What to look for in a home inspector
Like any profession, there are some important qualities that a professional home inspector should have to ensure homebuyers can understand the inner workings of a property and make an educated decision on whether to follow through with a purchase.
Buying a home is a big deal for every client. And since each property is different, it’s important to hire a professional home inspector who’s familiar with the particulars within a given property.
Among other things, a home inspector will evaluate major systems, including the interior, heating/cooling, electrical, plumbing, exterior and roofing. All findings will be delivered in a comprehensive report that becomes the property’s operations manual, which details deficiencies, safety concerns, system shut-off locations as well as maintenance suggestions.
There are a number of ways for your buyers and sellers to dig deeper so they’re certain they can trust that their home inspector is offering the best expertise before buying or selling a home. Following is a step-by-step guide to help them make a well-informed choice.
Google local inspectors. See how many Google Reviews they have, read reviews, check their websites and social media for qualifications and also get familiar with the inspector’s personality. It’s important to work with an inspector who makes buyers and sellers feel comfortable asking questions and also offers great post-inspection services such as complimentary technical advice for as long as you own the property, in case you have questions/concerns after the inspection.
Ensure the inspector is well trained. Did you know that the only jurisdictions in Canada that mandate home inspector licensing are British Columbia and Alberta? That’s why it’s important to find an inspector who works for a company that operates as if licensing is already required regardless of jurisdiction. This includes a rigorous training regimen comprised of technical training, in-field live inspections, business operations and ethics.
Find an inspector who’s familiar with the home type and specific issues that need to be inspected. This is especially important when a property is being purchased that requires specialized attention to areas such as wood-burning systems, for instance. Not every inspector has the appropriate training. In this case, look for a Wood Energy Technical Transfer (WETT) certified expert.
Another popular service that’s getting a lot of attention lately from Health Canada is radon testing and mitigation. There are two common types of radon tests – a presence test and a more comprehensive 90-day test. And knowing the proper mitigation to take after testing is essential to ensure residents aren’t further exposed to radon.
Ask questions. In addition to professional training, relevant experience and/or length of time in the business, it’s important to find out if the inspector is a member of a professional association such as InterNACHI, follows industry-leading Standards of Practice and is fully insured. Professional association membership provides added assurance of an inspector’s qualifications and training, which is especially important in jurisdictions that don’t require licensing.
Inquire about a variety of value-added services. Home inspectors should specialize in more than just the typical pre-offer inspection. This is especially important in accelerated markets. Sometimes the opportunity for a pre-offer inspection isn’t possible, so finding an inspector who keeps up with the changing needs of buyers/sellers can say a lot about the inspector and their organization’s character as well as their longevity to support buyers/sellers long term. This includes such things as advisory services, post-possession inspection and pre-listing inspection for sellers.
There are also a number of value-added services that can enhance a home inspection experience and provide extra protection, such as a property warranty and client protection program to guard against surprises that show up after possession of the new home that weren’t evident at the time of inspection. Programs like this showcase the confidence inspectors have in providing the best information to buyers and sellers.