A Short Guide to Home Inspections
Home inspections let home buyers know the defects of a property before buying a home. However, there are enough myths about home inspections that buyers often misunderstand what an inspector actually does and how much variance they may find between different inspectors. For a better idea of how home buyers can get the most from their inspection, keep the following points in mind.
Exterior Home Inspection Issues
Home inspectors look at the exterior of the home first to determine how well the outside components protect the inside ones. Inspectors will check the lines of the home, the roof, and the walls to ensure the integrity of the structure. Every home will respond differently to the passage of time, with some are able to weather the soil shifts and general settling while others will buckle under the pressure. Inspectors also check the foundation, floor sills, and joists and take note of the cosmetic flaws of the home (e.g., peeling paint, siding damage, etc.).
Interior Home Inspection Issues
Safety hazards on the interior of the home may come in the form of anything from mold to dust buildup in the vents. Home inspectors examine the following basic components of the interior of the home:
- Distribution piping
- Supply lines
- Electrical panels/wiring
The Limits of Home Inspections
Home inspectors aren't allowed to make major changes to the home, which means they can still miss major safety hazards. For example, if the wiring inside the walls is starting to fray, the inspector won't be able to see this. They can only look at the age of the wiring and the state of the wires they can see before making an educated guess as to the condition of the electrical system. They may not be able to check into the septic system either if it's not readily accessible.
What Buyers Can Do To Assist in the Inspection
Buyers are highly encouraged to do their homework on the inspector they hire. Unfortunately, it's not an uncommon practice for home inspectors to cut corners while on the job or even to lie on their reports on what they find. If the inspector has loyalty to a third-party, such as a title company, who has every incentive to push the sale through, they may misrepresent the truth about the condition of the home. Buyers should also be present on the day of the inspection, so they can ask inspectors questions about what they're doing, what they're seeing, and what they're unable to verify.
Additional Tips for Having a Home Inspection
If a buyer attends their inspection and asks the right questions, they can potentially find ways to do additional inspections before buying the home. They may be able to complete certain tasks on their own (e.g., checking their floor levels) or they may be able to hire a specialty inspector to further inspect the plumbing or electrical systems. Buyers should also find out more about the formal rules of their preferred neighborhood before hiring an inspector. Home inspectors have formal rules and regulations in provinces such as Alberta but remain unregulated in provinces such as Ontario.
Talking to a real estate agent is a good way to ensure a West Springs buyer hires the right home inspector. While there are plenty of online resources to turn to, a good real estate agent can fill in the details so the home buyer doesn't hire the wrong inspector or make the wrong assumptions about the viability of their property.