Paul Wilson of HOME INSPECTORS Ottawa warns consumers to be alert and do their homework
before hiring a Home Inspector to inspect their home purchase or newly built home.
"Traditionally the first question consumers ask a home inspector is how much they charge? Frankly, it should be the last question asked. Very few consumers ask about experience or professional credentials which is shocking considering their decision involves likely the largest investment of their lifetime!"
Did you know that
Home Inspection remains Totally Unregulated in Ontario?
That's right - ANYONE can call themselves a home inspector in Ottawa so it's important to do your research prior to making your choice. Hiring an Ottawa home inspector solely based on price and not professional credentials can prove to be a big gamble when dealing with likely the largest investment of your life time.
Can you afford to take that risk?
There are many home inspectors in Ottawa who quote rates considerably lower than others but it is a profession where you definitely "get what you pay for" so beware of the budget home inspector.
Saving a few dollars to get the most reasonably priced home inspection, may not be your wisest choice and could end up costing you a lot of money over the long run. Especially if your low cost, budget home inspector misses major deficiencies in your home and things start to unravel after you move in.
To Protect your Investment...
You need an Ottawa home inspector with years of home inspection experience,
legitimate professional credentials, and a proven track record
to assist you in making an informed housing decision.
Mike Holmes with Paul Wilson of HOME INSPECTORS
Know this guy on the left in the picture above?
Yes, it's Mike Holmes of TV fame. He'll be the first to tell you that you need to do your research before hiring a home inspector in Ottawa or anywhere in Ontario. He's also helping to push for licensing of the Home Inspection profession in Ontario, something we strongly support here at Home Inspectors.
Basically anyone can print business cards and call themselves a Home Inspector in Ottawa. A scary fact for consumers. See article "Testing the Testers". Even if you do not wish to read all the lower portion of this page, please check out the links to two important articles. Sun Media Article entitled CSA Standardizes Home Inspection Certification and another article titled Who Inspects the Home Inspectors?
Paul Wilson says that with a company named HOME INSPECTORS," we receive a lot of desperate calls from Ottawa consumers who have found that they are experiencing problems with their home even though they hired a home inspector to inspect it". Often they want to know what can be done?
Consumers often question if there is not some governing body to discipline an inspector who overlooked or missed issues within their home. But if your home inspector isn't a member of a respected, legitimate home inspection association (and not all are created equal), there may be no recourse available in that regard. Your only option may be taking them to court, which can be costly as well.
Due to his vast home inspection experience, Paul Wilson is often hired to act in court as an expert witness when consumers decide to pursue legal action against a home inspector. If consumers were to do a bit more research and checked out professional credentials first rather than choose their inspector on price alone, this would rarely happen. Unfortunately, the first question we usually get asked is "How Much do you charge?" rather than "How many years have you been inspecting homes full time? or What are your professional credentials?
The last thing a consumer needs is a costly legal fee, when they find their home inspection was not quite the deal they thought. If the home inspector does not carry Errors and Omissions Insurance, you still might not get anywhere by winning a court case against them.
Consumers also need to have fair expectations of what a home inspector can and cannot do for them. For around $500 no one is going to warranty your home - not even Mike Holmes! A home Inspection should determine the "readily visible" deficiencies that exist in a home on the day that the inspection is conducted. It is not a warranty or guaranty on a home, nor can an inspector accurately predict the anticipated life span of it's components. So while a home inspection can greatly reduce your risks while buying a home, your home inspector will not assume them.
However, a home inspection from an experienced professional with legitimate credentials is still your wisest choice to be of assistance in order that you can make an informed housing decision, whether, buying a new home, resale property, renovating an existing house or simply assessing the condition of your home.
CMHC recommends hiring a professional who has proven their knowledge by gaining a designation from a reputable association or certification authority such as;
So are all Home Inspection Certifications equal?
No they aren't.
So How do I find the Best Ottawa Home Inspector?
It should be noted that the only home inspection group in Canada who insist that all of their Inspectors (both new and existing), undergo both technical testing and a test inspection peer review (actual home inspection) is the National Home Inspectors (NHI) approved by the National Home Inspection Certification Council. They must also be retested every 5 years.
Groups like The Canadian Association of Home Inspectors (CAHPI) and their Ontario Chapter - The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI) now state that they "field test" their Registered Home Inspector designates (RHI members). While true to a point, this ONLY applies to new home inspectors who have received their RHI designations from 2010 onward. The bulk majority of CAHPI (and OAHI) members have NEVER been field tested, nor will they likely ever be asked to prove their skills in the field. How do we know this? Our Inspector is a member of this Association and yet he sees some places where the established membership needs to be reassessed in the field to prove that their home inspection skills remain up to date.
At one time The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors used to insist that all of their RHI members carry professional Errors and Omissions Insurance. This requirement had to be dropped presumably due to rising costs for inspectors with past claims and the fact that many other inspectors could not obtain insurance at all.
On the other end of the spectrum, all National Home Inspectors (NHI's) MUST all carry Errors and Omissions Insurance in order to retain their designation.
Back in 2009, The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors actually went on record as being AGAINST Licensing of Home Inspectors! They informed the Minister of Consumer Affairs for Ontario, that the need for licensing was grossly overstated. Many Ontario Consumers and even Mike Holmes would disagree with that sentiment.
Important Background Information on the Home Inspection Profession:
(while a bit boring perhaps, all good information to know and understand before hiring)
Back in 2005 The Federal Minister of Housing announced that CAHPI "would become the voice of the Canadian Home Inspection Industry" and they were given the mandate to administer a certification program fairly and equally among Canadian Home Inspectors including members and nonmembers. This new designation ensured that it's recipients had the knowledge and technical competencies required of this profession. All applicants had to conduct an inspection and submit a report for a peer review board. This group was created with great hopes of "raising the bar" for the profession across Canada and making requirement consistent from province to province. It had taken many years to develop and was fully endorsed and partially funded by CMHC and had the blessing of many other industry stake holders such as Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and the Construction Sector Council to name just a few. In the Fall of 2006, a test group of inspectors from several provinces were selected, tested and successful candidates, presented with their Certification at the CAHPI National Conference. Paul Wilson of Home Inspectors® was proud to be one of them. (Certificate #0095)
While all CAHPI provincial chapters were expected to assist in the administration and handling of applications for the new National Program, The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors, flatly refused to cooperate in this regard, Many Ontario Home Inspectors however, saw great value in obtaining a National designation but had no means to do so. For this reason alone, another home inspection association was formed in Ontario to accommodate the process - The Professional Home and Property Inspectors of Ontario (PHPIO -now PHPIC)
It quickly became apparent however, that the program was showing "shortcomings" with some of already "designated" home inspectors in Canada's largest home inspection Association (CAHPI) to the point where they quickly abandoned it. In addition to not having provincial support for the new program from their chapters, it was reported that 20% of their RHI membership who applied for the national designation, were failing the mandatory field testing portion. While this should of been a wake-up call for CAHPI, they took it as a threat to their Provincial chapter membership and completely dropped the program altogether.
While dropping a CMHC supported and funded "National" program was considered by many as a definite step backward for CAHPI, it opened the door for the formation of The National Home Inspector Certification Council (NHICC). The NHICC was founded by some of the core group who had been in charge of administration of the CAHPI National Program. Now free of any Home Inspection Association ties and politics, this group has become the first totally independent 3rd party testing authority for Home Inspectors across Canada. CMHC strongly supports the new NHICC and sees great value in their existence.
The NHICC continues to expand and demand even more of the profession.
See article in the Sun Media about the NHICC and the CSA - Canadian Standards Association teaming up in the future.
see the related article on "Who Inspects the Home Inspectors?"
Both The National Home Inspector Certification Council (NHICC) and The Professional Association of Home and Property Inspectors (PHPIC) are 100% behind the push for greater consumer protection with respect to their profession. Both welcome the idea of licensing of Home Inspectors in Ontario and held several joint information sessions across the province in 2009 on the topic.
So while it is clear that some home inspection testing authorities and some Canadian Home Inspection Associations appear to clearly be supporting the case for "Raising the Bar" even higher for their profession, to greatly improve consumer protection, other haven't been quite so keen.
Many community colleges, career colleges and private institutions offer training in Home Inspection. Many award certificates for their programs. However these courses on their own, may mean VERY LITTLE , and are often not recognized at all or only accepted as partial training towards obtaining a professional designation from one of the trusted Associations/Certification Authorities mentioned at the beginning of this page. Community colleges are NOT endorsed to offer full Home Inspection designations for any of the above recommended groups, so you may want to exercise caution if your intended HI only has a College Certificate or membership from an Association NOT mentioned above.
Some Canadian Groups like CAN NACHI are spin-offs of American Groups with strong Real Estate ties like NACHI - The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors which was founded by Real Estate Mogul Nick Grominko (who is NOT a home inspector). This group has been under scrutiny for many years.
There is however, one widely respected and reputable Home Inspection Association in the US called the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Several Canadian Associations have adopted this groups very rigid Standards of Practice and use them today.
There are numerous HI Associations and groups in Canada that CMHC DOES NOT recognize or recommend. Some have rather dubious membership requirements.
So how do you know who you can trust?
Who, is most qualified in Ontario to conduct a
truly professional home inspection for you?
A National Home Inspector - NHI, is your Wisest Choice!