Should I get a home inspection? A careful mind always answers “yes,” but some homebuyers may be tempted to bypass this critical step in the purchasing process under certain market conditions. It could be a competitive seller’s market or the immediate “feel” you get when you find a home that could be “the one.” From the moment you walked through the front door, you knew it had to be yours. The walk-in closet, open-concept plan and lush backyard are precisely what you’ve been dreaming of and may be enough to overlook the leaking faucet in the bathroom and the strange smell wafting up from the basement.

Sometimes when viewing a home, it is easy to let staging get the best of us. We get so caught up in the pretty wrapping that we forget to look inside to see what makes the home tick.

It is a classic example of never judging a book by its cover and can be easily solved with a home inspection. When buyers put in an offer, there is the option to insert a home inspection clause. When you hire a professional home inspector, you can save time and stress and avoid potential financial risk by proactively identifying any issues within the home’s inner workings. The home inspector will do a visual inspection of the home’s structure and components to ensure everything is performing correctly and in safe working condition.

What Does a Home Inspector Look At?

The home inspector will pay special attention to the following areas of the home:

Roof – The home inspector will assess the overall condition of the roof and its materials, looking for signs of wear and tear, sagging, damage, or deterioration. They will also check the gutters and downspouts to ensure they are clear and functioning correctly.

Ventilation – The home inspector will check that there are enough ventilation openings in the home and that the system is adequate for the size of the house and the number of occupants.

Fireplace – The home inspector will inspect the chimney, flue, and fireplace to ensure they are free of cracks, leaks, or other damage that can pose a safety hazard. They will also check for signs of creosote buildup, which can increase the chance of a chimney fire.

Plumbing – The home inspector will examine the water heater and any plumbing fixtures to ensure they are in good working order. They will check for visible leaks, such as under sinks and around toilets, and test the water pressure to ensure it is adequate and consistent throughout the home.

Electrical – The home inspector will inspect the electrical panel and wiring and test the outlets in the home to ensure they are in good condition and up to code. They will check for signs of damage, corrosion, or overheating to ensure the electrical system is safe for everyday use.

Exterior – Some of the exterior elements that a home inspector will examine include the foundation, siding, windows, doors, vents, gutters and driveway. The home inspector will check that all components are functioning as they should and look for any signs of cracks or damage that could affect the home’s safety.

HVAC – The home inspector will assess the HVAC system to ensure it is properly installed and up to code with the correct wiring, ventilation, and ductwork. They will test the system to check that it is functioning correctly, checking for issues with temperature control, airflow, and other settings.

Structure – Inside the home, the inspector will check the framing, walls, ceilings, and floors, looking for signs of cracks, sagging, water or any other damage that could affect the home’s structural integrity. They will also examine the attic or crawl space for signs of deterioration and to ensure proper insulation and ventilation.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost, and Who Pays?

The cost of a home inspection will vary depending on factors including the following:

Size of the home – The larger the house, the longer the inspection will take, affecting the cost.

Age of the home – Older homes may require more detailed inspections and may have more issues to address, affecting the cost.

Location of the home – The cost of a home inspection can vary depending on the home’s location and the cost of living in that area.

Scope of the inspection – The inspection cost can vary depending on the specific items or areas included in the inspection, such as appliances or additional structures on the property.

Experience and qualifications of the inspector – The cost of a home inspection can vary depending on the experience and qualifications of the inspector. More experienced or detailed inspectors may charge a higher rate for their services.

Additional services – Some home inspectors may offer other services, such as radon testing or termite inspections, which can affect the overall cost of the inspection.

Always make sure you choose your home inspector carefully by doing your research and closely examining their qualifications and credentials. Choosing a reputable inspector could save you from unexpected and often costly issues in your new home. Remember, however, that there is no government oversight or standards for home inspectors in many provinces, and you may have no recourse should they miss something critical.