The importance of having a home inspection with Calgary-based Oxford Inspections
Home Inspections are an important piece of the home-buying process. It’s a chance to reduce your risk when purchasing a property and for rent-to-own agreements, it allows us to make sure that the homes we’re buying are safe and sound for buyers.
As a real estate investor, I’ve got to be diligent and work with professionals to mitigate risks of a property purchase. Kerry Oxford with Oxford Inspections is one of the professional team members that we rely on when we’re buying our investment properties. Her background, experience and home inspection process are second-to-none. Below is a Q+A session we had over on Facebook Live. (Video Below)
Can you tell us about your background?
When I was a kid and even today, my parents were always about the fixer-upper and home improvement. So I grew up in that world. My grandfather was a cabinet maker and when I was 15 I was laying tile. I knew how to paint walls, I had it all figured out. At that point, but you know what it did for me is it, it created for me this love of homes of making things better and improving and so on and so forth. Later in life, I took up I took up the task of doing some other stuff. I’ve been in the industry, became a journeyman welder and then a mechanical engineering technologist, and I use those skills and discovered a passion and a drive to make things better to improve things again in the industry. I also learned about engineering principles, about structural engineering principles, as well as mechanical and structural analysis. So then next step – home inspection.
I continued to do renovation as a hobby and then I developed a following of people in Calgary who would knock on our door to help solve problems. And we realized that we become this trusted source of advice and assistance for our friends, neighbors, and their circles and we wanted to take this trust equity a step further and wanted to build on it and to help more people tackle homeownership and so Home Inspection just seemed like the natural place to head into a now we want to improve this industry, too.
Can you tell us about Oxford inspections?
We believe the key to being a happy homeowner is understanding and managing whole maintenance. So whether you do it yourself or you hire someone else, it’s important to pay attention to your largest investment and we want to help homeowners with this. We’ve been in business since 2015 bringing experience from my history and my husband’s history. We are licensed, insured in the province of Alberta and this profession is regulated in the province of Alberta as well. So there are requirements. We are Certified Professional Inspectors and members of the Association International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. We protect our clients through a 90-day buyback guarantee, which we’ll talk a little bit more about in a minute and we help you plan your future through preventative maintenance planning and education and a service.
Can you explain to us why a home inspection so important?
When you make an offer to buy a house, you have an impression of the condition of that home and you made that offer based on that impression. Your home inspector does the work of verifying that the property is in the condition you expected it to be in. We are your insurance against major defects that could end up costing you a lot of money. A home is a series of systems in constant change interacting with each other and the environment in which they exist occupants also imposed were on the home, simply by living in it. And this means the conditions you found when you bought the house will change over time. So it’s important to regularly check in and ensure that nothing’s deteriorated or become damaged and regular inspections, coupled with a solid preventative maintenance plan will save you thousands on repair costs and a lot of stress.
What’s involved with a typical home inspection? How long do inspections take?
It takes us typically four hours to inspect a typical detached family house. Some inspectors might do it in less time but you’re not getting the opportunity to get a full comprehensive inspection. To give you an idea, there are nine sections to a standard Home Inspection those sections of your home are the roof, the exterior structure, electrical heating, cooling insulation and ventilation, plumbing, the interior. Within each section, the inspector has a list of required items which he or she describes and provides recommendations on. So for example, an inspector might describe the type of exterior finishing (your cladding) on your home, such as “vinyl siding its condition: missing sections with exposed building rap” might be one way of describing the house and provide recommendations to contact a qualified siding professional to replace the missing pieces and inspect the rest. So that would be a typical entry. There’s a wide range of options that your inspector might include including thermal imaging. That’s where we use this little tool, you might see our full appliance inspection or follow up care. There are also some specialists that they might bring to the site. For example, if you have an acreage the inspector might bring a septic or well technician – someone who can inspect those specialized pieces of equipment. So that’s very important if you have that kind of equipment on the property that you’re looking to buy.
Are there any restrictions on home inspections?
We also need to talk about the limitations of an inspection imposed by law. The Alberta government has restrictions on what we can do and what we can talk about. For example, a home inspector in Alberta is not allowed to provide estimates on the cost of anything that they recommend or that they find. It used to be something that inspectors did, but not allowed anymore. We are there to be your own unbiased third party and it’s not a good idea for us to get into a discussion of cost but there are lots of people that can help you with that other limitations are imposed by our professional association. So as inspectors we cannot perform repairs on homes that we’ve inspected as we’re your unbiased third party, we get paid whether or not you buy a house and our job is to tell you the condition of the house and that’s how we protect you from a conflict of interest situation.
Why do inspections take so long?
That’s because we take the time to test your appliances, we perform thermal imaging throughout your home, we also make a point of entering addicts and crawl spaces with feasible. We take a lot of pictures and that’s why it takes longer. We encourage you to come with us on the show. Follow us around and ask questions. The only thing you can’t do is climb our ladders for safety reasons but crawl under the deck with us if you want! We’re happy to take you on that journey because it’s about learning and that’s what we’re here for. We’re here to help you understand your home, so you’ll be safe, warm and dry for years to come.
What’s included in the report you provide prospective home-owners?
It’s the beginnings of your planning tool and that coupled with the home binder is going to empower you to make decisions to keep your home in good condition over time. It’s a comprehensive linked PDF (electronic) with images and illustrations to assist you in understanding our findings and their implications. There are recommendations for resolving any issues that we find and it helps you to prioritize home maintenance and plan for future work. We provide links to further information like on an energy efficiency programs. We also include information relevant to any peculiar items we found in your home. So for example, in one inspection we found a sauna in the basement and so we went looking for the manual so we could provide that to the client. So if you don’t know what this thing is, or how it works it’s nice to have that piece of information to rely on at the back of our report. You’ll find links to our entire library and thousands of documents you can go through that will assist you with home maintenance.
Can you tell us more about Home Binder?
Home Binder is a cloud-based subscription service we provide free of charge to all of our inspection clients. With Home Binder you can keep information about your home handy and securely stored, you can plan home improvement projects, keep pictures for insurance claim purposes, stay on track with home maintenance through regular email reminders, be automatically advised of recalls on your appliances right away, budget maintenance and renovations, find trusted local service providers and wow potential sellers with sellers reports.
We give a little extra assistance to first-time homebuyers and that’s in the form of by Bryan Baeumler’s book. That’s a free gift if you’re a first-time homebuyer. And the reason why is because many first time homebuyers are buying fixer uppers and we want to make sure you don’t make some of the same mistakes you’ve seen on Bryan’s show. He tells you about all the mistakes and how to correct them.
Do you need help with your home inspection? Learn more about Oxford Inspections.