How to Have a Better Home Inspection

Tips for a Better Home InspectionThe vast majority of home buyers make their offer contingent on the property passing an inspection. However, home inspections may not only vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood but also from inspector to inspector. Someone purchasing a home who understands the main objectives of each inspection will have a better chance of getting the information they need to make a decision than those don't.

Exterior Elements

Home inspectors will examine the outside of the house to get a better idea of its stability and overall condition. From major structural damage to flaking paint, a good inspector will note it all in their report. Even if the home hasn't sustained blunt trauma or force, the foundation or structure may have shifted over time. Inspectors include the following elements in their search:

  • Roof
  • Porch
  • Walls
  • Foundation
  • Floor sills
  • Joists

Internal Elements

Inspectors will check the entire interior of the home, including the electric panels, distribution piping, and insulation. They'll look for signs of water damage and general safety hazards that may pose a threat to the potential home buyers. For example, if the insulation of the home is too thick, it may interfere with the quality of the ventilation. Inspectors will note if the drainage is working properly and if the circuits are in working order. Home buyers are highly encouraged to get to know their inspector and to be there on the actual day of the inspection. Asking questions and learning more about the home is a good way to prepare oneself for homeownership.

Home Inspection Limitations

A home inspection can give buyers a good idea of the condition of the home, but it also can't give home buyers any guarantees. Home inspectors aren't allowed to alter the home in any way, so they won't be able to follow the electrical wires into the walls to ensure they haven't been compromised. They may not be able to check the septic tank if it's not readily accessible or assess how level the floors are. If there are hidden surprises (e.g., discarded food items, small rodents, etc.) in the walls or floor registers, a home inspector won't be able to tunnel into the home to find them. Once a homeowner knows what the inspection doesn't cover, they may be able to perform some additional inspection work of their own.

Regulations and Expectations

Provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia regulate their home inspectors, while provinces such as Ontario do not. While it's important to know the qualifications and reputation of whoever a homeowner hires, it's especially important to find someone trustworthy in unregulated provinces. Some inspectors might leave certain facts off their report or flat-out lie about what they find. They may do this because they have some loyalty to a third party, such as the lender or the title company, or simply because they didn't thoroughly inspect the home. Home buyers should plan for the inspection to take about three hours.

The key to having a better home inspection is by taking the time to learn what the inspector does and what their limitations are. Even the best inspectors in the province, whether they're in Bearspaw or elsewhere, may still miss an important structural issue that was buried deep in the inner layers of the home. Homeowners who do the research on the reputation of their home inspector and who ask questions along the way will undoubtedly be more confident in making the right decision about whether or not to purchase the home.

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