Buying a house can be extremely exciting time but before you sign the paperwork to officially close on your potential new home, you need to have a home inspection cost appraisal done to help ensure that you know as much about your new home and are going into this transaction with your eyes open to your potential new home’s problems, etc.
The last thing you would want to happen would be for you to forego a home inspection and close on your home and later learn that you bought a home that will be a money pit, a drain your time, energy, and emotions.
While home inspections are not a perfect system, they are not meant to uncover every potential problem, they can help you to learn a lot of valuable information about your potential new home, the condition it is in and its potential problems.
In this article, we will begin by providing a brief overview of what a general home inspection is, and when you might hire a home inspector, what you should be looking for when you are hiring a home inspector, and why you need to hire a professional home inspector. This is followed by a brief overview of what a general home inspector will be looking for, and a discussion of how much you can expect to pay to have your home inspected in Ontario.
What is a general home inspection?
A general home inspection is the home inspection you would usually have done before you close on your new home, before or after having your home professionally appraised by a real estate appraiser. Some people looking to sell their homes even have a home inspection cost before listing their home for sale to learn about the condition their home is in and any major potential issues their home might have.
Sellers can use home inspections to their advantage to learn about what repair requests potential buyers might submit, which give them a leg up when negotiating with potential buyers. With a home inspector’s report before you list your home for sale, you will have the opportunity to address any major issues before listing your home for sale or can decide to leave more minor repairs to buyers.
The American Society of Home Inspectors defines a general home inspection as, “an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.” To learn more about why home inspections are important you can read our article which details the importance of home inspections
A general home inspector’s report will include a home inspector’s observations on the following: a home’s exterior condition, it’s structural integrity, whether or not the appliances work, and whether or not the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems work and what condition they are in since they will be tested depending on the time of year and temperature.
A general home inspector will also be checking the interior plumbing, the home’s electrical systems, the roof, attic and visible insulation, ceilings, walls, floors, windows, and doors, the foundation, basement, crawl spaces, interior and exterior drainage, structural, and safety components. You can read the next section to learn more about a general home inspector will be looking for when they are doing a home inspection.
What is a general home inspector looking for when they are doing a home inspection?
A general home inspector will be looking at the following areas when they are doing a home inspection:
Exterior inspection (an inspector will be looking at these areas)
- Garage or carport (if applicable)
- Roof, attic, and chimney(s) (if applicable)
- Exterior water drainage and water disbursement
- Waste systems as applicable (septic systems in a rural area or have an older home)
- Porches, decks, and patios
- Yard/Garden as applicable
Interior inspection (a home inspector will be checking the following areas):
- Electrical system
- Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
- systems (HVAC)
- Kitchen appliances
- Fire safety
- Lead paint
- Interior water drainage and water disbursement
- Flooring quality
- Noxious gases
- Windows and doors
- Basements and crawl spaces
Most general home inspectors and general home inspectors are not going to be checking for things such as for asbestos, radon, methane, radiation, wood-destroying organisms, mould, mildew and fungi, pests, rodents, or lead paint. Additionally, if you are looking to learn more about your roof or obtain a roof certification from a roofing company or a guarantee about the condition the roof is in, this will be something separate and that you will be paying more to have done.
Furthermore, it is important to note that the majority of general home inspectors do not inspect sewer systems, septic systems, or waste systems. So, if you are looking to have a plumbing system, sewage, and/or septic system inspection you will need to hire a separate professional to do this.
For a more in-depth analysis of general home inspection cost in Toronto, and in-depth examination of what general home inspectors will be looking for when they are performing a general home inspection, you can check out our home inspection checklist when you are buying a home in Toronto.
To learn more about the different types of home inspections and when you might have them done, you can check out our article that describes the different types of home inspections and when you might have them done.
Why you need to hire a qualified, professional home inspector to do your home inspection
If you are getting a home inspection cost before closing on a home, it is imperative that you hire a qualified independent professional home inspector, who is an impartial third party doing your home inspection. Doing your own home inspection is not something that you should be doing yourself.
It might feel tempting for you to do your own home inspection as a way to save money. But, you need to hire an independent, qualified home inspector. While you might believe yourself to be experienced, chances are that you are not a professional inspector and lack the experience, knowledge, and expertise that a professional home inspector has.
It is important to remember that home inspectors are knowledgeable about all of the components and things to go into building a home, how the proper installation of all of the elements of a home, the correct way to maintain your home and home safety. Home inspectors have specific training and knowledge that helps them to understand how all of the systems and elements are intended to work together, how and why they might fail.
Furthermore, most home buyers would probably struggle with trying to be completely unemotional and objective about the home in question, especially if they have fallen in love with their potential new home. A home buyer’s lack of objectivity and the emotions tied to a home that they might have fallen in love with would probably affect their judgment and this would make it challenging for them to obtain accurate information.
Therefore, you should hire a professional to come and inspect your home, so they can provide a third party’s impartial opinion regarding the condition that your home is in. Additionally, sellers are not going to accept the findings or a home inspector’s report from a person who is not a professional home inspector when you are trying to negotiate with them.
This also means that you should not have a friend, family member, or colleague who is not a professional home inspector do your home inspection. It might seem like a great way to save money on your home inspection by having someone who offered to do it, do this for you. But home inspections are incredibly important and are not something you should be skimping on.
By spending the money to hire a qualified independent home inspector, who knows what they are doing when they are inspecting your home, will help to ensure that you will have a better chance of the seller honouring your repair requests. Additionally, if a non-professional is inspecting your home misses any defects or deficiencies, you will have no little to no recourse against them in the event that this happens.
Even if you have a friend, family member, or colleague who is a qualified professional home inspector offers to do your home inspection for a reduced rate or even free, you still will need to hire an impartial, independent, professional home inspector to do your home inspection.
If you have someone who has a relationship to you do this inspection, this could be a potentially serious conflict of interest and you run the risk that if the seller finds out about this, not be willing to honour your repair requests, not believing your inspector’s report, and/or other potential problems.
This means you need to hire a professional independent home inspector to do your home inspector for all of the reasons above. Having an impartial professional do your home inspector, will you help you give you peace of mind knowing that this person knows what they are doing and this way you will have a better chance of having the seller accept your repair requests.
Furthermore, if you hire an independent professional to inspect your home, in the event that they miss any defects of deficiencies in their inspection or report, you will have more recourse against them than if it were someone else doing your home inspection.
You must understand that most sellers will probably not be willing to seriously negotiate with you, the buyer until both of you have received and had a chance to review the home inspector’s report. Additionally, this might not always be the case, but something to keep in mind is that sellers might be more willing to negotiate with potential buyers who see other deficiencies or defects (things that are not working or might need to be repaired) in the home inspector’s report but are not making repair requests for these deficiencies.
In other words, try to negotiate with the seller about repairing major deficiencies and be deliberate when submitting repair requests, do not ask for the seller to repair everything. Instead, you should ask the seller to fix major problems or have them give you the money or a discount on the sale price so you can fix any major problems uncovered by a home inspector.
What you should be looking for when you want to hire a home inspector?
When you are looking to hire a home inspector, ideally you want to hire someone who is a certified home inspector in the region, state(s), and/or province(s) they are working in if such certification is available. It is important to note that the only provinces in Canada which require home inspectors to be certified are British Columbia and Alberta. In other words, depending on where you are, there might not be any mandatory certification standards for home inspectors.
If there is no such certification available wherever you are, you should look to hire a home inspector that is a member of the local or national Home Inspector’s trade association. However, there are some home inspectors who have decided to become certified by the Canadian Association of Housing and Property Inspectors (CAPHI). So, if you are in Ontario, you should be looking for a home inspector that is at the very least has a certification from the Canadian Association of Housing and Property Inspectors.
How much do home inspections cost in Ontario?
The general home inspection cost in Ontario could range from anywhere from $300 to $600 or more. How much you will end up paying to have a general home inspector do a general home inspection will depend on your type of home (apartment, condo, semi-detached house, townhouse, single-family home), your home’s location, your home’s size (the larger your home is, the more you can expect to pay to have it inspected), your home’s age (the older your home is, the more it will cost to inspect.
Additionally, depending on what your general home inspector covers during the initial home inspection, you might need to have additional home inspections and bring in other specialists to come to check out other areas of your home and this could end up costing you even more.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you will have gained a greater understanding of home inspections, why they are important, how much you can expect to pay to have your home inspected, and how to go about hiring a home inspector. Buying or selling your home can be incredibly stressful and it is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Home inspections, when you are buying a home are meant to protect you and help you learn as much about your home.
Therefore, if you are getting your potential new home inspected, and you are a first-time homebuyer you should definitely do your best to be present at your home inspection. You should also do your best to ensure that your real estate agent or broker accompanies you to your home inspection so they can be on hand to answer any questions you have about the home inspection, what the home inspector is telling you, etc.
As a first-time homebuyer, home inspections can be great because you can learn a lot about your new home, learn about how to maintain your new home, how to fix any potential issues that might come up in the future, and learn about anything that might need to be replaced.
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