Thumbnail for post #19368

All you need to know about pre-purchase home inspections

What exactly is a pre-purchase inspection?

The pre-purchase inspection of a building is an essential step in the real estate transaction which aims to identify any hidden defects or anomalies that pose a risk to your security. The inspector’s report indicates the general condition of the dwelling and, if repairs or renovations are necessary, can allow you to lower the selling price.

An inspector examines only what is visible and accessible. In addition, they will not repair defects or tell you how to go about it. If they notice an anomaly, they will advise you to do business with an expert, such as an engineer or an electrician.

Structure and Foundations

As the house must be able to withstand the weather, the inspector carefully examines the crawl space and foundation. They inspect, among other things, that all the floors are leveled. Obviously, they do not go so far as to tear apart the house to examine its skeleton!


In addition to determining the age of the roof, they examine the gutters and their descents to ensure that they are not obstructed and that they are well secured. They also ensure that water cannot accumulate on the roof. They examine the condition of the lining, the top and the chimney to prove that it does not present a risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Exterior of the House

The inspector assesses the condition of the exterior cladding and masonry by looking for cracks and signs of water infiltration. They also focus on landscaping, particularly in determining the risk of moisture, in addition to ensuring that the terrain is leveled so that water does not flow into the home. Lastly, they examine the alleys, doors, windows, balconies, patios and verandas.


This examination includes both flow and drainage systems, water heaters and storage. The inspector looks for any signs of leakage or corrosion, pressure that is too high or too low, or banging noises in the pipes.


The inspector will ensure the conformity of electrical installations; they will therefore examine each cable, switch, plug, service panel and circuit breaker. To avoid fires, short circuits and overloads, it is necessary to ensure that everything is dry and well connected.

Heating and Air Conditioning

The inspector verifies that all rooms are heated, that the devices are in good condition and that there is no risk to health and safety. This examination involves the chimney, the thermostat, the furnace and the radiators. That said, the inspector examines only what is visible; they do not demolish anything.

Ventilation and Insulation

The entire house is examined with special attention to the basement, attic and any other « unfinished » room. The inspector determines the humidity level. If it is too high, this can cause several problems, such as mold. They also examine the air exchanger, the ventilation vents and the air conditioner.

Interior of the House

Several elements will go under review, including the walls, floor, ceiling, staircase, counters, cabinets, garage, doors and their locks as well as security systems. The inspector looks for abnormalities that can signal leaks, mold, construction defects, or the presence of rodents or insects.

How to Choose Your Inspector?

Strangely, there is no regulated training to become a building inspector, which means that any inspector can claim to be qualified for the job. Please be assured that your inspector has liability insurance and is a member of one of the following professional orders: Ordre des architectes du Québec, Ordre des évaluateurs agréés du Québec or Ordre des technologues professionnels du Québec. Do not hesitate to ask for references. A qualified inspector will certainly not be opposed to it!