Everything You Need to Know about a Home Inspection

A home inspection helps you make an informed decision before buying a home. Here’s why it’s an important step in the homebuying process.

By Emily Southey | 8 minute read

Mar 24

Finding your dream home is a feeling like no other. But before you close the deal and sign on the dotted line, buyers should always do their due diligence by scheduling a home inspection. Home inspections might seem like a pain, but they can save you a lot of money and stress in the future. Plus, inspecting your future home — whether it’s a house or condo —  is much easier when you hire a professional and use Wahi’s helpful checklist (see below) on what to look for during the inspection.

What Is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a visual examination of the home. This includes everything from the roof and the windows to the driveway and the foundation. It can be conducted by the buyers but more often is done by professional home inspectors. The purpose of a home inspection is to look for any major flaws and understand what will need to be repaired or replaced in the short and long term. Home inspections are typically conducted before a home is purchased to make sure there are no major issues.

What is a Pre-Listing Home Inspection?

Though home inspections are often completed at the behest of the buyer, this isn’t always the case. A pre-listing home inspection is when a seller has their home inspected by a professional before they put it on the market. These types of inspections are usually done in the hopes that they will make the home more enticing to sellers. Pre-listing home inspections can be beneficial to both buyers and sellers. They can result in a home being sold quicker (a major pro for the seller) while providing peace of mind to the buyer that the home is in good condition. 

“A home inspection is a visual examination of the home. This includes everything from the roof and the windows to the driveway and the foundation.”

The Benefits of a Home Inspection

Inspecting your potential home is a crucial component of the home-buying process. Doing so offers a whole host of benefits to the buyer. From discovering costly repairs and safety hazards to using the home inspection report as leverage in your negotiation, there are many reasons that home inspections are beneficial to buyers.

Necessary Repairs

One of the main purposes of home inspections is to inform buyers about any necessary repairs or replacements in the home. A home inspector will assess everything — the windows, doors, basement, kitchen, driveway, roof, electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation, and more. Home inspections will reveal any issues with the home, giving buyers an idea of how much money they will need to invest to fix the problems. Ultimately, if the necessary repairs and replacements are significant, the buyer may decide the property is more trouble than it’s worth.

Negotiation Tool

After a home inspection is completed, the inspector will issue a report. This report can then become a powerful negotiation tool for the buyer. Depending on the findings of the report, the buyer might be able to use it to negotiate a better deal on the home. If many repairs are needed, they can try to negotiate a lower price. Alternatively, they may negotiate an amendment  to the contract  requiring certain repairs be completed before they close on the property. When buying a home, you want to have as many advantages as possible, and doing a home inspection can give you just that.    

Home Insurance

Some insurance providers won’t sell you home insurance if your house has certain issues. These issues may only be discoverable via a home inspection. Therefore, to insure your new home, a home inspection and the consequent report will either confirm that there are no problems or allow you to fix them so your home meets the insurance company’s conditions.

Safety Hazards

One last benefit of home inspections is that they open your eyes to potential safety hazards. While repairs and replacements can be costly, there is nothing as important as your safety. Most home inspections involve looking for signs of mould, water damage, and carbon monoxide. If the inspector thinks any safety hazards are present, it’s essential to know before closing. On the other hand, if the inspector does not find any noteworthy safety issues, this can provide unparalleled peace of mind to buyers. 

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The Home Inspection Process: 3 Steps to Follow

So you’re interested in buying a home but want it to be inspected first. Now what? The next step is to hire a professional home inspector. While it is perfectly legal for the buyer to conduct the home inspection themselves, it’s not generally recommended. Professional home inspectors are experts in their field. Even if you think you have a good eye, there are likely things you wouldn’t even think to check.


It’s important to note that home inspection costs are the responsibility of the buyer. Therefore, buyers should always budget for the cost of a home inspection when purchasing a property. Typically, home inspections cost between $300 and $600 and take approximately three to five hours.

1. Find the Right Home Inspector

Finding the right home inspector is like finding the right contractor or electrician. Not all professionals are on equal footing, which is why it’s important to assess a potential candidate’s experience and qualifications. Ask your REALTOR®  for recommendations. 


Alberta and British Columbia are the only provinces that require home inspectors to be licensed. However, just because other provinces don’t have licensing requirements doesn’t mean there aren’t other qualifications to look for. For example, you can ask your potential home inspector if they’ve earned any certifications in their trade, like those offered by the Canadian Association of Housing & Property Inspectors. You can also ask how long the inspector has been in business and search for reviews or testimonials online. Home inspectors must also follow laws related to the profession regardless of whether they are licensed or not.

2. Attend Your Home Inspection 

You’ve done your research, you’ve hired a professional home inspector, and your home inspection is just around the corner. One final piece of advice for the home inspection process is to attend your home inspection as they can be complex and there might be parts of it that you don’t understand.. Your realtor will also be in attendance and will be able to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the entire process.

3. Bring Your Checklist

When you arrive at the home on the day of the inspection, come prepared with a home inspection checklist. The more extensive, the better. To avoid a headache down the line, you and your home inspector should assess every nook and cranny of the property. Standard home inspections will look at the home’s interior, exterior, structural integrity, appliances, and plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.

Wahi Home Inspection Checklist



  • Countertops, sinks/faucets, cupboards, cabinets
  • Appliances (dishwasher, oven, garbage disposal)
  • Plumbing
  • Range hood exhaust fan (if applicable)


  • Sinks/faucets, showers, bathtubs, toilets

  • Water flow and pressure

  • Cabinets

  • Tiles/flooring

  • Plumbing


  • Water or structural damage

  • Insulation and ventilation 


  • Water damage or leaks on ceiling or floor

  • Cracks/stains in exposed foundation

  • Damage or decay to structural wood

Windows and Doors

  • Glass and screens

  • Ability to open and close properly

  • Weatherstripping

Floors, Walls, Ceiling

  • Glass and screens
  • Ability to open and close properly
  • Weatherstripping



  • Chimney
  • Gutters

  • Shingles (broken, missing, cracked, rotting)

Driveway and Grounds

  • Cracked or uneven

  • Standing water

Exterior Surfaces

  • Stains or flaky paint

  • Cracks, decay

  • Foundation



  • Wiring

  • Electrical panel

  • Ground fault circuit interrupter


  • Furnace
  • Thermostat

  • Heat pump/air conditioner


  • Water heater
  • Pipes 

  • Water shut-off valves


  • Ventilation system and vents

Home Inspection Report

After your home inspector has completed the inspection, they will issue a home inspection report. Most home inspection reports will include general information about the property and the inspection evaluation methods, a detailed assessment of the home’s systems and components, annotated photos of any major issues discovered, and a summary and recommendation for each issue.

Emily Southey

Wahi writer

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