What everyone should know about the home inspection. A balanced, accurate home inspection enhances most real estate transactions. It also protects the interests of all parties involved.
1. WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTION?
The objective of the home inspection is to provide the client with a better understanding of the house. It may dispel many of the anxieties held by the average purchaser. The inspection is more of an educational seminar than a negative critique of your home. The inspector will review the functional aspects of your home: (i.e.) all exterior elements, the structure, the heating, plumbing and electrical systems. Cosmetic issues like carpet condition or surface scratches on wall and ceilings are not the focus.
2. WHO IS A HOME INSPECTOR?
Most experienced home inspectors are fully accredited members of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI). This criteria will ensure that the inspector is impartial, experienced, ethical and is properly insured. All parties involved in the real estate transaction benefit from an accurate and fair building inspection report.
3. HOW WILL THE INSPECTOR REVIEW MY HOUSE?
The inspection is primarily visual. There will be no drilling into walls or dismantling of components. Most inspectors will climb onto your roof. They will review the major systems of your house using normal operating controls such as operating the thermostat, plumbing fixtures and turning on lights. The inspector will enter the attic if access is available and safe to do so. Sometimes this is a messy undertaking. You may want to anticipate this and make provisions for easy access.
Duration – The inspection will take approximately 2 to 3 hours.
Tools – The inspector will bring a ladder, flashlight and a small assortment of hand tools and electronic testing equipment. They will not bore holes or deface your property.
Foundation – The foundation will be checked for cracks and signs of seepage.
Plumbing – The water pressure and drainage will be checked by operating faucets and filling up tubs and sinks.
Attic/Crawlspace – These areas will be accessed for dampness, proper insulation and ventilation. Please provide clear access to the attic hatch. You may want to remove articles of clothing from the closet.
Electrical System – The panel cover of the fuse box will be removed. A number of electrical outlets will also be checked.
Heating/Cooling Equipment – Each system will be turned on and checked for proper operation using normal operating controls (dependent on seasonal weather conditions).
Roof and Siding – Age and general maintenance requirements will be noted.
Windows/doors – A representative number will be operated for acceptable operation.
Pavement/driveways – Surface conditions will be checked for buckling and cracking.
Interior – Interior walls, ceilings and floors will be checked for cracks and stains.
Basement – The basement or crawlspace will be examined for evidence of current or previous leaks.
Drainage – We will provide advice about the eavestroughs, downspouts and grading.
4. WHEN WILL THE INSPECTION TAKE PLACE? HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
It may take the purchaser two to three business days to arrange for a OAHI inspector to visit the house. The average home inspector will need approximately two to three hours in your house.
5. HOW SHOULD THE HOME INSPECTION CLAUSE BE WORDED?
A home inspection has become a very common condition included in the purchase agreement. The clause should be worded to protect your interests as a home seller. It should ensure that the inspection will be carried out by an impartial professional: an OAHI inspector.
6. DO I, AS THE SELLER, RECEIVE A COPY OF THE PRE-PURCHASE HOME INSPECTION REPORT DONE FOR THE BUYER?
The home inspector provides a copy of the report to the purchaser only. The inspector cannot communicate their findings to anyone else but the purchaser unless instructed otherwise. It is fair to suggest that you, as the seller, receive a copy of the report under certain circumstances. However, this must be addressed in the inspection clause contained in the general agreement of purchase and sale.
7. SHOULD I BE PRESENT FOR THE HOME INSPECTION?
It is not necessary for you, the seller, to be in attendance. However, you may feel it is important to brief the inspector on a few unique aspects of your home. Some home sellers have found the process to be a bit unsettling and have opted to be somewhere else. Either way, do what is best for you.