If you recognize the photo above as the heat exchanger in an old boiler as seen through a small mirror with a flashlight, you are probably a home inspector. More and more home owners and home buyers are seeking the services of a professional home inspector and the business of inspecting homes is becoming more and more professional.
Understand that a home inspector is not there to establish the value of your house, that is the job of an appraiser. A home inspector looks for important and not so important problems and helps you to know the difference.
We walked through one inspection with Graham Clarke of Carson Dunlop, in Toronto, who was also the president of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors.
One thing that was interesting for me was to hear that more and more homeowners are having their homes inspected prior to selling. Actually, that is coming about because so many people are having homes inspected prior to buying that the seller doesn't want to get caught discovering problems at the moment they want to negotiate a price. Knowing ahead of time what might be wrong with your house and how important it is, allows you to make the decision to fix things, before the sale, and maintain the price you want or at least to not get hit with surprises which force you to deal with such things in a rush. In addition, with hidden defect legislation, ignorance of a problem may not prevent you from paying to solve a problem, after you have already spent all the money you made on the sale of the home.
A good home inspection will have a detailed written report, and the inspector himself will be bonded for errors and omissions.
Buying or selling, you should understand that an older home is never perfect. A buyer or seller can see a lot of the superficial flaws themselves. It does take a professional eye to see the hidden stuff. Graham pointed out that fees vary from company to company and depend on the size of the house, but expect to pay $300 and up for a competent home inspection. Choose your home inspector as carefully as you do any contractor. Click here for help in finding a home inspector in your area.