At Home Inspector M.D. Inc. we do our best to answer all of your questions. Below you will find a list of what we believe are the most frequently asked questions. If you have any questions that have not been answered below, do not hesitate to contact us.
FAQ – General
A home inspector is a “generalist”. They should have knowledge of various systems in the home such as HVAC, electrical, plumbing, structure, roofs, exterior cladding, insulation, and energy efficiency. The inspectors perform home inspections to reduce your risk of buying a home by finding significant issues using a set of guidelines outlined by an organization such as the Canadian Associate of Home & Property Inspectors. The home inspection is visual only and performance-based. Are the systems working as they should? That means home inspectors DO NOT tear down walls, intentionally damage property, move large objects, or open systems that are not easily opened. Home Inspectors use normal operating controls such as switches and thermostats. They do not operate infrequently used valves (such as the main water valve) or turn on or off the power intentionally.
For most people, a house will be the most expensive item they will buy in their life, so why would you not check on the condition of the house?
When you go buy a car, how many reviews do you read? How many YouTube videos do you watch to see what other people think? How many friends and family do you ask for their opinion? Do you ask to open the hood to see the engine? Do you take it for a test drive? How much money do you spend on maintenance on a car in one year? Buying a house may cost you 30 times more than a car, and yet you are willing to just walk through a house ONE time for 20 minutes and decided to spend a million dollars on it?
You certainly can. But if you need an assessment of a house quickly, are you going to hire an electrician, plumber, HVAC, roofer, and others to come to the house the same day? Also, the costs to you will amount to thousands of dollars for one house alone and in the end, you may not even end up buying the house. We think of ourselves as the family doctor of homes. Many home inspectors today come from professional backgrounds in many of these areas, with years of experience. In other areas, they go through many hours of training and practical experience.
A home inspection is a professional opinion based on less-than-complete information. It's a little like getting a check-up from your doctor. It improves your odds of good health, but there is no guarantee or warranty. Some problems can only be discovered by living in a house; they cannot be discovered during a home inspection. For example, some shower stalls leak when people use the shower but don't leak when you simply turn on the shower. Some roofs and basements only leak when specific weather conditions exist. Some issues will only be discovered when carpets are lifted, furniture is moved, or finishes are removed. As such, we do not offer a warranty on the house.
We serve the western part of the Greater Toronto area: Mississauga, Milton, Brampton, Oakville, and Etobicoke. Although, we can provide services to areas further away (which may require additional travel expenses) depending on location.
Having a home inspection after purchase can still provide some valuable information to the homeowner. It can provide a list of issues you can fix with priority timing, so you can avoid costly issues in the future. It can provide suggestions on improvements for safety and comfort for your family. See our list of the Top 10 reasons for a post-home inspection.
We do not tell clients to buy or not buy a house. That decision is always on the client. Our goal is to report on the condition of the house, indicating potential repairs and advice. The home inspection provides part of the total information required by a client to make a decision. Only you know all the factors at play. Your real estate professional can help you here.
We provide a visual inspection, so there may be issues unseen by a general home inspection. You should get a professional specialist who can provide a more accurate estimate. We do not want to mislead you on the estimated costs of large repairs, as they can easily balloon to thousands of dollars more than estimated.
That would be unethical. This is against the industry standard of practice because a home inspector would profit from fixing issues that they find.
No one can predict what happens to a house in the future. A home inspection is an inspection of the condition of a home at that time and day. 6 months, a year, or 3 years can go by after the inspection, a new condition may arise that can cause problems.
Home inspectors report issues that are deemed to be material and observable at the time of the inspection. A home inspector can't find every single defect. Many components are not visible. When you move into your new home, you will eventually find issues over time. If the home inspection is done with an existing owner, there will be limitations to what we can see because there will be furniture and storage that can concede issues.
It can be when you take into account that a home inspection can provide information to go back to the seller and negotiate for repairs to be done on the issues found if they are significant. They can be done by the seller or a credit on the closing costs, so you can repair the items yourself. Please consult your real estate agent for complete information on your options.
FAQ – Home Inspection Procedures
All legitimate home inspectors follow what the industry calls “Standards of Practice” or SOP. There are different versions of this document by different organizations, but they all serve the same purpose and are all similar. The document lays out specifically what a home inspector is required to do and not required to do. We follow the Canadian Associate of Home & Property Inspectors (CAHPI). You can read the document yourself by downloading the document here.
The Standard of Practice (SOP) indicates that home inspections are not required to walk on ANY roof surfaces. Our choice to walk on the roof depends on safety. We do not use a ladder for direct access to a two-story or more roof with no safety line, a steep roof, or a wet/snow-covered roof. We considered it unsafe. Certain roof materials such as clay, slate, concrete, or metal are generally not walked on by home inspectors because they could be damaged if walked on. We will walk on a non-steep single-story shingle roof if it is considered safe. There are some alternative methods for inspecting a roof, such as camera-mounted extension poles, a ladder on the eaves, and drones.
A home inspection is not a code review for systems such as electrical, plumbing, or structure. The Standard of Practice dictates that home inspectors are not code inspectors. Some observations such as safety issues we report may be based on code, but we will not cite specific code. Also, remember that even if there are code books such as electrical, the final say on what will pass code is based on your local electrical inspector and their interpretation of that code book. This may vary from one jurisdiction to another. In addition, certain codes today were not implemented when some older systems were installed.
The home inspector will first inspect the roof and exterior, then go inside and look at the utilities of the house. The inspection proceeds to the rest of the interior of the house, room by room, including all bathrooms. The inspection ends in the attic and crawlspace, if there is one. After the inspection, the inspector will perform an IR thermal inspection of the interior. If possible, the inspector will fly a drone over the roof to complete the roof inspection. The inspection ends with the inspector providing a summary of the findings to the client.
We inspect the major systems of the house. This includes the roof, exterior, structure, electrical, heating, cooling, plumbing, insulation, and Interior. Each of the systems of the house has a separate tab in the report for easy reference.
A typical inspection should take about 3+/- hours to complete. The IR thermal inspection may take about 30 minutes. A drone inspection of the roof may take about 15 minutes. This timeframe will vary, given the condition of the house, the number of issues, the size of the home, and the accessibility of mechanical systems. We do not like to rush an inspection just to move on to the next job.
Operation of regular household appliances (stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, washer/dryer) is not part of the home inspection standard of practice in Canada. Home inspectors do inspect the drainage systems for them if visually possible.
No. Home inspectors should not test the main disconnect for the house or switch breakers off and on. There is a possibility that a home inspector may accidentally turn off breakers when they remove the panel cover. This is especially true for panels that are installed in the horizontal position, as the cover may easily touch the breaker handles. If there are GFI breakers, it is standard for home inspectors to test all GFI devices by using its test button.
Many attic inspections are done from the hatch opening. Why? Many attics have blown-in insulation that covers the ceiling joists, so there is no safe way to walk in an attic without a real chance of falling through the ceiling. If there are floors in the attic, the inspector will perform the inspection by walking into the attic. Can inspectors see every inch of the attic? Mostly no because inspectors should not walk on any insulated areas.
Our main electrical panel inspection involves opening the cover of the panel. According to the home inspection Standards of Practice, a home inspector is not required to open the electrical panels, but we feel opening the panel is necessary to find electrical issues. In Canada, the main breaker is separated from the distribution breakers with a physical barrier. We do not remove that barrier for inspection as it is protecting the incoming live service conductors. Many inspectors normally do not remove this part of the panel for safety reasons. Home inspectors do not turn off the power of the house, so the electrical panel is live. When inspecting any electrical panel, we ask the client to stand at least 5 feet away from the inspector.
No. Home inspectors do not test smoke alarms. Some could be connected to a central station, or we don't want to disturb anyone in the house, or some owners may take the alarms with them when they move out. Finally, it could be months before the client moves into the house. Home security alarms are usually a service that is discontinued once the previous owner has left.
A home inspector may report on issues that appear to be working fine and some contractors will argue is not a problem. There could be multiple ways to build something or to install a system, and many contractors will have completely different approaches towards the same goal. It's the contractor you talk to that always says they do it the correct way! For example, a home inspector may include in their report that a deck beam was installed with bolts to the side of a post, instead on top of the post. Why? On top of the post is the safest way to install the deck beam because it does not relay totally on the strength of the bolts. A contractor may respond with the comment that they have installed many decks on the side with bolts with no issues for years, so the inspector is wrong. The inspector's job to highlight issues that could be a problem. The inspector does not know 100%, the quality of the installation and if the deck fails, then the result could be catastrophic.
FAQ - The Client's Role in the Inspection
You should dress comfortably in suitable walking shoes and be prepared to spend several hours walking through the home with the inspector. You will not have to climb on the roof or go into the attic or crawlspace.
Absolutely! You may want to bring some questions that you have regarding the home. You should also feel free to ask questions as you go, but please let the inspector inspect the system first, then ask your questions. If the inspector's comments or explanations are not clear, please ask for clarification. If the inspector does not have an answer to your question at the time of inspection, we promise to get back to you with an answer.
You can if you want, but you don't have to take notes during the inspection. The report you will receive will explain the inspection to you. It is better to listen, ask questions and ensure you understand what the inspector is trying to say to you during the inspection. The report includes a summary of the important conditions found in the home and details on all the major systems of the home. It will be delivered within 24 hours after a pre-inspection.
I insist that you do. We encourage you to attend because the inspection is a valuable learning experience, especially for first-time home buyers. Sometimes you can only understand the issues if you see them firsthand.
FAQ - Inspection Bookings
Visit the Schedule Inspection page and check for available dates/times and submit the request. Once confirmed, you will receive an email to confirm the contract and online payment plans. Once payment is confirmed, we can then proceed with the inspection on the date and time requested.
- Complete general home inspection.
- IR thermal inspection (free option).
- Comprehensive written home inspection report.
- Free PDF version of the Home Reference Book by Carson Dunlop.
- Support after the inspection.
Our typical fee for an inspection depends on the size of the house. However, if you are comparing home inspection firms, the fee charged should not be the only deciding factor. Do they spend less than 2 hours inspecting the house? Do they just go through the house one time? Do they offer a reference book for free? Do they offer a free IR thermal inspection? Are the reports easy to read and understand? Remember, you are considering a major purchase and your choice of home inspector should be based on getting the best value, not just the best price. The full price breakdown can be found in the Service & Fees section.
Evening inspections are not provided because it affects the quality of the outdoor inspections at night. The roof cannot be inspected properly, and the inspector may not see issues outside in the dark.
We want to focus 100% of our attention on only you, so we try to only do one inspection a day. Many home inspectors do 2 or even 3 inspections a day. We don't want to be distracted from going to the next inspection. Morning or afternoon time slot, after the inspection is done, we immediately want to work on your report until it's completed.