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Congratulations! Your offer on your dream home has been accepted and you are set to move in next month. To make sure your dream doesn’t become a nightmare, you need to take some precautions. The best way to do this has probably already been suggested by your Real Estate agent: hiring a qualified home inspector.
But where to begin. Buying a home is such a large investment that most people take the plunge about once every ten years. Laws and standards change, and that’s why we trust the in’s and outs of home buying to our Real Estate agent. It should be no different when it comes to selecting a qualified home inspector.
Your Real Estate agent will have a list of qualified and reputable home inspectors who work in your area. Take this list as a starting point and do your homework. With a few good questions you will be able to find a qualified home inspector who you can work with, and more importantly, who you can trust.
What qualifications does the home inspector have?
Many home inspectors come from a background in construction, engineering or a building trade. Although there are no mandatory regulations placed on home inspectors, a reputable home inspector will have taken the courses needed to belong to a self-regulating body such as the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (www.cahpi.ca) or a provincial equivalent. Membership doesn’t always mean certification; only inquiries on the part of home buyer will ensure that a home inspector has met the criteria set out by an association.
How can I find out more about a home inspector?
A reputable home inspector will provide you with a list of clients they use as references. Naturally, most of these will be a glowing report of the home inspector’s work. Ask a prospective home inspector for a reference from a client where things didn’t go so well. Knowing how any problems were fixed will go a long way in telling about a home inspector’s professionalism. Your Real Estate agent might also know of some clients who used a particular home inspector, and are willing to talk about their experience.
What experience does the home inspector have?
Like any profession, practice makes perfect. A home inspector is no exception. Find out how long a home inspector has been in the business. How many home inspections do they do a month? a year? Would you really trust your biggest investment to someone who started up last week, or who skims through close to a hundred inspections a month?
Is it the home inspector’s schedule, or mine?
Remember, you are the client. Is the home inspector willing to accommodate your hectic life, or do you need to book time off because they only work Tuesday mornings? This is a working relationship where you must be comfortable. You may find your decision comes down to a few home inspectors with the same qualifications. It is the intangibles that help make your decision.
Buying your home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Ensuring you go into it fully informed is your responsibility. Choosing the right home inspector will help you make an informed decision. Doing your homework to make that choice will make a world of difference.