Home Inspections – Talking with the Experts

Photo credit: www.exakt.ca

Photo credit: www.exakt.ca

Buying a home is an exciting time but it can also be stressful if you don’t know how to gauge the physical condition of a home. Recently we discussed what you need to know about buying a home and why it’s important to have an inspection. This week we spoke with Mark Goodwin at House Sound Home Inspections to get his perspective on the topic and the industry. Mark is a licensed home inspector with extensive experience in the industry. He sits on the board of directors for the Home Inspectors Association BC and understands the unique climate of the Sea to Sky Corridor which makes him a wealth of knowledge.

British Columbia is one of two provinces in the country that requires all home inspectors to be licenced (the other is Alberta). In theory, any professional inspector in the province of BC should be insured and have a similar standard of practice but that’s not currently the case. Prior to September 1, licensed home inspectors were required to belong to one of four associations (all of which had their own standards). Changes in the regulations mean that membership of an association is no longer required. Mark feels as though the changes were made in hopes of streamlining the industry to ensure all inspectors are using a province-wide standard of practice.

So how do you go about choosing an inspector?

Photo credit: hiabc.ca

Photo credit: hiabc.ca

First, don’t talk to anyone that doesn’t have a license issued by Consumer Protection BC. If they belong to an organization, such as the Home Owners Association of BC, chances are they support provincial regulatory control of the home inspection industry so that’s a bonus too.

An inspector’s priority should ALWAYS be you – the client. Although an inspector’s relationship with real estate agents is important to their business, that should never come in the way of what YOU need to know about a property. By law, a realtor must offer you, no less than, 3 suggestions for inspectors. This law is in place to avoid misleading reports that may affect the sale of a home and those that benefit from the sale.

House Sound guaranties you will have a report in your hands within 24hrs of a completed inspection (although it’s often sooner). Find out how long it will take to receive the report from a potential inspector. A delayed report may affect the conditions of your offer.

What are the biggest mistakes people make?

Photo credit: http://www.homeinspectionexpertsraleighnc.com

Photo credit: http://www.homeinspectionexpertsraleighnc.com

According to Mark, excluding a home inspection as a condition of the sale, is a huge mistake. In a hot real estate market we want our offers to look as enticing as possible in the event of a multiple bid situation. It’s tempting to remove “home inspection” as a condition of the sale. Unless you have a trained eye, Mark doesn’t recommend taking that gamble. We live in a rainy climate with most homes having a wood frame. Leaks and cracks are definitely something you want identified before you get in over your head.

The other concerning issue for Mark is when customers don’t read their inspection. A quick chat immediately following their inspection might offer you peace of mind but don’t let that mislead you. An inspector will go back to their office to review photos and notes before writing the actual report in detail and it can include items that weren’t immediately mentioned. There can be a lot of information going through an inspector’s mind post inspection so don’t let the initial conversation make or break the sale.

When an inspection is done right, the client will be given a contract prior to the inspection. This can outline liability and intended use of the information provided. Keep in mind, an inspector is not a magician – they cannot see through walls. They are not allowed to create any physical damage to the home they are inspecting. An experienced inspector can often find clues to potentially concerning issues by getting into an attic or crawl space but they can’t tear out drywall to find out if the electrical or plumbing is to code.They can only report what is apparent.

The bottom line is that a thorough inspection of a home is the best way to be prepared for homeownership and the expenses that it may incur. When you know what you are getting into, you will be sure to sleep better at night.

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