Choosing a home inspector
In Alberta, home inspectors are licenced through Services Alberta, a division of the Alberta Government. This ensures that the inspectors are working for registered businesses that provide Errors and Emissions Insurance, Surety Bonds for their employees, and approved training to the standards.
Qualified inspection companies will provide a sample report to substantiate that they abide by industry standards. One of the key standards is that ethical inspectors neither perform repairs nor refer clients to repair companies (thus avoiding a conflict of interest). Obviously, inspectors who make repairs on homes they inspect are more likely to “find” defects.
Once you have arranged for a home inspection, plan to accompany the inspector for the entire procedure. You have the right to be there, and leading home inspection companies will encourage your presence. Being there helps you to better understand the findings in the report, and will reduce post-closing hassles. Don’t forget your list of questions and items of concern. A thorough home inspection covers more than 1,000 items—everything from foundation to roof—and takes two to three hours, depending on the size of the property. The report should reflect the condition of about 400 items.
To help you choose a qualified company that will conduct a thorough inspection of your property and provide you with an objective report on the condition of your home, call several candidates and ask the following questions:
- Do you follow industry standards?
- Are you willing to supply me with a sample report?
- Are you a full time home inspection company?
- What other home services do you offer?
- May I attend the inspection?
- How much time will the inspection take?
- When will the report be ready?
- Do you perform repairs on items you inspect?
- What will I receive with the inspection report?
- What will be inspected?
- How much will the service cost?
- Do you carry errors and omissions and general liability insurance?
- Do you provide an inspection agreement which defines the
scope of the inspection?
Also ask if they offer other benefits (such as repair manuals, maintenance guides, continued availability to answer questions), and will they provide a refund if you are not satisfied with their work. When you receive sample reports, ensure they are thorough, easy to understand, and narrative in format. How do they compare with reports sent by other companies? How do their fees compare with those quoted by competitors? Remember, you get what you pay for.
What our clients say
"My wife and I were buying our first home and had absolutely no idea what to look for when making the purchase. The Inspector walked us around the house and gave us a detailed description and history of our future purchase. He explained possible problem areas, things needed to be fixed immediately, and things we should be aware of in the future. Not only did he explain these things verbally, he also left with us a report detailing all the things he had talked about and a summary of items he saw as potential problems. Best of all, during the entire inspection he spoke to us in layman's terms so we were able to understand all he told us."
“We especially liked the Inspector attention to detail, and the fact he took the time to point out potential problems."
“I liked having suggestions given to avoid future problems.”