Some Ottawa home inspectors have been hit hard by a severe job loss in the hot housing market, as many people are bidding on unconditional properties, including inspections.
Mike White, who owns HomePro Inspections, has been inspecting residential properties for the past 16 years, but recently said his business has been split in two.
“It’s hard, the problem with it is the unpredictability. You do not know what you want week to week,” White said.
Canada’s housing market has had its busiest year ever in 2021, according to a recent report from the Canadian Real Estate Association, which also said average selling prices rose to new heights.
Unfortunately for White and other home inspectors in Ottawa, this boom has led to a bust for their business.
White said things started going downhill in mid-2019 and fell further in early 2020.
Home inspectors are leaving the company
“I’ve heard of more people retiring early, probably because the company has dropped out and expenses have risen,” he said.
Peter Weeks, president of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI), said home inspectors across the country are feeling the pinch.
Weeks, who has been in the industry for 20 years and also inspects homes in Ottawa, said nearly a third of new home inspectors who applied for membership at CAHPI this year ended up leaving the profession.
“To be honest, I even discussed it myself because my numbers were down and you have to live off,” Weeks said.
He remains convinced that things are turning around, and encourages those who want to get into the subject to continue their education.
“In the Ottawa area, I would especially say that it is becoming a more balanced market … offers are coming in with [the] condition of funding, with condition of inspection, “Weeks said.
Insurance prices are rising
Weeks estimates that inspections are carried out on every fourth property sold nationwide, but he said the percentage is much better than it was even six months ago.
Len Inkster, executive secretary of the Ontario Association of Certified Home Inspectors, said the rising cost of insurance poses another challenge for home inspectors.
That problem has plagued small businesses across the province, and Inkster said home inspectors are no exception.
“The only thing that can be done is to push up prices, and if they push up prices, [inspectors] get less work and it’s a kind of downward spiral, “he said.
Meanwhile, White said he plans to continue to stick to his profession, a career that has become a bit like riding a roller coaster.
“Right now, I’ve booked the next three or four days quite solidly, and I do not know if it will continue or if it disappears again next week … it’s really unpredictable,” he said.