How Alberta Home Inspectors Gamble with Your Home: 3 Ways to Protect Yourself
1. Inspectors Conduct Visual Inspections
This fact is written in black and white in the inspection contract yet most buyers remain oblivious. Home inspections are purely visual and involve no destructive testing. If a problem isn’t visible, it will not be reported on or featured in the inspection report. Inspectors will not remove floor coverings or dig into walls. It is not unheard of for new homeowners to discover serious issues such as termite infestations that were missed by the inspector.
How to protect yourself: Alberta is one of only two Canadian provinces where home inspectors are regulated so choosing a registered home inspector provides some protection. Additionally, you may choose an inspector who uses thermal imaging equipment. This helps detect serious issues such as hidden moisture in walls that would otherwise go unnoticed by an inspector.
2. Inspectors Don’t Test For Mold
Mold can cause serious health issues for a home’s occupants, especially if exposure is long term. While all home inspectors will visually check for mold or evidence of spores, mold is typically found in places that are not visible.
How to protect yourself: It’s not uncommon for buyers to find problems after the home sale has gone through. Conduct your own inspection and look for issues yourself before the actual home inspection. Discuss your concerns with the home inspector. You may wish to pay for a separate mold inspection. In this case, the inspector will send an air sample to a third-party lab for independent testing.
3. Inspectors Don’t Check For Electrical Code Compliance
Inspectors are not electrical contractors. It is not their job to check whether the home’s wiring meets current code. According to the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors, a registered inspector will check for obvious signs of wiring damage and report any visible issues within the home. You should not mistakenly think that an inspection means a home’s wiring is safe. Listen to the advice of a home inspector and follow up on any concerns they raise.
How to protect yourself: A relatively obscure type of inspection is electrical thermal imaging. This is a non-destructive way of determining the condition of wiring and electrical systems within a home. A home inspector won’t offer this service but most electrical contractors will. This type of testing will show whether any wires or components have high levels of resistance. This may indicate that wiring is old and needs replacing or that a system is old, overloaded or potentially dangerous. According to one firm of house inspectors in Calgary, hiring an electrician for a full safety inspection is a prudent move for buyers of older homes.
As we have seen, even hiring a registered home inspector isn’t a magic bullet solution to buying a problem-free home in Alberta. Protect yourself by conducting your own inspection, sharing concerns with the inspector and then acting on their advice. Don’t skimp on hiring tradesmen such as electricians and plumbers if the home inspector advises you to do so.