Home Inspection Articles

Choosing a Home Inspector: What To Look For & Why

Posted by Thea Scrimger on May 1, 2014 9:54:00 AM

Bright HomeSpring is known as one of the busiest seasons for real estate and this one is no exception. Fresh sunshine and warm temperatures are bringing home buyers out of hibernation in droves. In a recent News Release, Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President, Dianne Usher said, “the spring market started off on a strong note in the Greater Toronto Area [GTA], with a 10.8 per cent year-over-year sales increase reported by Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® during the first two weeks of April.”* Although many predicted that this year’s spring market would be slower than normal due to the consistently fewer number of homes for sale, record sales numbers challenge this assumption. Usher explains, “While the persistent listings shortage in the GTA, coupled with strong demand, has led to a brisk pace of price growth, very low advertised mortgage rates have gone a long way to mitigating the effect of upward trending home prices.”*

The fast pace of this busy market, combined with the fierce competition for homes, means most individuals who are buying a house have to move very quickly to get the property they want. Some believe that “moving quickly” translates to waiving conditions – a decision we strongly advise against; especially skipping the Home Inspection. A Home Inspection is a very important part of the real estate process, as these professional consultations provide buyers with a comprehensive evaluation of the home from the roof to the basement to give them a better understanding of the home they are buying. To move quickly without compromising on quality or information we encourage home buyers to make strategic preparations when they first enter the real estate market.

Just as you choose your real estate agent before you start looking for a new home, why not do the same with your Home Inspector? Choosing your Home Inspector early in the game can put you at a considerable advantage. Instead of making multiple phone calls to determine which inspection company you would like to work with and then figuring out everyone’s availability (yours, your agent's, the seller's, their agent's, and the inspector’s) all while you’re trying to secure the home (talking to your bank, confirming your mortgage, and remaining competitive compared to other interested buyers), selecting your inspector early on can save you some stress and make the buying process more efficient.

How to Choose a Home Inspector

When looking for a Home Inspector, many buyers focus on the three Es: education, experience, and expense. While we do agree that it’s important to ensure that the inspector you’re working with is well-trained and very familiar with the industry, we believe that when it comes to one of the biggest investments you will ever make, the cost of the inspection should not be your primary concern. The emphasis should instead be on the quality of service you receive. In addition to the training and knowledge of your inspector, here are a few other items to consider:

  • Report Quality

Most Home Inspectors will have a sample of their inspection report available for prospective clients, either online or by request – make sure to review this as it will be the roadmap to your new home. Can you read it? How detailed is it? Are there pictures? And, most importantly, how soon after your inspection will you receive it? If the report falls short in any of these areas you should reconsider working with this company. An inspector may be great on site, but if they don’t provide you with a valuable report, it might be time to find someone else. 

  • Standards of Practice

Reputable Home Inspection Companies will adhere to a Standard of Practice (if they don’t that is a bad sign) – familiarize yourself with this document. It will outline the way the inspector will inspect, and what is and is not covered in their inspection. Reading this will help you to understand what your inspector will be assessing in the home and what to expect from the inspection. 

  • Accessibility

Looking for an inspectorWhen vetting your Home Inspector it’s important to make sure that they’re available when you need them – before and after the inspection. You should know how much notice you have to give the company to get an inspection when you need it; do they need more than 24 hours? It’s also good practice to discuss their post-inspection policy. Can you contact them if you have questions about the report? What about if you run into an issue after you close, or if you want to do a renovation a few years into homeownership? Beyond these factors, it’s very important to consider how accessible they are. Is it hard to get in touch with them? How quickly do they or their company get back to you? These questions point to the relationship you’ll have with your inspector after they’ve done their job, and it’s valuable to be aware of their commitment to their clients.

Selecting your Home Inspector before you’ve found your home means that when you do find your dream home you’ll have one less thing to worry about. At Carson Dunlop, our Customer Service Team is available to answer questions about our Home Inspection services and more seven days a week. Contact us via email or call 800-268-7070 to see how we can help you. We’d love to help welcome you to your new home.


*SOURCE: Toronto Real Estate Board - http://www.torontorealestateboard.com/market_news/release_market_updates/

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Home Inspector Advice, Carson Dunlop, Real Estate News

High Home Prices May Mean More Complex Home Inspections

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Apr 7, 2014 10:51:00 AM

Save MoneyThe Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released its resale market figures for the month of March, reporting that “the average selling price for March 2014 sales was $557,684 – an increase of almost eight per cent compared to the average report for March 2013. The average price for the first quarter of 2014 was up by 8.5 per cent year-over-year.”* For the most part, home prices across Canada are on the rise, as demonstrated by the hot markets in major cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.

These high prices are especially prevalent in the Greater Toronto Area where the demand for houses is much greater than the supply. TREB President, Dianne Usher, explains the effects this equation has had on the real estate market: “Sales activity in the GTA accelerated last month. Compared to last year, a greater number of buyers found affordable home ownership options, as evidenced by sales growth for all major home types. Against this backdrop, however, overall inventory at the end of March remained lower than last year. This means competition between buyers increased, which is why the average selling price continued to climb.”*


With only a small number of new listings available, especially in spring, which is the busiest season for real estate, buyers are entering a frenzied market. The Toronto Star is reporting that, in an effort to combat the extreme measures home buyers feel they must go to, “the Real Estate Council of Ontario [RECO] has launched a public education campaign to warn buyers about the dangers of letting emotion get out of hand.”** Unfortunately, this trend of high prices as a response to limited listings isn’t expected to shift anytime soon. TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis, Jason Mercer, says, “With borrowing costs remaining low, and in fact declining, strong home ownership demand will continue to butt up against a constrained supply of listings. Strong price growth will be the result for the remainder of 2014.”* So what does this mean for home buyers? How can they protect themselves?

We recognize that having to pay more for a home means having a greatly reduced budget for repairs – especially unexpected ones. And just as RECO’s attempt to quell the frustration brought on by current market conditions focuses on education and encourages home buyers to be home smart, we have redesigned our Home Buyer’s Inspections to further inform and protect our clients. We now offer multi-tiered inspections to address whatever concerns that buyers may have, and at cost-effective prices. Our clients now have a choice of three Home Buyer’s Inspection packages: Basic, Essential, and Enhanced.


BasicThe inspection includes:
  • A summary page with key findings.

  • Improvement recommendations for conditions, with time frames and ball park costs.

  • Photos and colour illustrations for clarity.

  • A free Home Reference Book, to help you understand how your home works. ($59 value)

  • A check for manufacturer recalls on appliances through RecallChek. See a sample report.

  • Free enrollment in the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association.

EssentialThe inspection includes:
  • The same components as the Basic Package.

  • A HomeVerified Home History Report which will provide information on: grow op and meth lab records for the area, local school rankings, neighbourhood amenities, and political representation.

  • A Thermal Imaging Inspection with an infrared camera to help to identify hidden water problems within the home.

  • Free technical support for as long as you own your home.

EnhancedThe inspection includes:
  • The same components as the Essential Package.

  • An environmental assessment, which covers mould, air quality, and asbestos.

  • A specialist will test:

    • Three materials for asbestos

    • Two indoor air samples

    • One outdoor reference sample

    • One surface sample for mould


Our Home Inspectors are available to perform these inspections seven days a week. You can schedule your inspection over the phone at 800-268-7070 or online. All of our packages start with a great one-on-one inspection experience and a clear inspection report to guide you, then increase in scope and depth. Buyers select the package that best fits their needs.

If you have any questions about Home Inspections or our new packages, give us a call or reach out to us via email. You can also connect with us on Twitter or Facebook – we’re always here to help.


*SOURCE: The Toronto Real Estate Board - http://www.torontorealestateboard.com/market_news/release_market_updates/
**SOURCE: Susan Pigg, The Toronto Star - http://www.thestar.com/business/real_estate/2014/04/03/gta_house_prices_hit_

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Carson Dunlop Update, Carson Dunlop, Real Estate News