What a GREAT home inspector does!

I was at a home inspection this week with a really great home inspector and thought I’d share some thoughts on what to look for.

The homeowner (it was a for sale by owner) had asked about liability. She worried that some of her precious things could go missing. It was nice to be able to reassure her that the home inspector carried liability insurance–a million dollars’ worth. (But it’s a good idea during Open Houses or any time that strangers are going through your house to put your valuables out of sight.)

This home inspector checked not only structural elements but turned on all the appliances to make sure they worked. Not all inspectors do this, but it’s a great idea because the appliances are included in the price and sometimes they don’t. It protects the buyer (and seller) to make sure everything is operational so that problems can be fixed before closing. He also recorded the make and serial numbers of each one, and that was the first time I’d seen that done.

But there are all kinds of stories of people who buy a home including the appliances and arrive to find out that the appliances have been swapped out. What a great idea for an inspector to simply make a note of that information while he’s there and put that information in the inspection binder. That detail to attention caught my eye. It won’t just protect the buyers when they take possession from finding out that the washer and dryer left behind aren’t the ones they’d seen (not that I was worried in this case — the vendors are lovely) but if they need repairs, all that information is in one handy spot. That impressed me.

Another first in my experience was that the home inspector removed the cover from the electrical panel to make sure all the lines were clean and clear (they were).

Finally, he had a thermal imaging camera with him and discovered that an entire panel of insulation was missing in one bedroom. Because he had that camerawith him, he was able to find something you’d never pick up in a visual examination. He emailed me the photograph a few hours later, which the owners then forwarded to the condo corporation so that the condo corporation can get it fixed before closing.

The other stuff that this home inspector did was pretty standard: he walked around the exterior, ran tubs, checked faucets and windows, checked the foundation for moisture, etc. But he was patient — these were first time buyers — and he gave them lots of tips as he went along. He indicated, for example, that he wasn’t going to check the smoke detectors, because he wanted them to replace all of them when they moved in. How smart is that!?

I would recommend this inspector highly. If you’re in the Ottawa area, and buying, do check him out. His name is Rod Clark; the company is Right House Inspections, and you can reach him at 613 728-8228. By the way, Rod indicates his price varies according to size of the house–and that’s another distinction that I like to see.

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