Benefits of a Home Inspection
Last Updated on February 3, 2021
Buying a home is likely the largest investment you’ll be making in your lifetime. In today’s market, it’s not uncommon for people to abstain from a home inspection in order to make their offer more appealing to the seller, but this is an enormous gamble. You may get the house, but you might also get a whole array of unforeseen and costly problems with it. If you want to decrease your chances of getting burned when buying, a home inspection is key.
What is a Home Inspection, and is it Necessary?
A home inspection is an essential step that is often recommended before making a major purchase with your home, whether it be new or old. It can help you identify issues or repairs before they become a burden down the road, and they allow you to enter into homeownership with that extra confidence and peace of mind.
Even if your home has already been appraised, it’s still recommended that you hire a certified home inspector.
When you don’t get a home inspection, you’re relying on the seller to disclose all the issues with the house. This is risky because some sellers won’t do it, while others may not know. Having an impartial expert come in and evaluate the house is the best way to get an honest, informed opinion.
The most common issues that come up during a home inspection are aging roofs, and the mechanical systems like, boilers, furnaces, and air conditioners.
While a home inspection costs roughly $300 – $500, those hidden issues, like an outdated furnace, can easily run your bill up to the thousands.
How to Find the Right Home Inspector for You
Not every home inspector is going to give you the results you want. There is currently no licensing required to become a home inspector in Ontario, but there are laws related to it that include contracts and fair trade practices.
Dishonest or inexperienced home inspectors can often miss signs of actual issues like pests, septic tanks, plumbing, or mould – which can all become major expense issues down the line if not taken care of promptly.
It’s why hiring a professional home inspector that you trust is a must. Since they aren’t regulated in Ontario, a good place to start is with members of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI).
Favour Credentials, but Know Their Limits
Hiring someone who’s certified by a professional organization can give you a bit more assurance that the inspector is knowledgeable.
You want to keep in mind that certification and licencing doesn’t ensure a great inspection.
In 2018, Consumers’ Checkbook, a business that helps you find the best service and avoid the worst, conducted an undercover investigation. This investigation had 12 home inspectors, who were all licenced, inspect a house with 28 known problems. Not one of them found all of the problems, and these included:
- Leak under the kitchen sink.
- Bad roof damage.
- Rodent infestation.
Inspect the Inspectors
The same as when you’re looking to find a realtor, the process of hiring a home inspector shouldn’t be rushed. Ask them to see a sample home inspection report, details of their qualifications, and references.
There are many types of home inspections, so it’s best to choose one that is ideal for your property and situation.
An important thing to note is: find a home inspector who is local, if your property is in the cottage, don’t hire a city one, and vice versa.
Compare Home Inspection Reports
The best way to determine how thorough an inspector will be, and how well they will communicate the problems is to ask for a sample copy of an inspection they have done on a home like the one you’re considering buying. The report will showcase the amount of work they will actually do.
After comparing reports from several inspectors, you’ll begin to see which ones are detailed in their observations and which are just filling their reports with generic information.
A typical report consists of a few dozen pages covering findings on all the major systems in the house and includes photographs and descriptions of documented problems and maintenance suggestions.
Consider Training and Experience
In addition to professional certifications, look for someone who has been in the field inspecting homes for at least several years. They are more likely to have seen a variety of home types and a broad range of issues.
Some properties do have special features (an older home) that will require a home inspector who is familiar with the unique issues that arise.
If there’s a unique situation that is outside the scope of a home inspection, or the expertise of a home inspector, expect them to make a recommendation for a further evaluation by a specialist.
A great example of this would mould concerns. These environmental concerns aren’t addressed during a home inspection, but the inspector will be able to include these options for an additional fee or recommend a specialist that can do the additional testing.
Ask What You Get for the Price
Inspectors without credentials typically charge around $300 to $1,000, depending on the home’s location, size, and their experience, and scope of the inspection.
Some inspectors will add free services not covered by a basic inspection, such as using a drone to view the roof or placing an infrared camera on walls, ceilings, and floors to measure temperature differences that suggest the presence of damaging moisture. Others may charge extra.
While your realtor may have a home inspector that they prefer, it is ultimately your decision as a home buyer.
Home inspectors who aren’t afraid to report all the problems aren’t usually popular with realtors, but will most likely have great reviews from other clients. If your realtor is pressuring you to use a certain home inspector, that’s a problem, and you may want to consider finding a better-suited one for you.
Make the Most of Your Home Inspection
Once you find that perfect home inspector, you may think that you’re work is done; think again! As a potential homebuyer, you should not only attend the inspection but actively participate by asking questions.
You’re paying for this service, so don’t be afraid to ask your questions and get the most out of it.
As your home inspector is creating the report, go through it with them to fully understand all the details. Many homeowners never actually read the report.
You want to read, understand it, and be comfortable with the information within it that you can make an educated home buying decision.
Remember, no home is perfect; there is no pass or fail for a home inspection. It’s a useful tool that allows you to enter homeownership with confidence and peace of mind.
What to Ask a Home Inspector
When you’re hiring a home inspector, make sure you discuss any concerns or questions that you have about the property.
Be upfront about the things you’re concerned about so that the home inspector will address them during the inspection.
The following are great questions to ask a potential home inspector:
What credentials do you have?
You want to make sure you’re hiring the right inspector to do your home inspection, so ask them for their credentials. Do they belong to a professional organization and what training and qualifications are required? What certifications do they have? Are they insured? How long have they been inspecting homes? What did they do before becoming a home inspector? Your home inspector should be knowledgeable about all the red flags with a home inspection.
Is the home insulated well?
How well the home is insulated will have an impact on your heating/cooling costs. The attic should be well insulated to stop heat from escaping from the home.
What condition is the roof in?
When your home inspector is examining the roof, ask them about the state of the shingles. Are there any that are missing? How about the eavestrough? Are there any signs of wear and tear? If so, the home may be in need of a roof replacement.
Is the electrical in good shape?
Electrical fires are common so you’ll want your home inspector to check the home’s electrical. Is it up to code? Are there any parts that are worn? If there were any upgrades to the electrical, were they done by a licensed electrician?
How is the plumbing?
A home inspector will evaluate drains, water heaters, pipes, water pressure and temperature. If you’re with your inspector during the inspection, flush the toilets to see how they perform. Has the water stopped running? Are the faucets flowing well? Is everything draining? Your home inspector should note any water stains on the floors or ceiling as it could be an issue with the plumbing system.
If any of these questions come with hesitation, then you may want to consider finding a new home inspector.
A professional home inspector will take the time to answer any of your questions to satisfaction and fully explain the home’s features, as well as and potential repairs.
If you enjoyed this read, you’ll be sure to love these:
- 5 Amazing De-Stressing Tips to Reduce Moving Anxiety
- Top 5 House-Hunting Mistakes to Avoid & Free Checklist
- Buying a House Remotely: Your Step-By-Step Guide
- Buying Rental Property in Waterloo Region? Here’s what you need to know