Regardless of a hot or cold market, buyers should insist on getting a home inspection. Not only can it help with negotiations, but it lays out any present and future issues with the home. Ignorance is not always bliss, and buyers have to prepare for some high-ticket maintenance. Such as they need to replace a roof in the next five years after buying, they should adequately prepare themselves. In real estate, as with anything, getting a home inspector is not always as simple as looking online and choosing the first name or company listed. There are several things buyers should look for when hiring a home inspector.
What is Their Training?
In Ontario, there is no provincial licensing to be a home inspector. There are, however, laws they must follow. At the same time, just because there is no licensing doesn’t mean there aren’t certifications and accreditation for home inspectors. The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors is a provincially recognized body of Home Inspectors. Potential home inspectors must complete educational requirements from approved colleges to be part of the association. OAHI also requires its members to upgrade their education regularly, maintain their knowledge of changing codes, etc.
How Long Have They Been a Home Inspector?
All home inspectors have to start somewhere, but the choice is up to the buyer regarding how much experience they prefer their home inspector to have. If inspecting a new build, are they familiar with the builder and know what quirks they may need to keep an eye on? Do they know to look at pipes, foundations, or anything else that may stand out to a more experienced home inspector? Do they know what to look for in older homes, such as asbestos, and how to test it?
What Kind of Referrals Do They Have?
Referrals matter, especially in real estate. If the buyers have friends who have recently had their house inspected, would their friends recommend their home inspector? What did they like about the inspector? What can the buyers expect upon inspection completion in terms of a report? Perhaps their REALTOR® has a trusted inspector they prefer to work alongside. Why that inspector? Can the REALTOR® provide names of other happy buyers the inspector has worked with recently?
What Does their Report Include?
If the buyer chooses to hire an inspector on their own and not go with the REALTOR®’s suggestion (if they give one), they should ask the home inspector to provide names the buyer can call and get feedback.
Buyers should also ask for a sample of a home inspection. This sample should come from a property similar to the one the buyers are considering, giving the buyers an idea of the detail the home inspector puts into the inspection. Ultimately it will show how much work the inspector puts into the assessment. It’s best to ask for samples from several home inspectors so the buyer can compare and contrast. That analysis should clarify which home inspector(s) are more detailed in their work, separating the lower-level inspectors from inspectors who only take a high-level approach.
When the home inspector quotes the buyer, they should ask what that price gets them. Will one price point provide a basic inspection and another offer a more in-depth one?
It’s crucial to get a home inspection, but equally vital to get a home inspector who knows and is very experienced. A good home inspection done by a professional home inspector can be the difference between buying a dream house or having that dream house turn into a money pit.