inspected and the other competing buyer does not, then the seller will most likely accept the other buyers offer because this will make their life easier by not having to have you, your real estate agent and inspector come into their home for a few hours. 

Remember before hiring or thinking about hiring a home inspector do your due diligence.

Kris Vindbergs

Realtor with Century 21 Heritage Group