That is a frequently-asked question that our Office Manager gets when someone is buying a brand new home, or even a home that's just a few years old.
The answer is always YES! Are you surprised by that? And no, it's not because we get paid, because trust me, we turn down numerous "home inspections" each week. Read my previous blog on a Home Inspector's character and you'll see why.;)
I recently performed a home inspection on a brand new house in LaSalle, Ontario. Our client was to take possession of the house at the end of this month but that might be delayed - read on and you'll see why. Although the builder is reputable, our client felt the need to have us inspect the home for peace of mind. There's a reason why that's our tag line!
Usually the client follows me around and asks questions but this client wandered around the home on his own as I went through my usual home inspection routine. The builder was there as well but he was busy installing a central vac in the garage. In fact, many reputable builders often hire us to do a home inspection prior to their clients taking possession of the home to ensure that there won't be any surprises when their clients move in.
As I always do, I filled the jet tub in the master ensuite bathroom and turned it on. Then I proceeded to inspect under and around the tub through the access panel. I discovered a leak and informed the client and the builder.
The severity of the leak was determined using the thermal infrared imaging camera as water traveled through various areas of the ceilings and walls.
Needless to say, the client was ecstatic with our inspection and diligently followed me around for the remainder of the inspection - that is what we prefer. And actually, the builder was pleased that this was discovered BEFORE they moved in so that he can make the necessary repairs. I wouldn't want to be this builder's plumber right now though because I'd say there's probably about $10,000 worth of damage.
In my 25+ years of doing home inspections, I have many other accounts to tell but I remember one time, discovering windows in a master bedroom of a brand new home that didn't open! The builder must have intentionally distracted the municipal inspector during that final walk-through. Anyway, YES, it is always a good idea to have a home inspection performed no matter the age of the house.
I know that you are used to hearing from the Home Inspector but he's been so busy in the last few months! Either the housing market is cooling down or home buyers are putting their foot down and insisting on having a full home inspection after hearing the horror stories from home buyers who didn't get an inspection.
Anyway, I thought I'd give you a perspective on the home inspection process from my angle. I've been managing the office for over 25 years and although I rarely get to meet the client face-to-face, I have come to know some great people.
After hearing certain realtors' voice over the phone for over two decades, it's funny when we finally meet in person. It's like a deja vu moment. One time, I was walking into Walmart in Amherstburg and a guy in a pick-up truck had his window down and he was on speaker phone with a realtor. I immediately recognized the realtor's voice and the next time I spoke to that realtor, I asked him how his deal went with the guy in the pick-up truck in the Walmart parking lot lol.
Some clients call me from time to time just to chat. I love those calls. On several occasions throughout the years, I could sense panic in the caller's voice and I asked them if we can take a moment to pray together over the phone about their situation. No one has ever turned me down.
We work 6-days a week. That is a full schedule but we still get calls for inspections on Sundays. Callers are amazed that we do not perform inspections on Sundays. Sundays are for church and family. Some will offer to pay us extra but I turn them all down. Once a caller was really trying to persuade me to book a home inspection for him on a Sunday. I politely told him that he could be the Prime Minister of Canada and that wouldn't make a difference!
We've performed home inspections for some pretty famous people too. These include world-famous athletes, authors, TV personalities to name a few. But no client is treated better than the next. Everyone gets 100% of my attention and time over the phone. I answer all their questions and set their mind at ease regarding the home inspection process.
What can I say...I love my job and talking to new people every day. Don't get me wrong, there have been a handful of cranky callers too (like the guy who insisted on a home inspection on a Sunday) but those are few and far between.
I'm looking forward to your call and don't forget when booking an inspection, it's always a good idea to have the house address handy - you would be surprised at how many people say, "Oh, yah, I guess you need that!".
Although most people like to leave Google Reviews, some just like to send us an email. So I thought I'd put those reviews here for you to read.
Brad, as you have done home inspections for us several times over the years, the latest one in Tecumseh was equally done in a professional and complete manner. We are not sure that all your other customers follow our pattern. If we are successful in purchasing the subject property, we use your very detailed report line for line, after moving in to upgrade or correct your noted items. That ensures us that the purchase is solid and long lasting without unforeseen latent failures. You were recommended by a premier set of local real estate agents who obviously know just how good your work is done. We already knew from previous experience. The inspection just gets better over time. Much more electronic devices used for detection, vast experience base from many years in the field, etc. We consider your work, "the best of the best" and will continue to spread the word to all our contacts. Thank you for your valuable services.
Bob & Cheryl Hogue
One of the neatest tools I use during a full home inspection is the infrared camera. Clients love to see its capabilities and how it reveals interesting findings not noticeable with the naked eye.
I remember one time, my home-buying clients asked the home-owners if their pets were house-trained. The home-owners (who were the vendors), adamantly stated YES. I took out my infrared camera and proceeded to scan the carpet and VOILA....numerous wet stains were obvious. The home-owners faces turned about as red as the red spots in the infrared images!
This week I performed a post-purchase home inspection on a two storey home in Windsor. When we went to the upper level of the home, I asked the client if this area is usually as warm as it was on that day. The new home-owner stated that indeed they were having trouble regulating the temperature in the home and especially on the upper level which was causing them to have restless sleep.
I took out the infrared camera and scanned the area. To the new home-owner's surprise, they had no idea that they had an in-ceiling heating system that was on full blast while their air conditioner was trying to cool this area. Needless to say, they had been wasting a lot of money cooling their home while heating it at the same time.
Folks, even if you think your house is perfect, it is well worth getting a home inspection even after the sale. You get a 90-day warranty as well as an education on what is likely going to be your largest purchase.
Once again, Home Inspection Consultants Inc. provides Peace of Mind...either before the purchase or after.
Our letter to the editor of the Windsor Star has finally been published!
June 17, 2019
In my 25 years of inspecting homes, I have seen the housing market fluctuate but never like what we have been experiencing in the last couple of years.
A home buyer cannot make an offer to purchase a house with a condition of a home inspection, financing or obtaining house insurance. This has greatly affected the home inspection industry. In order to make a living, some home inspectors offer verbal walk through viewings with no written report or 5-point home inspections where only a portion of the home is checked. Many times, a written report is not provided, resulting in no liability on the inspector and if an issue arises in the future. The home-buyer is left with no defense and errors & omissions insurance coverage will likely not cover these inspections because the Standards of Practice set by the Home Inspection Associations were not followed.
The Ontario Government protects car buyers with the Used Vehicle Information Package and Safety Standards Certificate. Yet, the governing bodies are not protecting home buyers. When contacted, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services stated “The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is responsible for administering and enforcing the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act. RECO regulates the conduct of real estate agents and works to increase consumer protection in the real estate industry.” Sadly some home buyers find out that they can’t get house insurance or there are safety issues they were not aware of because they were advised to forgo a proper house inspection.
Each home buyer should have a FULL home inspection performed by an Ontario Government-Recognized Home Inspector so that they can make an informed decision on their largest investment. If each offer-to-purchase had this clause, this would protect home buyers.
Why did the Government regulate the car sales industry but wash their hands from protecting home buyers! Unfortunately, we are back to square one…Caveat Emptor (buyer beware).
Brad Labute, RHI, NCH, ASHI-Certified
Home Inspection Consultants Inc.
Home Inspection Consultants' home inspectors will only perform home inspections and pre-delivery house inspections (PDI) that abide by the Standards of Practice and Code of Conduct set forth by the Home Inspection Associations. You can read more about this in my blog entitled 'A Home Inspector's Character'.
Our house inspections and commercial building inspections consist of a visual inspection of the over-all structure of the building, as well as an examination of each system and component. In addition to going up onto the roof* and into the attic and crawl space*, each system is operated/evaluated and every room is carefully inspected by our building inspectors. The home inspection is objective & very educational and the home inspector always provides a detailed house-specific written home inspection report. The home buyer is always encouraged to attend the house inspection so that the home inspector can explain everything and answer all questions. 3 hours of your time can save you thousands of dollars and countless sleepless nights.
*NOTE: Other home inspection companies in the Windsor and Essex County areas inspect the roof from the ground/edge and inspect the attic and crawl space from their access opening only!
Our 25-years of experience performing home and commercial building inspections on a full-time basis, as well as our experience in the custom home-building industry, enable us to be uniquely qualified to perform home inspections on both new home construction and older buildings. Our state-of-the-art equipment and continuing education give Home Inspection Consultants the edge in Providing Peace of Mind. Our Chief Home Inspector, Brad Labute, was awarded the Most Meticulous House Inspector Award!
Uncle 'Joe' is a great guy and has offered to take a look at the home you're thinking of purchasing. He's doing you a favour because it's free right?....wrong! Does he know about issues that house insurance companies have with certain plumbing and electrical? Yikes, you might win the bid on the house but find out later that you can't get house insurance! Or does he know what asbestos insulation looks like? Yikes, airborne fibres might be lurking throughout the home. Does he have the latest tools to inspect a house properly? A professional infrared camera costs thousands of dollars....is that what he is using?
Even 'professional' (and I use this term loosely) Home Inspectors differ. Some interrupt your home inspection to book other inspections. Some home inspectors book so many inspections in a day that you are rushed through one of the biggest decisions of your life. Some do not go up onto the roof. Some do not crawl throughout the entire crawl space and attic. Many times I've seen a great roof from the ground or even the edge, but I don't find any issues until I'm right up there. Same goes for a crawl space...everything might look good until I go just a little further and BANG, there's wood rot or a burst pipe. Some Home Inspectors are doing verbal/cash home inspections which go against all Home Inspection Association's Standards of Practice. There's even a Realtor here in Essex County who is doing home inspections on the side!
It takes years to obtain the knowledge of a competent home inspector. You didn't choose the cheapest house on the market, why skimp on the home inspection?
This week, I did a home inspection on a home in Windsor that has a crawl space. Although it's not my favourite place to be, I always go into the crawl space...from one end to the other. I'd do it for a home I'm inspecting for my daughter or son, so naturally I do it for all my clients. Why do I stress this? Because not all home inspectors go into the crawl space and if they do, they don't inspect the ENTIRE area. I guess that can be said about plumbers too...read on and you'll find out why.
During this home inspection, I found a leak in a pipe and it wasn't just an occasional drip. I reported it to my client (the home buyer) and the Realtor who were in attendance. Later that day, I got a call from the Realtor stating that the home owner had a plumber check all the pipes in the crawl space and he couldn't find the leak.
Dumbfounded that a licensed plumber could not find the leak, I asked whether he went to the complete opposite end of the crawl space (in this case it was the south wall). Apparently the plumber had not ventured into that area of the crawl space and therefore did not see the leak!
Is it important for a building inspector to check the whole crawl space during a home inspection? You bet it is! In addition to the leak, I found a cracked floor joist amongst other things as well. My client was quite happy with my findings during this home inspection and at the end of the day, so was the home owner because now their water bill will go down and their crawl space will start to dry up.
Statistics show that we've had the 4th wettest April since they began keeping records back in 1940! This is affecting everyone from farmers to my grandson's soccer team! They've had more cancelled games this year than ever before.
Homeowners have also been affected by all this rain and that is why the City of Windsor and some local municipalities have opted to offer their residents subsidies for installing sump pumps, back-water valves and for disconnecting their downspouts from the storm drain.
I have personally taken advantage of this generous offer and the process was very smooth and easy. However, I always stress to my clients while I'm doing their home inspection that water control around a home is crucial. 80% of water intrusion can be controlled by the home owner.
Yet, I hear of many people who experience water in their home and they turn to a water-proofing company instead of managing the water around their home which is much less costly and relatively easy.
During a home inspection, I explain to my clients that properly-aligned eaves troughs and keeping the troughs clear of debris is crucial. If you have trees near your home, you might want to consider installing leaf guards.
The water run-off from downspouts should be directed at least 6 to 8 feet away from your home. I am always surprised during a home inspection how often I see downspouts with those little cement pads and all that water is collecting in one spot at the foundation. No wonder the homeowner has water penetration issues!
The grade around the home is often a neglected aspect in water control. During the home inspection, we walk around the home while carefully examining the grade and keeping an eye out for dips around the home as well as improper material such as gravel which just allows the water to accumulate at the foundation and not shed away from the home. I often see sidewalks, patios and driveways slope towards the foundation and that is just inviting the water to gather at the foundation and find its way into the home.
I can't help but shake my head when I'm inspecting homes and I see the sump pump drain just outside the foundation. So, this means that all the water that is being collected from around the home and into the sump pit is now being discharged to one area at the foundation. That makes no sense at all.
So, you can now see how simple water control measures at the exterior of the home can help deter water from penetrating into your basement or crawl space. During a full home inspection, we discuss these, along with other measures such as window wells etc. and my clients are often baffled by the fact that they had never thought of these little things which can cause major issues in the long run.
So, you can either sing Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Another Day or Somwhere Over The Rainbow....it's up to you!
Ok, let's face it, in today's housing market, home buyers are being advised to buy a home with no conditions. That's right, no financing or home inspection conditions...that means you are essentially buying a home for cash and buying it 'as is'. Wow, buying a home is likely the biggest investment you'll make and now you're advised not to finance it or get it inspected. I'm glad I bought my last house 20 years ago without these unfair pressures!
I can't speak on the financing aspect but I've got 25 years of experience in the home inspection industry so that's what I'll address. Home Inspection Consutants Inc. is now doing more post-purchase property inspections than pre-purchase house inspections. This is quite a shift in the home inspection industry. When we first started back in 1994, post-purchase building inspections didn't exist.
We get paid either way, before the purchase or after the purchase, so whichever you choose is up to you BUT it is clearly more beneficial to the home buyer to have a pre-purchase home inspection because then you can make an INFORMED decision on your biggest investment.
So, how can a post-purchase home inspection save you money or help you when you've already bought the house?
Even if you have moved into the home, it's not too late to call Home Inspection Consultants Inc. We Provide Peace of Mind.
Housing Market Frenzy in Windsor & Essex County
How it affects the Home Buyer
Windsor, ON April 2, 2019: The ‘hot’ housing market in Windsor & Essex County has negatively affected home buyers in many ways. The current trend to eliminate home inspections from offers-to-purchase puts home buyers in a precarious situation. Home buyers are being strongly advised to purchase a home with no conditions because a condition will jeopardize their offer even if their offer has a greater dollar value than the next.
The Ontario Government protects car buyers with the Used Vehicle Information Package and Safety Standards Certificate. Yet, the governing bodies are not protecting Ontario home buyers. Unlike vehicles, the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, does not apply to transactions that involve the purchase, sale or lease of real property. When contacted, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services stated “The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is responsible for administering and enforcing the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act. RECO regulates the conduct of real estate agents and works to increase consumer protection in the real estate industry.” That’s like solely appointing the Ontario Motor Vehicles Industry Council (OMVIC) to regulate the purchase, sale or lease of vehicles!! The Ontario Government did not believe that was enough to protect consumers and therefore the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services stepped in.
With the current Real Estate trend, whoever 'wins' or out-bids others with their offer-to-purchase does not truly know the condition of what they are buying! Ontario home buyers should have the RIGHT to take the time to have a FULL Home Inspection performed by an Ontario Government-Recognized Home Inspector so that they can make an informed decision on their largest investment. If each offer-to-purchase had this clause, every home buyer would be protected as they would all be on the same level playing field.
We are now performing post-purchase home inspections and more times than not, the new home buyers are surprised with our findings and are in deep regret because they feel that they have no recourse – they’ve already bought the house. They all wish that they would have gotten the home inspection performed prior to making the decision on their biggest investment.
Why does the Ministry of Government and Consumer Relations protect car buyers but not home buyers? The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) cannot possibly protect home buyers while its members are the ones receiving compensation for Ontario real estate transactions. Just like the car sales industry, a governing body which is not associated with or affected by the monetary transaction of a purchase/sale/lease must be involved in order to protect the consumer. When will the governing bodies protect Ontario home buyers? We are back to square one…Caveat Emptor (buyer beware).
I've come across a lot of interesting tidbits of information during my 25 year career as a home inspector. I've been told that I'm pretty meticulous and a good 'teacher', so hopefully you'll find some interesting information here..