The purpose of home inspections
If you are buying a home your Agreement of Purchase and Sale may include a condition that you, as the buyer, have an opportunity for a home inspection. There are several things you should know about home inspections.
Presently, in Ontario, home inspectors are not regulated. Anyone can offer home inspection services in Ontario. There are many people who call themselves “home inspectors” that have little experience.
Hopefully, this will soon change in Ontario. In October 2012, the provincial government announced that it would begin consultation with home inspector associations, consumers, representatives from the real estate sector and other industry stakeholders on mandatory minimum qualifications for home inspectors.
Why is it important to have a home inspection?
Before the Ontario government mandates these minimum qualifications, when hiring a home inspector, you should satisfy yourself as to the qualifications of the home inspector. Only registered members of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors can, at present, call themselves a “registered home inspector”.
Find out what experience your home inspector has. Be aware of what your inspector is looking at and what limitations are put on the report. For example, your home inspector may not look at environmental concerns such as UFFI, air quality, water quality/quantity, molds or toxins. It may not address insect infestation. If your home inspection has these limitations, and you have concerns regarding these issues, you may need to retain a specialist in environmental or insect inspections.
The goal of a home inspection is to identify existing major problems that are apparent on a visual inspection of the home. A home inspection does have limitations since it is a visual inspection only of the accessible features of the home. Hidden defects will likely go undetected. Even if a home inspector cannot see behind walls, a good inspector knows what clues to look for. Sometimes the clues that a home inspector can find are indicators of major problems with a home. You want to be sure that your home inspector has the experience to recognize these clues!
Your new home purchase is likely the largest single investment you will make in your lifetime. Do not purchase a home without the benefit of a home inspection. You need to know what you are purchasing before you buy! The Ontario government’s new initiatives to regulate the home inspection industry will provide consumers with more qualified inspectors and allow home buyers to get the service from their inspectors that they should expect.