about your house
Hir ing a Home Inspector
It’s often said that one of the most the components that are not Scope of the inspection
expensive and important purchases performing properly as well as items
you will ever make will be your home. that are beyond their useful life or are Home inspections are intended to
However, unlike the guarantee a buyer unsafe. They will also identify areas provide information regarding the
receives with most purchases, there’s no where repairs may be needed or where condition of systems and components
money-back guarantee or return policy there may have been problems in the of the home at the time of the
if you’re not satisfied with your recently past. Inspections are intended to inspection. It will help you make an
purchased home. Once you buy a provide the client with a better informed purchase decision.
home, you’re on your own to maintain understanding of property conditions, The home inspector will provide a
it, repair it, anticipate problems and as observed at the time of the visual inspection by looking at the
pay the bills. This is why it’s best to inspection. home’s various systems, including
know as much as you can about interior and exterior components.
A pre-purchase inspection for a
potential problems before you make The inspector will check exterior
165 to 205 m2 (1,800 to 2,200 sq. ft.)
the commitment to buy. components including roofing,
home typically takes about three hours
and costs around $500. Following the flashing, chimneys, gutters,
What home and property downspouts, wall surfaces, windows,
inspection, the buyer is presented with
inspectors do a written report, consolidating the doors, the foundation and the grading
details of the inspection. The home around it.
One of the best ways to understand
about a home’s condition, habitability inspector should be willing to answer Note that if the inspection takes place
and safety is to hire a professional any questions a buyer might have and in the winter, the roof and the
home inspector1. A properly trained to clarify the limitations of the foundation may not be fully visible
home inspector will review your house inspection to avoid misunderstandings. for inspection if they are covered with
as a system, looking at how one CMHC recommends that potential snow and ice. For safety and insurance
component of the house might affect buyers accompany the inspector as reasons, the home inspector would not
the operability or lifespan of another. the inspection takes place. It can be typically climb up on snow or ice
Home inspectors will go through a valuable learning experience. covered roofs. However, the home
the property and perform a inspector will inspect the roof from the
comprehensive visual inspection to ground or other vantage point. This
assess the condition of the house and also applies to the chimney and
all of its systems. They will determine downspouts.
1 Property inspectors inspect commercial properties.
Many inspectors perform both home and property
About Your House
Hir ing a H ome Inspe cto r
If problems or symptoms beyond the that they are a home inspector. That is name of only one home inspector. They
scope of the inspection are found, the why it is important to choose an are, however, permitted to provide a list
home inspector may recommend inspector wisely. of home inspectors from which you can
further evaluation. choose.
Reputable home and property inspectors
Interior systems the home inspector generally belong to a provincial or The only alliance home inspectors
will check include electrical, heating, regional industry association. These should have is to their professional
air conditioning, ventilation, plumbing, associations have set standards, which, association and their only allegiance
insulation, flooring, ceiling and walls, in some cases, are recognized by should be to the homebuyer.
windows and doors. Note that a home provincial governments. Some
inspector is not qualified to inspect a associations have developed membership 2. How long has the home
wood-burning appliance such as a categories based on the individual inspector been in business?
fireplace or wood stove unless they are members’ qualifications. In most
The competence of a house inspector
WETT (Wood Energy Technology provinces, a member cannot advertise
can be expected to improve with the
Training) certified. Many home or promote his or her membership in
number of years in business and the
inspectors are, but do not carry out the association until they have reached
number of home inspections
a WETT inspection as part of the the minimum standards of a practicing
conducted. Experienced home
standard home inspection unless it member. Standards may vary from
inspectors will be better prepared to
is requested. This is an extra request province to province.
assess the condition of the house.
and will add at least one hour to
The Canadian Association of Home and
the inspection time. To be properly
Property Inspectors (CAHPI) with the 3.What are the home
inspected, a chimney must first be
support of CMHC, Human Resources inspector’s qualifications?
and Social Development Canada and
Look for people who belong to a
As with the outside of the home, the the Construction Sector Council,
provincial association and who have
inspection of the interior systems is developed a voluntary national
taken inspection courses such as: defect
visual, meaning that the inspector accreditation and certification program
recognition, building sciences, and
will be unable to see behind walls to help ensure the competency and
home construction. Professional home
or under the floor. professionalism of home inspectors.
inspectors are typically bound by a
Home inspectors who have met the
Unless otherwise arranged, typically a strict code of ethics and must adhere to
requirements of this national
home inspection does not include specific standards of practice.
certification program are designated
appraisals, exact quotes for repairs, or Knowledgable home inspectors will
National Certificate Holders.
determine compliance with regulatory have a general understanding of all the
requirements. A home inspection is not The following questions/answers have various systems and components in a
intended to provide warranties or been prepared to help you to choose a home. Many have practical experience
guarantees. home inspector: or a background in engineering,
construction and related building
Choosing a home trades.
1. How do I find a home
Keep in mind that at this time,
Home inspection is a discipline that Check association websites, the Yellow anyone can become a member
requires special training, knowledge PagesTM or housing or home trade of a home inspection association.
and communication skills. magazines. Ask friends or family Many associations have different levels
However, there is presently no members. Your real estate agent may of membership. Being an association
mandatory certification and no also make a suggestion. However, be member does not necessarily mean that
legislated requirement for home aware, under provincial regulations for a member has successfully completed a
inspectors to take any courses or to some provinces, and the code of ethics certification process. Check to make
have passed any tests. Anyone can say for real estate agents, agents are not sure that the inspector has successfully
permitted to recommend or provide the completed the association’s certification
2 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
About Your House
H i r i n g a Home Inspect or
4. How do I know that a home 7. Does the home inspector Note that some builders have policies
inspector has the necessary conduct inspections at night? concerning who may be present during
qualifications? the pre-delivery inspection so it’s best
It is not desirable to conduct an
to inquire with the builder during the
You should ask to see proof of inspection at night, since a number
negotiation of the sales agreement
their membership in a provincial of the vital components of the exterior
whether or not this is possible.
association. In most provinces, of the house cannot be seen properly.
a member cannot advertise their You should also be aware that
membership in the association until 8.Where can I get more pre-delivery inspections are fairly
they have reached the minimum information about the home specialized and not all home inspectors
standards of a practicing member. inspector and/or his/her firm? have experience in this area. If you have
The association in your province will permission from the builder to bring a
The home inspector may point you
be pleased to clarify their membership home inspector to your PDI,
to the firm’s website, to their industry
categories and any particular inspector’s enquire if the inspector has the
association, provide company details,
membership level. Inspectors meeting knowledge/experience to conduct
list inspector qualifications or describe
the requirements of CAHPI’s National this type of inspection.
a range of services offered.
Certification Program have a National
Certificate Holder designation. 9.What should a home inspector A final note :
provide following the inspection CMHC does not recommend or
5. Can the home inspector
and when will I receive it? endorse any individual home inspector
provide three references?
The home inspector generally provides or association. CMHC supports
Any qualified home inspector should national uniform standards of
a written report reviewing every major
gladly provide this information upon competency for home inspectors.
home system and component within 24
request. Call the people named as
hours of the inspection. For more information on the
references and ask whether they were
satisfied with the service they received 10. Should I hire a home inspection industry’s National
from the inspector. You can also check Certification Program, please refer to
inspector to inspect my new
with the Better Business Bureau. the National Certification Authority’s
home? website http://www.nca-anc.com/
6. Can the home inspector also A pre-delivery inspection (PDI) may be
be hired to do repairs a requirement in closing the purchase
or improvements? of a new home. During the pre-delivery
inspection, the homebuyer and builder
Many home inspectors associations inspect the home to ensure both parties
have code of ethics that prevent home are satisfied that the conditions of the
inspectors from offering services to sales agreement have been met, any
repair or improve homes they have outstanding work, and warrantable
inspected. While they may provide you defects or deficiencies, are identified. If
with a personal opinion based on past you do not feel that you have the
experience, it is recommended that knowledge to judge whether or not
you obtain three independent quotes your new home meets the conditions
from qualified contractors. set out in the agreement you could
retain a home inspector to help you.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 3