Buying a house, condo or recreational property and aren’t sure if you need a home inspection? While you may be hoping to save money and hurry the process along, we here at Clairwood Real Estate always recommend getting one done! It’s an important step that helps prevent a myriad of future worries and woes, which is why we’ve outlined 5 top tips on home inspections so you can rest easy knowing what you’re getting into:
1) Protect your investment
The main reason to get a home inspection is so that you know more about what you are buying, and don’t end up stuck with a home that has serious, unexpected problems. Even a newer home might have issues that aren’t obvious to the untrained eye. A home inspection is usually completed after a purchase offer has been put in – on the condition that you are satisfied with the report.
2) Book a reputable home inspector
Since 2017, home inspectors in Ontario must be licensed and insured, which is an added level of comfort for buyers knowing that there are standardized guidelines within this previously unregulated field. However, it’s important to do your research before hiring; check for online reviews and ask your friends, family and your Realtor® for recommendations. Prices and wait times can vary, so start your search before you put in any offers to avoid scrambling at the last minute.
3) Understand the inspection process
A home inspector’s job is to assess the interior and exterior of the home and evaluate the condition of the various components. You and/or your Realtor® can be present during the inspection, but it’s important to let the inspector do a thorough, uninterrupted job. He or she will give you a detailed update and a written report when completed. Just some of the key areas they inspect include:
- Foundations, garages, driveways, exterior stairs, decks, porches, railings and other outdoor structures
- Basements and signs of leakage or water damage - Furnaces, wood stoves, air conditioning units and overall airflow
- Electrical systems including fuse boxes, outlets and breaker panels
- Basic plumbing systems– including types of pipes and water pressure
- Condition of windows and doors
- Insulation – such as what’s visible in attics, unfinished basements and crawl spaces
- General interior inspection of flooring, walls, ceilings, stairs, closets and so on
It’s important to note that there are limitations to what a home inspector can actually investigate. For example, they can’t see behind walls, ceilings or floors to uncover potential problems, and unless they are licensed plumbers, electricians, or heating/cooling specialists, they won’t be able to fully diagnose every potential issue. Their job is to look for and alert you to potential concerns throughout the home.
4) Understand the report
You’ll get a printed copy of the report which lists everything inspected, and any areas of concern both small and large. They can also give you a basic idea of what’s involved with resolving the issue so that you can decide if you still want to buy the house or not. After all, if repairs will put you in over your head, then you may want to keep looking until you find the right home, especially if the issues may impact your health and safety, such as mould, asbestos, faulty wiring and so on. Read the report carefully before finalizing your purchase agreement and ask lots of questions to be sure you understand exactly what you are buying. Another important tip is that if you do buy the home, keep the inspection report handy and pay attention to the recommended repairs so you can work on fixing issues before they become urgent (and more expensive).
5) Know the difference between an inspection and appraisal
A home inspection is not the same as a home appraisal. If you will be carrying a mortgage on your new home, your bank or lender will arrange for an appraiser to come by to ensure that their loan is a sound financial decision. They want to be confident that the house does indeed have the right value attached to the loan and that they won’t lose money.
Buying a home is your biggest investment, so don’t skip out on protecting it as best you can. A home inspection may be a small added expense, but when you compare it to what you may end up paying for unexpected renovations and repairs, it’s well worth it. Talk to one of our trusted Realtors® today about home inspections and the home buying process. We’ve got your back and we’re here for all of your buying and selling needs in Grey County, Collingwood, Blue Mountain, Wasaga Beach or Meaford. Call Clairwood Real Estate today at 705-445-7085 and let’s help you find that dream home.