What is a Home Inspection?

Hello, my name is Adam Miller and I’m an internationally certified visual home inspector.  I’d like to share with you the benefits of having your potential home inspected before you sign your name on the dotted line.

A house, a condo, a duplex or any other type of residential property you’re looking to purchase is a maintenance item. Just like a car would need oil, brake and tire changes, so does a home need to have its share of maintenance, repairs and upgrades.

For example:

  • A hot water tank only lasts so long.
  • A roof has a limited life expectancy.
  • A heating and cooling system can only provide service for a certain number of years.
  • Foundations can crack, settle, and leak water.

These are just a few of the possibilities and if the previous or current owner hasn’t maintained the home or property, you can be sure there will be items that need attention. Some might be immediate and some might only need attention in a year or two.

Purchasing a house could be one of the largest investments you’ll ever make in your life. Let’s make sure your decision to purchase or not to purchase is the correct one.

What are the benefits of having a home inspection?

  • Knowing exactly what you’re getting yourself into by having your potential home inspected will give you piece of mind      that you’re making a sound home buying decision.
  • A home inspection can reveal the condition of various items and inform you of the need to possibly repair or replace the items and in what time frame.
  • A home inspection limits the number of surprises you may discover once you move in.
  • A home inspection gives you invaluable details about your new home such as:
      •  The current condition of the property and its systems and components,
      •  Possible safety concerns,
      • Where the main service panels and plumbing shutoff valves are located should there be an emergency.

The inspector should inform you of maintenance, renovation and improvement recommendations, and answer to the best of their ability any questions you may have at the time of the inspection.

What information do I need about the inspection itself?

  • Inspections are to be booked once your offer to purchase has been accepted by the selling party.
  • In most cases you have seven (7) to ten (10) days after your offer has been accepted to complete the inspection.
  • Don’t shop around for the best or lowest price for your inspection: Shop around for the best service you can afford. Spending $75 more could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, down the road.
  • Ask about your inspector’s experience in the industry:
      • Are they members of a professional association?
      • How many years have they been inspecting?
      • Do they have the necessary insurance?
      • Do they provide consultation services after you’ve purchase the property? (Most inspectors include free telephone consultation from one full year, up to as long as you own your home)
  • You should request a copy of the “Industries Standards of Practice”. This is a document that will inform you of what to      expect from your home inspector and what is and isn’t included in a visual home inspection.
  • You should also request a vendor’s declaration form be completed by the current home owner before the inspection begins. This is a form advising you of what the current home owner knows about the home and property regarding past repairs or renovations that might be of concern to you or the home inspector.
  • Your presence is recommended at the time of the inspection.
  • The inspector is there for your benefit. They’ll let you know exactly what they see when they see it, and if you have any question this is the time to get your answers.
  • You can expect to schedule anywhere from 2 hours to a half a day(s) time for your inspection. It is important to give the inspector the time needed to conduct a thorough inspection.

What does the inspection include?

The inspector should cover all the accessible systems of the home. Such as, but not limited to, the following systems: Exterior,  roofing, structure, insulation, heating and cooling, plumbing, the interior, and so on, taking into account the possible limitations that might arise throughout the inspection.

Every inspection has limitations. For example, a room full of storage or a snow covered roof. The inspector is not and cannot be responsible for items that he/she could not see or have access to, and his/her time is better spent finding problem than moving boxes. If you know that a room has storage in it, you can request that the room be cleared by the home owner before the inspection begins. The same can be said about attic access: If the closet where the attic hatch is located is full of clothing and toys limiting the inspector’s access, please request that it be cleared before the inspector needs access to that specific area.

One of the key limitations in a home inspection is that a residential home inspector can only cover areas that are visible and accessible at the time of the inspection and they cannot be responsible for items that arise after the inspection is completed. Inspectors cannot cut holes in walls, floors, or ceilings nor can the home inspector displace any of the occupant belongings.

What does the report include?

Your report should include images of the limitations and of the inspector’s recommendations.  Some reports are handwritten, some are internet based. It all depends on the inspector’s preference and the service offered. The maximum delay to deliver the report should be no longer than a two (2) day period after the date of the inspection itself.

How much does a Home Inspection Cost?

Prices can vary between company and region, and there are no set prices in this industry. You can expect to pay anywhere from as low as $350 for a single bedroom condo, up to $575 for a four bedroom and three bathroom two-story cottage. Prices can go much higher if additional services are requested, such as thermal imaging or insulation and mould analysis, but that’s a discussion to have with your inspector at the time of inspection or later.

I hope I’ve provided you with some helpful information and that I’ve answered some of your questions.  If I’ve missed any information that might have been of interest, please feel free to contact me directly. I look forward to working with you!

Thank you.

Adam Miller

ASM Inspections.