Ottawa Home Inspection
Things You need to know to Pass Your Home Inspection!
Have A Home Inspection And Eliminate Nasty Surprises!
Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water, some
shark opens its cavernous mouth and gobbles up a meaty chunk
of profit. You may think your home is in good shape because
nothing major has gone wrong in all the time you've lived
there. But broken pipes or a faulty electrical circuit could
be looming behind the kitchen wall or in the crawlspace.
Banks and other lending companies often require prospective
buyers to submit a home inspection report with their loan
application. Even if they don't, most buyers will want an
inspection for their own peace of mind and they will have
an inspection contingency clause in the contract. So it's
best to be prepared.
Can you cheat?
A home inspection is a visual inspection of your home from
the roof to the rafters. The inspector can evaluate your home
by checking for visual defects and functional problems, they
cannot disassemble any electrical appliances (like air conditioners,
stoves or furnaces) and since they’re not Super Heros
with x-ray vision they can’t see behind walls or paneling
or under your slab. The inspector also can’t lift carpeting
or major pieces of furniture.
Don’t think that these limitations mean you can slide
the couch over that hole in the
carpet and they’ll never know. There are usually clues
that warn the inspector of hidden problems. When these clues
are spotted, a qualified inspector can follow them up until
they understand what the hidden problems may be. You might
as well get the true scoop on the condition of your home and
then decide what to do with the information. Knowing beforehand
the strengths and weaknesses of your property puts you in
a better bargaining position and permits you to negotiate
openly and honestly—qualities a buyer will respect and
The one thing you can do to improve the results of your home
inspection is to know what the inspector will be looking for
(we’re about to tell you that) and get there first!
If you make minor repairs (paint, paper, use bleach under
the sink and fix sticky drawers and electrical outlets that
haven’t worked in years) before the inspector is called
in; this can make BIG difference to the overall tone of the
inspection. This pre-emptive strike can also save you from
being “nickeled and dimed” to death by a buyer
How extensive is a home inspection?
The inspector should work with a checklist that incorporates
a detailed examination of interior and exterior elements.
You should try to be on hand for the inspection (it will help
you in negotiations) so you can see for yourself areas of
concern or reasons to celebrate. A good home inspection should
take between two and four hours, price will depend on your
area. Additional services such as septic, well or radon testing
are optional. To see if they are recommended for your area,
check with the local municipality.
The home inspector will want to operate all appliances,
heating, and ventilation systems. If the home is vacant you
should be sure all utilities are turned on and there is access
to all parts of the home and yard.
- Outside the home
Because first impressions count, the exterior of the property
is a good place to start. The inspector will be looking
to see that:
The inspector will also be checking the structure of the
home to make sure all lines, including those of windows,
doors and siding, are all straight or square and in good
- adjacent lots do not affect the value of the property
or pose potential hazards
- patios, decks, fences, sheds, steps, retaining walls,
and garages are in good
shape and there are no indications of bugs or rodents
that may cause damage
- the land, driveway, and sidewalks slope away from
- there are downspouts and they too drain away from
- there is no pooling or stagnant water
- there is no flooding from the water system
- the yard and landscaping are in good repair
- trees and bushes are a safe distance from the home
- stair and deck handrails are secure.
- Outside surfaces should be free of stains and damage,
such as, cracks in joints or stucco or siding.
- Windows and doors are inspected for tight-fitting
frames, intact glass, and the use of energy-efficient
- A sagging or uneven roof may indicate inadequate framing.
- Looking under the hood:
Of extreme importance is the condition of the mechanical
systems: plumbing, electrical, heating & ventilation,
air conditioning and heat recovery.
- In the plumbing department, in addition to leaks
and inadequate drainage, the inspector will be checking
craftsmanship. Old and jumbled plumbing that is pieced
together with dissimilar materials may hint of poor
work. The condition of the water heater, pump, pipes,
and drains will also be covered in the inspection.
- The breaker box or electrical panel should have adequate
amperage for all of the appliances you want to operate.
The inspector will also be looking for exposed wires,
adequate wall outlets, and proper cables for branch
- When it comes to heating and ventilation, consider
the age of the house. If it's older, it may have a forced-air
heating and cooling system that will eventually need
to be replaced at considerable expense—an expense
that should be factored into future costs.
- The fresh air exchanger should operate efficiently
in every room of the house; the air filter should be
clean; separate flues for gas, oil, propane, wood or
coal should slant up to the outside and there should
be no open seams. Warning signs of trouble ahead include
the odor of gas, rust in the area of the cooling unit,
ductwork deterioration, and the presence of asbestos
on steam and water pipes.
- Inside rooms:
An interior inspection should begin in the attic with an
examination of trusses, insulation, and covering materials.
Inside rooms should not be surveyed for cosmetic appeal
but for substance. Here the inspector will be looking for:
- cracks and stains in ceilings, floors, and walls
- level plumb lines
- windows and doors that may not open and close easily
and are in need of
- paint, paper, and other wall coverings and trims that
may need replacing
- smoke and water detectors
- proper masonry and chimney flue operation
- properly affixed stair treads and handrails
- light switches and electrical outlets that may malfunction
- a sufficient number of electrical outlets in each
- ample insulation in the walls and adequate heating
and cooling delivery
Kitchen - One of the most important—and
costly to renovate— rooms is the kitchen. A good
inspector will concentrate on electrical and plumbing
to make sure the:
- exhaust fan works
- countertop ground fault interrupters provide adequate
- pipes leading to sinks, dishwasher, and other appliances
are not leaking
- under-sink cabinet is dry and decay-free
- flow of water in the sink is substantial and drains
- garbage disposal works properly
- doors and drawers open and close easily.
Bathroom -In addition to many of the
same concerns that apply to the kitchen, special care
is taken to ensure that pipes and drains are clog- and
leak-free; there is adequate ventilation and the exhaust
fans work; the toilet is stable and flushes properly;
tiles are secure and all coverings are solid and water
flow is of an acceptable level in all accessories. Because
bathrooms are frequently redesigned, the inspector should
make sure bearing walls and plumbing routes will facilitate
Basements & Crawlspaces - Cold, clammy
rooms are often found in basements and crawlspaces primarily
due to improper air circulation. Here the inspector will
be looking for water stains, signs of rot, insects, rodents,
foundational inadequacies, satisfactory insulation, and
wet/dry floors and walls.
Finding a good inspector is paramount.
Like most everything in life, you get what you pay for.
Hiring a reputable, thorough inspector will pay off in
the long run. Please don't consider doing it yourself
even if you are fairly knowledgeable. It will be difficult
for you to remain neutral and objective, which could affect
the negotiation process. Hiring a generalist who specializes
in home inspections is probably your best bet, as this
person will have inspected at least hundreds of homes
during their career and will be working for a pre-determined
fee, which helps ensure impartiality.
Asking friends and business acquaintances for recommendations
is a good starting point. You can, of course, look in
the Yellow Pages under Building Inspection Services or
Home Inspection Services. Your real estate agent should
also have a list of members. Before hiring someone, be
sure to check the inspector's references, qualifications,
What the home inspector does and does not do:
The home inspector provides a visual evaluation of the
home and property and reports on its physical condition,
indicating which areas may need attention. In other words
it’s the home inspector's job to find any “skeletons”
in your closet (or more likely in the plumbing, wiring,
roof or basement). The inspector will not “pass”
or “fail” your home.
Their job is to describe its physical condition and indicate
what may need repair or replacement.
The private home inspection is not a guarantee and it
is not an appraisal that can be used to ascertain market
value. Nor is it a municipal inspection verifying code
compliance. However, if you did not build your home and
are curious about code compliance, in many areas it is
possible for you or your real estate agent to visit your
civic government's building department and have a look
at the building file for your home. Within the file you
will see whether inspections have been performed at each
stage of construction and,
depending on the region, you may even view original blueprints
What if the inspector finds all kinds of problems?
If you’re on the ball and have had the inspection
done yourself (before a buyer is involved) then you have
two options if problems are found. If they are minor repairs
you may choose to fix them so you can ask full price for
your home. If the inspector finds major problems you can
either fix them (make sure you will be able to recoup your
expense when you sell the home) or be ready to negotiate
a reduced price so the purchaser can make the repairs.
If the buyer's inspector reports existing flaws or potential
hazards to the buyer, this does not mean you have lost a
sale. Most people buy homes based on a number of factors,
not the least of which is emotional. If prospective buyers
are drawn to your home but an inspector unearths a problem,
this simply gives you an opportunity to compromise in negotiations
and it allows the buyer an opportunity to plan and budget
for future expenses.
Hiring an impartial Ottawa
building or home inspector to do an inspection before
you start showing your home is a worthwhile investment. It
will allow you to become more knowledgeable about your home
and property; give you confidence to negotiate the sale in
good faith; provide forewarning of what the buyer's inspector
might uncover and give you the opportunity to alter or repair
small imperfections before they become major catastrophes.
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