The Holmes Inspection: Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy or Sell Your Home


256 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 978-1-55468-043-6
DDC 643'.12





Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



Purchasing a home inspection has become standard practice for homebuyers. But there is nothing standard about what purchasers get for their inspection dollars. Holmes, a contractor turned celebrity with his own television show, charities, and books, points his guns at an industry that’s neither standardized nor regulated and, like contracting, leaves lots of room for uninformed homeowners to be misled.

Holmes advocates for “quality and integrity” in this growing industry, pushing to replace opinions with informed assessments. He presents arguments for inspections that give all the information needed for the homebuyer or seller—yes, sellers, too, should get an inspection—to make informed decisions and facilitate the report serving as a blueprint for a home maintenance plan.

The work is a “walking tour” of a house with a qualified inspector, pointing out potential areas of concern from the foundation to the attic, interior and exterior. Garages, porches, balconies, and decks are included, along with the home’s mechanicals (structure, plumbing, electrical, HVAC), insulation, windows, drywall, and more. Holmes’s philosophy is that it is what’s under or behind the surface that matters, with health and safety throughout the home being the priority. Often this means addressing issues of moisture and the mould buildup that results when water is trapped within the home’s structure. He stresses using professionals, obtaining permits, and doing repairs right the first time even if it costs more to do so.

The work includes suggestions for selecting both a real estate agent and a home inspector, what to expect in the report, lots of examples of inadequate reports, and suggestions on how to prioritize repairs. Throughout, “red flag” lists highlight areas most likely to be a concern.

Case studies apply the lessons from the main text to four specific situations—a century house, a new home, a “flipped” house, and a “fixer-upper.”

The writing style is simple and direct, occasionally straying into folksy. Checklists, a glossary, and an index, together with a stay-open-flat format and lots of high-quality illustrative photos, all add to the ease of use and value of this practical guide.



Holmes, Mike, “The Holmes Inspection: Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy or Sell Your Home,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,