According to Realtor Magazine, “an estimated 70 percent of all homes sold annually receive a home inspection”, yet I find there still exists many misconceptions about what the process does, and doesn’t involve.
Below I’ve answered the top 3 myths I come across most frequently:
1. Asbestos is always dangerous and should be removed immediately
In some older residential homes asbestos can be found in your attic as insulation, and was also often used in office and public buildings, including schools, to insulate hot water heating systems. Once it became evident that regular exposure to asbestos can cause severe health risks there has been a dramatic decline in its use.
However, if you find out that your home contains asbestos don’t panic! As long as you are not doing major renovations or demolitions, in the majority of cases, doing nothing is the best approach. You can seal the surface to prevent asbestos fibres from being released into the air, but if the product is already protected or isolated your best approach is to simply leave it alone.
In any case, you should have an experienced contractor or inspector to examine everything thoroughly and advise you on your best course of action – if any.
2. New homes don’t require a home inspection
Even though a newly constructed home is covered under warranty it is always in your best interest to do a home inspection. Your builder may have tried to save costs and cut corners – building to the minimum requirements in existence at the time of construction, or workers may have been rushed and simply forgotten to complete small (but potentially important) jobs.
Municipal inspectors overseeing the construction site may not have spent enough time in your house to catch everything, and there could be problems with the house that are not necessarily code violations – yet could have serious consequences for you as the buyer.
3. All home inspectors in Ontario are regulated and certified / licensed
There are currently no requirements in Ontario stating that home inspectors require a license or certification. Anyone can start a home inspection company and perform inspections in Ontario. As you might expect, this has resulted in many unqualified people entering the business.
To date, home inspector training has been voluntary in Canada, except for British Columbia and Alberta. In provinces like Ontario, it’s considered ‘self’ regulated and those conducting inspections should ideally be associated with a reputable or accredited home inspection organization (i.e. Ontario Association of Home Inspectors).
I encourage you to make sure to do your research and ask your home inspector for their previous experience, references, proof of insurance and their certification by their respective Association. If you’re not sure where to start, your Realtor should be able to recommend someone with the necessary credentials.