- How much do you charge?
- Isn’t one inspection as good as the next?
- What’s the difference between Certified, Licensed and RHI & NHI?
- Are credentials necessary?
- I’m safe hiring from a franchise, right?
- A pre-list inspection was already done on the property. Isn’t that good enough?
- Are your inspectors engineers?
- Do you use a thermal imaging camera?
- What’s done on a typical inspection?
- Do you have Errors & Omissions insurance?”
- How thorough are your inspectors?
- Why don’t you give a discount?
How much do you charge?
Often this is the first question people ask us. And we’re always surprised at how many people don’t ask anything else.If you’re in need of a doctor, lawyer, or even a contractor for that matter, would you assume that they’re each as good as the next? Of course not. Wouldn’t you rather hire the best qualified person you can reasonably afford?
Hiring a home inspector is like purchasing almost any other service: you get what you pay for. The trouble begins when people gamble hundreds of thousands of dollars (for some millions) because they’re trying to save a few dollars on the cost of a home inspection.
We hope you’ll spend some time reading the rest of our FAQ which will give you some insight into the home inspection industry. Then, maybe your first question will be, “How qualified are you to do my inspection?”
Isn’t one inspection as good as the next?
No. Not all inspectors are the same nor are all inspections the same.
Inspectors, excluding franchises or large companies, are usually sole proprietors who choose how they will go about their business. If they belong to an association, they will abide by the association’s Standard of Practice. However, they decide on their own which tools they will use, which reporting system they will use and how much time they will spend at each inspection.
What’s the difference between Certified, Licensed, RHI & NHI?
There are currently no such designations as Certified and Licensed in Ontario. They sound good, but inspectors who use these titles are usually not members of any association and, consequently, you cannot verify their credentials.
Having said that, however, the provincial government is very close, relatively speaking – we are talking about the government, after all – to finalizing the regulation of the home inspection industry. We have no idea at this time what designation they’ll assign us. So, if certified and licensed are what you want to avoid, what do you look for?
RHI stands for Registered Home Inspector. This is the highest level of accreditation with the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI). Inspectors must perform a predetermined number of paid inspections, usually 200 in their first year, along with all the educational requirements before being considered for the RHI designation. As with all associations, inspectors must also complete annual educational updates to maintain their designation.
The gold star for home inspectors is the National Home Inspector (NHI). You can search here for one – if we’ve fail to sway you to hire us.
The National Home Inspector Certification Council (NHICC) is the governing body that oversees the program, an initiative to create a uniform standard of baseline qualifications to the home inspection industry, currently an unregulated field, across the country.
Rob Hermann is one of a small group of examiners that facilitate the Test Inspection with Peer Review (TIPR) portion of the process whereby new candidates, after successfully meeting a host of technical & practical requirements, verified by an extensive background review, must pass a final test inspection of a house with known defects.
Are credentials necessary?
Credentials are the only way for you to verify what anyone tells you. If someone says they are a RHI you want to know if they are. Unfortunately, people do embellish their credentials, especially when they don’t have any.
I’m safe hiring from a franchise, right?
Not necessarily. You should not hire anyone you can’t verify. Companies, such as franchises cannot be members of a home inspection association. Only individuals. So, you would need to know who they’re going to send out to you to do your due diligence. If the inspector they want to send to you is not a member of say, OAHI, you are in the same boat as with other non-association members: you just don’t know.
Also, because the inspection pie has to be cut into more slices with a franchise, they tend to attract only the very junior inspectors who are looking to gain experience. If you’re looking for the best, you’re not likely to find one in the bigger companies for one big reason: the best don’t need to work for someone else.
A pre-list inspection was already done on the property. Isn’t that good enough?
It depends. So many pre-list inspection reports should be considered works of fiction. Please review Protect Yourself for a better understanding of what’s happening in the real estate market today.
Are your inspectors engineers?
No. There are some companies who advertise that their inspectors are engineers and it all sounds great. The truth is there are many types of engineers out there, not only structural engineers, which is the type we automatically think of. The other truth is that you are not getting an engineer’s report. You are going to get a regular inspection done to whichever standard of practice they choose.
Do you use a thermal imaging camera?
Rob Hermann is a Certified Level 1 Thermographer. Unfortunately, entertainment television has created a very misleading/false impression of what thermography can offer during an average home inspection.
First and foremost, thermal cameras do not/can not see behind walls. They are simply a very sophisticated tool that measures minute changes in surface temperature. To do this effectively, the conditions must be perfect – something that more often than not doesn’t coincide with the fixed date and time of a scheduled home inspection.
Even an unqualified person can still create a really cool looking image regardless of conditions, but upselling unsuspecting home buyers does not sit well with us and is certainly not how we treat our clients.
Consider this: Rob received his training by Greg McIntosh, a pioneer with 40-years in the world of thermal imaging who makes it very clear that he feels there’s no place for thermography in standard residential home inspections. If a thermal scan is truly warranted and the conditions are appropriate, we will be happy to refer you to a highly qualified specialist we trust.
What’s done on a typical inspection?
Inspectors should look for significant or major deficiencies that have the potential to cost you a lot of money, typically within the first five years of ownership. An inspector should look at the property in terms of its operation as a complete system; that is, how all the individual components work together to form the system that makes up your home.
In addition to items of potential significant cost, your inspector should also look for and point out issues of a safety nature – regardless of cost. At the exterior, your inspector should check and report on the roof, flashing, chimney(s), soffit, fascia, eaves, downspouts, walls and finishes, windows, doors, foundation, and lot grading. Inside, you should expect your inspector to review the heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems. Interior finishes, doors, windows, and attic insulation should be inspected and reported on as well. Please refer to our Residential menu for more details on each type of inspection.
A knowledgeable inspector should be able to alert you to the most common insurability issues too. Many homes today encounter problems with availability of insurance unless first undergoing significant and costly upgrades. No insurance = no mortgage.
Do you have Errors & Omissions insurance?
How thorough are your inspectors?
Rob Hermann exceeds the Standards & Practice he follows.
Even with properly qualified inspectors, not all home inspections are equal. You need to ask some rather pointed questions before making your decision. You may be surprised to learn how many inspectors – even fully qualified ones – don’t actually get on a roof or open electrical panel covers.
Why don’t you give a discount?
We do not offer discounts because it just isn’t fair to anyone. It isn’t fair to all the others who do pay full price, and it isn’t fair to expect us to subsidize your expenses. Full time professional inspectors are business owners: they have overhead office costs, expensive tools, insurance, automobile costs, uniforms, and on and on. Professional qualified inspectors are worth their rates.
Inspectors who are willing to give discounts are inspectors who aren’t getting enough business – they’re hungry. And they’re likely banking on someone else to charge more to to balance the discount they gave to another.
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