Ask An Expert: Top 10 Questions with a Home Inspector

A home inspection is a great way to understand what you’re getting into when purchasing a home and knowing the overall condition of some of the more expensive aspects of a home. 
In this market, many clients are opting for a pre-offer home inspection to get a better understanding of the home. This occurs in a strong sellers market, when offers with no conditions are almost a must if one wants to be competitive in their offer. In this case the inspector does a shortened inspection before offers are presented. Due to time constraints, this inspection is not a thorough inspection, but it enables the inspector to note any big ticket issues before one makes a binding offer.  

We sat down with Jason D’Amour of Mspections Inc. to ask him the top 10 questions for a home inspector:

  1. What is the most common problem you see in homes?

    Personally I believe that the biggest problem is when basic maintenance of a home is not kept up. It’s not necessarily one major issue but the general lack of upkeep. I always suggest keeping on top of things because if you keep up with the general maintenance of your home there typically shouldn’t be a big issue 5-10 years down the road.
  2. Why should I use a home inspector?

    We are certified, have the education, knowledge and experience and tools that the average person doesn’t have.
  3. What is the scope of your inspections? 

    People need to understand that we have the knowledge and the tools but unfortunately we don’t have x-ray vision. We know what signs to look for to make an educated decision but we can’t actually see through walls. If there is enough evidence of a bigger issue, we always suggest further evaluation. For example, if it’s a wet basement there are wet basement specialists that can do a more thorough inspection and remediation.
  4. What is your warranty?

    I speak for myself here, if there is ever a time when a client wants more information or has questions, I am always willing to help out. That being said, there really is no “warranty.”
  5. Do I have recourse if you miss something major?

    If it’s something major, as a professional, if I give you false information, of course there is recourse. We keep documentation of all of our findings and we share that information with the client and keep a copy ourselves. Our company is also fully insured.
  6. Are there any red flags that the average buyer could spot during a showing?

    Look at the general appearance/maintenance of the house. Look at the roof, look at the windows, look at the flooring/carpet… Typically the general maintenance of the home will give you a good idea of what you can expect. If the roof looks like it’s in very bad condition, you can almost guarantee the furnace has not been maintained.
  7.  What do you charge for a home inspection?

    We offer a variety of price points depending on what the client needs. Pre-inspections are $200 + hst and a standard home inspection starts at $400 + hst. Things like square footage, location and multi level units could add to the cost. How long does a typical home inspection take? Depending on the type of inspection you request, it can range from 30 to 60 min pre inspection to 2 hours for a standard inspection. People can request more in debt inspections for additional costs.
  8. What is the accreditation?

    At present, in Ontario, you don’t need anything to be a home inspector, but there are many courses you can take to hone your skills. It is important for the client to inquire what experience and education the home inspector you choose to use has and if they have insurance. I myself hold a certification as a professional home inspector.
  9. Any advice you would give to first time home buyers?

    Ask the experts for advice and take some time to do your research. Once you’re a homeowner, my biggest advice is to
    MAINTAIN YOUR HOME and stay on top of the little things.