House Inspector

Prospective home buyers in the area now have greater access to a service that may soon be considered indispensable–professional home inspection.
Robert Peters, a local contractor and certified building inspector, has been hired by New Jersey-based home inspection company HouseMaster to inspect properties in the Fort Frances, Atikokan, Rainy River and Nestor Falls areas.
House inspectors are hired by home buyers to evaluate the plumbing, central heating, and electrical systems in a house and to determine whether a building is structurally sound. They can also inspect for problems with septic systems, water quality, and termites–things that are often invisible to a potential buyer attending an open house.
Usually, a buyer will place a conditional offer on a property pending the outcome of such an assessment.
Kenora based Home Team has serviced Fort Frances and the immediate vicinity for a number of years. However, prior to Peters’ certification, people seeking inspections on homes in Atikokan or Rainy River had to pay an additional fee for an inspector to travel from Kenora or Thunder Bay.
While inspections are becoming commonplace in cities like Thunder Bay and are now standard practice in the Greater Toronto Area, the Rainy River District is still in the process of catching up, Peters said.
But he noted demand for the service is increasing locally.
“It’s something people are looking for . . . it’s up and coming,” he said.
Before he was trained and certified by the National Institute of Building Inspectors, Peters, who operated his own plumbing and heating business for more than 20 years, was often called upon to do unofficial house inspections.
But he said he is optimistic people here will recognize the benefits of having homes looked at by a certified inspector using a standardized system, and backed by the 90-day guarantee against major unexpected repair that HouseMaster offers.
“For a lot of home owners, if they’re investing a lot of money in a property, to spend a few hundred dollars to have the homes professionally inspected can save them from a lot of unforeseen problems,” he said, noting some realtors are now requesting their clients get a home inspection.
“Because the banks are putting the money out, I think eventually they will be requesting it too,” added Peters.
However, a local realtor who asked not to be named, noted that in the case of most realtor-sold homes, buyers are furnished with all the information needed about the history of the property as well as any problems that may exist–essentially eliminating the need for an inspection.
“I haven’t seen a case where there wasn’t an inspection done where a deal has soured (unexpectedly),” the realtor said.
An official at HouseMaster in Thunder Bay disagreed, saying inspections are necessary for the sake of safety.
“When people buy a car, they get a safety inspection done,” the official said. “Buying a house is the biggest purchase most people will make, so it makes sense to try and eliminate any potential risks.”
The cost of a basic home inspection covering plumbing, central heating, and electrical is roughly $300 but varies greatly from house to house, Peters stressed.
Additional assessments can be arranged at the request of the client including evaluating well systems, pools, radon screening and buried oil tank testing.