New regulations to standardize home inspections in B.C. have just been announced, but prospective homeowners still need to do research and get references before hiring a home inspector.

Currently, there are four different professional organizations for B.C’s nearly 500 home inspectors, but that will change when the rules are standardized in September.

Home inspector Ted Gilmour says right now, you’d likely get 10 different inspection reports from 10 different inspectors. 

A scary prospect for home buyers like 82-year-old Olive Petrou, who put $240,000 down on a $5-million house - subject to a home inspection. 

The first inspection found issues, but didn’t report some of the problems that a second inspector, Ted Gilmour, later found. 

However, his inspection came too late: Petrou had already removed the ‘subject to a home inspection’ after the seller agreed to do repairs and Gilmour had discovered other issues while inspecting those repairs. 

Both home inspectors were licensed and both met current regulations. However, according to BC Consumer Protection, a home inspection is just an opinion. 

New rules will require home inspectors to describe in advance what will be covered in an inspection. They’ll no longer have limited liability for their inspections and they’ll be required to have valid professional and general liability insurance. There will also be standardized training and examination requirements. 

“The reason it's being done this way is that we couldn't actually get agreement within the industry to come together as an industry because there were a number of professional organizations representing them so we finally said, ‘alright fine, we will create this licensing regime with qualifications and you'll all meet it,’” said Minister of Housing Rich Coleman.

It’s too late for Petou, who no longer wants to buy the home. She and her daughter, Susan Pugh, were going to live in the house together but are now fighting to get their $240,000 back. 

Pugh says their experience is a wake-up call to anyone who is making a home purchase in Vancouver’s overheated real estate market. Often buyers are going in without any conditions attached to the offer. 

"And we are even more gun shy of purchasing any property. We are so tired and fed up with the whole thing," Pugh told CTV News.

If you need a home inspector, ask a lot of questions about their background, check their current licensing and it’s recommended you get a referral from someone who’d used them before.