In Québec, there is no regulatory body governing the home inspector profession. However, there are professional associations such as the Québec Association of Building Inspectors and the National Building Inspectors and Experts Association. They demand that their members have adequate training, such as a college diploma in building inspection.
Inspectors can also belong to a professional association, such as the Ordre des architectes du Québec, the Ordre des technologues professionnels du Québec, the Ordre des évaluateurs agréés du Québec or the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. Professional associations have a responsibility to protect the public, which adds to the responsibility of their members. Finally, ask your broker to recommend two or three inspectors. Contact them to find out about the duration of the inspection based on the size of the property, the price and information on the type of report they will provide. Because the period in which you can have a home inspected is often limited, be sure to act quickly in scheduling an appointment.
An inspection is a good opportunity to know your future property. Be present during the inspection and pay attention. The inspector will likely point out various elements that should be improved or maintained, but that will not necessarily be part of the final report. As for the final report, it should be accompanied by photographs and recommendations for correcting problems (insulation, changing the water heater, etc.). If there are some aspects of the inspection report that are not clear to you, feel free to ask questions.
In the case of a condominium where it is not possible to carry out a full inspection due to the size of the building, for example, it is important that you examine the condo’s documentation, such as the minutes of the meetings of owners – which may mention upcoming work or any problems – the building’s maintenance log and its contingency fund. The condominium syndicate may also ask the owners for special contributions in addition to the monthly condominium fees, due to significant expenditures for maintenance or repair work. These special contributions may have been passed by the syndicate before your sale is notarized, but payable by the buyer after the sale date.
Your real estate broker has the expertise required to properly assist you in this process.