When I was invited to contribute some suggestions for the proposed licensing of home inspectors in Ontario, I suggested that real estate agents should not be allowed to refer the services of home inspectors. I also expressed my opinion that the entire licensing process will not bring the proclaimed protection for consumers, unless the blatant conflict of interest is eliminated.
Having been in the home inspection business for a very long time. I have experienced all conniving tricks how the powerful real estate fraternity is manipulating the real estate market to its advantage. I was not only around when home inspections were introduced to Ontario in the seventies. I also witnessed how successful the Toronto Real Estate Board has been in suppressing public demand for home inspections for many years.
Only when it became apparent that consumer requests for pre-purchase home inspections could not be stopped, did the board changed its strategy. The result is that now about 25,000 TREB members are virtually controlling who - from the pool of a few hundred home inspectors - is actually carrying out the bulk of home inspections in the GTA. Many of these preferred home inspectors have become dependent on referrals from agents to make their relatively meagre living in comparison to the commissions collected by real estate salespeople these days.
No government has ever had the courage to challenge the entrenched tricks of the trade how real estate is being sold in Ontario. Properties are still being offered for sale under the motto Caveat Emptor. Agents or their employers do not assume any responsibilities for the accuracy of their property descriptions or sales promotions.
There are many valid reasons why home inspectors should be licensed. One of them is that the Home inspection Industry has failed to regulate itself. The proposed licensing might discourage a few inept service providers not to apply, but it will not protect home buyers against unethical operators who often come highly recommended by agents.
Nothing will change unless the real estate profession is forbidden by law not to get involved in any aspect of the home inspection process.
RUDOLF REUSSE - Home Inspector since 1976 - Retired