The objective of a home inspection is to provide prospective purchasers with useful and relevant information about the house they are buying.
PIT Formula: Some years ago, the PIT (principal, interest & taxes) formula was expanded to include heating costs. And more recently, it has become universally recognized that repair and maintenance also have a significant bearing on the cost of home ownership. Most often the costs are relatively low, with respect to the overall value of the home - but can sometimes become an unexpected or even unmanageable burden.
Guidelines provided by your home inspector are based on what is typical or average for the home, given it's age and construction type.
The two-pass inspection system: Home inspections are sometimes performed in two parts or "passes" designed to provide maximum efficiency and accuracy of reporting.
On the first pass the inspector goes through and around the house on his own, systematically inspecting each of the systems and components, while taking photographs and collecting notes for your written report.
On the second pass clients are invited to accompany the inspector on a tour of the home, while he verbally describes his findings. The goal of the second pass is to overview the inspector's findings and provide as much information as possible to assist you in understanding the home. If there are questions or areas not presented by the inspector, our clients are always welcome to ask for clarification or further explanation.
The purpose of this system, especially in older or more complex housing is to allow the inspector to focus his undivided attention upon the house and his notes during the first pass, and to allow as much time and detail as necessary to perform a comprehensive inspection. On the second pass the inspector can focus his complete and undivided attention upon you, to ensure you have all the information needed to feel comfortable with any decisions to be made about the house. Time permitting, your inspector may also be able to provide maintenance and repair hints during the second pass.
When deficiencies are noted your inspector may provide rough estimates of the costs, in terms of time or money, to have items repaired or replaced.
An easy-to-read report either printed or posted online, complete with photos and recommendations should be provided as soon as possible. There may also be some online or printed reference material provided. If you are unable to receive emails or download internet content, the inspector can send the report to your agent, or your lawyer's office.
Follow-up service: Telephone consultation is most often provided at no extra cost; ask your home inspector.
Scope of the inspection: The home inspection service will be primarily a visual inspection. The report is the opinion of the individual inspector based upon his or her experience and knowledge of construction practices and home operation. The inspection report is intended to be a comprehensive overview of the primary structure of the property and is not, and should not be considered an exhaustive or detailed inspection of each system and component.
It should be the inspector's goal that their services meet or exceed the Standards of Practice for professional home inspections specified by their professional association, the National Home Inspector Certification Council and any provincial licensing body. The intent should be to provide you, the prospective home owner with information about homes in general, and your new home in particular.
Any home inspection service is informational in nature and in no way a guarantee or warranty on the home or its systems and components. Home owner warantees can be purchased separately and we suggest you further investigate the products available, if this is what you are looking for.
Standards of Practice: Extensive information about conduct, ethics and standards of practice among home inspectors is available in detail at the following websites:
ASHI American Society of Home Inspectors
CAHPI Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors
NHICC National Home Inspector Certification Council
WETT Wood Energy Technology Transfer
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.