The NOT So Qualified Home Inspector

home_inspection_with Steph Royal Lepage Niagara

What qualifies someone to be a home inspector these days????

As a real estate investor I have never hired a home inspector although it has been suggested on several occasions. I have always performed my own inspections with my partner who as well as myself is an experienced renovator. We have learned to rely on our own experience and skills to perform a suitable inspection that satisfied our needs as investors. In our completed inspection we would create a list of all the repairs needed to put the home in top condition for resale.

As a real estate agent I am not a home inspector. I do however have certain duties when representing a buyer. These duties include suggesting you hire a qualified home inspector before you jump in both feet and purchase a home.

I feel my clients have some advantages working in their favour when looking to purchase a home. My trained eye and years of experience have taught me what to look for and where to look for it. The hard part for me is that I have seen my share of  incompetent home inspectors as well. You pay a home inspector $300-$500 to perform a complete inspection of a home. In return you receive a big binder full of  information. What’s in the binder. 

What You Receive With a Home Inspection

  1. You will learn the overall condition of the home.
  2. The condition of all major functions of the home. (Wiring, plumbing, etc.)
  3. What repairs need to be done now or in the future?
  4. The estimated cost of these repairs
  5. Any structural or environmental issues?
  6. A pretty binder or PDF with all the above details.

It’s really not all that hard and yet so many home inspectors come up short.

The Problem With Home Inspectors

The Training

Training courses that can be found online for very little up front investment and once completed….Voila!! They are home inspectors. There are also some very good, in depth  training courses available. I would suggest you find out which one the person you hire has completed. Secondly, does the person you plan to hire have previous related experience such as construction or trade experience. Preferably years of such experience in all aspects of home renovations and trades.

Anyone Can Get A License

Just like a real estate salesperson there are no prerequisites required(which is a complete post in itself).

If you can suffer through the training and write the tests you are a qualified real estate agent. If an agent was formerly a trapeze artist that decides to sell houses there is nothing stopping them. No offense to the trapeze artists out there, but I think you would agree that years of trapeze tricks doesn’t make you a better real estate salesperson. This goes the same for home inspectors.

If I was hiring a real estate salesperson or a home inspector I would want someone that has experience with the type of real estate I am purchasing and/or  getting inspected. There is a reason why Mike Holmes has made an entire show about home inspectors! Sure he’s a little over the top. The point  however is there would be no show if not for the huge number of sub par home inspectors.  To Mike’s credit he does fantastic work and certainly creates some very happy homeowners on the show with his attention to detail and the top quality finishes he provides. Love him or hate him you have to admit he does know what he is doing.

Accountability

Have you read the fine print on the agreement you sign……please do. There is only one company that I am aware of that will stand behind an inspection. Even then there is fine print to suggest that they can’t be held liable for issues out of site (hidden by sellers) or purposely hidden behind walls by so called renovators or weekend warriors. There are no guarantees with a home inspection.

So how do you go about hiring a home inspector??

Start by finding a reputable home inspection company

Read the fine print…what will they stand behind?

Find out there background and experience Eg. Are they in the construction industry? What type of skill do they possess and will it make them a better home inspector?

Get references and/or a referral (Don’t hire someone just because a friend suggested them without good reason to back it up). Do some digging!

Very important…don’t hire the selling agents inspector. Work with your agent to help find someone reputable.

Conclusion

Ultimately it is up to you to ensure you are properly represented when purchasing a home. A good real estate salesperson can make the task of purchasing a home so much easier avoiding many of the pitfalls. If you want to hire an agent that has taken the Ontario Real Estate Association training you will certainly be represented (and possibly learn a trapeze trick or two). If you want someone with years of experience as a renovator and investor in addition to a license to sell real estate, I would be very happy to put my skills to the test. It is my hope that when hiring a agent or a home inspector you will consider the value that trade related experience brings when making one of the biggest purchases you will likely ever make.

Till next time happy home hunting!!

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