Buying a home is an important decision and one of the most expensive purchases that most people will ever make. There are no money back guarantees or return policies. Once you buy a home you are on your own to repair and maintain it. Hiring a professional home inspector can help you identify potential problems or major expenses before you make the commitment to buy.
What is a Home Inspection
A home inspection is one of the best ways to understand a home’s condition, habitability and safety. The inspector will conduct a visual inspection of the major systems and components of the home to assess their age, their condition, their safety and their useful life. He will identify components which are installed incorrectly or not performing properly. He will also look for evidence of past repairs or identify areas where repairs may be needed in the near future.
The exterior inspection includes:
• Roof, Chimney, Flashings, Valleys, Siding, Trim , Windows, Storms
• Landscaping, Grading, Drainage, Gutters, Downspouts
• Driveways, Patios, Decks, Porches
• HVAC systems
The interior inspection includes:
• HVAC systems, Plumbing systems, Electrical systems
• Walls, Floors, Ceilings, Windows
• Attic, Insulation and Ventilation
A home inspection does not provide warranties or guarantees but is designed to help you make an informed decision about buying your home.
Choosing a Home Inspector
Home inspection is a discipline that requires special training, knowledge and communication skills. Since the industry is presently unregulated it is important to choose an inspector wisely. Ask about membership in Provincial Associations such as the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI) where set standards and continuing education have to be maintained and a strict Code of Ethics followed.
Ask about background and experience. Seasoned professional home inspectors will be full time home inspectors, not renovators or contactors. Ask about the level of membership. A Registered Home Inspector is the highest standard in the Ontario Association.
An inspection should take approximately 3 hours to complete and your inspector should encourage you to attend and ask questions. An inspection can also be an excellent learning experience about your new home. Following the inspection the home inspector should provide a written report within 24 hours of the inspection reviewing every major home system.