Canadian Homeowner

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Ask an Expert: Home Inspections with David Sharman


David-County-Home-InspectionWhether you’re selling a home, buying one, or plan to do one or the other some day: home inspection is an important part of the transaction–or at least, it should be. We chatted with David Sharman, owner of County Home Inspection, to get an insider’s view on home inspection, including what some common problems are, misconceptions about home inspection, how to ensure that the home inspector you hire is reputable, and more!

CH: What are home inspections for?

DS: Often as a buyer, once we are satisfied with knowing a home fits our lifestyle, we are ready to invest. Given this investment, it’s very important to proceed with caution. No home is perfect. Understanding the physical condition of your most valuable asset and how its components and systems function before you buy, is invaluable.

CH: What are some common misconceptions about home inspection?

DS: Some of the most common misconceptions are:

  1. That the home inspector is checking for the homes compliance with today’s building code. This is wrong – an electrical panel installed in a home in the 1980’s will have been code compliant at the time of installation but will fall short of today’s code requirements. However if the panel is performing as anticipated for a panel of that age the installation is perfectly acceptable.
  2. That the home inspector will pass or fail a home – there is no pass or fail. A home inspection is a non-invasive evaluation and report on the general condition of the home. A home inspection is not a warranty on the future performance of a home. An inspection report, based on the professional opinion of the inspector, is an observation about the systems and components of the home at the time of the inspection.

CH: Who needs a home inspection?

DS: Anyone thinking of buying a home should have a home inspection. A home inspection is a critical part of the home buying process and anyone thinking of buying should have a home inspection. The inspection will provide you with a complete and unbiased evaluation of the home’s condition, allowing the buyer to make an informed choice about the purchase and giving them peace of mind both financially and emotionally.

CH: How can you be sure that the inspector you hire is reputable?

DS: There are many things you can do to help ensure that the home inspector you choose to hire is a reputable one. The most important one is to ask questions, such as:

  • What training have you undergone?
  • Do you have construction industry experience?
  • How long have you been a home inspector?
  • Do you carry errors & omissions insurance?
  • Do you belong to a professional home inspection association?
  • Can you provide me with some references?

CH: What are the inspection standards for home inspections?

DS: As a member of a professional home inspection association an inspector will conduct business according to that association’s standards of practice, he/she will be guided by their code of ethics, will have met a minimum level of training and be committed to a programme of ongoing professional development.

CH: Do you recommend pre-inspection for sellers?

DS: Traditionally the home inspection was targeted at the home buyer but the pre-sale inspection is an ever growing segment of the market. The pre-sale inspection can be used as a marketing tool and can be presented to potential buyers with repair estimates or invoices for repairs done. The pre-sale inspection process can also give the buyer the opportunity to procure repair pricing rather than having to renegotiate a purchase offer based on overinflated buyer-sourced repair estimates.  Also, waiting for the results of a home inspection is a very tense time for both seller and buyer. A pre-sale inspection expedites the whole process and removes some of that tense uncertainty.

CH: What are some of the things people are regularly surprised by when you inspect their homes?

DS: The seller is always surprised to find out the home they have loved and cherished for many years has any deficiencies and the buyer is always surprised to find that the dream home they have been searching for all this time may not be as perfect as they had hoped.

CH: What are some of the common issues?

DS: The most common issues I come across when conducting a home inspection are:

  • downspouts that end to close to the foundation – it’s extremely important to direct that water that runs off the roof at least 6 feet away from the foundation.
  • Outlets that have reversed polarity, although the outlet works fine, there is a real risk of electric shock and this may go unnoticed for many years, usually until it’s discovered by a home inspector.
  • Lack of insulation in the attic space is extremely common in older homes and can not only lead to higher heating cost, a shortened life expectancy for roof shingles and ice damming  but condensation and mold in the attic.

CH: Are there any noticeable differences between new and old homes?

DS: While the Provincial building code sets out a technical requirement for the construction of a home there can be a huge variation in the quality of both materials and workmanship used to construct a new home. No home is perfect and many of the issues found in older homes are also present in new construction.

CH: Do you know anything about the differences in inspection standards, rules or regulations across Canada? If so what makes the difference?

DS: The home inspection industries in both British Columbia and Alberta are licensed. Here in Ontario, the Ministry of Consumer Services is looking at ways to improve the home inspection industry, increase both consumer confidence and consumer protection and this may result in the licencing of all home inspectors in Ontario in the not too distant future.


David Sharman is the owner of  County Home Inspection, and has 20+ years experience within the construction industry, as both a contractor and construction engineer.  County Home Inspection has been operating since 2011.  His service area covers Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Hastings, Northumberland County and Durham Region.  He can be contacted at or at 705-957-3642. His website is

Amy is passionate about writing, editing, educating, and engaging with people. She comes from a long line of hands-on, DIY-ers who continue to look for new solutions to old problems. She currently lives in the suburbs of southern Ontario.

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