Feb. 21, 2021

Dave Sarlo on home inspections in Winnipeg

Dave Sarlo on home inspections in Winnipeg

Dave Sarlo is the Owner and a Registered Home Inspector with NorthStar Inspections. He is a graduate of the Carson Dunlop Home Inspector Training Program, a premier home inspection training program. It is built around The Home Reference Book, which has b...


Dave Sarlo is the Owner and a Registered Home Inspector with NorthStar Inspections. He is a graduate of the Carson Dunlop Home Inspector Training Program, a premier home inspection training program. It is built around The Home Reference Book, which has become the gold standard in the home inspection profession. In this episode we talk about the importance and benefits of a home inspection.

Transcript

Adrian:

I'm joined today by Dave Sarlo of NorthStar Home Inspections. Welcome David.

Dave:

Thank you.

Adrian:

And thank you for being here today. David, let's start off with the basics. Can you tell me about yourself and your company?

Dave:

Well, we're NorthStar Inspections, we've been doing inspections of homes here in Winnipeg since 2014. It's a family run business, the inspectors are myself and my son-in-law Jody Wood, and my wife Roseanne, and my daughter Shauna take turns answering the phones when people call to book an inspection.

Adrian:

And what type of qualifications does someone have to be a home inspector?

Dave:

It's different across Canada. In Manitoba it's left up to the organization of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors. So they have a criteria that we have to meet, tests we have to write, and mentoring, and then we get our accreditation from them and able to do home inspections.

Adrian:

And what type of real estate will you inspect?

Dave:

Our primary business is residential, we do light commercial as well, small apartment blocks and small strip malls and things like that, but our main focus is residential.

Adrian:

Now when you're doing a typical home inspection, residential, what does that include?

Dave:

Well it's a visual inspection, it's complete visual inspection, of course that means it's what we can see. Sometimes people like to know what's going on inside walls and we just of course can't see inside walls. So it's visual. So we start on the roof, check out the roof, where possible we go on the roof, if it's not possible then we put a ladder up to the edge of the roof, or I have a telescoping pole that allows me to see on the top of the two and a half story, and so we get a good look at it that way. And then we go around the exterior, we go check out the mechanicals in the basement, we walk through the house, operating all of the things that are user operable to see what's wrong. We're looking for the big things, but when we find smaller things that are really deferred maintenance we document those as well for a courtesy.

Adrian:

Now in your experience in Winnipeg, or just generally speaking, why are home inspections so important?

Dave:

Well for most of us buying a home is the most expensive investment we're going to make in our lifetime, and most of us don't understand how houses operate, so that's where the home inspector comes in. We come in, we take a look, we do this inspection. I should have added we also go in the attic at the end as well, and we report back to the personal who hired us as to what we see in the home, and now they can proceed. If it's for a purchase, which it usually is but there are other reasons, they get a chance to decide if they want to alter their offer, if they want to walk away from the house. We don't pass or fail the house, we just tell them the current conditions so that they can make a decision.

Adrian:

And are most of these decisions based on a type of executive summary, or is there a book or a binder that people get that has a lot of detail?

Dave:

We give them a report, a full report, it's in a PDF, which usually gets emailed to them. For the odd person here or there who doesn't have email we'll print it and get a printed copy to them. And it has a summary of the larger items, but it lists all the things in detail that we've come across. It's not an exhaustive list because that's not the purpose, but whatever we've noticed and we've discussed. We'll go in there and where possible, where it fits, we have a picture of the issue as well.

Adrian:

And is there anything that makes you and your business different from other home inspectors that someone may be able to call?

Speaker 1:

We are very good at helping people understand their home. When we're doing the inspection we encourage the buyer to come around with us so that they can learn about the house. So we teach them all about the furnace, just from the operation of it, to change the filter, here's the thermostat. A big one is the HRV or heat recovery ventilator, which is basically a fancy bathroom fan. My experience most people don't really understand what it's for and how to use it, and so we can give them some instruction in how to use that and use it during the wintertime to control the moisture in the home, and it's a very helpful thing.

Speaker 1:

So that's what we do, we try and make sure they understand. For someone who knows about houses we'll just go around and do our inspection on our own and come and talk with them every once in a while if they're sitting on the couch, and for people who are out of town or can't attend we'll give them a call afterwards if they wish and walk through the report with them.

Adrian:

From a practical standpoint I recall you actually inspected our primary home and some of our rental properties, but specifically the primary home, and between my wife and I, that has very much become our task list, or our capital improvement list, on where to prioritize our home improvement efforts. So there is a longterm benefit of these inspections as well, if people wish.

Dave:

Yes, that is true, and I know a number of people told me they use it for that purpose as well. I can certainly see that.

Adrian:

I also now blame you for all of the expenses we've incurred for continuously improving our home based on your inspection, but it is all good.

Dave:

You're welcome.

Adrian:

Yeah, I'll let my wife know. Now is this primarily for new purchases, or do you sometimes inspect existing owned homes?

Dave:

Yeah, most of our business is for pre-purchase, but there's a variety of other reasons. Sometimes it's a pre-offer, when there's going to be multiple bids. Sometimes someone just decides to skip the home inspection entirely because they don't want to have that condition on their offer, so their offer is really clean, and a month later when they take possession they bring me in so they know what they bought. For people like that it's maybe because they've got some money to spend on it, but should they do the kitchen rental or maybe they have to fix the foundation first, so they call me and I tell them.

Adrian:

Yeah.

Dave:

And sometimes sellers will get in before they even list it so they know what they got to fix, and then they can show people the report, and that takes the wind out of the sails of anybody who says well there's a problem here, we should reduce the price. And they say well no no, we knew about that, it's in the report, and the price reflects that.

Adrian:

And in your experience when you're doing inspections, do you happen to know what percentage of purchases do not proceed because of things that you may have found in the inspection?

Dave:

We don't normally know that. We come during the inspection and when we're done I don't normally hear what happens. But from some clients will hire us for the next offer they make, and so we get to see a few of them. So if I go by that and most proceed, but I don't know for sure.

Adrian:

Okay. And I don't want to put you on the spot, is there a set price for a single family home inspection or is there a range?

Dave:

There's a range, but generally at the moment houses underneath 2000 square feet we charge $450. Of course the government wants their slice so GST gets added on top.

Adrian:

Yes, very much, that slice may grow and continue if this pandemic does. Benefits perhaps to an existing home owner of getting an inspection, any further detail on that?

Dave:

Yeah. Sometimes someone's going to start a major project and say well if we're going to be tearing the house up anyways let's see what else we have to do while we're in there. So they get me in to do an inspection and give them a list. Sometimes it's an inheritance situation. They got the property.,There's no question about that, but they want to see what they got. And then of course there's another angle as well if you have a specific problem on your house, maybe there's too much moisture in the windows, or maybe there's some water dripping from somewhere, you can't figure it out, you want me to come in and help you find out, then we come in and we do that investigation.

Adrian:

From some feedback that I've heard over the last year is your well-respected in the industry, by both your peers and the people that purchase your services. You've seen a lot of real estate in Winnipeg, what do you love about Winnipeg real estate?

Dave:

Well, it's a very stable market, relatively stable market compared to other markets, and I really like that young families can still afford to buy their own place without having too much trouble to get into the market. It's not possible other places, not easily possible anyway.

Adrian:

And any words of wisdom or advice for people that are currently in the market buying a home?

Dave:

You certainly get a home inspector. Sometimes your agent can give you some tips, but get a home inspection done so that you know what you're getting, because you can get all kinds of nasty surprises showing up afterwards, and nobody wants those in their house they're going to buy and live in for maybe the rest of their life, maybe five or 10 years, you don't want any costly surprises showing up later.

Adrian:

Dave, people who want to use your services, how can they reach you?

Dave:

Well, they can go to our website, which is northstarinspections.ca, and on there there's our email address and our phone number (204) 898-1423, and they can call and book.

Adrian:

That was Dave, a home inspector with NorthStar Inspections. Thanks so much for joining us today on the I Love Winnipeg Real Estate Podcast. Thanks Dave.

Dave:

Thank you.

Adrian:

Have a great day.

Dave Sarlo

Registered Home Inspector (RHI)

Dave Sarlo B.Sc., PMP Retired, owner and inspector, is a graduate of the Carson Dunlop Home Inspector Training Program, a premier home inspection training program. It is built around The Home Reference Book, which has become the gold standard in the home inspection profession. The program is endorsed by ASHI, CAHPI and NAHI, home inspection associations in North America.

Dave has also completed Carson Dunlop’s field training program, a full week of guidance in inspecting homes and completing reports.

Dave passed the certification exams for the CAHPI association and is a member of CAHPI in good standing. He keeps his skills current with continuing education programs.