By Robert Iseppi (Special to the Windsor Star)

Home inspections are an essential component of real estate transactions for millions of buyers, sellers, and REALTORS®. Whether you are shopping for a previously owned or brand new home, an inspection provides insight into the condition of the home you are buying. If you are putting your house on the market, an inspection helps to hasten the sale and can generate a higher price. In essence, a home inspection is a visual examination of a house and property. When performed by a qualified professional, it includes the following:

  • a thorough visual inspection of the structure (inside and out, from roof to foundation);
  • an examination of major systems (plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling);
  • an objective evaluation of the condition of over 400 items;
  • a report (written or printed) covering all findings and identifying potential concerns

While there is no formal licensing of home inspectors at this time, reputable companies adhere to the rigid standards of practice established by the Canadian Association of Home Inspectors. Qualified inspection companies will provide a sample report to show that they abide by industry standards. One of the key standards is that ethical inspectors neither perform repairs nor refer clients to repair companies (thus avoiding conflict of interest). Obviously, inspectors who make repairs on homes they inspect are more likely to find defects.

Accompany Inspector
Once you have arranged for a home inspection, plan to accompany the inspector for the entire procedure. You have the right to be there, and leading home inspection companies will encourage you to be present. Being there helps you to better understand the findings in the report and will reduce post closing hassles. Do not forget to bring a list of questions or concerns. A thorough home inspection will cover many items, everything from the foundation to the roof and will take two to three hours on average, based on the size of the home. The report should reflect the condition of all these items. To help you choose a qualified home inspection company that will conduct a thorough inspection of a property, and provide you with an objective report of its condition use the following guidelines:

  • Do you follow industry standards?
  • Are you a full time home inspection company?
  • May I attend the inspection?
  • How much time will the inspection take?
  • When will the report be ready?
  • What will be inspected?
  • What will I receive with the inspection?
  • Do you carry errors and omissions and general liability insurance?

Buying a home is largely an emotional experience. Sometimes, it’s love at first sight. But often love is blind and many buyers learn too late of such unseen conditions as leaking foundations, deteriorated plumbing, worn-out heating system, and dangerous wiring. A home inspection can help the home buyer avoid costly mistakes and provide them with peace of mind. It also allows the seller of a home to showcase the good things about their home to the potential buyer. In general, home inspection will help you find the home that is right for you and alert you to any potential concerns or problems prior to closing the deal.

Robert Iseppi is a licensed home inspector in Windsor.