When you finally decide to take that leap and put an offer on that dream home you have been searching for, you are one of the smart ones who has also realized that your offer should include a requirement of a home inspector. After all you are likely mekong a purchase that can and will affect your life for years to come, it only makes sense to spend a few hundred dollars to get a qualified professional opinion. But herein lies the problem, namely, how do you know that you have hired a qualified home inspector?
Many home buyers will be surprised to find out that there are no “official” qualifications required in many provinces in Canada, or for that matter States in the U.S.A. that specifically spell out or monitor the qualifications of someone who calls themselves a home inspector. Many people claim to be a qualified home inspector, but how can you be sure?
A recent article by Gary Sandler in the Las Cruces Sun-News echoes these thoughts exactly. Granted we do live and work in Toronto, and the article is written from the perspective of someone working in the New Mexico area, but the problems highlighted are all too familiar. Lack of governmental oversight or regulation puts the risk and responsibility squarely on the prospective home buyer to make sure they have obtained a qualified home inspector.
One of the best ways to make sure that you are dealing with someone qualified is to ask them about their experience in the area, not just in inspections but in the entire real estate market. Someone who has seen the ups and downs of the market for many years in a given area gets a good idea of the issues to look out for as homes age. Also find out if your inspector has either been licensed or accredited by a recognized and respected agency. Here in Ontario the most widely recognized agency is the OAHI, or the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (see this link for more information)
Take a look at the article by Gary Sandler, even though it takes place in an area thousands of miles from Toronto, the issues are the same and the recommendations are sound. Deal with someone who is accredited by a respected licensing agency, and deal with someone who will take the time to accompany you personally on an inspection and provide you with a report that is easy to understand and act on in your decision to make an offer.
From all of us here at Home Owners inspection services, Happy House Hunting!