Home Inspection Checklist for Canada

A home inspection by a qualified inspector is a vital step when buying any home.

Exterior

Homebuyers should insist on an inspection before they commit to a purchase.Homebuyers should insist on an inspection before they commit to a purchase.
Before committing to a purchase, the homebuyer should hire a home inspector to ensure the home is in proper condition. Except in British Columbia, where licensing is required, home inspectors are not regulated in Canada. If for no other reason than that, it's important that the homebuyer understands what she should expect from a proper home inspection.

According to Griffin Home Inspection Services Inc., a Canadian home inspection company, homebuyers can expect a complete inspection of the exterior of the home and its functions. This includes the roof, exterior wall cladding, flashings and trims. It also includes anything else on the outside of a home, including doors, decks, balconies, rain gutters, retaining walls, driveways, patios, walkways, railings and steps. The final written home inspection report to the homebuyer should detail the condition of each of these things. The home inspector should inspect the roof by getting up on it--not from the ground.

Interior

The interior of the home, including floors, walls, ceilings, stairs, railings, the garage, countertops, cabinets, doors and windows will be inspected by the home inspector, and the conditions of each should be accurately detailed in the written report. The total time to complete a thorough home inspection is approximately two to three hours, and most of this time will be devoted to the interior and the systems of a home.

Systems

Homes are systems, not just walls and a roof. They have intricate components that keep them functioning, safe and healthy for the occupants. Systems examined during a home inspection include mechanical ventilation systems, air conditioning, heating, electrical systems and plumbing systems. If there's a fireplace in the home, the chimney and flue must be inspected, as well as components of any gas fireplace or wood stove. The conditions of these systems will be detailed on the home inspection report.

Support

The support systems of the home will be inspected. This includes both the foundation and the framing of the home.

Repairs

The final written home inspection report should explain what repairs need to be made to the home, if any. Home inspectors will not perform repairs themselves. Be wary if a Canadian home inspector recommends a company to perform the repairs. This is forbidden by the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors. An appearance of conflict of interest can place the credibility of the home inspector in question.

Mold

Home inspectors in Canada are not required to test for mold. Mold is a frequent problem in homes, and unsuspecting homebuyers risk buying homes that pose serious health risks because of toxic mold lurking in the walls. Most home inspectors in Canada will not pull back carpeting or drywall to check for mold. A 2010 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation investigative report said the company hired five home inspectors to inspect a home infested with mold, and no inspector found it.

Homebuyers wishing to be certain the home they are considering is not infested with toxic mold may need to hire a qualified mold inspector in addition to the home inspector.