Purchasing a home is a large investment for many British Columbians. It is so important to familiarize yourself with all of the activities related to buying a house so that you are making an informed choice. Many people get a home inspection done as part of their home buying decision. As you may know, Consumer Protection BC licenses home inspectors in the province. To find a licensed home inspector, please access the licensee search on our website.
So what can you expect from a home inspection? Typically inspections take 2 to 3 hours to complete. They are visual inspections which means the inspector is not expected to displace flooring and tiling, or check water or air samples.
What inspectors may or may not do:
A home inspector may:
- Probe structural components where deterioration is suspected or where clear indications of possible deterioration exist.
- Visually inspect the roof, chimneys, skylights and gutters.
- Look for leaks in piping systems, check for drainage and test water pressure in faucets and other plumbing fixtures.
- Check the home’s electrical system by inspecting outlets and main service panels.
- Report on any evidence of water penetration in the home.
A home inspector may not:
- Probe structural components when it would damage any finished surface or where no deterioration is visible.
- Predict the life expectancy of the roof, perform water tests, or disturb insulation.
- Inspect structures that aren’t part of the main building such as storage sheds, swimming pools or tennis courts.
- Determine the quality of water, or the adequacy of water supply.
- Look for erosion in or around the yard.
When the inspector has completed the examination of your potential home, you should receive a written report which outlines the findings from the inspection. If you have questions about the report, it is important to speak with the inspector to clarify the findings. The above information is to be used for guidance only. More information about your home inspection rights can be found on our website.
The ins and outs of your home inspection report
What happens during a home inspection?
3 things to look for in your home inspection contract
Top 5 tips if you’re buying a home
22 thoughts on “What to expect from a home inspection”
Are you familiar with RECA policy? if so, good! if not then I’ll explain further.. well this reca policy enable the buyer to explore the property yet with only limited people to access the area this includes the home buyer, inspector and the buyer’s representative and excludes the seller during the home inspection. There is nothing wrong in this policy but some home buyers don’t agree with it.
Hi Mark — Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you may be referring to the rules of the Real Estate Council of Alberta? While we are not responsible for licensing/oversight of the real estate industry in BC, we appreciate you sharing this info per our responsibilities with BC’s home inspection industry. Also, you may be interested in some information we have on our website about conflict of interest with realtor referrals and home inspections. Here is a link to that information: http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/businesses-home-inspectors-home/faqs#realtor_referrals
One of the outlets isn’t working in my house can they fail the inspection over that
Hi Barjinder — Thanks for the question. It’s my understanding that a home inspector will not “pass” or “fail” a home based on what they find during the home inspection. Rather, the person who ordered the home inspection will be provided with a report that includes things about the home that they may want to know. We have more information about what a home inspection is on our website, here: http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/consumers-home-inspections/consumer-tips/908-consumertipshomeinspection I hope that helps!
I bought a home 7 years ago, after dealing through a local real estate company, & having the house inspected. Nothing was disclosed to us from realtor or home inspector, that the house has a history of flooding in the basement that goes back to when the house was built! So much for getting the protection they claim to provide when you deal with a reputable realtor and home inspector!!
Hi Kelly, thank you for your question. While Consumer Protection BC does license home inspectors in BC but the standards of practice can vary. Remember that a home inspection is a visual inspection which means the inspector is not expected to displace flooring and tiling, or check water or air samples. A home inspector may look for leaks in piping systems, but they may not. Home inspectors are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of major problems, but are not experts in all fields and may need to refer consumers to specialists. It’s important for consumers to recognize that a home inspection cannot eliminate risk, only reduce it. You may want to contact a few home inspectors to ask what about their practices. There are a few home inspector associations in BC and they may have more information on their websites about what to expect from one of their home inspectors. I hope this helps!
We sold our house and are moving in 2 months. Today we just found out that we have a water leak somewhere outside. The buyer of our home bought without an inspection. Would this have been caught through the the home inspection? Pulling up the cities water meter utilities bill?
This attempt to give home owners some security is really fraudulent in my opinion.Quality is dependent upon inspectors knowledge of building standards, industry standards and integrity of inspector. Government licensing has harmed, home owners ability to seek REAL compensation, from a poor inspection. These parasites inspectors contracts
are illegal, immoral, and do great harm. Should have no place in laws of our land in bc., Liberal government wanted dues only, no use bothering with this government hoax.
Hello steve, thank you for leaving your comment here and we do understand that you are frustrated. Have you submitted a written complaint to us regarding your issue? If you haven’t done so, please use this link so we can take a look at your issue and see if there’s anything we can help you with.
I like how you mentioned that a home inspection usually takes two to three hours to complete. It makes sense that they would need to visually inspect the whole entire building! My sister wants to sell her home, so she will need to look for a building inspection company to come to look at her house soon.
I am looking for a home inspection n Tofino. If the home inspection is poor and an obvious problem is missed by the home inspector, then does the home inspector have insurance cover the possible malfeasance and has any individuals litigated against a shoddy home inspection. Is there case law on this?
Hi Peter, thanks for reaching out to us here. We’re not in a position to provide info on case law nor do we have records on previous litigation against home inspectors. If you’d like information on what kind of requirements home inspectors have when it comes to insurance, I invite you to take a look at this section of our website under “set up and maintain liability insurance”: https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/get-keep-licence/home-inspections/. I can confirm with you that home inspectors must have insurance in BC. If you’re looking to determine whether or not a specific home inspector is licensed, you can do a licence search here: https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/find-individual-licensee/. If you’d like more info on what kind of protections you have when it comes to home inspections, I would consider talking to a home inspector directly or contacting a lawyer for the legal questions you referenced. I hope this is helpful to you and best of luck!
Our inspection report clearly stated that the inspector/company was not liable for anything that was missed. They missed that an exposed wall should have been concrete and not wood as their was dirt on the other side. $25,000 later.
Hi Linda, thank you for contacting us. Sounds like it’s a quality of service issue and in these situations, it’s best to work it out with the home inspector, if possible. Having said that, we have more information on home inspector associations in BC and you could take the complaint to them if the inspector belongs to one of the associations. You can visit this page on our website to find this info – look under “what if I’m not happy with my home isnector?” dropdown menu.
What remedies are available to a homeowner when an inspector provides an unsubstantiated report to a prospective buyer. Case in point, the inspector sees one minor issue that makes him think there may have been a grow op at some point but has no other corroborating evidence. It is based on mere suspicion rather than fact. The result was a collapsed sale. Where or what is the consideration and protection given to the homeowner. It’s not just the buyer that faces risk in the sale process.
Hi Wes, thanks for reaching out to us here with your question. That sounds like a frustrating situation. Our organization does not currently have oversight when it comes to alleged errors in home inspector reports. If the home inspector is a member of a home inspector association, you may be able to raise the issue with them and they may be able to look into it for you. If you would like to give us a call at 1.888.564.9963 we can do a search for you and find out if this inspector is a member of an association and provide you with contact information. I apologize if this wasn’t the answer you were looking for. Looking forward to hearing from you!
I appreciate you helping me learn more about home inspections and what to expect from them. My husband and I can finally afford a house and a friend recommended we hire a company to come and inspect the house to make sure we don’t end up having surprises later on. I’ll share this article with my husband so he can also be informed about home inspections.
Great blog post, this post is described well about what-to-expect-from-a-home-inspection. This post is really helpful for everyone. Well done and keep sharing
Is an inspector allowed to say in his report “ that due to age of construction material could have asbestos “ also wondering about outside structures, ours was fine but curious why thats in the report, just a garden shed. There was also a few comments about maybe hidden damage are these statements allowed ? Thanks for your time!
Hi Brian, thanks for your question. Home inspectors will include a variety of information in your home inspection report, including their opinion on everything they agreed to look at. There’s nothing in our laws that specifies what home inspectors cannot include in their report. If you want a second opinion on the things that the home inspector pointed out, you could always have an independent contractor come and take a look at the issues that were identified. You can find more information about home inspection and your rights when dealing with a home inspector by checking out this page here: https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/consumer-help/consumer-information-home-inspection/#. I hope this helps!
Yes that helps and thank you for your time.