Buying a home is the most significant investment anyone will ever make. A home inspection is a reliable way to help ensure the property is in top-notch condition.
How much does a home inspection cost in Canada?
This article will cover the different aspects of a home inspection, including the cost, what it involves, who pays for it, and the pros and cons of home inspections.
- A home inspection in Canada can cost $250 to $700, depending on the location and size of the home.
- Home inspections are not mandatory in Canada, but they are highly recommended.
- Only Alberta and British Columbia require home inspectors to undergo training and get certified before doing any home inspection.
- Beware of inspections that have limited scopes and time limits.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a process that involves visually examining and assessing the condition of a property and its major systems before it is sold or purchased.
The inspection, which is not mandatory, will help determine if some parts or components are unsafe, damaged, or need fixes.
A certified home inspector will analyze all the primary systems and components in the house, including roofing, structure, plumbing, heating, insulation, air conditioning, the interior and exterior of the home, and others.
During the inspection process, the inspector will identify any repairs or necessary improvements, the estimated costs, and when to address them.
A typical home inspection can take about two to four hours, depending on factors like the size of the home, the complexity, and the home inspector’s experience.
Generally, the home inspection process and rules are similar from one region to another. A buyer (or a seller) will hire a licensed or certified home inspection company to inspect the following:
- Components. These include roofs, ceilings, walls, retaining walls, windows, doors, the kitchen, attic, basement, driveway, crawl spaces, foundation, etc.
- Systems. These comprise electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, insulation, drainage, septic, and exterior weatherproofing.
- Structural. These are issues involving the foundation, floor, wall, ceiling, and roof.
The inspector will provide a written and detailed inspection report to the buyer within 24 to 48 hours of the inspection.
The report will cover the inspector’s findings, including photos, analysis, and recommendations.
With a thorough home inspection report, you can make a sound and informed choice about your purchase or repair costs.
While it is optional, a home inspection is a vital part of home-buying as it gives a detailed evaluation of a home’s condition, helping to prevent future unpleasant surprises.
When Should You Get a Home Inspection?
It is typical to get a home inspection after the seller accepts the buyer’s offer (before the closing). It occurs after both parties have signed the purchase contract and the house goes into escrow.
In this situation, the buyer is responsible for the costs of hiring a home inspector, who will then provide a thorough inspection report of the property.
Scheduling a home inspection as soon as both parties agree to the offer is vital as this will give more time for renegotiation when necessary.
In other cases, a seller may arrange for a home inspection before listing the home and use it to attract buyers.
At the end of the inspection, the home inspector will provide a copy of the inspection report.
How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost in Canada
A home inspection is typically part of the home-buying process and is included in the closing costs.
An easy and convenient way to get an estimate of your home inspection cost is through a home inspection cost calculator.
Often, the cost of a home inspection in Canada is relative to its location, the estimated square footage of the house, the age of the home, and the qualifications and experience of a home inspector.
So, how much does a home inspection cost in Canada?
A typical home inspection that takes about 3 to 5 hours can cost $250 to $700, depending on the location and size of the home.
Refer below for the estimated and average costs of home inspections that home inspectors conduct across Canada.
Home Inspection Cost and Rules By Province
Listed below are the costs of home inspections in different parts of Canada.
- Home inspection costs in Alberta range from $250 to $600, depending on property size.
- Home inspectors in Alberta are required to pass and qualify for certification.
- Home inspection costs in British Columbia vary:
- Basic BC home inspection – $500, depending on the total square footage of the house
- Condo – $300 to $500 depending on square footage
- Single Family or Townhouse (0-3000 sq. ft.) – $500 to $700
- Single Family (3000+ sq. ft.) or special circumstances – $700+
- Home inspectors in British Columbia are required to be educated, trained and licensed before they can perform any home inspection.
- Home inspection costs in Winnipeg start at $499.55+ GST, with an average of around $590 to $750+ GST.
- Home inspection costs in New Brunswick range from $500 to $700, depending on the size and location of the home.
- Home inspectors in the region are not required to have provincial licensing.
- The average home inspection cost in Newfoundland is $400.
- Home inspection costs in Nova Scotia vary between inspectors but range from $400 to $600 plus HST tax.
- A home inspection cost in Ontario is between $260 and $610, with an average of $430.
- A whole home inspection cost in Toronto is $492 on average.
- There is no requirement for home inspectors to be licensed or certified in Toronto.
Prince Edward Island
- Most home inspection costs in Prince Edward Island are between $250 and $500, with an average of $400.
- A home inspection cost in Montreal may be anywhere from $300 to $700.
- Home inspection costs in Saskatchewan range from $400 to $600.
- The average home inspection cost in Yukon is $400.
Home inspections are not mandatory in Canada, but they are highly recommended before a property is bought or sold to avoid headaches in the future.
Generally, the home inspection process and rules are similar from one region to another. The difference is that only Alberta and British Columbia require home inspectors operating in their provinces to complete training and obtain licensing.
The other provinces and territories do not have province-wide regulations and rely on associations to regulate themselves.
Who Pays for a Home Inspection?
In most cases, the buyer is the one who pays for a home inspection unless there are specific arrangements with the seller.
Home buyers are responsible for doing their due diligence before deciding to purchase a property. This includes arranging for a home inspection.
Since a home inspection is not mandatory, it is the buyer who has to pay the fee.
Likewise, it is not uncommon for sellers to arrange for a home inspection themselves before putting their homes on the market.
Doing this helps make their property easier to sell and more appealing to buyers.
Home Inspection Checklist
If you plan to buy a home, use a home inspection checklist as a general reference, such as the Homeowner’s Inspection Checklist from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
Home inspection companies use a more technical and in-depth list when inspecting a home. A list of items for a professional inspection, as per the Home Inspectors Association BC (HIABC), include:
- Exterior systems
- Roofing, flashings, penetrations and chimneys
- Structural systems
- Plumbing systems
- Electrical systems
- Interior components
- Heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems
- Fireplaces and solid fuel-burning appliances
- Insulation and ventilation of attics, crawlspaces and unfinished basements
What to Watch Out For During a Home Inspection As a Buyer and Seller
It is in your best interest to carefully pick a home inspection professional, whether you are a buyer or a seller.
If you are a seller who commissions a home inspection, it is recommended to be mindful of the following:
- Certifications. In most of Canada, no law mandates home inspectors to be certified or licensed. Thus, a buyer has to do due diligence to ensure the hired inspector is trained and certified.
- Memberships. A home inspector should also be a member of associations such as the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors (CAHPI) and the National Home Inspector Certification Council (NHICC), an association that confirms a home inspector’s qualifications.
- Walkthroughs. A home inspector should coordinate with you to be present for the walkthrough, wherein the inspector will point out major issues and areas of deficiency. Avoid working with inspectors who convince you that your presence is unnecessary.
For the buyer, the following are crucial points to look out for when it comes to home inspections:
- Limited-scope inspections. Buyers should make sure they are getting a full home inspection rather than limited-scope inspections, a tactic used by some realtors (who represent sellers) during the pre-listing phase and involves inspecting only certain areas of a home.
- Time limits. Some sellers give home inspectors a 30-minute window to perform a full inspection, which can take two hours or more to complete. Buyers should always aim to get a full inspection whenever possible.
Where To Hire Home Inspectors in Canada
Below is a list of online sources that provide information on where to find certified home and building inspectors in different provinces and territories in Canada.
- Alberta Professional Home Inspectors Society
- Home Inspectors Association British Columbia
- Certified Home Inspectors in Manitoba
- Certified Home Inspectors in New Brunswick
- Certified Home Inspectors in Newfoundland and Labrador
- Certified Home Inspectors in Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia Building Officials Association
- Ontario Association of Home Inspectors
- Certified Home Inspectors in Prince Edward Island
- InterNACHI Quebec AIIIC: Home Inspectors Association
- Saskatchewan Home/Building Inspectors
- Certified Home Inspectors in Yukon
Other websites that offer information on home and property inspections in Canada:
- Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors (CAHPI)
- International Association of National Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)
- National Home Inspector Certification Council (NHICC)
Pros and Cons of a Home Inspection
A home inspection is among the most crucial steps in the process of purchasing a home. It helps you avoid buying a home that may have hidden defects and damages that only a home inspection can uncover.
Despite the undeniable significance of a home inspection, it also has its limits. Not all inspectors can find every defect, especially those that do not leave visible signs and are impossible to detect even by a pair of trained eyes.
Nevertheless, below is a list of the pros and cons of a home inspection that buyers and sellers need to know to make informed decisions.
- For sellers, a home inspection:
- Helps them set repairs in advance and gives them more control over how much is spent.
- Helps make the property easier to sell and possibly more profitable.
- May help close the deal at or above the listing price.
- For buyers, a home inspection:
- Can uncover problems before the deal is closed.
- May help negotiate for a lower price when an inspector finds defects
- Provides peace of mind knowing there will be no unpleasant surprises later on.
- It exposes major issues (such as cracks in the foundation or termite damage) to potential buyers.
- A seller has to disclose areas that were repaired and why.
- It can be costly for older homes.
- The inspection costs can lead to other major costs if repairs and fixes are necessary.
- For buyers, asking for a home inspection may result in them losing bids during a seller’s market.
Are Home Inspections Worth It?
If you are buying a house, you want to make sure that you are not putting your hard-earned money into a property that may give you a whole host of unexpected and costly problems.
A home purchase does not come with a money-back guarantee. Before you make the biggest investment in your life, it pays to have a qualified inspector conduct a full evaluation of the property.
A home inspection is worth the dollars spent because it is crucial in identifying potential problems that can result in bigger and costlier issues with the property down the road.
Getting a certified home inspector is the best way to get an honest, informed opinion of a property’s condition.
Home inspections are not mandatory in Canada but are recommended before a property is sold or bought to avoid unwelcome surprises. Likewise, provinces and territories, except British Columbia and Alberta, do not have regulations for home inspectors.
House inspectors scrutinize the property for visible and invisible problems (such as physical defects, gas leaks and air quality). They examine the structure and functionality of the home, including its roofing, plumbing, electrical systems, etc.
Clean the house thoroughly and ensure unobstructed access to the areas of the property where the inspector will conduct the evaluation. You must be present for the walkthrough to ask questions and be aware of the problems that may turn up.
If the repairs involve latent defects (or hidden issues that existed at the time of purchase but were not uncovered by an inspection), the seller will be responsible for it. The buyer may refer to the legal warranty of ownership and quality, which gives buyers the right to receive financial recompense or cancellation of a sale.