Home Inspection Frequently Asked Questions
We have compiled this list of our most frequently asked questions. If you have further questions that are not answered below, please feel free to contact us.
How do I choose a Vancouver or BC Lower Mainland home inspector?
When selecting a home inspector, it is important to carefully screen several inspectors before you hire one.
Since 2010, home inspectors in BC are required to be licensed. It is important that the home inspector is currently licensed by Consumer Protection BC (CPBC) & is a member of one of the associations sanctioned by the Provincial government. RMC INSIGHT inspectors are all members of The Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI) & follow their Standards of Practice & Code of Ethics. CAHPI provide standards for the profession by requiring members to:
- pass examinations
- participate in continuing education programs
- obtain Errors and Omissions Insurance
Vancouver home inspectors who fully complete the criteria set out by CAHPI (BC) are awarded the Occupational Title “Registered Home Inspector” (RHI).
What should I ask a Home Inspector?
Here are some questions to ask to determine an inspectors’ qualifications:
- What is your relevant background and training?
- Are you a Registered Home Inspector (RHI)?
- Do you belong to a professional association?
- Do you carry Errors and Omissions Insurance?
- What does the inspection include?
- When inspecting a condominium apartment, do you inspect only the suite or the entire building?
- Do you identify hazardous products such as Asbestos, and Urea Formaldehyde Insulation?
- What type of report do you give (eg. verbal narrative, checklist or combination)?
What is a home inspection?
By definition, what is a home inspection?
The home inspection is a visual examination of the accessible areas of the major systems and components of the building and certain built-in equipment and improvements.
A home inspection IS NOT:
- A recommendation to buy or not to buy the house
- A hazardous or toxic material inspection
- A comment on the value or purchase price
- A check for code compliance or governmental survey
To learn more, follow this link to the Standards of Practice followed by RMC INSIGHT on every home inspection.
Why do I need a Home Inspector?
The purchase of a home is probably the largest investment most of us make in our lifetime. Yet the decision to buy a particular house is often an emotional one made after a twenty minute walk-through with a real estate agent.
Often the decision to buy is based on the aesthetic appeal of the house rather than on knowledge of its physical condition. Very often families learn about a home’s true condition after moving in, when they find that thousands of dollars are needed for unanticipated repairs. Even seasoned homeowners can benefit from the knowledge and experience of a professional home inspector who can remain completely objective and unemotional.
A home inspection is performed prior to purchase to avoid unpleasant surprises. After reviewing the Property Disclosure Statement, which is completed by the vendor prior to listing, and provided to you by your Realtor, protect yourself by making your offer-to-purchase “conditional on a satisfactory home inspection”. This allows you to have an independent third party perform an unbiased professional inspection of all the accessible components of the home.
A professional home inspection can provide you with the peace of mind you need to make a confident, informed purchase decision.
What does a Home Inspector do?
The home inspector is a generalist who should be well-versed in all the major components of a home. When you are selecting a home inspector, it is important to carefully screen several home inspectors before you hire one.
The home inspection process is a systematic inventory of all the visible components of a particular house and its surroundings.
The home inspector should be expected to:
- Climb on the roof (if it is safe and will not damage the roof) and check the condition of the roofing materials and their application, the flashing materials around chimney, vents, skylight and inspect the gutters.
- Enter the crawl space and attic if there is sufficient access. The inspector should check for signs of condensation or moisture penetration, deterioration of wood components and signs of insect infestation. Foundation walls should be examined for cracking and signs of settlement. Other signs of excessive settlement should be sought in all other areas of the building.
- Inspect the electrical, plumbing and heating systems.
- Operate doors and windows and their hardware.
- Inspect closets and cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms, and the operation of doors and hardware.
- Operate garage doors, door bells, etc.
- Thoroughly inspect exterior and interior components for any signs of deferred maintenance.
- Examine the site drainage, decks and patios.
Inspectors should not be expected to:
- Look inside walls or under carpets
- Move personal belongings
- Enter any area or perform any procedure which may damage the property or its components or be dangerous to the inspector or other persons.
Please refer to the RMC INSIGHT Standards of Practice for a complete description of their minimum requirements as well as a list of limitations and exclusions.
How long does a home inspection take?
Our experience suggests that a home inspection should take about 3 to 4 hours to perform a thorough investigation of all systems in an average house. The Home Inspector should take the time to explain how certain systems work, what the different options might be for repairs and the maintenance required to keep the home in good condition.
Some older and/or larger homes may take even longer.
Should I attend the home inspection?
RMC INSIGHT encourages you to attend and participate in the home inspection process. You will probably find it a rewarding learning experience.
Buying a detached, condo or town home, can be overwhelming. Participating in the home inspection allows you to ask the inspector specific questions about the home inspection results & the report.
Remember that the home inspection will provide you with the time to get familiar with your new home, to take measurements for window coverings, to think of decorating ideas, etc.
What type of report does Hallmark Building Inspections provide?
Hallmark Building Inspections developed a reporting system entitled HOME INSIGHTS. This is a user-friendly combination checklist/narrative reporting system. Your completed report will describe the following components in detail with written comments regarding defects found and maintenance suggestions:
- Foundation and Structure
- Basement and Crawl Space
- Site Condition
- Garage and/0r Carport
- Exterior Walls, Windows and Doors
- Porches, Decks and Handrails
- Roofing, Gutters, Chimneys, Skylights and Flashings
- Attic, Ventilation and Insulation
- Interior Walls, Ceilings and Floors
- Kitchen and Bathrooms
- Heating Systems and Fireplaces
- Electrical System
- Plumbing System
The inspector from Hallmark Building Inspections will complete the report on site and present it to you at the end of the inspection.
How much does a home inspection cost?
There are several factors that affect the total cost of a home inspection:
- Size or square footage of the house/apartment
- Additional suite(s)
- Crawl space vs. basement
- Age of the house
- Type of report (e.g. full narrative report for litigation purposes)
We do not charge extra for mileage or for weekend inspections.
Remember you should consider factors other than price when deciding which inspector to choose.
For multi-family or commercial inspections, please contact us for a quote.
Payment by cash, cheque, Visa or MasterCard is excepted at the end of the home inspection when you receive your report.
What additional information would be helpful to assist the process?
To ensure you get the most out of your property inspection:
- Bring your particular concerns about the property to the attention of the inspector.
- Read the Property Condition Disclosure Statement (PCDS) carefully and have your Realtor obtain information regarding any repairs or renovations, particularly if work has been done without relevant permits.
- Your Realtor should also obtain information about any transferable warrantees or guarantees on major components, i.e. roof, furnace, etc.
If you are buying a condominium apartment or townhouse, be sure your Realtor provides you with:
- A minimum of two years of strata council meeting minutes
- Copies of the last two Annual General Meeting (AGM) minutes
- Any Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) minutes
When reading the minutes, highlight any comments about membrane or flashing failure, roof problems, hot water/plumbing problems, exterior wall (building envelope) problems, foundation or retaining wall cracks, or leaks of any kind in balconies, garage or planters.
If there are any references to an engineering report, attempt to get a copy of the report. This information will help you and the inspector evaluate the risk factors involved with the property.
The Realtor should also arrange access to the roof, utility rooms (boiler, electrical), garage, storage rooms and other common facilities.
Remember that you are not only buying a strata unit, but also a share of all the exterior components and common areas.