Are you looking to purchase your first home or put your house up for sale? Before you make the big move, take a look at these helpful tips from Canadian home inspectors.

1. Select Home Inspectors Carefully
Steve Maxwell, a Manitoulin Island-based home improvement coach, advises that you don’t trust real estate agents to recommend home inspections. Instead, look for a certified independent inspector.

2. Make sure the inspection is thorough
Home inspectors should be able to inspect a house in between two and four hours. Maxwell states that any inspection that takes longer than this is a red flag. It is possible for a small house with no basement to take less time.

3. Ask the right questions
Inspectors cannot tell you whether or not to purchase a home. They are not allowed to offer real estate advice. They should highlight major issues like foundation damage.

4. Make sure you prepare your space properly
Sellers, prepare your home for home inspectors in the same manner as you would for a viewing. Julie Peck of Peck Home Inspections suggests that you take care of small repairs like doorknobs that are loose before the inspector arrives.

5. Request a sample report
Graham Clarke, president of The Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors, suggests that you take a look at the sample report before hiring someone. Do you have photos? Any suggestions for addressing any defects? Make sure that you understand the document.

6. Even newly built homes should be inspected
Mike Holmes Jr. of Mike Holmes Inspections says that there are many things that could go wrong in construction. These include poor roofing design and electrical problems. He says, “There are builders building homes one after the other.” They’re selling them like hotcakes. It’s not about quality.

7. You can read the entire report (not just the summary)
The summary is used by home inspectors to highlight high-priority problems. However, your concerns may extend beyond this.

8. Find out What to Look for
Look for a home inspector in Nebraska who tests air quality–specifically checking for mould and testing radon. This naturally occurring gas is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Holmes says that although these tests are relatively inexpensive, they can be expensive if problems do arise.

9. Timing is everything
Before you list your house on the market, have it inspected. You can either inform the buyer about any problems upfront and avoid a renegotiation, or you can hire a trusted contractor to complete the necessary repairs or renovations.

10. Do not forget to look outside!
Attention to your foundation and roof. Any issues with either of these can prevent a sale from happening. Peck recommends trimming large tree branches to protect your roof. Keep your home’s downspouts dripping away from the foundation to prevent a leaky foundation.

11. Watch out for poor repairs
Be cautious when it comes to DIY homes. DIYers may not be able to do repairs as professionally as professionals. Clarke warns that bad fixes can lead to dangerous electrical systems and basement leaks.

12. Do not trust blindly
Clarke says that while most homeowners are honest, some homeowners may be lying to cover up. Is there anything in the basement other than a few boxes that have been pushed against a foundational walls? Is one wall in need of a new coat? These clues could indicate a hidden defect.

13. You may be allowed to tag along
Ask to accompany the inspector during the inspection. Peck says, “This is your chance get to know your home.” I encourage buyers to be active.