Home Inspection Costs in Ontario
When it comes time for you to buy a home, it is an exciting proposition. You have spent so much time and energy investing in the search that once you finally win that bid, it seems like you are finally going to move into your dream home. However, before that happens, you should hire a professional home inspector to complete a home inspection.
Professional home inspections are not a requirement for you to buy a home, but it would be much like buying a used car before taking it on a test drive. It is done, but you may be blind to some of the issues surrounding a home.
In today’s crazy market, many home buyers have been foregoing home inspections to make their bid as attractive as possible to the sellers. This is not only a risk; it could end up costing you thousands of dollars over the long-term in time, effort and straight-up cash to repair issues with the home that could have been seen before you signed the dotted line.
For many, a home inspection provides peace of mind while also providing you with some knowledge about the home, its systems and significant features. No matter if you are buying a newer home or a well-worn home, a home inspection can help spot issues before they become problems. These professionals are well-versed and can even help you plan when specific systems, appliances and features will need to be replaced.
In this article, we will look at some of the specifics that come with a home inspection, what you should expect from a home inspector and some of the details around the cost of this service. Remember, the exact services and cost of a home inspector will range, but this resource will provide you with the national and provincial norms.
What is a Home Inspection?
In Ontario, a general home inspection is an inspection of a home by a certified professional home inspector that is generally done as a condition of the sale of a home. By definition, a general home inspection is ‘an objective visual examination of the physical structures and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.’
These inspections are quite thorough and will take hours to complete. Typically, the inspection is conducted by someone who has bought a house and included a home inspection as a condition of the sale. However, we see more and more sellers do a pre-sale home inspection to provide to bidders to avoid the time it can take during the buying process.
Home inspections can provide insights into a home that a sales sheet does not. This includes any issues with water, fire, smoke, or mold. As well, any structural damages that may come into play with the roof, foundation or siding. If a problem is caught during a home inspection, it can be negotiated into the final sale price or be a negotiating chip during the final negotiation. Plus, for buyers, it allows you to know what you are buying instead of depending on a stranger to have kept up the house. It also allows you to spot any issues on your first walk-through of the home.
A proper home inspection will include the observations of the home inspector on the home’s exterior, the structural integrity, appliances with their serial numbers, furnace, wood-burning stove, ventilation and air conditioning systems current condition and if they could be tested. Further to this, depending on the time of the year, the inspector could also note issues with blown seals on windows, problems with doors and insulation issues with roofs.
Home inspections will also include the plumbing, electrical systems, an inspection of the roof, attic and any crawl spaces, inspections of the windows, doors, foundation, basement and look at the interior and exterior drainage of the home. Long story short, a home inspector will look at everything but the paint colour. These reports are thorough and will be dozens of pages long with pictures. Once the inspection is completed, the inspector will suggest immediate fixes and down the line fixes on the property.
It is often best for you to be on the property when the home inspection is happening, but if you are not available, your realtor or another friend or family member can be there. Being there is better as the inspector can point out any issues, tell you a bit about the home and the years of the systems. Most inspectors have been doing this for years, and whether you are a first time home buyer or an experienced pro, you can probably learn a few things from the inspector.
What is Involved in a Home Inspection in Ontario?
When it comes to the actual home inspection, the list is quite long. Here is a sample list to give you some idea of what a home inspector will be looking at in your prospective home.
- Windows and Doors
- Kitchen Appliances
- Major HVAC systems, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning
- Electrical Systems
- Plumbing Systems
- Interior water damage and evidence of water disbursement in walls, roofs, or basements
- Fire safety and noxious gases
- Basements, crawl spaces, and attics
- Ceilings and supports
- Deck, porch, and patios
- Grading of your yard
- Exterior water drainage and water disbursement on the property
- Wall coverings
- Yard and Garden
- Waste systems (if applicable)
A few things to note when it comes to a general home inspection in Ontario. First and foremost, home inspectors are no longer able to go on roofs during the inspection. If you would like to obtain a roof certificate from a roofing company, that will cost extra but can be worth it in certain instances. A home inspector will tell you how old your roof is and spot any issue spots from the ground.
A general home inspector will not specifically look for asbestos, methane, radiation, radon or other damage caused by pests, rodents or mold. The inspector will note it if they find it, but otherwise, it is not part of a routine home inspection.
Further to this, not all home inspectors are WETT certified and may not be able to inspect and ensure that a wood-burning stove is to WETT standards. You can call in an inspector at a local company or have the homeowners provide you with a WETT certificate. One thing to note is to ask for a level two inspection, as level two will allow a hands-on review which can spot issues such as buckles in the chimney or problems with the stovepipe.
Finally, if your home has a waste system such as a septic system, you might need to use a separate inspector for that. Many home inspectors are not certified to complete septic inspections, and a professional will need to be called to complete this job. This is the same with most sewer and waste systems, which may require another professional to complete the inspection.
Is It Worth It To Get a Home Inspection?
When it comes to purchasing a home, it is the biggest purchase of your life. This is a long-term investment, somewhere you will call home and might even raise a family. Saying this, why would you risk that kind of investment by doing a home inspection yourself?
Look, we all want to save a little money, and getting a home inspection can cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. No matter how experienced you are or even in the trades yourself, an independent and certified home inspector can see and note things you might miss.
These inspectors are not just off-the-street construction professionals. They are well-versed about the components, materials and work that goes into building and maintaining a home. An independent inspector can spot issues with ease, use the knowledge that they have gained on the job and classroom learning to spot the problems with elements and tie them back to a problem with a system or area of the home. You can think about it this way, a home inspector is a detective but for homes.
Further to this, home buyers are often dealing with emotions during the home buying process. You or your partner might have fallen in love and want to make sure that you get the house and may overlook glaring issues that will cost you in the future. This lack of objectivity can cloud your judgement and give you that rose coloured pair of glasses that will lead to issues down the line. Canadian home inspectors are fiercely independent and are there to assess the home and note any deficiencies for the client; they do not care about anything else.
Don't Use a Friend or Family Member!
Depending on your situation, you may have a friend or a family member in construction or one of the trades. Although they might know a lot compared to you when it comes to a home, they do not have a certification in home inspecting. It is an art, and it is what they do for a living for home inspectors in Toronto.
Further to this, you do not want to enter negotiations to fix an issue from a non-certified inspection report from a legal and negotiation standing. The seller will not have to do anything as it is your word versus their word. There is no credibility to your friend or family member, and the findings are not from an independent inspector.
Further to this, credibility will come into question regarding impartiality and the conflict of interest of the author of the report. The seller will feel attacked, and things generally will not go well for either side. It is better to have the power of an inspection report behind your negotiation, and when it comes to inspecting a home, a home inspector is the better option for all parties.
What Happens if There Are Issues?
If your home inspector discovers an issue with the home, there are a few things that happen. First, they will note it to you or your real estate agent on the property, show you what is wrong, and provide some suggestions. Next, they will mention it in the inspection report that they will send to you at the end of the inspection.
From the home inspectors side, they are done with the recourse, but you can then work with the sellers to find a solution. If it is a simple fix, sellers will most likely do it themselves and provide you proof that the job is done. However, if it is a significant issue, you will probably need to enter into negotiations.
If there is a single major issue and a few minor issues, it might be best to focus on the significant issue during this negotiation. Haggling over a few hundred dollars is not worth risking the entire home purchase to fall through. Thus, the best course of action is to ask the seller to either fix, provide you funds to repair or knock down the purchase price to fix the major issue of the home. This is an ordinary course of action, and your real estate agent can help you through this process.
What Happens If An Inspector Misses Something?
Mistakes happen, and sometimes an inspector misses something. If you discover a major issue in your home that your inspector missed, you have recourse if you used a certified inspector. You can follow up with them, and most inspectors will cover the cost to fix the overlooked problem if it is something they should have spotted.
However, sometimes inspectors are hesitant to assist in a mistake, and you may need to approach legal representation to assist with recovering funds. This is extreme, as most inspectors are honest and will work with you to find a solution to their mistake.
How Do Home Inspectors Become Certified?
To become a home inspector in Toronto, it takes a fair amount of accreditation, courses and on-the-job learning. From working with other home inspectors to continuing education on the latest construction standards, most inspectors are seasoned professionals that insurance companies and real estate agents trust.
If you are a home inspector in Ontario, you are expected to keep up with the latest changes in code, be aware of grandfathered code for older homes, and work with other real estate professionals. No matter if it is a condo or home inspection, home inspectors in Ontario have a wealth of knowledge, the experience necessary to complete inspections and certifications to back their ability to deliver independent and factual reports.
What Should You Look For in a Home Inspector?
If you are hiring a Canadian home inspector, you should first look at the accreditation and certifications for your province that you will be using the inspector’s services. Only two provinces require home inspectors to be certified, those being Alberta and British Columbia. Thus, a great home inspector in Ontario may not have any standardized certifications, which is okay.
Most home inspectors have been working in the field for years, and real estate agents know the good ones. If you can chat with your realtor; and they may be able to either set up the inspection or point you in the right direction. Most realtors have an inspector they work with regularly and a backup in case they are busy. This is a condition of a home sale, inspections happen periodically, and realtors want to work with someone they can trust and use as part of negotiations if it comes to that.
If you are looking by yourself, it is about finding someone you are comfortable working with and can trust their expertise. Ask your friends, families or even neighbours if they have a good inspector that they have used in the past. Inspectors can be part of a local or national Home Inspectors trade association, and some inspectors in Ontario have been certified by the Canadian Association of Housing and Property Inspectors (CAPHI). If your inspector has a good reputation, has been in the industry for a while, and is a member of a local of CAPHI, you will be in good hands.
How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost in Ontario?
In general, expect to pay between $300 to $600 for a general home inspection in Ontario. Naturally, this will depend on a few factors, including the property type, your location, and home age.
If you have a home with a wood-burning stove, septic systems, or a water feature such as a pool, you may need to pay extra costs for an inspection by professionals in those fields. The benefit of these might not outweigh the price, but it is certainly worth looking into if you plan to use the specialized systems or pool. A wood-burning stove inspection is around $300, a septic inspection is about $400, and a pool inspection runs around $100. But, depending on your area and the specific inspector, these costs may vary.