A home inspection is a comprehensive visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the foundation to the roof. Some of the systems are; heating, cooling, roof, building envelope, cladding, HRV, plumbing, electrical and roofs. A home inspector is trained to be a detective in regard to the construction and working parts of homes. Your modern home inspector is trained in his Province’s Building Codes and is often a member of professional organizations reflecting training and education in building codes.
When selecting your home inspector there are a number of items you should base your decision on. Some of these are; what training does he have; what was his previous background; is he registered with any professional organizations; how long has he been in business; how many home inspections has he done and ask for recommendations from a couple of people for every year he has been in business.
The last thing you want is a brand new home inspector. A brand new inspection may be the most expensive thing you you’ll ever buy, it may cost you thousands of dollars down the road because of missed or overlooked defects. In-experienced inspectors often know less and do less, which is one reason why they’re cheap. There are even some inspectors who won’t go into your crawl space or attic. With Certainty, you’ll know what the condition of your attic and crawl space is because we will go into them unless for some reason we cannot access them.
Some buyers refuse to take a home inspector referral from a Real Estate agent. They would prefer to hire someone with no allegiance to the Realtor closing the sale. Most real estate agencies work on an average commission of 6% paid by the seller of the property. On a house selling for $350,000 there is a potential commission of $21,000. Sometimes a selling agent will recommend particular home inspectors to a prospective buyer, sometimes a list of three is given out. Who are these recommended inspectors? How did they “qualify” to get on the “approved” list of the agent? Is the agent recommending a thorough non-bias inspector or is the agent recommending someone who will help protect the potential $21,000 commission? Unfortunately, some real estate agents view a thorough and non-bias home inspection as a threat to their sales commission.
There are many common problems found during a home inspection. Some of the more common areas of concern are; Problems with roofing materials are one of the most common defects found during a home inspection. Usually older home will have some roof defects, most of the defects found don’t necessarily mean the roof needs to be replaced, but rather that it is simply in need of repair in order to perform properly. Foundation will usually have some visible cracks at the exterior foundation grade. Some of which may indicate some level of structural movement due to foundation issues. However, all aspects of the structure should be evaluated since these cracks are sometimes just limited to the cosmetic parge coating. Do it yourself electricians will always leave something un-finished, the common deficiency is exposed electrical connections, open junction boxes, all connections are required to be contained inside an approved electrical junction box and fitted with an appropriate cover. These junction boxes also need to be accessible (not concealed or hidden). These provisions help to protect the wiring from physical damage and prevent flame spread in the event of an electrical fire.
Ensure you are going to be happy with your inspection report. Most inspectors now have a sample report on their website which indicates the type of narrative and amount of pictures you should expect with your home inspection report. Most modern home inspectors put their reports online for ease of access and also will include a PDF copy of report. Don’t be fooled by the old style binders that some people hand out. You will find you are paying for filler material that is freely available on the internet or at your local library. Smart consumers will want to only pay for results and information pertaining to the home they are buying.