• New Clients & Homeowners: What you should know

    If you are new to buying houses, then we say congratulations on making this step in life!  For most, it will be the biggest and best investment in your life, but it can be very stressful. If you're used to renting, all you have to worry about is sending those monthly payments. Now, you need to learn the skills of owning and buying a house. One part of that skill set is knowing what you are buying for your money.

    Some Home Inspector Myths

    To help assist you in that discovery is the home inspector. You may have an idea of what the home inspector does because you saw a program on TV. But do you know what they do and do not do?

    If you just watched TV, then you might have a little misleading opinion of what they do. For example, home Inspectors do not tear down walls, or remove drywall on a standard inspection. Performing special tests such as an air quality test or mould test is not done during a standard home inspection. Those are done separately and most are from specialists in the field.

    The one thing home inspectors don't do is quote code. They are not code inspectors (Yes, some will quote codes, but this is not standard) who inspect systems to approve or disapprove if they violate a code. 
    How is it possible to inspect a system and not quote code if it's wrong? If a system is not to code, it will be related to a safety issue or a defect. 

    What does a Home Inspector do?


    A home inspection is a visual inspection of a house at the time of the inspection, using normal operating controls.

    The home inspector will take the client throughout the exterior and interior of the house. We visit each system of the house: roof, structure, electrical, plumbing, HVAC with the purpose of finding possible issues that can affect the operation of the system or safety and pointing these issues to the client. The client does not need to take notes, as they will be documented in the report. But it is here that the client can ask questions about each system. We detail the process here.

    It involves inspecting areas of the house that are accessible. If the door or fence is locked, and thus not accessible, those areas cannot be inspected and will be recorded as so. If the garage is full of boxes and junk, there is no way for anyone to inspect the area properly.
    The home inspector can open electrical panels by removing screws and covers such as the HVAC system, but they do not move large pieces of furniture, boxes, or snow. Home inspectors will operate the thermostat or operate the faucet, as these are considered “normal operating controls”. But they will not operate the main water shut off, or any kind of valves. These are not normally used on a day-to-day basis and thus can be damaged if operated.

    Standard of Practice

    Everything a home inspector does is based on the document called the Standards of Practice. This is the most important document to the home inspector, and it outlines the standards of what a home inspector does and does not do during a home inspection. We recommend clients also read this document to gain a better understanding of what a home inspector does.
    There are several Standards of Practice documents out there, but they all are similar in what they cover. For example, a common question, are home inspectors required to walk on the roof of a house? The answer is no. They do not have to walk on the roof in order to complete a report. However, many do walk on the roof, depending on the situation and type of roof involved.
    A red flag for any client is any home inspector who does NOT follow any affiliated professional inspection organization and standards.

    You can download our Standard of Practice here.
    It is called the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors (CAHPI).
    We will also include a copy of the inspection report.

    Pre-Inspection Agreement

    The inspector will send their client a pre-inspection agreement between the two parties that outlines the conditions of the inspection. This includes limitations of the inspection. 
    The client has to sign and send back the agreement before the actual inspection to confirm.
    You can see a preview of the standard agreement here.

    The Inspection

    We request at least 3 days' notice before the inspection but of course, we can be flexible. 
    After the client, has confirmed the inspection with the return of the signed agreement, we confirm the date and time. The client can book the date and time themselves by going to our easy-to-use Schedule webpage.
    We do very much encourage the client to be there during the inspection so they can see first-hand the inspection. We go into detail, information about the inspection walk through in the FAQ section of the website. You are better off seeing it yourself instead of sending your agent. Remember, many times this will be a multi-million dollar purchase, so why can't you make time to see it before you buy it? The inspection will usually take around 3 hours or more, depending on the size and number of issues.

    The Report

    We provide a detailed breakdown of the typical inspection report here which also has an example report.
    The purpose of the report is to show potential issues with a simple but useful format:

        A) Describe the condition observed.
        B) Describe possible implications of the condition to the house or people.
        C) Describe some possible recommendations or solutions to the condition.
        D) Each will have photos to provide context.

    After the home inspection, you will be sent your inspection report, which includes:

        1. Thank you letter
        2. The Agreement
        3. Summary: Outlines the most significant issues in terms of cost or safety.
        4. Body of the report: Color Coded Sections for each system
            a. Roofing
            b. Exterior
            c. Structure
            d. Electrical Heating
            e. Cooling
            f. Insulation
            g. Plumbing
            h. Interior
        5. General Site Information
        6. Our Advice: Homeowner tips for the house.
        7. Thermal Infrared Inspection Report
        8. Complete Reference Book:
            Online version of the Carson Dunlop Home Reference Book (460 Pages)

    Appendix: We will also include
        • Standard of Practice document
        • Life Expectancy Chart Guide:
    Average life expectancy of typical housing materials and appliances.