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Sun, Jun 10th - 9:22AM

What is A Home Inspection?
Definition: A comprehensive report of a given property by a professional home inspector. The report will identify problems and potential problems with the property not always visible to an average purchaser (ie: a deteriorating roof, an ancient furnace, poor insulation, structural deficiencies, wood rot, basement seepage). Many purchasers make their offer to purchase conditional upon obtaining a satisfactory Home Inspection report. The two main questions you should ask your “Home Inspector” are:
1. Are you insured, and what are you insured for?
2. What qualifications do you hold, and how do they apply to home inspections?

Believe it or not, there are many home inspectors out there that are not insured. Also there are many “home inspectors” that will tell you that they are insured when they are not. Check their credentials and protect yourself.

Qualifications are another area of concern that you as a homeowner should be aware of. Some home inspectors will tell the potential clients that they are qualified for septic and well inspections, and they probably are if you only want someone to verify that they exist. When these “home inspectors” state that they are qualified for any of these, ask them if they are licensed and insured for septic or well inspections and ask to see their documentation. You will be surprised at their answers as they dance around that question. Stay away from people whose qualifications are non-related to building or inspecting homes, they have no qualifications so they use un-related items such as management courses or sport affiliations to mask their inexperience. Qualifications that are important are building experience, Building Code courses and usually any government recognised certificate program. Carson Dunlop has a very good program to help qualified people make the transition to the home inspector profession but I would not recommend it by itself as the sole source of education for inspections. Many homebuyers do not know what else to ask. Since this person will be inspecting the most valuable possesion you may possibly ever purchase, here are a few ideas along with a list of questions you should consider asking when calling about a home inspection. Another thing to consider is the size and reputation of the company.

Many inexperience people tend to go the franchise route as it offers a “turn key” approach to opening your home inspection business. A quick course, some maybe as long as 2 weeks, and your set to go, all advertising and contacts are generated for you. You have to choose from a large business who’s inspectors pump out as many as 3 to 4 inspections a day in order to make a decent income, or a small independent business who offers individual service to each and every customer with no quota to worry about? Which ever you prefer, be sure to check them out thoroughly! The following is a list of just 9 questions you may want to consider asking when seeking a home inspector for your new property:
1. How long have you been doing Inspections? Make sure the inspector has experience
2. Approximately how many inspections have you performed? Make sure your not the first on their inspections performed list.
3. What did you do before becoming a home inspector? A person with previous experience in building trades may be a wiser choice than an ex-circus clown, unless the clown had extensive inspection training.
4. Are you Insured? Some areas require home inspectors to carry E&O Insurance. Check your local laws to make sure. Ontario does not require insurance. Unfortunately, in Ontario you can drop out of public school and print up some cards, and then call yourself a home inspector. There are no government regulations so the home owner has to use some due diligence in selecting one.
5. Can you give me references? Inspectors should be able to offer references from previous clients if requested.
6. What type of report do you offer? Ask what type of report they offer and how soon it will be available. Napoleon Home Inspections offers a complete computer generated report complete with pictures of deficiencies and recommendations. Some companies offer a check list type of report which is then stuffed with home maintenance tips etc to give the report some bulk.
7. What do you inspect, Roof, Attic, etc? Some inspectors will not traverse a roof or enter a crawlspace. This is understandable if unsafe conditions exist but if not, ask if they will do it or not. Does your home inspector even carry a ladder to get on your roof. I am not saying that every roof has to be walked on to be properly inspected, but the inspector does not know that until he gets to the house. Beware of the “Home Inspector” who does not carry an extension ladder, because he cannot know what type of house you have, and if he doesn’t have the proper ladder, then how is he going to inspect your roof.
8. And Finally! What do you charge? You will find that some home inspectors charge more than others. Obtaining answers to the questions listed above may help you to determine why! Napoleon Home Inspections offers its “Fair Pricing Policy”, why pay for what you are not getting. We have structured our prices so that they reflect the size of home that we are inspecting. Napoleon bases our inspection price on bathrooms. Through experience we have realized that the larger the home the more bathrooms the home will likely have. We charge $199.00 for a single residential home with one bathroom. For each extra bathroom we charge an extra $30.00 up to a total of $259.00. Every professional trade uses size as a basis for estimating their job price. Why should you, the home owner, be forced to pay the same price for a two bedroom townhouse as a 4,000 sq ft executive home with 6 bedrooms and 4 baths. Napoleon thinks this practice is unfair and prices their inspections accordingly, which benefits the homeowner. So when you here these home inspectors warning you about cheaper prices, have a good look at their price structure and see if they are charging you for what you are getting, or maybe they are just charging you. You be the judge.

TODAYS TIP - If someone shows up at your house to do a home inspection in a car and white shirt and tie, immediately tell him you have changed your mind, and then go out and hire a real home inspector.

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