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Home Inspection FAQ's

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of the home, from the roof to the foundation. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. It is not a guarantee, warranty or an insurance policy.

Why do I need a home inspection?

The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards.

A home inspection does not focus on the positive aspects of a home. We are looking for those things that will cost you money to repair. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property.

The house is only 2 years old, why should I get an inspection?

No house is perfect. Even brand new homes may have problems which can prove costly to remedy due to improper installation of building materials or cost cutting by the builder.

Will you tell me how much I should pay for the house?

No. An inspection is not an appraisal. The value of a home depends on many factors, including what similar properties have sold for, proposed developments in the neighbourhood, and how the current owner has maintained and decorated the building. An inspection focuses on the current physical condition of the building.

Do you inspect septic systems?

No. A septic system inspection requires that the tank be pumped out and the field be tested in order to properly check its condition. Home inspectors are neither trained nor equipped to perform this function.

Do you go up on the roof?

Absolutely. An inspector has to get "up close and personal" with a roof to determine the condition of the roofing components such as shingles, flashing, chimney etc. The only time I will not go on a roof is if it is dangerous due to factors such as ice, heavy snow load or excessive slope.

Do you use a thermal imaging camera?

Thermal imaging cameras are not magic. They have serious limitations. On a hot summer day, it would be useless. It will give you no useful information if the sun is shining on the wall you are photographing. If the attic is hot, sorry, no information. They read differences in temperature, that's all. If you are having a particular problem, they may give you some information, but not necessarily. A good unit costs $15,000. The cost of an inspection would have to double and the inspection would have to be twice as long to check all surfaces and record the findings. I have come to the conclusion that it is an expensive toy, not a useful tool.

Do you inspect appliances?

No. You are just as capable of checking the fridge, stove, dishwasher etc. to see if they are operational, as well as making note of the colour, make, model, and serial number of those appliances which will be included with the house. My time is more appropriately spent on the systems of the house such as plumbing, electrical, heating etc. which require expertise, experience, and/or specialized test equipment.

I have been in the building trades for many years, why can't I inspect it myself?

Although you may be experienced in one or more areas of the building trades, it is unlikely that you would have the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. In addition to knowing how the components of a house are designed to work together, it is necessary to be able to identify the early and current signs of failure of those components.

It is difficult to remain objective about a home that you have chosen and therefore it is best to obtain an objective third-party opinion from a professional home inspector. In the event that you do find a major problem, your opinion will carry little weight in negotiations.

Do I have to use one of the inspectors on the list provided by my realtor?

No. You should call a number of inspectors and retain the services of the one you are the most comfortable with. Your best bet is to get an inspector who is a member of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and/or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) in order to ensure that they have a defined level of technical competence and experience. Members of these professional associations adhere to "Standards of Practice" as a performance guide. You can locate members of these organizations through the InterNACHI and ASHI websites.

Why should I use Buyer's Edge instead of a competitor?

In addition to being a highly experienced Master Inspector, I am an Independent Inspector. This means that I work for the buyer, not the realtors or the seller. I do not market to realtors in order to remain completely unbiased and free of conflict of interest. My main focus is to ensure that you have as much information as possible about the home you are proposing to buy, so that you can make an informed decision. After all, when smart people are provided with good information, they are better able to make wise decisions.

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