Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home Inspector

Buying a home is the largest financial commitment of your lifetime. There are many professionals making up the business part of the transaction: financial institutions, real estate agents, home inspectors, home appraisers and lawyers to mention a few.

While most people’s first question is the cost, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor. This individual will be helping you with possibly the biggest purchase of your life so it’s important to select someone who has the professionalism, experience, training and tools needed.

Top Questions for Your Home Inspector

Ask how long the inspection will take. This will vary, but an estimated length of time for an inspection is about two to three hours. Ask for references.

Will you able to ask questions during the inspection? How many people can accompany you to the inspection? Most inspectors will want to show and discuss their findings with you onsite, overcrowding may not allow you to obtain all the required information to assist you in your decision making.

Ask if the inspector is able to accommodate your needs. Regarding the type of dwelling you are purchasing, such as condominium, cottage, rural, suburban, fully /semi-detached, etc.

Ask how many homes of the type you are buying they have inspected. For instance, cottage and rural property inspections vary greatly from townhouse inspections and have different issues, such as septic systems, wells, heating etc.

Ask the Inspector if they are a member of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors. You can verify their membership at www.oahi.com: see “Find an Inspector.” If he or she is a member, you can be rest assured they have E & O insurance, and that their training is mandatory and ongoing.

Ask the inspector where and when they did their training: OAHI’s website has a list of approved partner colleges and programs. Furthermore, training is ongoing – what did she or he do before becoming a home inspector?

Ask about the home inspection report. How will you get your report? Will you get a paper copy, a PDF or a link? When can you expect to receive the report? Is it computer generated with pictures: can you read it on your mobile device. A report should take a few hours for the inspector to review and upload the photos, and their notes. Will there be a verbal summary on site before you get the formal report?

It is important that you read your report carefully.

Auxiliary Services

If your home has a well and septic system ask about the inspector’s qualifications, experience.
If the home has wood burning appliances, ask about their qualifications and experience, required to be W.E.T.T. certified (Wood Energy Technology Transfer).

If the home you are buying is in an area that has been known for flooding or high humidity, ask about the inspector’s training and experience with infrared services (Snell is a leader in this) and indoor air quality. If you have specific concerns such as mould or insulation, ask about that.

Is your home in a radon zone? Ask if they have been trained to do radon testing and their qualifications: are they a member of CARST (Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists).

This information is available on OAHI members’ profile.

Asking these questions before you select a home inspector will help both of you ensure you both a positive experience with your home purchase.