Home inspections

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Buying a home can be one of the most important, life-changing decisions you will make. Getting a reliable home inspection can play a vital part in your decision-making.

A home inspection is most often used to evaluate the condition of a home before it is bought or sold. It may inform you if the home has components that are defective, damaged or unsafe.

When looking to buy a home, getting a reliable home inspection may help you avoid surprises. A complete home inspection report can help you make more informed choices about your purchase or possible repairs that need to be made.

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How to find a reliable home inspector

Not all provinces and territories have industry regulations or require certification for home inspectors. However, there are steps you can take to find a reliable home inspector before you make an offer on a home.

First, do your research:

Before you hire a home inspector:

What to expect from your home inspection

A good home inspection includes a non-invasive, visual evaluation of all main systems and components of a home. It helps inform you about the physical condition of the home and possible repairs needed before you buy or renovate it.

A home inspector should walk you through the home and—typically based on a non-invasive, visual evaluation—point out any existing or potential problems, including the condition of:

You may wish to ask your home inspector if the CSA A770 Home inspections standard will be applied during the inspection. If the home inspector does not use the CSA A770 Home inspections standard, consider asking how his or her inspection procedures compares to the procedures listed in the standard.

For more information, register with the CSA Group to get free, read-only access to the CSA A770 Home inspection standard.

How accessibility can affect your home inspection

A home inspection report will be limited to describing conditions in the areas of the home that the inspector can see or has access to during the inspection.

If an inspector is unable to see a portion of the home—like a snow-covered roof or a locked furnace room—it will not be possible to report on its condition or safety.

Make sure that the seller or real estate agent makes all areas of the home accessible for inspection.

What to consider before accepting a home inspection report

Get a written contract outlining the items you need to have inspected, the home inspection report deadline and the total cost before the work gets started.

Be aware that a home inspector should not give you estimates of repair or renovation costs, either during the inspection or in the report.

Introducing the national standard for home inspections

National standards help to make products and services more reliable for consumers across Canada. When the approved practices and terms of standards are adopted by professionals, consumers can make more informed decisions.

In 2016, CSA Group—a non-profit standards organization—published a national standard for voluntary use by home inspectors. The CSA A770 Home inspection standard helps ensure that all key aspects of a home inspection are covered. It helps give confidence to consumers that the inspection is thorough and carried out in line with best practices outlined in national guidelines.

Register with the CSA Group to get free, read-only access to the CSA A770 Home inspection standard.

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