Home Inspection Articles

House Hunting Have You All Atwitter? Home Inspectors Can Help

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jun 16, 2014 10:44:00 AM

ComputerIn an effort to help better inform first-time home buyers, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has developed an initiative on Twitter to provide users with easy access to real estate experts and resources. RBC runs #RBCFirstHome Twitter chats frequently, and they’ve graciously asked us to contribute to the last few sessions. These chats aim to assist with the home buying process by allowing home buyers to communicate with professionals who specialize in various areas related to real estate (REALTORS®, mortgage specialists, home stagers, real estate lawyers, and Home Inspectors). Participants can tweet with the #RBCFirstHome hashtag and ask experts questions related to buying a house and the housing market.

We’ve learned a lot during these sessions, and not just about technology (Twitter is fun, but it sure isn’t intuitive #whatisahastag). Connecting with first time buyers reminded us that home buying is a complicated process that many people have questions about.

To help eliminate some of this knowledge gap, we combed through the questions asked throughout the chats we’ve participated in, and compiled a list of the inquiries and comments we feel will help home buyers most. If you’re in the process of buying your first home, or if you just want to refresh your knowledge, consider the information below – you might have some similar questions.

  • What kind of things are inspectors typically looking for?

A professional Home Inspection is a visual assessment of a property. Inspectors will investigate the interior and exterior of the home, evaluating its major components – for example, the roof, the structure, the electrical and plumbing, the heating and cooling system, and the insulation. Their task is to determine how the systems in the home are operating and whether there are any large expenses the buyer will be facing should they move forward with the purchase. The focus is on functionality, lifespan, and safety. Your Home Inspector’s goal is to give you a concrete understanding of the home so you can make an informed decision on the purchase.

  • If you find issues during the inspection, who fixes them?

This is more situational. When a major expense is discovered it is up to the potential buyer to determine what their recourse will be, if any. Some buyers use the discovery to negotiate the price, or have the seller repair or replace the item. In other cases the buyer decides to walk away from the deal. Every case is different and it’s best to get the information you need from the inspector and then work with your real estate agent to figure out what your next step will be.

  • Should you have more than one type of inspection?

This depends on the home and your concerns. Over the last couple of years we have seen an increasing number of clients opt to make a more informed decision by using specialists to look at specific items or specific areas of the home. These services are usually provided by specialists in their field to examine areas that fall outside of the scope of a normal Home Inspection. Some examples of these specialty services are environmental testing like mold, asbestos and indoor air quality, pool, pest, chimney and sewer camera inspections and many more. If you are buying a rural property you may also want or need to have a well and septic inspection. As well, Thermal Imaging Inspections, where an inspector uses an infrared camera to test for moisture issues in the home, have become very popular in the last few years. It really comes down to what makes you the most comfortable as a buyer.

  • How do you find a qualified inspector?

MovingYour real estate agent will usually provide a list of three companies that they recommend, but will leave the final decision up to you. You do not have to choose an inspector from that list, but it does give you a good place to start. In terms of evaluating an inspector to see if they are right for you and your home there are many qualities to consider. We recommend that you focus on experience and education, and ensure that the report includes the information that you require in an easy to understand format. Many people tend to focus on the cost of the inspection, and while we understand that it’s important to stay within your budget, going with the least expensive option can sometimes cost you in the long run. Buying a home is arguably the biggest investment you will ever make in your life, so spending the money on a qualified professional to educate you on the home you're buying is an essential part of the buying process. If you aren't sure what to consider, check out our guide on how to choose a Home Inspector.  

We hope this information has helped to shed some light on questions you were afraid to ask, or didn’t know you had. If you want some more expert advice as you prepare to buy your first home make sure to join us (@carsondunlop) for the next #RBCFirstHome Twitter chat on June 17th at 9:00pm ET. Twitter not your thing, or need some more immediate answers? Call our office at 800-268-7070 or send us an email, our customer service representatives are always available to help.

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Home Inspector Advice, Promotion/Contest, Social Media, First Time Buyers, Carson Dunlop, Specialty Services, Thermal Imaging Inspections, Twitter

Do Thermal Imaging Inspections Live Up To The Hype?

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Oct 23, 2013 1:56:00 PM

Thermal ImagingTechnology can be exciting, flashy, and neat – but is it always necessary? Hundreds of thousands will stand in line for hours for the newest smartphone. They spend a lot of money and time making sure they have the most recent upgrade. And this desire for new technology isn’t exclusive to cell phones and computers, people want the latest equipment in most areas.

In the Home Inspection industry, one of the more advanced pieces of technology that can be used is an infrared camera to complete Thermal Imaging Inspections. But is this tool and Thermal Imaging Inspections really worth the hype, or are people just fawning over the latest gadget?

A Thermal Imaging Inspection is a non-invasive process that uses an infrared camera to measure and record the surface temperature of materials. Although this technology does let you see more than the naked eye, it is not x-ray vision and will not let you see through walls. Instead, infrared cameras capture images that use a colour scale to show temperature differences on surfaces.

At Carson Dunlop, we understand that water leakage is a significant concern for our clients. In fact, over 35 years, we have learned that water is the single biggest enemy of homes. This is why we have tailored our Thermal Imaging Inspections to look for concealed water problems. During our Thermal Imaging Inspections, our Home Inspectors will use infrared cameras to look for hidden moisture in the most vulnerable areas, with specific focus on basements, areas around and below doors and windows, and ceilings below roofs and bathrooms.

Infrared cameras allow Home Inspectors to look beyond physical elements. Homes that appear perfect can have significant issues – you just have to know where to look. For example, while performing a New Construction Inspection for a client before their Tarion Warranty expired, we used an infrared camera to investigate the ceiling below the home’s whirlpool bath. 

Master Bathroom

To the naked eye, the ceiling looks immaculate: no staining, no bubbling, no indication of any problems.

Ceiling Thermal

However, with an infrared camera, the leakage is clearly evident.

Moisture Meter

Our moisture meter confirms the presence of water in the ceiling, saving the new homeowners a lot of hassle.

Imagine how bad this leak could have become! A whirlpool tub holds a lot of water. There was no visible evidence, but we discovered the problem during the Thermal Imaging Inspection. (It turns out that their neighbour also had a leak under their home’s whirlpool tub. But they found it the hard way).

New technology is not always worth the hype, but in the case of infrared cameras and Thermal Imaging Inspections, it is. We can’t tell you whether the next smartphone will be a great investment, but we know that a Thermal Imaging Inspection is. To learn more, please click here or call 800-268-7070.

Topics: Home Inspection, Water Damage, Carson Dunlop, Thermal Imaging Inspections

Seeing Infrared: Introducing Carson Dunlop Thermal Imaging Inspections

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jul 22, 2013 3:40:00 PM

July Newsletter

July PollAs we have witnessed these past few months with Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto all getting hit hard, summer can be a season of heavy rainfall. Scorching temperatures and high humidity combine to create extreme storms, which tend to generate a lot of precipitation in a short time. The resulting flash floods can lead to wet basements and more, and pose a serious concern for homeowners - one that doesn't necessarily evaporate when the water does. As bad as a flooded basement is, it's not as insidious as a smaller, ongoing leak which remains undetected for years and leads to rot, mold, and structural damage. Is there a way to do more than a visual inspection to find these hidden problems?

Thermal imaging can be one answer. Thermal imaging is a non-invasive process that uses an infrared camera to measure and record the surface temperature of materials. Although this type of technology does let you see more than the naked eye, it is not x-ray vision and will not let you see through walls. Instead, infrared cameras take color images, which include a color scale to illustrate temperature differences on surfaces.

Thermographers interpret these temperature readings and use them to help find a number of different conditions. Infrared scans are used in many industries and can aid in identifying concealed water leaks, missing insulation, electrical failures, insect nests, and other issues that are not easily detected by the human eye.

Although infrared cameras do require some specific conditions for the most accurate readings to be obtained, the technology has improved greatly since it was first introduced into the Home Inspection industry. These advancements mean this valuable resource now meets the high standards we hold at Carson Dunlop, with respect to exceeding clients' expectations and providing unparalleled client care.

Thermal Imaging

At Carson Dunlop, we understand that water leakage is a significant concern for our clients. This is why we have tailored our Thermal Imaging Inspections to look for concealed water problems.

During the Thermal Imaging Inspection, inspectors will employ infrared cameras to look for hidden moisture in the most vulnerable areas of the home, with specific focus on basements, and ceilings directly under roofs and bathrooms. The inspector's findings and recommendations, as well as thermal images, will be documented in a detailed report and provided to the client within one business day of the inspection.

We believe that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to one of life's biggest investments: the home. Our decision to offer Thermal Imaging Inspections reflects this core concept. Using infrared technology allows us to provide our clients and real estate partners with a more comprehensive assessment and detailed report. To learn more about Carson Dunlop Thermal Imaging Inspections, please click here or call 1-800-268-7070.  

Topics: Home Inspection, Monthly Newsletters, Carson Dunlop, Thermal Imaging Inspections