Getting a Home Inspection
Who you hire for your Home Inspector can make or break your decision when buying a new home. While purchasing a brand new home allows you the comfort that the Municipalities Building Inspectors have completed around 12 separate inspections while the home was being built. Older homes and Century Home may have gone through many renovations and Building Permits may or may not have been taken out. This would mean none of the plumbing, heating, electrical or insulation has been inspected prior to covering walls.
Home Inspection Guidelines
Some of the common areas of expertise you might want to question your home inspector about prior to hiring. Some Realtor’s like to refer their own Home Inspector but this practice comes with Risks. Some Home Inspector’s will Gloss Over Deficiencies to ensure they keep the Realtor’s business. This is common practice and you have to make your own decision and evaluate your comfort level with the Risk you may be takeing.
As a professional home inspector you will be required to know all of the systems in a house. This will include an in depth knowledge heating, cooling, ventilation, electrical, plumbing, foundations, roofs, insulation, air barrier, insulation and vapour barrier. There are also exterior finishes, interior finishes and landscaping to also consider. A fully trained home inspector will be able to determine if decks, basements or renovations were done professionally and if a proper building permit was taken out.
How much experience does your home inspector have. Most professional home inspectors will perform about 500 to 600 inspections per year. If you choose a home inspector with over 5 years of actual experience he will typically have inspected over 5,000 homes. Century Homes are a specialty inspection which definitely requires some skill sets you are not going to find every home inspector has. In today’s aggressive market people will take on jobs for which they have no formal training for just to generate business. When you are doing your research in hiring a home inspector, look for specifics, every website you look at for home inspections which lists Contractor Experience is suspect because it cannot be verified. Instead, look for actual Course Certificates which will have dates on them and usually be a part of a recognized Educational Institution. Beware of the Page Full of Course Logos from the same site which can be obtained online in a very short time.
Gone are the days of the old check list report. Today’s consumers want detailed Computer Generated Reports with detailed explanations and lots of pictures. They say a picture is worth a “Thousand Words” and with today’s ever changing technology sometimes a picture can aptly describe a defect that words might fail. Having a picture of your homes main systems also allows you to verify the condition of any of your homes components at the time of the inspection. Also it is a valuable resource for recording appliance serial numbers and date of manufacture for your furnace, air conditioner, hot water heater and HRV unit. A computerized inspection report can be a valuable resource for negotiating when a deficiency is discovered that sometimes even the home owner is un-aware of. The Barrie Home Inspector Report usually will contain between 130 to 190 pictures per report.
Just about everyone takes a Home Inspection course of some kind when learning to become a Home Inspector. These courses vary in length from a couple of weeks, a couple of months or in the case of some Colleges, 2 or 3 months of evening courses. Georgian College for example also requires you take 2 Part 9 Ontario Building Code Courses, Structural and Building Envelope. Some other associations require you take specific courses for Heating or Electrical. Whatever method a student chooses to becoming a Professional Home Inspector, they must realize that it is just the First Step in an often fast paced industry. The Ontario Building Officials Association has designations for individuals who have completed the required number of both Part 9, Part 3 and Part 10 of the Ontario Building Code. As a Municipal Employee you can attain the status of Certified Building Code Official by attaining the required number of credits. Any government accreditation is far superior than any “Online Multiple” credits pumped out by some associations.
Certified Home Inspector
In Ontario anyone can call themselves a Professional Home Inspector. The Ministry of Consumers Services was in the process of meeting with stake holders to begin the licensing process when Parliament was Prorogued ending all ongoing processes. Hopefully in the future the process will be renewed and licensing become a reality. There was 35 recommendation made from the panel in five main areas of the Home Inspection field:
- regulation of home inspectors
- technical standards for home inspectors
- professional home inspector qualifications
- consumer protection requirements; and
- regulatory governance for Ontario’s home inspection industry
The implementation of these recommendations will do a lot to protect home buyers when making possibly the largest investment in their life.
Caveat Emptor – Let the Buyer Beware
An “Educated Consumer” is a “Smart Consumer”, no truer words were ever uttered when it comes to buying a house. Considering the cost of housing and the expense of repairs, home buyers should be concerned about who their Realtor is and also who they choose for their Home Inspection. Most home buyers wander through the process without fully understanding the pitfalls that may await them, but manage to complete their transactions relatively unscathed. This is not always the case, you only have to watch Mike Holmes or use Google to find cases where unsuspecting buyers suffered huge financial losses on a home purchase due to not doing their homework.
I recently talked to a client who had purchased a Rental House for his own use. He could not be there to do a Final Walk Through Inspection and his agent did one a couple of days prior to closing for him. When he call me to discuss a Booster Pump, he had a horror story to tell, multiple walls with kicked in drywall, doors and damaged flooring etc from the exiting Renters. He told me his only recourse was to take the Renters to Small Claims Court…not a great option for those of you who have tried to collect money this way.
Another case in point, I was called to re-inspect a property by a client who was extremely sensitive to mould. When she took possession of the home she could not stay in it for more than 15 minutes due to mould spores in the basement. After a careful investigation identifying moisture and staining that had not been there previously, it was discovered that the seller had a flood caused by sump pump malfunctioning had created mould in basement. The seller did not disclose this and it was eventually settled in Small Claims court with the buyer receiving approximately half of cost incurred cleaning up the mould. Both the Realtor and myself sat there the whole morning as witnesses for our client with no financial compensation for lost time or business. We only lost our time etc, but the client suffered a financial loss, plus the stress of having to go to court.
Many people think they are protected by using a Realtor and a Professional Home Inspector, not always so. So do your homework before you buy a property and ensure your only line of defense is not going to be your lawyer.
Knowledge and Training not to miss items that may cost you money.
We Provide Commercial Building Inspection and Residential Inspection Services to Alliston, Alcona, Angus, Barrie, Bradford, Bracebridge, Collingwood, Creemore, Elmvale, Innisfil, Orillia, Midland, Newmarket, Penetanguishene, Ramara, Stayner