A home inspection is one of the most important aspects of purchasing a new home. When you’re spending your hard-earned money on a home, you want to be sure that you’re getting a property that won’t drain you financially and that you’re getting your money’s worth. Some provinces have recently enacted laws to increase the standards for the level of inspections performed on homes for sale.
With increased importance on the minimum standard for inspections, interested buyers aren’t totally off the hook. Being involved in your home inspection is something you should want to do to ensure you know what you’re getting into with a home you love. Any realtor or inspector will insist you’re there during the inspection, which can typically take half a day. You want to be thoroughly involved in the process, not just in the room while it’s happening. When you see what’s going on, you can ask questions and really comprehend all the details of your future home. Your mortgage is likely contingent on whether or not the inspection goes well, and an inadequate inspection gives you bargaining power. Here are five things to pay close attention to during a home inspection.
- Choosing your inspector
- What problems are easily fixed, and which are not?
- What issues are more common in newer homes?
- What issues are more common in older homes?
- What issues are common among foreclosed homes?
1. Choosing your inspector
When the real estate market is hot, like it currently is, it can feel easiest to choose the first inspector available to get the transaction done as soon as possible. Inspectors get very busy when the market is scorching. It’s not a great approach to hire an inspector based on who’s available and the least expensive. When choosing a reputable inspector, you’ll want to consider checking out some reviews, looking at their credentials, and vetting someone you know will do a great job. When calling to talk to them to book with them, you want to ask any questions you can’t find through their website or online reviews. Find out what credentials they have, how long they’ve been in business, and ask for testimonials. You can also ask your realtor to refer you to an inspector that they may have used in the past or work with consistently. You want to choose an inspector who does inspections full time, who specializes in the home type you’re buying.
2. What problems are easily fixed, and which are not?
You should never expect a perfect inspection because they just simply don’t exist. Even brand new construction homes will have minor issues that need to be addressed before the home is sold. Many minor issues don’t cause much concern for homebuyers. Anything cosmetic that can be easily fixed, anything you may have planned to change anyways, or minor damage are all issues that can be negotiated with the seller. They won’t cost a lot of money to fix.
When it comes to significant issues, anything to do with asbestos, mould, or a hidden underground oil tank should cause buyers to reconsider their offers and even pull their offer.
If you’re looking at older homes for sale, you have to consider that asbestos may be an issue if the house was built before the 90s. Asbestos is air-borne and only comes out to play when it’s been disturbed, which if there is any damage to your home in the future, it can cause severe health issues. Typically, asbestos will be found in older building materials or old pipes. You can choose to pull your offer or use it to negotiate a lower price, as it will need to be dealt with sooner or later.
If your inspector finds mould on the ceilings, inside closets or near the attic, it can be a health concern. Mould is a much easier beast to tackle than asbestos, and the inspector should tell you the severity of the issue. Once the area is adequately cleaned, and some ventilation is added, you may want to consider having the air quality tested.
Underground oil tanks are a financial nightmare if they leak, costing upwards of $100,000 to deal with. Even if they have been removed from the property, you must be diligent that the area has not been contaminated. If you don’t want to take that risk, back out of the offer.
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3. What issues are more present in newer homes?
As mentioned, even brand new construction homes will have issues that need to be taken care of after an inspection. When buying directly from a builder, there is typically a set price for the cost of the materials for your home, the labour, and there’s no room for negotiation. If you’re buying a newer or brand new home, have the inspector pay close attention to the HVAC and ventilation systems, as those are some of the most common problems they see.
4. What issues are more present in older homes?
The older the home, the more wear and tear that is present, typically speaking. Unless the home has been totally renovated, you’ll likely find issues in the foundation, support posts, potential rotting, mould, bugs, electrical issues, older pipes, and much more. Most inspectors will only inspect visible parts of the home unless it’s easily accessible. If there is cause for concern about any of these issues, hire a professional in those fields.
5. What issues are common among foreclosed homes?
Purchasing a foreclosed-on property may require more effort and clean-up compared to other types of homes for sale. Homes become foreclosed typically because the previous owners couldn’t financially keep up, which likely means they didn’t have the money to maintain the property. If you’re buying a foreclosed property, you will want a thorough inspection, and you’ll need to be okay with the home being sold as-is from the bank. You won’t be able to negotiate a lower price for repairs that are needed, and you’ll have to come up with the funds yourself. Foreclosed properties can be an excellent real estate opportunity, but they can also be a financial nightmare.