A home inspector was recently ordered to pay nearly $200,000 in compensation to a Vancouver couple. This followed a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that the inspector had provided a faulty report to his customers.

The negligent inspector failed to conduct a proper inspection of the entire home and did not advise the purchasers to hire a structural engineer before they bought their house. Ultimately, the total cost of repairing the property was $212,000 as opposed to the $20,000 estimated by the inspector.

Considering that an inspector’s opinion is relied upon, select a professional who provides a detailed written report as opposed to a checklist of items investigated.

Ideally, the report will consist of specific comments rather than a general overview that could apply to any property.

While thorough reports typically include a list of items that require regular maintenance, a detailed description of major defects and significant repairs is the most important element.

The case from B.C. demonstrated the importance of also having a qualified estimate of any replacement or repair costs.

Hiring an inspector who is a member of a nationally recognized association is strongly recommended. The Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors has established Standards of Practice, as well as a Code of Ethics for its members.

Registered Members will have performed no fewer than 250 fee-paid inspections in accordance with the Association’s Standards of Practices and will have passed a series of examinations testing their knowledge of residential construction, inspection techniques, and report writing.

Selecting a property inspector is an important part of the home buying process. Ultimately, consumers should not be persuaded by price. Saving $100 on a cheap inspection should not be a priority when investing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

– Elias Metlej is a real estate lawyer with the Halifax firm Blois Nickerson & Bryson. You can write to Elias at askelias@yahoo.com

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