Here are important questions to ask upon selection of a home inspector:
How do I find a home inspector? The yellow pages, association websites, home trade magazines are great sources. Ask friends or family members, even your real estate agent may have suggestions. The only relation home inspectors should have is to their professional association and the homebuyer.
How long has the home inspector been in business? The more experienced a home inspector is, the more they have seen and are more likely able to detect any less than obvious problems. Seasoned, professional home inspectors will be full-time home inspectors, not renovators or contractors.
What are the home inspector’s qualifications? You should look for people who belong to a provincial association and have taken some courses, such as recognition, building services, or civil engineering, for example. Professional home inspectors are bound by a strict code of ethics and must follow specific standards of practice. They also have a general understanding of all the various systems and components in a home. Many have practical experience or a background in engineering, construction, and related building trades. Always check to make sure the inspector has successfully completed the association certification process.
How do I know that a home inspector has the necessary qualifications? Ask to see proof of their membership in a provincial association. In most provinces, a member cannot advertise their membership in the association until they have reached the minimum standards of a practicing member. The association in your province will be pleased to clarify their membership categories and any particular inspector’s membership level. Determine if the inspector intends to meet the CAHPI national standard requirements.
Can the home inspector provide three references? Upon request, any qualified home inspector should willingly provide this information. Call the people named as references and ask whether they were satisfied with the service they received from the inspector. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau.
Can the home inspector also be hired to do any repairs or improvements? The professional code of ethics for professional home inspectors does not allow inspectors to be associated with any other construction or house related trade. They may provide you with a personal opinion based on past experience, but it is recommended that you obtain three independent quotes from qualified contractors.
Does the home inspector solicit, receive or give referral fees? Besides no, any other answer would contravene to their code of ethics.
Does the home inspector conduct inspections at night? This option would not be recommended since a number of vital components of the exterior cannot be seen properly.
Where can I get more information about the home inspector and/or its company? The home inspector may point you to the company website or provide company details. They may also direct you to their industry association, list inspector qualifications or describe a range of services offered.
What should a home inspector provide following the inspection and when will I receive it? Within 24 hours of the inspection, the home inspector should provide a written report reviewing every major home system and component. Exterior components include roofing, flashing, chimneys, gutters, downspouts, wall surfaces, the foundation and the grading around it. Interior systems include electrical, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, plumbing, insulation, flooring, ceiling and wall finishes, windows and doors.