What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is visual investigation of a home’s structure and components to find malfunctioning or unsafe issues within.
Some of the possible components to be inspected are:
- heating system
- central air
- interior plumbing
- energy audits
- visible insulation
- mold testing
- radon testing
- water testing
Any problems a home inspector finds during the assessment is then documented and suggested courses of action are given to the homeowner. The home inspection takes place after a buyer has made an offer on a home and the seller has accepted.
Do I need one?
Buying a home is one of the most important purchases you will make. It is important to make sure you are making a well-informed purchase and a home inspection can help you do this. This one step can potentially save you thousands of dollars in unknown problems that could have been dealt with at the point of sale and cost the previous homeowner rather than yourself.
The inspection is there to make sure no important factors were overlooked during the negotiations as buyers can often feel overwhelmed and emotional when deciding on a new home and can therefore miss important details about the home’s health.
What are they looking for?
Home inspectors are looking for common problems such as mold and mildew, damp basements and crawlspaces, roof and chimney deterioration, leaks, plumbing problems and inadequate electrical systems.
“Water is the number one thing that we look for,” says Lesleigh Bell-Enderlein, a home inspector in Ontario. “If water enters the house, it causes mold, rot and eventually can break down the components of the structure.”
She says that inspectors look carefully at the roof, foundation, windows and doors for any sign of water entry and for existing water damage. “We also predict conditions such as grading towards the house or other emerging wear that could allow water in in the future,” she says, noting that suggestions are then made for immediate and future repair considerations and preventative measures.
Buyers can gain a lot of insight by being present at a home inspection and provide you with information to make an informed decision on buying a home. If you need to find a home inspector, ask your Realtor for several referrals. Be sure to ask the inspectors about their experience and qualifications before making a decision on which one to go with. You can also find a home inspector through the local chapters of the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors.
Paul Baron is with CENTURY 21 Leading Edge Realty in Scarborough, ON.