For many home buyers in the Okanagan, a home inspection is one of the subjects to be addressed before a sale is finalized.
In B.C., all home inspectors require to be licensed by the provincial government, one of only two provinces with that mandate.
But the province still lacks a unified standard of practice for skill levels and training, something the Home Inspectors Association of B.C. (HIABC), has been working towards with the government but a single standard is still not yet in place.
On Sept. 1, 2016, new rules were introduced that removed the requirement for home inspectors to belong to a professional inspection association while at the same time established interim minimum standards of education and training.
Those standards are below the levels set out by the HIABC, says Bob Hamm, the association’s vice-president and a Kelowna-based home inspector.
Hamm said it could be six months to a year from now before provincial regulations and training requirements for all home inspectors are adopted.
“We realize it takes time to do it right and we are encouraged by the progress,” Hamm said. “In the meantime, we are continuing to follow our HIABC standards which far exceed the minimum set out in the new regulations.
“We feel home buyers should get the benefit of the highest standards of professionalism today and not have to wait.”
Those standards for HIABC members, which represent about 60 per cent of all home inspectors across B.C., include:
* 20 hours of continuing education training each year; current regulations do not require any
*new home inspectors receive training from three different approved trainers; current regulations call only for one approved instructor
*submit verification non-fee home inspection reports which are reviewed by senior home inspectors to ensure ramifications discovered that could affect a home in the future are thoroughly explained; current regulations offer minimum standard of noting presence of a problem but not to explain the significance or make recommendations
‘We would like to see all home inspectors in B.C. meet our stringent requirements and we will continue to work closely with the B.C. Housing Ministry to ensure that will happen for the benefit of home buyers,” added Helene Barton, executive director of the HIABC.
Hamm said while for Okanagan home sales home inspections are relatively routine, such is not the case in the Lower Mainland.
“It’s kind of the norm here in the Okanagan and most realtors are very cooperative in encouraging their clients that inspections be done.
“It’s the opposite down in the Lower Mainland where the demand for properties is such that buyers and realtors don’t want subjects delaying the sale.That as become a bit of a habit down there.”
And it’s a habit, Hamm notes, that can prove costly for home buyers, who find themselves afterward stuck with a home repair bill in the thousands of dollars that could have been avoided.
“People buy insurance on their house without ever making a claim on it but just because of the chance they might need it. Home inspections are a one-time fee to help protect you from unknown issues that could prove costly,” Hamm said.
“Particularly when people are at financial risk in buying a home the barely qualify for a mortgage on, they are in no position to deal with large repair bills after the deal is done.”