Since about 2015, the number of inspections has dropped dramatically — the first casualty of high-pressure offers of sale on properties when days, and even hours, used to count in whether a sale was completed. The number of inspections is increasing due to the cooling market, but it’s a shortsighted move not to undertake a professional home inspection, says Helene Barton, executive director of the Home Inspectors Association of BC (HIABC). And changing mandates for home inspectors are affecting the industry, which affects you, too.
“We get calls from people when something goes wrong, and there’s nothing we can do,” she says of those who haven’t had professional inspections.
Jonathan Sheppard, HIABC vice-president of James Dobney Inspections agrees.
“I do believe that 98 per cent of the transactions should have an inspection — both new and old builds included because what we find would floor you.”
But for many homeowners, it’s just as easy not to have an inspection.
“If you throw in the do-it-yourself renovations, along with multiples owners, the homes are filled with unprofessional wiring, plumbing, carpentry, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors missing or out of date, decks that are improperly constructed, missing footings, and poorly constructed hand railings with the decks carrying excess weight loads from non-permitted solariums,” he says.
Some real gems Sheppard cites include crawlspaces with water ingress, foundations with cracks due to settlement and Douglas fir trees planted within two feet of a building.
“The biggest advantage of a home inspection is that we educate the client about the building that is being purchased,” he says.
But to complicate matters, there is no longer a need for inspectors to belong to a professional organization in B.C. In 2016 Consumer Protection BC introduced a new regulation that lowered the requirements necessary to become a home inspector, and reduced the qualifications of trainers for inspectors. Barton points out that if an inspector isn’t a member of the HIABC, the consumer has no recourse and may, in fact, not be getting proper advice and recommendations.
Sheppard says HIABC inspectors have the highest standards, have mandatory field training and must pass an exam, plus continue ongoing education.
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