by Diane Usher
A qualified home inspector can be an integral part of a home purchase. They can provide invaluable input to help a homebuyer make an informed decision. Given this important role that they often play, it’s critical that homebuyers are able to trust the advice of their home inspector. That’s why realtors support the provincial government’s current review of the home inspection industry, which is intended to ensure greater consumer protection.
The provincial government regulates many professions, including realtors. In fact, realtors must be licensed under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, which is administered by the Real Estate Council of Ontario, an arm’s-length agency of the provincial government. To maintain their licence, realtors must also adhere to a strict code of ethics, carry Errors and Omissions Insurance, and complete continuing education courses on an ongoing basis.
The government’s strict regulation of realtors is, in part, a recognition of the important role that realtors play and the importance of a home purchase for consumers. So, it makes sense that the provincial government is also taking steps to recognize the important role played by home inspectors by ensuring that they are also appropriately regulated.
Currently, home inspectors are not required to be licensed by the provincial government. In fact, anyone can offer home inspection services in Ontario. There are also no mandatory education requirements or qualifications, and no requirement to carry errors and omissions insurance.
The provincial government has announced that it is consulting with stakeholders and the public to explore ways to increase the transparency of the home inspection profession, ensure a minimum standard of training, and improve consistency in home inspections. Realtors believe that these are worthy goals and we have been working closely with the provincial government to provide their input on how to achieve them. It is expected that the provincial government will be issuing a report with recommendations in this regard, shortly.
Information is power, especially when it comes to purchasing a home. So, a home inspection can play a very important role in your home purchasing decisions. But information is only as good as the source that provides it. Realtors are encouraged that the provincial government is taking steps to ensure that homebuyers are protected at each step of the home-buying process, including their home inspection.
Dianne Usher is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 37,000 realtors in the Greater Toronto Area. For more information, visit torontorealestateboard.com.