Canada Home Inspection Checklist

Canada Home Inspection Checklist

Written by Matthew Taylor
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated August 16, 2021

Finding the right home can be expensive. There are a variety of expenses to consider, including the cost of having an inspection performed. Inspections can cost anywhere between $300 and $700, depending on where you live and the size of the house. While this expense can be a headache for some would-be homeowners. It is well worth the money you’ll spend as an inspection they can save you a lot of money and stress down the line.

What Is A Home Inspection? 

A home inspection is done before a home is purchased to make sure that there aren’t any major issues. A home inspection is paid for by the individual(s) who are looking to buy the house.

A home inspection could uncover issues with the house’s foundation, for example, or with any of the plumbing systems. Home inspectors usually walk through the home to visually check for anything that needs to be repaired or replaced.

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When Are Home Inspections Required?

Although some home purchasing contracts will require a home inspection to be done, some contracts won’t have this requirement. That being said, they should still take place regardless of whether they are required or not to give both buyer and seller some peace of mind.

Home inspections should take place after an offer is made, but before any contracts are signed. Making a home inspection a condition of the offer to purchase the home is the best way to go about it. That way, any potential issues with the home can be identified, and the buyer can make a more informed decision on whether purchasing the home is a good idea or not.

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What Is A Pre-listing Home Inspection?

A pre-listing home inspection happens when a seller has their home professionally inspected before they put it on the market. This inspection can make selling a home easier because the seller will have a better idea of the condition of their home and if there are any problems with it. A pre-listing home inspection can save a seller a lot of headache down the road before they receive any offers or sign any contracts.

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Importance Of A Home Inspection 

Getting a home inspection is an important part of the home buying process. It can save both homebuyers and sellers a lot of grief because it can identify any issues with a home and offer the buyer peace of mind. Here are some of the reasons that you should have a home inspection:

  • Current Or Future Repairs Needed: Homebuyers will be aware of any issues that a house has after a home inspection has taken place, meaning that they can get an idea of how much money they will need to put into their home to repair any issues. They can also see that if a home is more trouble than it’s worth, perhaps it’s time to move on to looking at other houses.
  • Safety: Home inspectors may be more familiar with obvious signs of mold, carbon monoxide,  and water damage, so they may be able to detect these issues better than you. Do note that it’s not the job of a home inspector to look for mold. Though, in most cases, they will inform you if they notice the presence of mold.  
  • Faulty Renovations: A home inspection may be able to reveal any faulty renovations made on the home. These renovations can be costly for homebuyers because their insurance and taxes will go up. They will also have to deal with these faulty renovations themselves, including bringing them up to code or tearing them down—all on their own dime.
  • Negotiation Tool For Buyers: Buyers may be able to negotiate a better deal on a home if they get it inspected before they buy it. They can ask for any issues to be repaired as a condition of purchasing the home, or they might be able to snag a price reduction.
  • Insurance: Sometimes, an insurance company won’t insure a home if certain conditions are found. A home inspection can help to identify if these conditions exist in a home so they can be fixed and so the home can be insured. 

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Who Can Conduct A Home Inspection?

A professional home inspector is one person who can inspect a home. They have experience around homes and know what deficiencies to look for. They usually inspect things like a home’s structure, plumbing, electrical, and roofing. A home inspector will point out particularly problematic areas and previous renovations and can help you to make a more informed decision when purchasing a home.

Of course, a professional home inspector is not the only one who can inspect a home. You can also inspect a home should you so choose. Keep in mind that although you will save some money by not paying a home inspector, you might miss some things when going through an inspection because you might not know what to look for. You might also be willing to overlook some major deficiencies if you’ve fallen head over heels in love with a home. 

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Are Home Inspectors Licensed In Canada?

In Canada, currently only Alberta and British Columbia require their home inspectors to have a license. In British Columbia, home inspectors need a specialized education that is approved by the Consumer Protection of BC, under the Home Inspector Licensing Regulation. They must also pass an exam in order to become a licensed home inspector. Similarly, in Alberta, home inspectors must have an education from an approved educational institution.   

Unfortunately, all the other provinces do not require their home inspectors to have any formal training. With no mandatory licensing or certification requirements, anyone can offer home inspection services in the rest of the provinces. However, the Canadian Association of Housing and Property Inspectors; a non-profit organization, does offer voluntary certification for home inspectors. 

What To Look For In A Home Inspector

Not all home inspectors are equal. When you’re looking for a home inspector, look into their experience and see how they are qualified. In non-regulated provinces, check to see if they’ve gotten certification from a respected organization like the Canadian Association of Housing and Property Inspectors. For the provinces where a license is mandatory (Alberta and British Columbia), you can double-check if they’re licensed. 

Besides Alberta and British Columbia, you don’t have to hire a licensed home inspector, but that qualification certainly couldn’t hurt. So if you find someone certified in one of the provinces that does not require a license, then they’re probably trustworthy as they’ve gone through the effort to become certified. Just make sure that they can answer any questions that you may have. Remember, buying a home is one of the biggest purchases that most people make in their lives. Do you really want to get a home with problems because you didn’t look into the person who will be inspecting it?

Where To Hire A Home Inspector In Canada

You can find home inspectors through several means. You could talk to your realtor to see if they know any good home inspectors. Your friends and family might also know someone. Some jurisdictions may keep a list of home inspectors, so that’s always a good bet. You can also find home inspectors in your area by doing some research online.

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How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Home Inspector In Canada?

The cost of a home inspector depends on the home itself. Larger, older, and out-of-the-way homes may cost more to inspect because the inspector will have to spend more time inspecting them. A home inspection usually costs between $300 and $700. Homebuyers are responsible for the cost of a home inspection, but they can make a deal with the seller to get them to cover all or part of the cost.

Canada Home Inspection Checklist

When you’re looking to buy a home, it’s important to inspect every corner of it for problems or anything that could give you a headache later on. But how do you know what to look for? Use the checklist below for helpful tips.

Inside The House

Floors, Walls, And Ceilings

  • Walk across all floors on the property to check if they squeak or if they are uneven
  • Check everywhere for damage, including cracks and water spots

Windows And Doors

  • See if there are any damaged screens or broken or cracked glass in the windows
  • Make sure that all doors and windows can open and close properly
  • Check the weather stripping on doors and windows for any damage

Bathrooms

  • Check that all bathroom fixtures work and drain properly, including the sink, toilet, bathtub, and shower
  • Check the faucets for pressure and water flow
  • Make sure that the plumbing and cabinets in the bathrooms are in good condition
  • See if any tiles are cracked or loose

Kitchen

  • Check sink faucets for pressure and water flow
  • Verify that appliances work, including dishwasher and garbage disposal
  • Make sure that there are no leaks in the plumbing
  • Check all sinks, cupboards, cabinets, and countertops for damage
  • See to it that the range hood exhaust fan works as it should

Attic

  • See if the attic is well-insulated and well-ventilated
  • Inspect the attic for any water or structural damage

Basement

  • Check for any damage and decay in the structural wood
  • See if there are any large stains or cracks in the exposed foundation
  • Inspect the basement for water damage and water leaks on the ceiling and floor

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Outside The House

Roof

  • Check for any damage in the chimney and gutters
  • Inspect the shingles to see if there are any missing or broken shingles, or if shingles are curling, rotten, cracked, or losing their granules

Driveway And Grounds

  • See if there is any standing water on the property, including near the driveway and in any yards
  • Inspect the driveway to make sure it is even and not cracked

Exterior Surfaces

  • Ensure that any painted surfaces aren’t stained or have paint flaking off
  • Make sure that there are no decayed or cracked portions of siding

Odds And Ends

  • Double-check that the outside foundation is not cracked and is straight
  • Make sure that the automatic garage door opens and closes as it should
  • Check that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors work and are installed according to government regulations

Electrical, Heating, Plumbing, And Ventilation

Electrical

  • Make sure that all wiring in the home is in good condition and that there are no exposed splices
  • Double-check that the main electrical panel can be easily accessed
  • Verify that there are ground fault circuit interrupter outlets in the bathrooms and in the kitchen

Heating

  • Make sure that there is no damage to the furnace or air conditioner and that they work
  • Verify that thermostats and heat pumps are in working order

Plumbing

  • Check if there is any rust on the water heater
  • See if there are any pipes that are leaking or damaged
  • Find all the water shut-off valves, because you’ll want to turn off the ones that supply water outside in the winter to prevent any pipes from being frozen

Ventilation

  • See if the ventilation system works properly
  • Check the supply vents for cleanliness

Home Inspection FAQs

Should I inspect a home that is newly built?

Yes, you should inspect any home, even if it is newly built. Just because it is newly built doesn’t mean that there aren’t any issues. Inspecting the home will give you the peace of mind you deserve.

Do I need a home inspection if I’m buying a condo?

Yes, you should get someone to inspect your unit within the condo complex. The condo board will typically get an inspector to look at common areas such as hallways or fitness areas.

Should I inspect a home if the seller already had a home inspection done?

It’s really up to you. You have three options at this point: you can trust that their inspection went well, get another walkthrough with their inspector (although there are some costs involved), or get your own inspection done. 

Do I have to hire a home inspector to buy a house?

No. generally home inspections are not required to buy a house. Typically when you make an offer on a house, you can add in a home inspection clause. This is done to protect you from purchasing a house that may have damages or issues that can only be seen with a proper inspection.  Sometimes, a lender may also ask for a home inspection before approving you for a mortgage. This is to protect them from investing in a house that could lose them money if you default on the loan. Similarly, some home insurance companies will require a home inspection as the health of your house directly impacts your insurance.

Do I have to be present during the home inspection?

You don’t have to be present during a home inspection, but it is extremely helpful if you do attend. You can still ask a home inspector any questions you may have once the inspection is done; however, doing so is much easier when you can ask questions at the inspection as they come up.

Bottom Line

Although a home inspection may seem like yet another cost on top of an already expensive purchase, it is well worth the expense. A home inspection can reveal many issues with a home and can help you to make a more informed decision when purchasing a home. Although you can do it yourself, a professional home inspector is trained on what to look for. Just make sure to find someone reputable that you can trust, and your home inspection should go off without a hitch. Once you get the home inspected and any issues sorted out, you can have better peace of mind knowing that you’re the best decision for your situation.


Rating of 5/5 based on 2 votes.

Matthew joined the Loans Canada writing team in 2021 while was finishing up a Bachelor's degree at the University of Saskatchewan. It was there that he discovered his love of writing. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Canadian Student Review and NewEngineer.com. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys reading, geocaching, and spending time with his family and pets.

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