In February, Queen’s Park tabled a bill to mandate the licensing of Ontario home inspectors.
The new legislation among many things will effectively:
- Make it illegal to perform a home inspection without a license. Although some home inspectors who meet specific criteria may be grandfathered.
- Will give the province powers to make regulations “prescribing certain types of inspections to be included in or excluded from the definition of ‘home inspection’”
- And allow the government to make regulations stipulating what types and amount of insurance home inspectors must carry including errors, omissions and commercial general liability.
There is a professional home inspectors organization the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors which exits to enhance the technical skills and professional practice of home inspectors while promoting public awareness. However it doesn’t have a licensing mandate.
The OAHI philosophy is that home inspectors aren’t created in just a single course. Professionals that have a combination of experience, education and know-how in a variety of technical fields make the best home inspectors.
Since 1994, the OAHI has done a great job of controlling the wild-west of home inspection, advocating for the home owner, the real estate sales professional and the home inspectors themselves.
What is the role of a home inspector in a real estate transaction?
Whether you are buying, selling, investing in real estate a home inspection can save you a lot of heartache and in some cases several thousand dollars.
While home inspections can vary for a number of reasons (townhouse vs condo vs single family dwelling) all home inspections cover the basics, which includes an inspection of the:
- exterior/interior condition of the home
- building foundation
- roof coverings & support structure, flashings & gutters
- insulation quality
What are the advantages of a home inspection?
For the Seller:
A pre-purchase home inspection can help prevent buyers from walking away from a deal because of deficiencies. It also helps a seller comply with the full-disclosure real estate laws by demonstrating transparency and that nothing has been overlooked.
In a seller’s market, where transaction turnarounds are quick having a having a home inspection completed prior to placing it on the market can work in your favour in a number of different situations:
- If the buyer doesn’t have time to do their own home inspection before the offer date, they may pass on the house.
- If the buyer has already done a home inspection on another house but lost the competition, they may fear losing again to the highest bidder, pass on getting a home inspection and pass on your house.
- There are times when a home inspector can make themselves available during the marketing of the home to answer any questions. This might be useful in older homes that may require renovations.
- There is the opportunity to fix any problems before putting the home on the market and having it on the record that those repairs were completed.
- It avoids having a stream of home inspectors representing different buyers parading through your house.
For the Buyer:
Most home buyers understand the advantages of having a home inspection adding it as a condition on the offer to purchase.
It’s wise to choose a home inspector based on reputation, credentials and professional affiliation like the OAHI. Using a local home inspector familiar with the neighbourhood and it’s issues also has advantages. Your real estate sales professional may recommend different home inspectors they have worked with previously.
A completed home inspection not only provides a detailed breakdown of your home but information on when to anticipate major upgrades such as putting on a new roof. This allows you to budget or plan for future financial investments.
Having a pre-purchase home inspection simply makes sense. It’s part of the due diligence for any purchase and it makes life easier for both the buyer and the seller.
If you have questions about home inspectors, be sure to speak with your real estate sales professional – your advocate in purchasing or selling a home.