When you start shopping around for a home, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all – especially when you find your “dream home”. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving, and what’s behind the walls could actually be a mess – one that could cost you a lot to fix. For this reason, we suggest all buyers commission a home inspection before they sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Here’s some information on what’s involved in a home inspection and how you can find the right inspector for the job.
What does a home inspector do?
It’s a home inspector’s job to examine both the interior and exterior of your home, and find anything that is wrong, or could potentially go wrong in the near future. When they are done, they will give you a detailed report of their findings (with pictures!), as well as potential timelines of when certain projects may need to be done.
What does a home inspector look for?
A home inspection is mostly a visual check for anything that is unsafe, needs to be replaced or needs to be repaired. A few major things your home inspector will look for include:
- If the plumbing and electrical need to be upgraded
- How good the insulation and ventilation are
- If there is any water damage
- Cracks or damage to the foundation and roof
- The overall structural integrity
When should a home inspection take place?
The home inspection should always take place after you’ve made an offer but before you’re fully and financially committed to purchasing a home. Make your Offer to Purchase conditional on a home inspection, and you’ll have all your bases covered. You can even specific within how many days it must take place for the offer to stick (five days is typical).
Do I need to witness the home inspection?
You don’t need to, but we suggest you go. It’s only a few hours out of your day, and attending the inspection gives your home inspector the opportunity to show you how things work, where shut-off valves are located, etc. It also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions along the way, and really understand what the inspector finds, versus just reading through their report after.
Who pays for the home inspection and how much does it cost?
Typically, the buyer is responsible for bearing the cost of a home inspection, unless other arrangements are made with the seller. You can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $500 for a home inspection, depending on the size, location and age of the home.
What if the seller already had a home inspection done?
It’s not uncommon for sellers to commission home inspections before putting their homes on the market. If this is the case, you have to decide if you want to: trust their inspection, ask for a walk-through with the inspector they used (which can cost $100 to $150) or arrange for a new home inspection.
Do you need a home inspection on a newly built home?
Absolutely! Even new builds can have issues. For instance, it’s not unheard of for electrical outlets to not work, the hot and cold water lines to be reversed or even for the walls to be crooked. It’s always a good idea to get a home inspection, even if you’re the first owner.
Do you need an inspection on a condo?
The condo board will usually take care of the inspection of common areas, but you should still get someone to inspect your individual unit, especially the plumbing and electrical.
How do you choose a home inspector?
Your real estate agent may suggest a home inspector they work with often, and family and friends should have a few names as well. If you’re in Ontario, we also recommend checking out this list of Ontario home inspectors, which lists their fees and includes client reviews.
Should I use a certified inspector?
Only British Columbia and Alberta require certification of home inspectors, so there may be no mandatory standards for these professionals where you live. However, home inspectors can still choose to be certified by the Canadian Association of Housing and Property Inspectors, so keep your eye out for that.