Real estate professionals offer so much more than just helping clients buy and sell homes. Both buyers and sellers often need support in finding a variety of services, including movers, cleaning services and contractors.

Home inspections are a key service you’re often asked to recommend, but how can you find a truly exceptional home inspector that will provide top quality service to your clients? Who will offer the same exceptional service that you provide and service that will maintain the reputation of excellence that you worked so hard to build?

Here are four things to look for when choosing a home inspector for your clients.

1. Certification and training

Before making any recommendations, check for certification. Qualified home inspectors should be members of a professional association, be fully trained and certified and carry a proper level of Errors and Omissions and General Liability insurance. Look for someone who takes professional development and training seriously and is constantly honing their skills to keep up with changing building practices.



2. Thoroughness

Home inspectors should spend at least 2 1/2 hours for an average home. A top-quality inspector will guide your client through the mechanicals of the home, pointing out areas of concern, tips on future maintenance and an overview of how the home functions. Once completed, the client will have a solid understanding in the property’s inner workings, what changes need to be made and what ongoing maintenance will be needed. Every aspect should be covered including HVAC, electrical, plumbing, structure and landscaping. The client should leave an inspection feeling fully informed.

3. Communication

In addition to the very careful and thorough inspection with your client, professional home inspectors should provide a detailed written analysis of the property. This document is given to the client as an invaluable reference tool. The report should outline all the areas addressed in the home inspection and any concerns noted. It should be written in accessible language for clients and presented in a clear, organized manner. The report will be a go-to guide for clients on every aspect of the home and clients will refer back to the report many times as homeowners. Top-notch home inspections also provide additional resources for clients, such as a Home Repair Manual, a Repair Cost Guide, a Moving Checklist, and a Seasonal Checklist for home maintenance. These tools and handy checklists simplify the buying and selling process and keep things as stress-free as possible.

4. Other services

In addition to exceptional home inspection services, look for other services to help your clients make their sale and purchase as smooth and stress-free as possible. For example, AmeriSpec offers Home Energy Evaluations as well as Indoor Air Quality, Mould and Radon Testing services. Clients may request these services before they buy as part of the offer, or later, as homeowners, as they embark on renovations. A Home Energy Evaluation will help homeowners pinpoint where they have energy loss and how to correct the problem and save both energy and money. Indoor air quality, mould and radon testing can be lifesaving measures for any homeowner. Radon is especially concerning as this naturally occurring gas is the leading cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking.

Choosing your recommendations to your clients with care is all part of the exceptional service you provide as a real estate professional. Be sure to look for these four key things when choosing a home inspector for your clients.

Jeffrey Brookfield manages the Canadian operations for AmeriSpec of Canada. In his 35-year career as a consultant, in executive management roles and as an AmeriSpec business owner he is known for being an innovator and a strategist. Most recently, he conceptualized and led the development of HomeScore App – a first-in-class web-based tool that helps homebuyers score, rate, compare and share homes that they’ve been shown by their Realtor.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Been in a business related to real estate for 35 years and consider myself to be a better than average informed real estate consumer.. Recently bought a home in a community just outside the GTA. Hired a home inspector & paid $500 for the inspection. 3 weeks into renovation we found asbestos “boots” around all the hot air registers( < one square meter of asbestos in whole house).

    I called the home inspector. He says, "read the fine print in the contract ( not shown to us until the inspection was completed), I don't check for asbestos". He saw the asbestos over the utility panel & he should have pulled up a register grate. All he had to say or note in his report is "that might be asbestos, have it checked". He didn't.

    Cost us $1200 for the proper asbestos abatement…now I have to pay legal fees to sue listing brokerage & sales rep, buying brokerage & sales rep & home inspector, and I will win in the courts of law & the courts of public opinion.Then take the RECO registrants to a RECO tribunal.

    The whole buying side of this transaction has been one giant "cluster f#<}"… From listing sales reps not disclosing on properties that we viewed: underground oil tanks, under house cisterns, fences around pool areas being shorter than allowed by law, knob & tube wiring, leaking foundations, asbestos….& then have a "Stevie Wonder" home inspector( an RHI of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors). No wonder the public has such a low opinion of the industry.

    Home inspection is one of the great con games of real estate.

    • As a better than average informed real estate consumer how could you not know about the fine print found on all inspection reports that states the inspector’s limited liability?

      Good luck with the law suits.

      • PED, I said better than average consumer, not an professional or expert.
        I wasn’t given the contract & it’s limitations until I was asked for the cheque at the end of the inspection.If I had seen all the limitations in the contract in advance & known how useless, in your words limited, the inspection was, would I have bothered to have the inspection done?

        I did everything a consumer is supposed to do, no multiple representation, had my lawyer review offer before signing, had a home inspection done by a designated inspector/a member of a provincial association, specifically told home inspector to look for vermiculite given the age of the home (1957) Vermiculite was there & tested by an independent lab as negative for asbestos, inspector obviously new of my concern about asbestos….home inspector was negligent in not advising that something he saw, that is a known carcinogen, that looked liked it might be asbestos, & pass that information in to me, so that I could choose to investigate further. He made a choice for me & my family in not disclosing. A choice that could have impacted our future health.

        I reiterate….home inspections ( & their limitations) are one of the great frauds of real estate

        • Maybe this inspector was a used car salesman at Fast Eddy’s Well Used Cars before gaining his inspector’s ticket. That could explain the manipulative trotting-out the contract behaviour ‘after’ the inspection had been completed and payment was requested. All of the inspectors that I was associated with whilst operating as a Realtor offered their contracts for perusal onsite ‘prior’ to conducting their inspections, although some encouraged their clients to speed-read same before signing. I would advise my buyer clients that most (if not all) inspectors’ contracts contained limited liability clauses (liability limited to return of the fee only) ‘before’ they contacted/commissioned their inspectors. I also advised my clients that short of conducting a destructive inspection (tearing the house apart) no inspector could determine every negative irregularity contained within a structure.

          • Hi Brian

            For starters no agent should be “choosing” AN inspector for their clients. It is beyond dangerous to do so.

            Provide a list of names or direct the client to the yellow pages perhaps, but NEVER “choose.” Frightfully dangerous. To do so, as noted in the post, then leaves the agent up for being attached to the outcome.

            This relayed story is a good example of what can go haywire.

            And as an aside: I believe it is never the home inspector’s purview to help “renegotiate” the APS contract. Not ever!

            Suggest likely repair or replacement costs, absolutely. But he should never be privy to “viewing the APS paperwork, or it’s renegotiating power or not.” Not his area of expertise. “Stick to the knitting” as Tom Peters says. The home inspector’s area of expertise.

            Just my opinion of course; but again – look what happened in this REM post.

            Carolyne 🍁

    • “and I will win in the courts of law & the courts of public opinion.Then take the RECO registrants to a RECO tribunal.” For most real estate consumer’s the word “registrant ” means nothing as it would relate to real estate, and to combine RECO with registrant to create “RECO registrants” well, let’s just say if you believe that “Withheld” is actually a consumer with an real anecdote for us, you haven’t read many of the letters to REM!

      In my opinion, this subject letter is a concocted effort, and if you’re puzzled as to the author’s general if not specific identity you might want to think about the overall message of the letter itself, which is: that in order to avoid a nightmare experience like the one described you clearly need someone other than a REALTOR and your typical Home Inspector — ah yes, that would only leave a: Real Estate Con……..! Points about the shortcomings of organized real estate can be made with the use of artifice, but clearly there is at least one poor soul that feels the need to play such games.

      Regarding the following sentence: “He saw the asbestos over the utility panel & he should have pulled up a register grate.” I’ve never seen asbestos over an electrical utility panel door and even if it was there, it has nothing to do with asbestos covered ducting boots. Environmental Engineers identify asbestos in two different distinct ways and if an abatement was really done the consumer would have been told which type of asbestos was present. Asbestos around a heating duct boot, should have been one of the most pointless exercises ever engaged in, but where it might be known to have been done in a particular area and documented, perhaps a Registrant/ REALTOR might be expected to be aware of it — depending on rarity. Home Inspector’s typically conduct non-invasive inspections, and while a heating register can usually be pulled out, it doesn’t always go back in, and for this reason the Homeowner would really need to consent ahead of time (in writing) to the heating registers being pulled as part of a Home Inspection — unless the Home Inspector is willing to commit to getting them all back in.

      AT $1,200.00 for an asbestos abatement that would seem like a bargain, given the number of register boots in a modest home. However, if there is a Lawyer that is suggesting this dollar amount represents sufficient quantum to justify their participation in any litigation, I’m inclined to think that unlike the imaginary subject property, their office wouldn’t be just outside the GTA, and that their office would be more than likely just outside of the Earth’s atmosphere!

      Regarding the following: “underground oil tanks” the author has not only referred to one of the best hidden Latent Defects, he is talking out of both sides of his mouth by suggesting that they weren’t disclosed yet they were somehow disclosed. There is only ever any mention of one Home Inspection being done and paid for, and Home Inspector’s aren’t expected to identify “Latent Defects” — anyway. Registrant/ REALTOR’s, typically, are not qualified to inspect a home, so the timing of the disclosure of some “knob and tube” wiring will often times be during a Home Inspection — that’s just basic common sense. Likewise leaky basements weren’t disclosed, but perhaps the subject Home Inspector pointed out to this “better than average informed real estate consumer.” which way the exterior grade was pitching, and suggested certain homes should be prone to leaky basements!

      Real Estate Registrant’s, Practitioner, REALTOR’s do need to pick up their game, and gain the necessary practical product knowledge to really be able to contribute to this process in a way that is truly professional. A REALTOR’s obligation to discover facts (within a Full-Agency Relationship) now is still very important, but it is only commensurate with one’s average, industry, ability — however, we not excused from missing some visual clues.

      The derogatory reference in the subject letter to one of the most famous and beloved musicians of all time is absolutely despicable, and is even more despicable if it was done to advance a personal agenda! The reference was also unbecoming to REM!

  2. “Other Services” or “Add-on” services are simply a measly cash grab by inspection company’s that offer them. Do you really want a person with a one-day course in Indoor Air Quality to take a sample (that can vary in the extreme throughout the house or day) and tell you that it’s all good. Radon tests take months for the accurate ones. What is “Mould Testing”?

    Nope, I’d rather have my inspector be good at items 1,2 and 3 than peddling fear based marketing.

    • You are right home inspectors should not be doing Wells, Septics, WETT, Mould etc these are areas of special qualifications and expertise. Specialized inspections or investigations with testing take as much time as the inspection which means if your inspector did the whole job you could be on site 7 to 8 hrs to complete the job properly. No one in real estate wants that.

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