It is a fact that not all Home Inspectors are the same and not all Home Inspections are the same. While in Alberta, all Home Inspectors are now required to be Licenced and Insured, this merely creates a minimum requirement to operate as a Home Inspector. This is why you need to ask questions to properly screen and select your Home Inspector.
Check the websites of Home Inspection Societies and familiarize yourself with the minimum Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that these Inspection Societies demand of their Member/Inspectors. This is also a great way to get contact information and websites of Home Inspectors in your area. You may also want to consider checking the Better Business Bureau. Assured Home Inspections is a proud member of InterNACHI and the BBB>
Ask people you know if they have any Home Inspection experiences that they can share with you. Preferably from people who have lived in a house after it was inspected for at least one year, so that the house and owners have experienced all four seasons. Whether the experience was positive or negative, get names of Home Inspectors, so that you can avoid the bad ones and keep the good ones on your short list of possible Inspectors to hire. Assured Home Inspections has received many compliments; please feel free to read them on the Testimonials section of this website.
Contact several Home Inspectors. Ask each of them how much Home Inspection experience they have and what previous or related experience they have; also ask if they have training/experience with the Alberta Building Code. The more experience should make for a better Inspector, and the previous or related experience should ideally be something to do with construction. Assured Home Inspections has been in business for over 10 years and has completed thousands of Home Inspections.
Find out how much time the Inspector takes to do an Inspection. A small sized house should take a minimum of 4 hours; larger houses will require more time. Assured Home Inspections, we spend a minimum of 5 hours on site.
Inquire about Inspection Techniques. For example, how does the Inspector inspect the roof? From the ground; from the eaves; or does the Inspector actually mount the roof to do a proper, thorough job? What Inspection Techniques does the Inspector use in the winter? At Assured Home Inspections, we ALWAYS mount the roof, even in the winter (unless extreme weather or step pitch prevents mounting).
Ask if you can accompany the Inspector during the Inspection, and ask questions. The Inspector should be willing and prepared to have you along, and to answer all of your questions. Avoid Home Inspectors who discourage you from attending the Inspection. At Assured Home Inspections, we encourage and welcome your attendance and look forward to answering your questions.
Inquire if the Home Inspector uses specialized tools such as a moisture meter or an infrared camera; and if the Home Inspector is trained/certified (as is applicable) to use these specialized tools. Specialized tools and training can help to identify some issues that other Home Inspectors cannot. Not all infrared cameras are the same. Many Inspectors are not professionally trained in thermography and are using cheap, low resolution (160 x 120 or less) IR cameras which are not great for building science/diagnostics, especially during the summer months. Assured Home Inspections uses a high resolution IR camera (640 x 480) and the Inspector is Certified Level 1 Thermographer.
Find out what type of Inspection Report the Inspector will provide. Typically a narrative Report will be a more detailed, higher quality Report. High Quality Inspection Reports include photo documentation of issues. You should ask any Inspector that you are interviewing to provide you with a Sample Inspection Report, so that you can see if the report conveys the information to you in a meaningful way that you can understand, and so you know what to expect. Also find out exactly when the report will be provided to you. At Assured Home Inspections, we provide a narrative type report with a minimum of 40-60 photographs included. Our Inspection Reports are provided the same day. See the sample report shown on this website.
Never pick your Home Inspector based on the Inspection fee. The most common mistake many people make is to ask: “How much does it cost and when can you be there”? You should expect to pay a considerably higher fee for a Quality Home Inspector who has years, of experience, has invested in extensive training and specialized tools, and provides a High Quality Inspection Report. There is an old saying: “you get what you pay for”.