Many buyers are unaware of what to expect from an inspection or what to do with the results. To separate fact from fiction, here are five major misconceptions about home inspections:
Myth 1: All home inspectors and inspections are pretty much the same.
The Truth: Only two provinces – BC and Alberta currently license home inspectors and even those two don’t require much training. Home inspectors in Quebec are regulated by the provincial real estate watchdog. There are variations in the quality of service you will get from each inspector and a license does not ensure a professional inspection. Comparing home inspectors can be difficult and you need to perform your own due diligence to protect your interests!
Myth 2: Inspectors will find everything wrong with a property.
The Truth: Home inspectors look for costly issues with major home components including the roof coverings, structure, heating and cooling systems, insulation, electrical and plumbing systems. A home inspection is not technically exhaustive. Inspectors offer an opinion of the overall condition of a home, do not scrutinize small or cosmetic details and cannot always predict failures, especially in the absence of visible defects or deficiencies.
Myth 3: Inspectors will “pass” or “fail” a home.
The Truth: Inspectors report on the existing conditions in a home, and it’s up to the buyer to decide if they want to proceed with the sale. Home inspectors should not comment on the price or recommend that the client buy or run.
Myth 4: Inspectors provide repairs or quote repair costs.
The Truth: Inspectors should not use the home inspection as a vehicle to obtain other work on the property. Professional home inspectors do not make repairs, and ball-park cost estimates are offered only as a point of discussion or as a courtesy. Not until a qualified person who is equipped and willing to provide repairs, has arrived at an agreed-upon cost and means with a client, can a quotation be offered.
Myth 5: Home inspections cost more than they should.
The Truth: With average house prices increasing, a professional home inspection is an extraordinary value costing less than one tenth of a percent of the asking price. The reputation and experience level of a home inspector always determines the outcome of an inspection, not the price tag. Many home-owners find out too late that trying to save $50 to $100 on a home inspection can result in an inadequate report.
These and other misconceptions persist because people buy homes so infrequently and don’t know or understand the process. Hiring an inspector is much more difficult than obtaining many other services, so you need to do your homework.
Want to ensure your home inspector is looking out for your best interests? Follow these tips:
Ask yourself “Is this inspector answering all my questions? Explaining things clearly? Saying anything that doesn’t sound right, or downplaying something you believe is important?"
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.