When you’re buying a home you’re up against a bit of Hollywood magic.
Staging photos and great lighting can create a narrative around a property that may distract from what’s really going on. Dig a little deeper and you may encounter some horror. That’s why we highly recommend all buyers commission a home inspection before they take the plunge and buy a home.
If you skip this step you could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars of repairs in the first few years of ownership.
So what is a home inspector?
A home inspector is an individual hired to thoroughly inspect the inside and outside of your home. They find anything that is currently wrong with a home or that has high potential to go wrong in the near future. Each inspection comes with a thorough report, including photos, that will highlight all problems and give you timelines of potential fixes.
What sort of stuff do they look for?
A house, like a human body, has many elements that can break down. The inspection itself is mostly done via the eyes to look for unsafe elements as well as things that should be repaired and/or replaced.
Some things include:
- Water damage and the potential for water damage
- All elements of plumbing and electrical and any repairs necessary
- Damage to the foundation
- Damage to the roof
- A macro look at the overall structure of the house
When should a home inspection take place?
Traditionally a home inspection takes place after you have put in an offer on a home. However, it is important it is BEFORE you are completely committed to the purchase financially. You can put in a condition such as my offer to purchase is based on a home inspection taking place. You can give timelines that would make your offer official. The industry standard is around 5 days.
Should I be there to witness the inspection?
It’s not mandatory but I would say it’s a good idea. It may displace your day by a few hours but you can learn a lot about your home in the process. The inspector can show you the different elements including how things work, emergency things like valves to shut off water etc. You can also ask questions during the process and assuage any concerns you may have. You will understand the report a lot more if you were there when the inspection happened.
So what’s the cost and who pays for it?
Traditionally the buyer is responsible for the cost of the inspection unless the seller agrees to pay the cost. Costs range from $400-$500 for the inspection. The cost varies based on size and location of the property.
The seller says they’ve already had a home inspection. Is that enough?
Sometimes a seller will have a home inspection done before they put the property on the market. This may make it more attractive to a buyer and put their concerns at bay. But do you want to trust their inspector? You can pay for a walk through (approx. $150) to physically see the results. You can also just get your own inspection.
Should I get an inspection done on a new home?
Yes! Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it won’t have issues. There is faulty workmanship in all industries. Sometimes older homes are built on stronger foundations and may hold up better than new builds.
Is it necessary for a condo?
Usually common areas are looked over by the condo board but you should definitely get your own unit inspected for things like electrical and plumbing.
Where do I find a home inspector?
There is a certification that can be obtained through the Canadian Association of Housing and Property Inspectors but it is only mandatory in British Columbia.
Condomove.ca agents can help connect you with a veteran inspector to best serve your needs.