Consumer’s Guide to Home Inspections

A home is your biggest asset. When buying one, you want to know it’s sound. When owning a home, you want to ensure it’s well maintained. And when planning any changes, you want to know the house can support the renovations. A Home Inspection is indispensable in all these cases.


A Home Inspection is a thorough, comprehensive check of the house. It’s an organized review of all the building systems including:

  • Structure
  • Heating
  • Plumbing
  • Roofing
  • Cooling
  • Electrical
  • Exterior
  • Insulation
  • Interior

This exhaustive examination can take over three hours. It requires keen observation and deduction. The inspection is almost entirely visual. No holes are drilled; no floors are cut. Only readily available openings are explored. Still, problems can exist behind walls and ceiling finishes. The trained and experienced Inspector can delve into what’s seen and identify its root cause. After the inspection you get a written report that documents the building condition. You know the shape of the house, have a fair idea of the cost of any needed work and can make informed decisions about the house.


If you already own a house, clearly you can have it inspected at your choosing. When buying a home, you can secure your right to an independent Home Inspection in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Your Real Estate agent or Lawyer will help you include a clause stating something to the effect that the offer is “subject to a satisfactory prepurchase inspection report.” This gives you the right to have the house inspected. Once the offer has been accepted, you can arrange the investigation.


The purchase or ownership of a home is a major commitment. If you or someone you know has the training and experience to conduct the exhaustive investigation, then you may want to take on the assignment yourself. On the other hand, you can engage the services of a professional Inspector. The fee for the service ranges from $300 to $500. When you look at the entire cost and effort associated with buying or running a home, a Home Inspection is very good value. It’s a little extra time and money for a lot of peace of mind.


Your Inspector should encourage your participation in the inspection to point out the home’s strengths and areas that need attention. The inspection gives you an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the technical side of the house.