Home inspections: what to know before you buy

Expert advice to help home purchasers understand the home they're buying

Marty Erletz

Buying a home is arguably the most important purchasing decision a person will make in their lifetime. Enlisting the help of a home inspector can be the difference between making a smart buy or not.

So, what does a home inspector actually do?

Marty Erletz, a Registered Home Inspector and franchise owner of Pillar to Post Home Inspectors, helps clarify the duties of his profession.

“The important thing to realize about a home inspector is that we do a very thorough inspection, but it’s a very thorough visual inspection. We can’t really go in and start taking things apart or causing any kind of damage to the home. We have to leave the home in the exact same condition that we found it,” Erletz says.

A home inspector can provide numerous benefits because, aside from determining the condition of the home, they can also provide homebuyers with valuable important safety information.

“Our main concern, at the end of the day, is the safety of the buyer,” he says.

Likewise, hiring a home inspector as the seller of a home can show every effort is being made by the seller to disclose the condition of the home in the most honest and professional way.

Key advice to potential homebuyers is to keep an eye out for unprofessional workmanship when considering a house, says Erletz, who recently donated services to inspect the municipally owned Hampshire Road house being considered as potential temporary housing for Syrian refugee families.

“I’ve inspected over 4,000 homes, so I’ve seen probably just about everything you can think of,” he says.

With the hot housing market throughout Greater Victoria, but especially in Oak Bay, Erletz advises homebuyers to educate themselves about a house as much as possible before making a purchase.

When looking to hire a home inspector, it’s important to make sure they’re properly qualified to do the job.

Whether or not a home inspector is certified by the Canadian Association of Property and Home Inspectors can be a key element in determining the legitimacy of a home inspector.

A CAPHI-certified home inspector, such as Erletz, is an individual who has undertaken numerous training programs and is held to the highest standards of practice, while also being required to follow a strict code of ethics.

Erletz dismisses the common perception that a home inspector tends to be viewed as a kind of bearer of bad news.

“I’m not just there to give (my clients) a whole bunch of bad news, or only tell them what’s wrong with the home. I do really like to tell them what I like about the home as well. It’s all about helping them understand the home they’re buying,” he says.