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What does a home inspector do?

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Although you might be reluctant to add one more task to a what seems like a never-ending list when purchasing a home, a home inspection can save you time, money and hassle by eliciting valuable insight from a professional who knows exactly what to look for during the purchase a home. A home inspector comes and goes in a matter of mere hours, but the impact and information he or she leaves with you is invaluable.

According to Ralph Kors, a home inspector in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, home inspectors “provide an unbiased second opinion regarding the condition of the house.”

Ralph also says that inspectors “make home buyers aware of potential safety issues in the home, and major and minor defects.” As well, especially for first time home buyers, the inspection can be considered somewhat of a “training session” as inspectors will provide maintenance advice about the specifics of operation of this particular home and its systems.

Hiring a qualified home inspector

There is no actual licensing in Ontario for home inspectors, but there is online and practical training that are required for registration with the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors. Registered home inspectors also undergo continuous training to keep their knowledge current. Find a home inspector who will provide references, a detailed end report, and has experience with the type of house you are considering.

Attending your home inspection

With so many things on your mind during the purchase of a new home, you might be tempted to hire a trusted and competent home inspector and then skip the inspection itself. Typically, a home inspection takes three to four hours, and during this relatively short period of time, you will learn just about everything you need to know about optimally maintaining and living in your home. Don’t miss this one-on-one opportunity to ask questions and get information specifically about your new home.

The results

The inspector will produce and leave you with a report that provides information about every major system of the home, anything that requires, or may soon require repair, safety hazards, and evidence of past problems. You can expect information about the exterior, roof, structure, plumbing, heating, electrical, insulation and interior of your home. 

What you might do with the results

Ideally, you will gain the knowledge and peace of mind to confidently proceed with your purchase. The seller of a home should have previously disclosed all known deficiencies or issues to you, but there could be concerns uncovered about which he or she is not aware.  

The results will help you make a variety of important decisions, including the price you are willing to pay for the house, or in extreme cases, if you want to carry on with the purchase. As well, the home inspection may uncover the need for repairs that you may decide to assume responsibility for, but will ask the seller to adjust the price accordingly.

Due Diligence…with no guarantees

Enlisting the advice of an experienced, trained home inspector could be the single most important step in making a smart, informed decision about what might be the largest purchase in your lifetime. However, it is unwise to consider a home inspection a guarantee. Nobody can predict everything that can go wrong with a house, but in most cases, a home inspector is your best way to educate and help you by providing an overall perspective of the home’s condition at the time of the inspection.

By Paula McKee 

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