Select Page

Home inspections focus on detecting major risks for your clients

Share this article:

It’s important for your clients to understand that the main objective of a home inspection — whether the inspector is examining their current property or the home they’re looking to purchase — prioritizes major areas, including the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as the roof and foundation. Once the inspection is complete, a comprehensive report will then be provided to highlight any big-ticket work that needs to be completed.

The key here is that the purpose of the inspection is to alert the homeowner and/or homebuyer to major problems that could end up costing a lot of money in the future. With all the facts in hand, a potential buyer can then make an informed decision about whether to purchase the property.

And, in the case where a homeowner is having a pre-listing inspection conducted, they’ll be able to better understand if certain repairs would be wise to complete before the home is put on the market. 

 

Government licensing and professional standards of practice

 

Your clients should always review what’s included in the inspection service upfront and let the inspector know ahead of time if there are any special areas of concern within the home.

Although Canadian provinces (except British Columbia and Alberta) don’t have government licensing for home inspectors, professional firms will clearly outline their standards of practice (SOP) for what will be inspected as part of their standard inspection agreement. That way, if the homeowner or homebuyer feels like something was overlooked, they can review the inspection report and SOP for clarity.

 

Things can and do come up post-home inspection and property possession

 

Professional inspectors pride themselves on being as thorough as possible, but there just isn’t enough time — or budget allotted — to check every little detail within a home. Additionally, there may be homeowner possessions present, such as furniture or big boxes, that obstruct certain views within the home. A home inspector isn’t permitted to move furniture or other items. The inspector would, however, typically document this in the report so that the potential buyer could inquire further with the seller’s realtor or investigate as part of their own due diligence.

After your client takes possession of the property, they may discover something wrong with the house that wasn’t mentioned in the report. But before they jump to conclusions and point fingers at the home inspector for missing something during the inspection, the following points are some excellent food for thought. 

 

Hidden or intermittent issues

 

Some issues may only become visible within a property while your clients are actually living there, as opposed to within the span of a few hours that the home inspector is present in the home conducting the inspection.

For instance, excessive rainfall can cause leaking issues to become evident in roofs and basements when they otherwise remain dry. Some issues may also be covered up by flooring, drywall and even furniture.

 

Latent defects

 

Lawyers use this phrase to describe issues that exist within a home that can’t be detected using reasonable means, including a visual inspection and tools used by a home inspector. Unless a past issue is disclosed by the homeowner, without visual clues, it’s unreasonable to expect a home inspection to uncover this type of problem.

 

Minor issues overlooked

 

Since a home inspection focuses on identifying major defects within a property, not all minor issues will be noted. While opinions can also vary wildly on what’s considered a “minor issue”, the inspector’s primary role is to point out if the home and its components are operating as intended.

Often, minor problems that are mentioned in the inspection report were discovered while looking for larger, more significant problems that could impact a homebuyer’s decision to proceed with the purchase. Minor issues uncovered during the inspection are usually mentioned as an added courtesy to the homebuyer/homeowner.

 

Contractor’s advice

 

A common source of concern with home inspectors comes from comments made by contractors. For instance, a contractor may believe a roof should be replaced whereas a home inspector reports that the roof could last a few more years with some minor repairs. 

A contractor may also try to avoid conducting repairs as opposed to re-roofing the entire house. This is often due to the “last one in” theory: the contractor fears that if they’re the last person to work on the roof, they’ll be held responsible if the roof leaks, regardless of what prompted the leak. 

 

If your clients find issues within their home after they’ve moved in, they should first re-read their home inspection report as well as the inspector’s SOP (if provided). While all minor problems won’t be spotted when the inspector is looking for higher-risk issues — and, therefore, won’t always be noted — there may be clues within the report. 

Homeowners should also call their inspector with any questions following the inspection, while also keeping in mind that laying blame won’t help resolve the problems they’re facing. Often, their home inspector is a great resource to help troubleshoot future issues and recommend the best route for repair.

 


Share this article: