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The How and Why of Home Inspections

The How and Why of Home Inspections

Have questions about home inspections?  Here is some good information from our expert Lawrence Englehart at Global Property Inspections.

Why are home inspections important for home buyers?

The purchase of a home tends to be one of the largest investments most people will undertake.   In an effort to minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected repairs, the home inspection should provide an unbiased and objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of the home.   The inspector evaluates and reports the condition of the structure, roof, basement, drainage, electrical, plumbing, heating system, visible insulation, walls, windows, and doors. The home inspections are visual, non-invasive and of readily accessible areas.

A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value. It is not a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. The Home Inspector should identify those observed items that require major repairs, improper building practices, fire and safety concerns, as well as any items that have overdue maintenance issues.   A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what components and systems may need major repair or replacement.   After the inspection, you will know more about the house, which will allow you to make decisions with confidence.

How should people go about choosing a home inspector?

While is it not unusual to start the process of hiring a home inspector after an offer to purchase has been accepted; more and more homebuyers are realizing that choosing a home inspector does take research and time, and have started their hiring process prior to any offer to purchase.   Regardless, it is extremely important to note that not all home inspectors are equally trained and/or qualified!

The best source is by far a “word of mouth” referral; you can ask your family, a friend or co-worker, your Mortgage Broker, Lawyer, etc. If they can recommend a home inspector they have used in the past.   As well, your REALTOR® will typically provide a list of at least three local home inspectors.

Additionally, look for home inspectors who belong to a provincial association such as CAHPI (Canadian Home & Property Inspectors), as these professionals are typically bound by a strict code of ethics and must adhere to specific standards of practice.  It is important to note that only CAHPI members have the legal right to use the CAHPI logo and the term RHI (Registered Home Inspector).   Using a CAHPI Registered Home Inspector (RHI) is your assurance that you are working with the highest quality and trained home inspectors in Nova Scotia.  This verification can be easily found at

The homebuyer should always do their own due diligence. Do not be afraid to ask tough questions in their search for a competent home inspector:

        1. Are they a member of a professional association such as CAHPI-Atlantic (
        2. Then go to that Association website to confirm this person is indeed a member!
        3. How long have they been performing inspections?
        4.  Is this their full-time profession?
        5. Do they carry Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance?
        6. Are they WETT Certified? (for any wood burning appliances)
        7. How long does the inspection normally take?
        8. Do they use an infrared camera?
        9. Do they offer any other ancillary inspection services? (i.e. Radon, Sewer Video Inspection, etc.)
        10. When can they expect to receive the report and will it include are pictures?

Most importantly, don’t seek out the cheapest home inspector you can find. As they tend to be the ones with the least experience and therefore may have the highest risk to the home buyer!

And if you have any questions for us, feel free to contact us here!