Home Inspections

Yes you need a home inspection

Here’s why…(and how)

Charles Racette

So you’ve found the home of your dreams. You know that in current market conditions most sellers are receiving multiple offers and you really don't want to loose this one.  You’ve heard that many people these days are forgoing inspections in an effort to make their offer more appealing. Yes some people are doing this but they are also opening themselves up to significant risks! Buying a house without an inspection is a real easy way to have your dream home become a nightmare experience. A home inspection is always a good idea and many people don't realize this but a home inspection protects both parties, not just the buyer. 

 

Good, qualified home inspectors can be hard to find. Unfortunately here in Canada the field is loosely regulated, however referrals from your realtor or friends and family that have recently used an inspector's services can be a good place to start. Here are some things to consider when looking for and choosing a home inspector:

  • Get referrals from satisfied clients and realtors that have worked with them.
  • A realtor referring inspectors should provide more than one to choose from and ideally 3. 
  • Check the Canadian and/or your provincial Home Inspector's Association for a list of inspectors in your area. Here in Quebec, the Quebec Association of Home Inspectors (AIBQ)

Your inspector should...

  • hold professional liability insurance against faults, errors or omissions
  • use a recognized inspection service agreement
  • conduct inspections in accordance with recognized building inspection standards
  • provide a written report to the party using his/her services
Home inspection helps protect the buyer from sellers that would not declare issues with the house they are selling and can also protect both parties from undeclared problems the seller knew nothing about. Many realtors suggest that their listing/selling clients do a pre-listing home inspection to avoid surprises when the home is inspected by the potential buyers' inspectors.

What to expect from a home inspector...

Although this is not an exhaustive list, here are some things a qualified home inspector will inspect and check during the inspection of a property:

  • The outside of the building structure looking for signs of excessive wear or damage
  • Exterior Decks and railings
  • The roof, eavestroughs and drains
  • The foundation, looking for cracks or any other issues
  • The grading around the foundation 
  • Chimneys and flues
  • Windows and doors
  • Floors, walls and ceilings for any defects
  • Electrical outlets, switches and the breaker panel or fuse box
  • Test Toilets and turn on faucets to make sure they work and check water pressure
  • Closets and under stairs
  • Basement and/or foundation for water leakage or apparent signs of excessive humidity or mold
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Attic and crawlspaces to assess insulation

The limits of a home inspection

It's important to understand that your home inspector inspects what he/she can see and will report visible defects in his/her report. Your inspector will not be cutting open walls, digging up foundations or things of the sort. Hidden defects are just that, they are hidden and may well not find their way into your inspector's report. If the problem is hidden in or behind a wall and there is no external evidence of this problem at the time of the inspection, it is nobody's fault that the problem was undetected either by the seller or the inspector. Your inspector in some cases may recommend the verification of certain equipment or systems by additional experts.

The day of the inspection

Home inspections usually take 2-4 hours and cost between $250 and $500.Depending on the type of report you are asking the inspector for, you may get it that day or the next. Some inspectors offer inspections with no report at a reduced cost but remember that if you have no report, you have no back up in the event of legal issues concerning a defect in the home. It is always strongly recommended that the party using the inspector's services be present at the inspection along with his/her realtor. 

At the beginning of this article I mentioned that this may be your or the buyer's dream home. When we're talking dreams, we're talking emotions and once you are emotionally involved in a transaction it can be easy to certain things or pass them off as insignificant. There is a reason that you had the inspection done and if it revealed any issues, take them seriously! If you are the buyer, this gives you four options: have the seller fix the issue, have the seller reduce the price so that you can fix the issue, accept the issue or walk away. If you are the seller, fixing issues now can avoid starting an unnecessary negotiation with your potential buyers later. 

Home buyer or investor, protect your transaction by working with a home inspector!