What is a Home Inspection?
Many people have different ideas of what a home inspection should entail based on the information they may want. There are guidelines that says what a home inspector should do, and what one shouldn’t do.
Here is a very general definition I’ve come up with:
A home inspection is an unbiased visual examination of the physical condition of a property at a point in time.
Noticed how I underlined the key word visual examination, meaning that at the end of a day a home inspector is limited to what they can see. Sure there may be lots of fancy equipment that helps with this, such as infrared cameras, or moisture meters, but equipment can be fooled. This is why you see many home inspectors recommending something be further investigated rather than coming to a hard conclusion.
Why get a home inspection?
Information about the property – By far the most common reason is a potential buyer wants information about a property so they can make an informed decision on if they should proceed or not.
Recommendation for improvement – If you are looking for some recommendation to improve a property, and bring it up more to modern standards, a home inspection will help.
Document what it looks like – You may view a property on a given day, but if you want to document what it looks like, best to get a home inspector. Home inspectors take hundreds of pictures of properties in general. You wouldn’t want to move into a place, and find a hole in the ceiling that wasn’t there before.
Liability Protection – In the end of the day home inspectors are covered by their insurance. Not to say that something would go wrong, but its always nice to know that there is a recommendation to care for a component from an expert.
Why hire a Home Inspector?
A well experienced home inspectors has seen hundreds of properties a year. This gives us an insight into what we should be looking for in a property. For example, a 1975 property you would need to be aware of solid aluminum wiring.
Based on this experience, home inspectors can best advise what steps you will need to take to better prepare a property to live in.
For the industry, consumer protection is the regulating body that gives Home Inspectors their licenses. To get a license, you must have the proper insurance in place for the industry.
There are many others that may know a lot of information on properties and may be able to help with this, but is it a good idea to have them help you with a home inspection?
Here are some good examples:
Contractors – While good contractors are definitely skilled and do possess a lot of knowledge about construction, the realty is they are not insured to conduct the work of a home inspector, and do not carry license numbers issued by consumer protection. Well, whats this mean? Well it means they do not produce a report, and if they are wrong about something, there is no insurance backing their words.
Family Members – I see many people bring family members that are quite knowledgeable in building science. And while this may be, the same as above, what if something was to go wrong? Would it be very awkward conversation around family events such as Christmas? Will it deteriorate the relationship with family? I’ve seen both scenarios happen before
Realtors – I figure this one is an obvious one, but apart from the issues about insurance, having your realtor do the inspection for you screams conflict of interest.
Yourself – Some buyers try and do their own inspection to save cost And while I’m all for being thrifty, sometimes it can be dangerous when the cost savings may put at risk an investment you are making in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Good home inspectors see hundreds of properties a year, and will know what to look for, sometimes before even stepping foot in the property!