For many people, buying a home is the project of a lifetime. We spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire a property which will become our home for a certain period of time. Given the amount of money and time invested in carrying out this type of project, it is important that, once the transaction is completed, the property meets the expectations of the buyer. This is where the role of building inspector comes into play.
What does a building inspector do?
The building inspector has the technical knowledge needed to determine whether the property is safe, the materials are in good condition and the air quality is good. They will also check for the presence of harmful elements such as iron ochre, pyrite, radon or vermiculite.
Here is a list of items that the inspector will need to check:
- Accessible structures;
- Yard entry;
- Air quality;
- Heating system;
- Electrical system;
- Sewers and drains.
How to choose a good home inspector
Here are some things to consider when meeting with home inspectors to make sure the property is in good condition.
1) Request references from past clients
A building inspector should be able to provide you with several references, as they usually do several inspections per week. Therefore, they meet many people who can attest to their experience, especially when the transaction has been completed and the property is in good condition.
2) Analyze their promises
The inspector must not make promises that are too good to be true. For example, if they indicate that the report will be given to you immediately after the visit has ended, run away! This way of working is not normal. To write a complete report, the inspector must take the time to revise their notes and this should take about 48 hours.
3) Check their criminal record
You can check if the inspectors you are going to meet have a criminal record. The SOQUIJ and OPC websites will be particularly useful in helping you accomplish this task. On the SOQUIJ website, you will see if they have already been involved in a lawsuit. On the OPC website, you will be able to see if they have complaints and warnings against them.
4) Make sure they have training and that they are part of a professional order
In Quebec, there is no prerequisite to becoming a building inspector. In a way, anyone can call themselves an inspector. So to increase your chances of finding a good inspector, favour those who have relevant training, as well as those who are part of professional orders (ANIEB, AIBQ, ATIB, InterNACHI).
5) Make sure they are independent of your real estate broker
Your real estate broker is giving you referrals for home inspectors? Be careful as there may be a conflict of interest. Of course, this is not systematic. Most brokers want what is best for you. However, the fact remains that the broker will only get paid when the transaction takes place. As a result, they could pressure the inspector to make sure that the inspection report is positive.
Questions to ask before hiring a building inspector
• What is included in the inspection?
(Answer: visual inspection of the structure, piping, heating, electrical installation, roofing, interior insulation, ventilation, etc.)
• How many hours does an inspection take?
(Answer: 2 to 3 hours minimum, depending on the age and size of the house)
• What will be the price of the inspection?
(Answer: $ 250 to $ 1000 depending on the age and size of the property)
• Are they letting you be present during the inspection?
(A professional who has nothing to hide should not say no).
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