The importance of home inspections in today’s market

Posted on: Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

A recent story about a property owner in Woodbridge, Sydney Walters, highlights the importance of a home inspection. But even more than the need for a home inspection, the need to have a qualified competent home inspector is key. Read the Toronto Star story by clicking here.

This story talks of multiple contractors trying to determine the problem and not noticing the lack of insulation. It took Mr. Walters six years to determine why his home was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. His nine-year-old semi-detached house had no insulation in the attic.

The lack of insulation, which is the root of the problem for Mr. Walters, is certainly an odd situation and one that would not be expected in a newer home. People are more likely to expect issues with the quality of the insulation and other structural-type problems in older homes, but this situation highlights the need to rely on a competent home inspector in all situations. Mr. Walters did not feel a home inspection was necessary given his home was only two years old when he bought it.

A home inspection is the best protection available. The home inspector has the opportunity to access the property and investigate. It is, however, essential that you make sure you are confident in your home inspector and that he is insured. Before hiring a home inspector, you should ask the following questions:

1) Does the inspector belong to a governing body like the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors?

2) What is included in the inspection process – what is inspected and what is not?

3) Does the inspector go into the attic? Does the inspector check for mould and does the inspector have the proper training to inspect for mould?

In addition to taking as many precautions as you can in terms of whom you hire as a home inspector, it is also a good idea to accompany the home inspector on the inspection and make inquiries to understand what is being inspected. You want an inspector that uses tools to assist in looking for things that are not visible to the naked eye, like moisture or mould.

To write this blog, I interviewed Brien Johnston of Prestigious Home Inspections to educate myself on how to be a smart consumer when it comes to hiring a home inspector.

In Ontario, home inspectors are not regulated – in fact, insurance and belonging to the associations that do exist is not mandatory. It is up to the homeowner to make sure that a home inspection is conducted to safeguard against purchasing a home, like Mr. Walters did, that was missing insulation. The lack of insulation would have been discovered if the inspection was thorough and used tools like infrared thermal imaging.

Unfortunately, the outcome is usually that the new owner is responsible to remedy the problem. Once the problem is remedied, depending on the amount of damage, a court action might be worthwhile. The time and expense of a court action has to be weighed for each situation.

You can also access this blog at Advocate Daily by clicking here.

The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. The information does not constitute legal advice and a solicitor and client relationship is not created.

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