5 things your home inspector isn’t telling you

It’s a largely unregulated industry which means there are no guarantees.

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From the November 2013 issue of the magazine.

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1950s Family Looking At New Home Under Construction

H. Armstrong Roberts/Corbis

1. No one is inspecting me. Only in B.C. and Alberta are home inspectors required to be licensed. It’s the Wild West in the rest of the country, says Blaine Swan, president of Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI). “There are a significant number of people out there practicing who shouldn’t be.” To avoid hiring an undesignated inspector, consult your local CAHPI division for a list of certified professionals.

2. I’m friends with your realtor. Realtors are an inspector’s biggest source of referrals, which can be problematic. After all, it’s usually in your realtor’s best interest to close a sale quickly and it’s not uncommon to see $25 to $50 slipped into an envelope, golf green fees or coffee gift certificates exchanged, Swan says. As a rule of thumb, don’t call the inspector that your agent suggests. Instead, find your own certified inspector.

3. I won’t climb your roof. Home inspectors who are part of a larger industry association are encouraged to abide by occupational health and safety standards—that means no wobbly ladders. Good inspectors use pole-mounted cameras or binoculars to check your roof and other hard-to-reach places.

4. I don’t check everything. Forget what you’ve seen on TV’s Holmes on Homes. In real life, home inspectors won’t tear up drywall or break concrete looking for problems. They can’t see anything you can’t see. They will, however, use a flashlight to peer in the often missed nooks and crannies that reveal evidence of bigger problems. An inspector’s only job is to check for structural issues. They don’t police properties for municipal code violations or test furnaces, air conditioning units or pool filtration systems.

5. Nothing is ever my fault. Professional home inspectors should have errors and omissions insurance to ensure they are not liable for problems they may miss or damage they may cause to property while on the job.

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