A certified home inspector will inspect the property’s interior, including the crawl space, basement, roof, attic, plumbing system, physical structure, and major heating and cooling systems.
A seller, potential buyer, or even just a curious homeowner can schedule an appointment for a home inspection. In general, a home inspector will communicate to you any major issues and provide recommendations to increase the home’s useful life. It’s a good idea to ensure there are no safety issues or any items that require immediate repair.
It’s highly recommended to choose a qualified home inspector who is a member of the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors (CAHPI) or a comparable professional association.
Below are a few steps to take:
A home inspection can usually take at least two to three hours but varies primarily on the size of the home. An example of just a few other factors that can influence the time it takes for a home inspection is the finished square feet of a home, the property’s condition (if it’s an older home, it may be more time consuming), and the home inspector’s experience.
For instance, a newer one-bedroom condo will take considerably less time than a single-family home. However, in addition to inspecting the condo’s interior, the inspector still needs time to access the building’s roof (if possible), underground parking, heating and cooling systems, exterior building membrane, and mechanical rooms.
Home inspections usually start around $500 but can increase in price depending on your property’s size. Since larger homes will take more time for the inspector to go thru, the cost will be higher for the prospective buyer. Included in this price is a detailed report outlining the findings from the inspection.
Once you’ve selected a home inspection company, the inspector will ask you a few preliminary questions. Such as the property type, finished square footage, and the year built to get an idea of the cost and length of time required to complete the home inspection.
It is always recommended that a buyer includes a home inspection condition with their offer. Even if you are super skilled and ready to take on any DIY opportunity, it’s best to be fully aware of a home’s potential problems before removing your home inspection condition.
As a prospective buyer, a home inspection condition is often the next step after you have an accepted offer on a property. Keep in mind, this is only when a buyer includes a home inspection condition in the contract of purchase and sale.
A home inspection is part of your due diligence period to ensure that you’re buying the right home for you and your family. Completing a home inspection prior to removing your home inspection condition will give you time to assess the property and make sure that you are comfortable with any work that may need to be done.
It also protects you in case there are safety issues or other problems that will be too expensive to repair or that you do not want to take on. You have the option in that case to walk away from the property.
If you choose to go thru with the purchase, you will be aware of any renovations that may need to happen or safety hazards that need to be addressed before moving into your new home.
Having a home inspection gives you the flexibility to budget for any future costs and to prepare accordingly. You may be dreaming of a new kitchen but if the roof is nearing the end of its useful life you will want to make the roof a priority instead. I know it’s not as fun but definitely important!
With a strata property such as a condo or townhome, a home inspector will look at the interior of the unit and the strata building’s common areas, exterior, underground parking, roof (if accessible), HVAC system, and mechanical room.
There are companies that also review strata minutes, financials, special general meetings, annual general meetings, and depreciation reports in addition to inspecting the strata unit. It’s always a good idea to have a second pair of eyes review the strata documents!
A home inspection is more commonly completed by a prospective buyer once there is an accepted offer between a buyer and seller. An interested buyer will often include an inspection condition in their offer.
In competitive markets, a buyer may choose to have a home inspection done before submitting an offer to make their offer more attractive to a seller.
Or, a buyer can choose to waive their home inspection condition. In this case, that buyer will not be able to make any repair requests from the seller, but at least they will have peace of mind from having a comprehensive home inspector’s report outlining the condition of the home.
A seller can also have a pre-listing inspection and then provide the home inspector’s report to interested buyers. I have discussed below the benefits of a seller getting a home inspection report done before listing their property on the market.
Even for new builds, a buyer should get a home inspection. While it may seem like the house is brand new so there can’t be anything wrong with it – there are always surprises!
An inspector can get into the attic, crawl space, and roof to ensure that everything looks ok. Even though the house is brand new, it doesn’t necessarily mean that things haven’t been missed.
It can also be beneficial should an insurance claim arise because then you have documentation of the deficient item on a specific date.
Although you don’t have to attend the whole inspection (and some inspectors would rather do it on their own – plus it will be faster), it is recommended that you meet with both the inspector and your real estate agent at the end of the inspection.
This is called the “walk-thru,” where the inspector will answer any of your questions and go through the main findings with you.
For instance, the home inspection might be from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., with the walk-thru starting at 12:00 p.m. At this point, the home inspector will address your questions and concerns. Within 24-48 hours after the inspection, you will also receive a written report summarizing the condition of the home.
A seller may choose to have a pre-inspection done on their home before listing their home on the market. This gives the home seller the option to complete the necessary repairs before their home is listed on the market. The pre-inspection report can then be shared with real estate agents and their prospective buyers.
A pre-inspection allows the seller to act proactively and disclose any defects to potential buyers.
It puts the control in the seller’s hands because they are fully informed of what items may need repair and can ensure that no surprises come up that are a deal-breaker. A seller will be able to negotiate confidently with a potential buyer if needed because they know what repairs actually need to be done.
The inspector should be able to easily move around your home and access the attic, crawl space, basement, and garage. A seller is not required to be home during the inspection.
Inspectors will look for deficiencies in plumbing, electrical systems, the roof, visible insulation, walls, ceiling, floors, windows and the integrity of the foundation.
They will also check for lead paint, asbestos, mould, outdated and dangerous wiring, and evidence of pests like mice or termites. You should contact a specialist if you have any concerns about a specific part of the property to gain more in-depth knowledge of a potential issue.
When a buyer has a home inspection, and the inspector uncovers some major issues such as water damage, outdated wiring, or issues with the HVAC systems (to name a few), it can open the door for negotiations between the seller and the interested buyer.
A home buyer can request that a seller complete the required repairs, or a buyer can walk away if they’re not satisfied or if the costs to repair the mentioned items are too high.
The seller isn’t obligated to fix anything that comes up during the home inspection. A prospective buyer may also be fine to take on any issues highlighted in the home inspector’s report. As a buyer, you may be able to get a lower price or negotiate money off if the seller is unwilling to complete the repairs.
Overall, working with an experienced home inspector is beneficial before taking possession of your new home or before listing your home on the market!
*Disclaimer: The topics of discussion, content and resources on this website are general information that may not be the right solution or advice for you specifically. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract with a brokerage.
*Stock images from Social Squares
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