Finding a (bad) home inspector

Every profession has its good and bad eggs – people calling themselves a professional when the term doesn’t really apply. In Canada, the home inspection industry is largely unregulated. In a real estate transaction, everyone involved is licensed and government regulated, from banks and insurance agencies to real estate brokers – but not the home inspector. According to well-known professional contractor Mike Holmes of the HGTV show “Holmes on Homes”, the home inspection industry is mostly self-regulated by various provincial organizations.

A home is one of the biggest investments a Canadian will make in their life time. It should go as smoothly as possible. Because of the lack of regulation, Holmes also mentions there is little recourse for you if your paid home inspector has missed one or several defects.

Do not hesitate to ask any potential inspectors for referrals, and do not be afraid to ask to attend the home inspection. Inspectors do not assign a pass or fail rating on a home, they merely present to you the facts so you can make your decision which makes it more important for you to see the process. In fact, few home inspectors should want to proceed with an inspection if you are not present, and this way the inspector can take you through the home and point any issues out to you. A typical inspection should take two or three hours.

There is rarely such a thing as a perfect house, and many homes do have defects. Find out of the inspector charges for a re-inspection upon the fixing of suggested defects. Inspectors should also not recommend contractors to perform work on homes that are to be bought. This can create a conflict of interest, and their alliance should only be to you, the potential homeowner. Read the inspectors’ report thoroughly. The report should cover all large systems in the home, including plumbing, heating and cooling, the roof, electrical wiring and insulation.

Qualified experience, not a certification or association, is what backs a great professional home inspector.

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