The importance of a home inspection
When I talk to home buyers, they often tell me that a major reason they work with a registered professional is because the real estate market and regulations are complex and they want a strong, knowledgeable advocate in their corner.
They rely on Realtors to be their first point of contact when they are thinking about financing and what they can afford, as the government changes borrowing and “stress test” rules. They need advice on the implications of new zoning and density rules that are changing the face of housing in urban areas. They want to know how to protect themselves from risks like cannabis grow-ops, which will be much more challenging to identify and disclose once recreational users are allowed to grow at home.
Home Inspection Concerns? You have three options:
1. Walk away.
2. Use the results to negotiate a better price.
3. Give the seller a chance to fix the problem.
What happens during a home inspection?
The inspector meets you at the home you’re thinking of buying, and takes about 3-4 hours to carefully inspect the entire house for structural, mechanical or other issues. He or she examines everything from the roof to the foundation and everything in between, including heating and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, insulation, roof, windows and doors, walls, ceilings, attic and basement. You can accompany the inspector as he or she goes through the home – it’s a good way to get to know the home quickly, and will give you a head-start in your home care “learning curve.”
The inspector then prepares an inspection report that outlines problems (breaking them down into major repairs that need to be done right away and areas that will need attention in the future, with accurate cost estimates for each), highlights good points, and gives you an idea what kind of maintenance you’ll need to do to keep the place in good shape. Make sure you ask for a detailed report that’s written in a narrative style. Never accept a verbal report or one that’s just a checklist.
How much does it cost?
Most inspections cost between $250 and $500. Think of it this way: a few hundred bucks could save you thousands in home repairs. It’s a pretty small price to pay for significant peace of mind.
How do I find a good inspector?
Look for a reputable, qualified company that has been in business for a while, can provide references from previous customers, is fully insured and offers guaranteed inspections. Inspectors should be licensed in building-related fields such as contracting, architecture or structural engineering. Your REALTOR® can recommend a reputable, objective inspector at your request, or you can find one by asking friends or by looking in the phone book.
When you’ve fallen in love with a house, it’s hard to see any faults on your own. Make sure the decision is a good one, and get it inspected so you can be sure you stay in love – for years to come.
Trademarks owned or controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association. Used under licence.