A home inspection can be a make-or-break factor in the process of buying a house -- and in B.C. consumers have protection unique to the country.
Last year, B.C. became the only province in Canada to require that home inspectors be licensed. Licensing enhances consumer protection as businesses licensed with Consumer Protection BC have obligations under the law and must adhere to the standards of their association such as educational requirements and a code of ethics.
In order to obtain home inspection certification in BC, each inspector must have met the qualifications of one of the three designated associations: The Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (BC), Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia, or the National Certification Program for Home and Property Inspectors.
How to hire a home inspector
It's critical to have a good understanding of what to expect from your home inspector, the Association notes. If you are considering a home inspection, here are some tips:
- When you decide to enter the market to buy a house, consider finding your home inspector first before you start seriously looking for your new home.
- Leave time to select an inspector to ensure that you can do your research and the individual is available. One week prior to subject removal is recommended as a minimum.
- Make your selection on qualifications and not solely on the lowest fee or quickest availability.
- Familiarize yourself with your home inspector's standards of inspection. A home inspection is a visual inspection and there are limitations as to what an inspector is physically able to see.
- If a deficiency is found, the inspector will not provide estimates, and is not allowed to recommend firms to use to repair the problem.
Home inspectors are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of major problems, but are not experts in all fields. They may need to refer consumers to specialists. It's important for home buyers to recognize that a home inspection cannot eliminate risk, only reduce it.