First thing everyone should know is a Home Inspection is a non-invasive inspection of the home systems at the time of inspection. Meaning we can only use our eyes and can’t take anything apart or move around the sellers personal property (within reason). We use our training and tools to assess the condition of the home to understand the history of the home.
One of the great things about being in Alberta is that to be a Home Inspector you must be licensed and with that comes requirements and regulations. Education is a key component when selecting a home inspector and not a specialized trades person that has decided to become an inspector. An example of this would be the electrician that has a decade of experience, you can imagine that the electrical portion of the report would be extremely thorough, accurate and detailed. When you get to other sections in the report you may notice very few observations and assume they are in excellent condition but soon you may start to notice that for some reason it was only the electrical section that was detailed. This is a common bias occurrence that happens from trades that become a home inspector.
We are Generalist
Similar to your general practitioner doctor we know a little about alot. We are inspecting for issues and recommend specialists when we observe an issue.
Why not just hire specialists for each system in the home instead of Hiring a Home Inspector?
Well there is 2 BIG reasons
PRICE If you were to hire a specialist you would be spending at leat $1500 to $1800. Most importantly, do you think that specialist will want to find something wrong? They may be specialists but they are still wanting to sell you something and know what to say to convince you. Do you really need a roof that will last for 100yrs and cost as much as the house if your only going to be there for 15 years.
Regulations With the regulations in Alberta home inspectors can not sell you anything. Meaning I can’t offer my services as a handyman or labour for 12 months after our transaction is done. What this means is that I truly work for you and have your best interests at heart. I don’t sugar coat anything to make your realtor happy, if there is even the smallest issue I will point it out and document it.
So back to the details…
The inspection will take on average of 2.5hrs. I arrive early to start on the outside and too hopefully run into the sellers to see if they can tell me anything relevant. I start with the roofing system and work my way down, once inside I inspect the attic space to conclude the roof inspection then upper floor. Next is the basement to inspect heat, plumbing, electrical and structure. I leave the main floor last as that is the best location to give you a verbal summary of my findings and concerns. The verbal summary is not something you should make a decision on and you should ALWAYS wait for the completed report. You ask a bunch of questions if you have any then Im off to go complete the report which you will receive the same day (unless agreed otherwise).
List of items checked in a Home Inspection
Signs of water penetration
Water is the worst and my main focus when inspecting homes.
Roofs, vents, flashing
Decks, railings, porch, walkways
main water shut off
type of plumbing
signs of leakage
Basement, foundations issues, crawlspace
Insulation and ventilation
Garage doors and safety sensors
What not to expect
I do up the report as if its your home already. I do not pile on information so the report is used as a means of lowering your offer. It of course may do just that but my intent and purpose is not to help drive the price of the home down only to tell you what your new home needs.
So with that mentioned home inspectors usually do not comment on cosmetic issues. This is important to note and something you can request be included in the report such as several scratches on the hardwood flooring. As a buyer you want perfect everything and if there is 1 scratch on the hardwood many people want it all replaced or 12k taken off the list price and think the inspector will note it. If the scratch is not a safety concern and only cosmetic then we note is as good and move on.
Sheds. If its a standard size storage shed with no power and not attached to the house then I just quickly take a look and rarely mention anything useless I see a safety issue.
What do I do during a Home Inspection
Well you can follow me around and ask questions
Take measurements for window coverings
Relax and grab a coffee
Look around past the cosmetics and see the finer details. You will be surprised about how much you will learn.
IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING 😉 More of an American saying I know but by all means if you see something tell me. This is a big purchase your making and you don’t want to be worried about making your home inspector feel bad. Double checking I noted something for the report is greatly appreciated. I’ll know you read this far if you ask me about the time I almost forgot something.