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Why You Need A Home Inspection

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Buying & Selling Your Home

Thursday, October 28th, 2021 @ 1:22am

DO YOU REALLY NEED A HOME INSPECTION?

I always recommend getting a home inspection whether you are looking to buy, sell or renovate. For renovations, I recommend getting an inspection done so you can get an idea of the health of your home. If you find out you have electrical issues and you were planning on splurging on new countertops, which one do you think you should fix first? A home inspection can give you a good overview of the condition of the home and highlight any major deficiencies.

Just out of curiosity, I went on the internet to see what a homeowner might find if they were looking there for a home inspector. I found a few. I also found just about as many ads for how to become one. We all know that’s how you become a qualified professional—on the internet!!

That shouldn’t surprise anyone. The truth is, the home inspection industry in Canada is unregulated. Anyone can take a weekend course (or go on the internet) and start inspecting houses. Got a ladder, a flashlight, a clipboard, and a business card? You too can be a Home Inspector!

Do You Need A Home Inspection?

A house is the biggest investment most people ever make in their lives—and it doesn’t come with a money-back guarantee. Is your dream home purchase going to turn into a nightmare? The best way to prevent that is to have a home inspection—hire an expert to go through your home to make sure it’s safe, it’s solid, and it’s worth every penny you’re paying for it.

Mike Holmes Mold

Water is your home’s #1 enemy.

How Do You Hire A Home Inspector?

But what if that home inspector doesn’t know what he’s doing? What if they miss some serious—and expensive—problems that you don’t have the money to fix? The sad truth is, there’s not much you can do. There’s not much recourse if you find the home you purchased has problems that the inspector should have found—no matter how huge or expensive they might be. All you can do is an issue for the amount you paid for the inspection—a few hundred dollars.

Currently, there’s no national licensing and no federal regulations for home inspectors. The industry is ‘self-regulated’ by various provincial organizations for professional home inspectors. And, since membership in these associations is voluntary, many people—home inspectors included—feel that membership is really just a marketing effort.

Each province has a provincial association, with standards that have to be met by all members. Those standards aren’t the same across the country. And, there are several regional and national associations, not all of which have the same qualifications required to call themselves members…what’s a consumer supposed to do?

In a house purchase every step is regulated in some way by government. Everyone is licensed: the real estate brokers and agents who sell houses, the banks who lend money, the lawyers who oversee the land transfer, the insurers who cover the house, but not home inspectors. That makes no sense to me.

The bank will lend money—sometimes lots of money—for a house purchase, based on the buyer’s ability to pay it back. That house purchase might be based on an inspection by an unlicensed, unregulated individual. And that house might be a disaster waiting to happen. One that’s not worth a fraction of the money it sold for. What sense does that make?

Mike Holmes Inspection

A Home Inspection can save you from buying a nightmare home.

RELATED: The Most Common Issues Found During Home Inspections

What To Ask Before You Hire a Qualified Home Inspector?

Some buyers still think they can use the experience of their family members in place of professional home inspectors. I don’t know if Dad–even if he’s bought houses and owned houses for years–would have the expertise to identify real problems that might be hiding in the house you want to buy.

Would they know:

  • If the home was ever a grow op?
  • If there was ever a fire in the home?
  • If there are any structural problems?
  • If the plumbing pipes are galvanized or copper?
  • What about knob and tube wiring?
  • Did any earlier renovations compromise the structure of the home?
  • Were there any building permits pulled on the house in the past for renovations—that’ll tell you if they were inspected?

Does the house you want to buy look good? Really good? Then maybe it’s a flip—and maybe those cosmetic renovations have covered up serious problems. Maybe they’ve even created some serious problems that you wouldn’t ever suspect. Would Dad know that?

RELATED: Are You Buying A Flipped Home? Read This First.

Choose The Right Home Inspector

I want you to use the right home inspector—the one who’s an experienced and qualified professional. So be sure to take the time to find a good one. And when you hire a home inspector:

  1. Be present for your home inspection. This is your first chance to learn about your home, first hand.
  2. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Especially if it’s bad news. Many homebuyers don’t really want to hear the truth because they’ve already fallen in love with the house. It’s like dating—you need to listen if your best friend tells you to run. Don’t marry it.
  3. READ the report!! Make sure you read it thoroughly and understand everything the inspector is telling you about your house and its condition.
Mike-Holmes-Inspection

Mike Holmes Inspectors are qualified professionals with years of experience in the industry.

Questions to ask your Home Inspector:

  1. Can I see your license/professional credentials and proof of insurance?
  2. How many years of experience as a home inspector do you have? (The business card might say 25 years experience—but at what, exactly.)
  3. How many inspections have you personally done?
  4. What qualifications do you have? What kind of training do you have? Are you a member of a professional organization? What’s your background—construction? Engineering? Plumbing?
  5. What kind of report do you provide?
  6. What kind of tools do you use in your inspection?
  7. Can you give me an idea of what kind of repairs the house may need? (And, they’d better NOT have ‘a friend’ who can do it for you, cheap.)
  8. When do you do the inspection? (Let’s hope they don’t have a day job, and can only do them at night—when it’s too dark to see the roof)
  9. How long do your inspections take?
  10. Do you take pictures of the house and add them to your report?
  11. Can I see some references? Make sure you ask for them and check them.
Mike Holmes basement

Mike Holmes in the basement of the Young family hom in HGTV’s Holmes Family Rescue

Mike Holmes Inspections

I started Mike Holmes Inspections 10 years ago because I wanted homeowners to see the real value of home inspections done to the highest standards by a team of expertly trained and certified professionals. If you want to Buy It Right, Sell It Right, or Own It Right, you need reliable and trusted information to guide you during (likely) the largest purchase decisions of your life. Together, we can Make it Right.

 

Currently, Mike Holmes Inspection services are offered in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Halifax and Edmonton. You can CALL TOLL-FREE 1-888-563-5699 or visit https://mikeholmesinspections.com/.

Mike Holmes Inspection Services

Qualified Mike Holmes Inspectors can check your indoor air quality for mold, radon, and other pollutants. When you schedule a home inspection with Mike Holmes Inspections, you get a certified and trained professional conducting a thorough visual examination and assessment to ensure your current or future home is built right. Every inspection goes beyond the industry standard and uses premium equipment and specialized training so that what the inspector sees, you see. The result? PEACE OF MIND.

A Mike Holmes Inspector is:

  • Fully trained and industry certified by Mike Holmes Inspections and third party accredited courses
  • A Certified Thermographer
  • Responsive, able, and willing to answer your questions and on time
  • Experienced and knowledgeable
  • An excellent customer service provider with a smile knowing they help homeowners every day!
Mike Holmes Inspector Using a Thermal Imaging Camera

Mike Holmes Inspector Using a Thermal Imaging Camera

Home Inspections in a Seller’s Market

In a seller’s market, when houses are going for more than asking and buyers are out-bidding each other, it’s common for buyers to forgo an inspection, since they don’t want to risk losing the house. How crazy is that? You get to pay over the asking price for a house you have no idea about. I’ve also heard of sellers refusing to allow for an inspection, which is not a problem legally since they aren’t mandatory. (If there are known deficiencies in the house, and the seller doesn’t admit to them in the disclosure documents, that’s maybe a different story. One that will lead to lots of work for lawyers.)

But home inspections aren’t mandatory in a real estate transaction, just like there’s no mandatory certification or legislated requirement for all inspectors to take courses, pass exams, update their knowledge of house systems, even understand building code compliance. None.

People tend to use home inspectors when buying older homes—assuming a house 10 years or less in age won’t have any major problems…yet. I can’t argue that an old home will likely have problems, but don’t assume a new house won’t. Probably every home has deficiencies—likely some serious ones that could mean health and safety issues for your family.

Buying a home without getting an inspection is not a good idea. Think about how much you spending on the purchase of your home. Now think about the extra few hundred dollars it will take to get a thorough home inspection done. It’s worth the extra money, trust me.

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