Housing and Property

Pre-Purchase Inspections


When an offer to purchase is made to a seller, it often includes an inspection clause. This is an important stage in the process: it means you can do a visual inspection of the home to identify defects before finalizing the purchase. 

Why do an inspection before buying a home?

The inspection helps you to detect problems you might have missed when visiting on your own. If the inspector finds problems, you might be able to re-negotiate the sales price or, in some cases, even withdraw your offer to purchase.

Note: A home inspection does not guarantee there are no defects! It will not catch hidden defects.

What is the role of the home inspector?

A pre-purchase inspection involves a visual examination of the house. The inspector will not, for example, drill a hole in the wall to check for mould or humidity problems. However, the inspector must point out potential problems and include them in a written report. 

You don’t have to hire a home inspector. But the law does say you have to act in carefully. This means you must be alert to any signs that should make you do a more in-depth inspection. You have no special knowledge about construction? You’re looking to buy an older home? It’s probably wise to call upon an expert to make sure you’re not missing anything important!

How to choose a home inspector?

There are several associations of home inspectors that have codes of ethics and rules to guide home inspectors.

You can also hire an inspector who is a member of a professional association, for example l’Ordre des architectes du Québec (order of architects) l’Ordre des évaluateurs agréés du Québec (order of building evaluators) or l’Ordre des technologues professionnels du Québec (order of technologists). These associations protect the public, for example, by ensuring their members have insurance to cover mistakes.

Note: the government has proposed a law that would give Régie du bâtiment du Québec (building regulation board) the power to oversee home inspections and issue certificates to home inspectors. Stay tuned for updates!