What to Expect From a Home Inspection

heritage style house in downtown vancouver with condos in the background

Home inspections in BC are a little different from other places in the world given the climate, but there are some main ideas that hold true throughout. The end goal of every home inspection is to come away with more knowledge about the home you are considering to buy whether that’s a house or condo. Almost every structure including houses, condominiums and duplexes new or previously owned will have a few issues. Your home inspection will help identify what may be a problem area in the home, and allow you to make an informed decision about whether you want to purchase a new property.

What will your home inspector actually do?

When you book a home inspection the hired inspector will meet you at the house or condo at an agreed upon time and spend generally 4 to 5 hours inspecting the home. The inspection will include a review of multiple areas of the home including:

  • Physical Structure
  • Roof
  • Electrical
  • Heating
  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Floors
  • Windows
  • Plumbing

As they move throughout the home any issues with the inspection will be noted and added to the report that you will receive after the inspection is complete. Some inspectors will complete a written report while others will take the time to draft a digital version, and attach photos if necessary.

What are home inspectors not allowed to do?

The home inspector is not permitted to open any appliances that require specific training to install or repair. As such they will provide a surface and surrounding area inspection for appliances such as furnaces, boilers, water heaters and so forth. They are also not permitted to open walls, this means that anything living inside the walls that hasn’t made it’s presence known elsewhere will not be seen. A home inspector is not a building code inspector, and will assess the house or condo for it’s integrity, but won’t look at whether every aspect meets local building code requirements.

Reporting Styles and Principles

Different companies use different reporting styles when it comes to your home inspection. Some of the reporting systems you may come across include:

  • Inspection checklists
  • Inspection checklists with images
  • Narrative inspection reports
  • Combination checklist, narrative, and verbal reports

The length and detail you find in your report can vary as well depending on the company chosen and the size of the structure being inspected. Single and multipage checklists are common, and larger binders may be used in some cases. More and more home inspection companies are incorporating images into their reports as it provides a quick and direct reference to a particular issue with a home. Be sure to ask if you’re inspector will provide you with images that you can reference at a later date. The report should include the integral areas of the home and property. Here’s a complete list and example of a home inspection checklist for you to reference.

How to read a home inspection report

When you receive your home inspection report you should see information about the major areas of your home. The report can include checklists, photographs, and timelines for the condition and expected remaining life of major components such as the roof, furnace, paint, and more. Keep in mind that the report will include details based on visual observations only and any deficiencies that cannot be easily seen may go un noted. This is normal for all home inspections as the inspectors are not specialists with all areas of the home, instead they are generalists with a good understanding of many disciplines. You can learn more about what exactly goes into a home inspection by reviewing our home inspection checklist which details what areas of the home may be in your report.

Inspection Fees

Home inspection costs can range from average from $300.00 to $500.00 depending on what province you live in. A general rule of thumb is the larger the home or building the greater the cost will be. Many home inspection companies will base their costs on the square footage of your home, but there can be additional costs. Structures such as detached garages or other separate buildings may incur an additional fee. Here’s some additional information on the prices, costs, and fees for home inspections in Canada.

Fees can be calculated based on a number of factors including:

  • Square footage of the building
  • Age of the building
  • The type of property (house, townhouse, condo, or commercial building)
  • Additional  structures or suites
  • Crawlspace size
  • Basement size

Things to keep in mind

Your home inspector’s job is to conduct a surface inspection of the building within a few hours. They will have looked at nearly all the major systems and components of a building, gathering information images and making assessments to finalize their report. Giving the home inspector a clean and clutter free building to insect can save time and help improve the accuracy of the inspection. If you have questions about the home inspection process you can contact us for more information.

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