Scoping out your home inspector

June 16, 2009

There are many factors to consider when investing in a pre-owned home: location, size, price, mortgage rates, and more. It can be an arduous, time-consuming process that you want to complete as soon as possible.

But beware: choosing the wrong home inspector could have serious repercussions weeks, months, or even years after making your purchase.

It’s of vital importance to have a home inspected before buying it, to ensure you are aware of its structural integrity and the condition of its major systems and components; the inspection can identify issues that are not immediately apparent to the untrained eye. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), an average home inspection takes about 3 hours and costs about $500.

In British Columbia, consumers are protected, and inspectors can be held accountable for any issues that may be missed during an inspection.

So how do you choose wisely? Here are some tips:

  • In BC licenses are required for home inspectors to better protect buyers and ensure qualified inspections. To file a complaint or to check to see if the inspector is licensed, contact Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority at www.bpcpa.caThe BPCPA consumer tip sheet on home inspectors is also an excellent place to start your research.
  • Get references for the inspector you are considering; call these references and inquire about their experience. Better yet, ask friends and family who have recently purchased a home for their recommendations.
  • Try to choose an experienced inspector – the longer an inspector has been in business, the more likely he or she is to be able to spot less obvious problems. Ask potential inspectors about their qualifications and professional associations of which they are members.
  • Be wary of home inspectors who also operate as contractors – while he or she might offer an opinion, you shouldn’t be having any necessary work done by your inspector.
  • Never have an inspection done at night, as problem areas might be difficult to spot in lower light.

For more detailed information on how to choose a home inspector, visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) website at To check out an inspector, start with