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10 Best Practices to reduce your liability

Hub Insurance

1.  ALWAYS ensure you give a thorough explanation of the agreement and ALWAYS get a signature from the client PRIOR to starting the inspection.  It is imperative that the limitations of the inspection be explained to the customer.  Having the customer initial the onerous clauses in addition to the signature is the best practice.   An example template for your agreement can be found here.  Any changes made should be checked by a legal professional.

2.  ALWAYS take photographs during the inspection.  A picture really does speak a thousand words.  There can never be too many pictures.  You don’t need to include them all in the report, just keep them to defend yourself in the event of a claim.

3.  If you are in doubt or have a concern, ALWAYS recommend further inspections by a specialist for things such as possible structural, plumbing, electrical, and or mold issues.

4.  NEVER give dollar estimates on the cost to repair anything.  It is best to recommend that the customer obtain an estimate from a repair company.  If you want to provide your customers with a ball park figure, refer them to a third party site.  ALWAYS make sure that this is NOT your price, but a suggested indicator from that third party.

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5.  For winter inspections, ALWAYS clearly explain to the customer which areas cannot be inspected due to snow or ice buildup.  Have the customer sign an acknowledgement that the area was not inspected.

6.  Make sure the client is you for the inspection as much as possible, as opposed to them talking to the realtor or another representative.  You are the consultant on the inspection make sure you, and the Realtor are aware of this, and the client is not advised by the Realtor in any way contrary to your findings.  If they are, ALWAYS make note of it in your report.

7.  ALWAYS have clients sign a new inspection agreement on any and all re-inspections, and complete a new report with new photographs.

8.  ALWAYS pay particular attention to the client in respect to the reason why they are getting a home inspection.  Find out what the customer is most worried about.  ALWAYS address this in the report or, when it is outside the scope of the inspection or your skill set, identify it again in the report as an area you are not qualified to give an opinion on.

9.  ALWAYS make detailed notes about any specific requests made by the customer and any verbal representations given.  These do not necessarily need to form part of the report, but would be of assistance to refresh the memory of the insured if a claim is made years later.

10.  Wherever possible, obtain and keep a copy of the house listing with the report for future reference. This is especially helpful where homes are sold “as is”.

The common claims indicated from Hub Insurance are in the following areas:

  • Roofing
  • Electrical
  • Structural
  • Foundation
  • Grading
  • Water Intrusion
  • Mold, Basement Leaks
  • Heat/Air Conditioning
Post developed in conjunction with Kim Smith of Hub Insurance Oakville.

About OntarioACHI

Founded in 2012 the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors is a not-for-profit association of members with aims to improve the quality and standing of Home and Property Inspection for the benefit of consumers and our profession. The association is run by, and for, Home & Property Inspectors in Ontario. Our goal is to ensure all Home Inspectors are qualified to the highest standards and comply with the most exacting professional Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Duty of Care. A consumer hiring an OntarioACHI qualified Canadian-Certified Home Inspector (CCHI) will know they have they hired a truly Professional Home Inspector.
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