As a Realtor, you understand better than most how stressful the home-buying experience can be. Home buyers are faced with sometimes overwhelming decisions about location, size and design – and then there’s the question of price. A new home purchase is a major financial obligation for the average Canadian.
As you help your clients navigate this journey, one of the steps they will face along the way is the question of a home inspection. A proper home inspection can help them to better understand the condition of a home and whether there are any significant deficiencies that could result in unexpected, costly repairs. It helps ensure they go into a home-buying decision with their eyes open.
Until now, though, there hasn’t been a consistent set of minimum requirements for Canadian home inspectors to follow or for home buyers to compare services. One home inspector might take 45 minutes to inspect a home while another might take four hours. A home inspection in one province could be very different from one in another province. These discrepancies can lead to wide variations in the amount of risk taken on by home buyers and home inspectors alike.
But in March, things changed. CSA Group announced a new standard on home inspection called CAN/CSA A770. The standard was developed by a balanced committee that included home inspectors, Realtors, consumer groups, government and other stakeholders, and it is designed to protect both consumers and home inspectors. The standard is voluntary, but it provides a consistent set of rules that help define expectations for home buyers and help inspectors provide a reliable level of service to clients on an even playing field.
As the first accredited consensus standard for home inspection in Canada, CAN/CSA A770 includes baseline requirements for the systems and components in and around a home that need to be inspected, and the conditions and deficiencies that need to be identified. It also outlines general inspection methods and minimum requirements for inspection reports. What is most important is it gives inspectors a unifying benchmark and home buyers a means to compare service providers.
The draft standard received more than 5,000 comments during its 60-day public review period. The strong public response clearly demonstrates the potential impact of this standard. The feedback from the public review process was carefully reviewed and considered by the committee before the standard was finalized.
Several home inspector associations in Canada already have training and licensing programs in place. It is our hope that existing training and accreditation programs will be updated to reflect the requirements of this new standard. Your clients should be able to compare and choose an inspector who is offering a home inspection in compliance with the standard. It’s a win-win: home inspectors will be able to better define what a home inspection does and does not include while buyers will have confidence that an inspector is following an accredited, nationally recognized standard.
CSA Group is offering the standard for free public view. Click here and create a login for the CSA Communities to read the standard.