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Hiring a Home Inspector

It’s often said that one of the most expensive and important purchases you will ever make will be your home. However, unlike the guarantee a buyer receives with most purchases, there’s no money-back guarantee or return policy if you’re not satisfied with your recently purchased home. Once you buy a home, you’re on your own to maintain it, repair it, anticipate problems and pay the bills. This is why it’s best to know as much as you can about potential problems before you make the commitment to buy.

What Home and Property Inspectors do.....................

One of the best ways to understand about a home’s condition, habitability and safety is to hire a professional home inspector. A properly trained home inspector will review your house as a system, looking at how one component of the house might affect the operability or lifespan of another. Home inspectors will go through the property and perform a comprehensive visual inspection to assess the condition of the house and all of its systems. They will determine the components that are not performing properly as well as items that are beyond their useful life or are unsafe. They will also identify areas where repairs may be needed or where there may have been problems in the past. Inspections are intended to provide the client with a better understanding of property conditions, as observed at the time of the inspection.

A pre-purchase inspection for a 165 to 205 m2 (1,800 to 2,200 sq. ft.) home typically takes about three hours and costs around $375.00 Following the inspection, the buyer is presented with a written report, consolidating the details of the inspection. The home inspector should be willing to answer any questions a buyer might have and to clarify the limitations of the inspection to avoid misunderstandings. CMHC recommends that potential buyers accompany the inspector as the inspection takes place. It can be a valuable learning experience.

The following questions/answers have been prepared to help you to choose a home inspector:

How do I find a home inspector?

Check association websites, the Yellow Pages™ or housing or home trade magazines. Ask friends or family members. Your real estate agent may also make a suggestion. However, be aware, under provincial regulations and the code of ethics for real estate agents, agents are not permitted to recommend or provide the name of only one home inspector. They are, however, permitted to provide a list of home inspectors from which you can choose.

The only alliance home inspectors should have is to their professional association and their only allegiance should be to the homebuyer.


See my "INSPECTORS" section on the main menu for qualified assistance


How long has the home inspector been in business?

The competence of a house inspector can be expected to improve with the number of years in business and the number of home inspections conducted. Experienced home inspectors will be better prepared to assess the condition of the house.

What are the home inspector’s qualifications?

Look for people who belong to a provincial association and who have taken inspection courses such as: defect recognition, building sciences, and home construction. Professional home inspectors are typically bound by a strict code of ethics and must adhere to specific standards of practice. Knowledgeable home inspectors will have a general understanding of all the various systems and components in a home. Many have practical experience or a background in engineering, construction and related building trades.

Keep in mind that at this time, anyone can become a member of a home inspection association. Many associations have different levels of membership. Being an association member does not necessarily mean that a member has successfully completed a certification process. Check to make sure that the inspector has successfully completed the association’s certification process.

How do I know that a home inspector has the necessary qualifications?

You should ask to see proof of their membership in a provincial association. In most provinces, a member cannot advertise their membership in the association until they have reached the minimum standards of a practicing member. The association in your province will be pleased to clarify their membership categories and any particular inspector’s membership level. Inspectors meeting the requirements of CAHPI’s National Certification Program have a National Certificate Holder designation.

Can the home inspector provide three references?

Any qualified home inspector should gladly provide this information upon request. Call the people named as references and ask whether they were satisfied with the service they received from the inspector. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau.


Can the home inspector also be hired to do repairs or improvements?

Many home inspectors associations have code of ethics that prevent home inspectors from offering services to repair or improve homes they have inspected. While they may provide you with a personal opinion based on past experience, it is recommended that you obtain three independent quotes from qualified contractors.

 Does the home inspector conduct inspections at night?

It is not desirable to conduct an inspection at night, since a number of the vital components of the exterior of the house cannot be seen properly.


Where can I get more information about the home inspector and/or his/her firm?

The home inspector may point you to the firm’s website, to their industry association, provide company details, list inspector qualifications or describe a range of services offered.


What should a home inspector provide following the inspection and when will I receive it?

The home inspector generally provides a written report reviewing every major home system and component within 24 hours of the inspection.


Should I hire a home inspector to inspect my new home?

A pre-delivery inspection (PDI) may be a requirement in closing the purchase of a new home. During the pre-delivery inspection, the homebuyer and builder inspect the home to ensure both parties are satisfied that the conditions of the sales agreement have been met, any outstanding work, and warrantable defects or deficiencies, are identified. If you do not feel that you have the knowledge to judge whether or not your new home meets the conditions set out in the agreement you could retain a home inspector to help you. Note that some builders have policies concerning who may be present during the pre-delivery inspection so it’s best to inquire with the builder during the negotiation of the sales agreement whether or not this is possible.

You should also be aware that pre-delivery inspections are fairly specialized and not all home inspectors have experience in this area. If you have permission from the builder to bring a home inspector to your PDI, enquire if the inspector has the knowledge/experience to conduct this type of inspection.

Information courtesy of CMHC

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Trademarks owned or controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association. Used under license.

Trademarks owned or controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association. Used under license.

The information provided herein must only be used by consumers that have a bona fide interest in the purchase, sale or lease of real estate and may not be used for any commercial purpose or any other purpose.

Information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by TREB.

RE/MAX Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage, Independently Owned and Operated
152 Bayfield St.
Barrie ON  L4M3B5
(705) 722-7100