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Hiring a Home Inspector

It goes without saying that anyone who’s considering buying a home should have it checked over by a qualified home inspector before they seal the deal. However, not all home inspectors are created equal and licensing requirements vary wildly from province to province. 

So, what can you do to make sure that you are hiring someone who knows what they are doing, and will provide you with the information that you need to make an informed home buying decision? 

Here are a few things that you should look for when it’s time to hire a home inspector.

  1. It doesn’t guarantee that they’ll do a good job, but ask an inspector if they are licensed or certified. Home inspectors in Alberta must be licensed by the government.
  2. Find out what the inspection will cover and how long it will take. A thorough home inspection will take between two and three hours for one person to complete. Anything less and it’s probably not thorough enough.
  3. Ask how long the inspector has been in business and how many homes they have inspected. American Society of Home Inspection (ASHI) members are required to have 250 paid inspections under their belt before being admitted for membership.
  4. If an inspection company also offers to repair defects that they find during an inspection, alarm bells should go off because that’s a conflict of interest.
  5. Don’t automatically hire a home inspector because they are recommended by a realtor. They could be popular because their inspections are less than thorough.
  6. Always ask for samples of written reports and make sure that they are thorough and understandable. Shy away from inspectors who only check boxes – there should be lots of narrative in their inspection reports.
  7. Ask if you can tag along during the inspection. It could be a very good learning experience for you and if the inspector says no, it should raise a warning flag.
  8. Ask to see the inspector’s limitation of liability agreement that shows what they are or aren’t liable for if they miss something during their inspection.
  9. Finally, and most importantly, ask the inspector for references and contact them. Find out if the inspector missed any important defects and if the client would hire them again.

An inspection is an essential part of any home purchase. Heed these tips and you can be confident that you’ll get an inspection report that you can rely on.

By Patrick Murray