Of Prime Interest: What you get from home inspection

Home inspectors are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of major problems but are not experts in all fields.

  • Sep. 24, 2014 8:00 p.m.

A Home Inspection is an educational process which is designed to reduce a consumer’s risk when buying a home. It is not a guarantee or a warranty on a property.

Many home buyers obtain advice from a home inspector on the physical condition of the home.  Home buyers are sometimes advised by real estate salespersons and lenders to arrange home inspections, however; the majority of lenders will not require a home inspection reports.  It is up to you whether to use a home inspector.

A home inspection is a non-destructive, visual examination of the current condition of a house or multi-unit building. It is critical to have a good understanding of what to expect from your home inspector.  We strongly advise consumers to find out the specifics about the services an inspector provides by reading through their Association’s Standards of Practice.   As of March 31, 2009 all home inspectors operating in British Columbia have to be licensed by the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority. For further information consult Consumer Protection BC at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.  You can use the Consumer Protection BC licensee search to obtain the name of a licensed home inspector and it is recommended that you consider at least three licensed inspectors.  Research the organization that certified the individual including the certification process and background of the individuals and then interview the prospective candidate and get referrals from past clients. When you decide to enter the market to buy a house, consider finding your home inspector first before you start seriously looking for your new home.  Leave time to select an inspector to ensure you can do your research and that the individual is available.   One week prior to subject removal is recommended as a minimum.  Make your selection on qualifications and not solely on the lowest fee or quickest availability.

Home inspectors are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of major problems but are not experts in all fields and may need to refer consumers to specialists. Familiarize yourself with your home inspector’s standards of inspection.  The inspection is a visual inspection and there are limitations as to what an inspector is physically able to see. Request a walk through with verbal summary of the property inspection plus a hard copy report of the deficiencies.  Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions as you want to have a full understanding of the deficiencies and the general working of the dwelling.

Be aware of the limitations or written disclaimers associated with the inspection.  For example, home inspectors will examine (where visible) foundations, walls, roofs and chimneys, but are not required to inspect any evidence of water penetration, condensation and mould. Similarly, inspectors cannot inspect or comment on insulation, walls, floors, attics or crawlspaces, etc. where they are not reasonably accessible or readily visible. Home and property inspection associations provide information on their websites describing what an inspector is and is not required to inspect.  If a deficiency is found by the inspector the consumer should obtain three quotes for the repairs from independent firms.  The inspector will not provide estimates nor should they recommend firms to use.

It is very important for consumers to recognize and fully understand that a home inspection cannot eliminate risk, only reduce it.

Kelowna Capital News