Home Inspection for Buyers


Why would you need a home inspection before buying a property? Learn what to expect from a home inspection, how much it costs, and where to find a home inspector if you're buying a home in Vancouver.

What is a home inspection and why is it important?

A home inspection is a visual examination of the condition of a property by a licensed home inspector. Although not required, a home inspection can find potential problems with the property you're planning to buy and help you make a more informed decision. It is highly recommended that you include a "subject to inspection" clause into your contract of purchase and sale.

Even if the inspector doesn't find any serious problems, he'll provide you with a lot of useful information about your new home and point to the areas you'll want to keep an eye on.

What will the home inspector check?

For houses, the home inspector should visually check:

  • the exterior components (roofing, flashing, chimneys, gutters, downspouts, wall surfaces, the foundation and the grading around it)
  • the interior systems (electrical, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, plumbing, insulation, flooring, ceiling and wall finishes, windows, and doors)

For condos, the home inspector should check:

  • the suite (plumbing, electrical system, walls, windows, flooring, and pretty much everything that is not furniture)
  • the entire building (roofing, building envelope, parking garage, lobby, amenities, mechanical rooms, and any other areas he has access to)

The home inspector is not

  • required to climb up on a roof
  • required to check appliances
  • qualified to inspect a wood-burning fireplace or wood stove, unless he is WETT certified
  • expected to point out noncompliance with building code requirements
  • expected to provide appraisals or exact quotes for repairs

What if the inspection reveals any problems?

After the inspection, you'll be presented with a written report. The home inspector will go over the report with you, explain the defects he's found, and point out the need for major repairs. If the inspection uncovers any serious problems with the property, you can do one of the following:

  • terminate the contract
  • make the seller fix the problems
  • renegotiate the purchase price

How long does it take and how much does it cost?

A home inspection usually takes between two and three hours to complete.

The cost depends on the size and age of the home, and sometimes its location. A thorough inspection of 2000 sq. ft. home usually costs around $500. A condo unit inspection can cost $350 an up.

Where to find a home inspector in Vancouver?

You can find a list of home inspectors at the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors (BC).

If you hire your own inspector not from this list, make sure he is licensed and insured by calling the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority (BPCPA) Inquiry Centre at 604-320-1667.

Here are some home inspection companies you can check: