Hiring a home inspector is your job unless the seller had the house inspected prior to putting it on the market. And even if, it is still better to have your own inspection arranged. After all, it is your investment, and you need to be 100% sure that the property is intact.
Examining the structure and exterior walls of the home and the home site in general is one of the key points and every good inspector will take a detailed look. Afterwards, they usually check the basement where they will probably look for clues of mildew and dampness. Good home inspectors also check the moisture level as it can be damaging to the walls in the long run.
Electrical installations and plumbing are some of the top priorities, including the sewage system. Don’t be surprised if the inspector decides to run the washing machine as part of the plumbing inspection routine. The accompanying report should include comments on the condition of the drainage system, water pressure, outlets, switches, wiring, etc.
A roof inspection requires attention to detail as well. The inspector should identify the roof support structure, how old the roof is, how many repairs it went through, how many layers it has got, etc. The heating system and ventilation should also be on the agenda including a check on air filters, the energy source, heating equipment, etc. A qualified home inspector will also take a look at the attic, garage, and home appliances that are going to stay in the house.
How to find a trustworthy home inspector
For the most part, home inspection is still unregulated to a significant degree in Canada, and there is no specific educational background required to become a home inspector, which makes it even trickier to know how to pick one. Nevertheless, an ideal home inspector should have certain experience in residential construction, e.g., an experienced plumber, electrician or engineer.
Since there is no clear-cut rule on licensing home inspectors, you will have to take matters into your own hands. You may ask your agent if he knows any good home inspectors, or your friends, family members, acquaintances, etc. When you have gathered several contacts, you should have a quick interview with each of them. You may ask them about their experience and the equipment they use, how many homes they have inspected, etc. Also, ask them if they have an error and omissions insurance since it could be a strong indicator that they are true professionals with vast experience. Such insurance is very hard to obtain without a years-long experience under the belt. It is not required by law, so many don't have it, but it is definitely a huge bonus to take into consideration when hiring a home inspector.