April 1, 2021

Home Inspections

The pandemic influenced housing market isn’t allowing much time for trial and error when it comes to buying OR selling a home. Properties are more often than not sold for “over asking,” and we’re more frequently finding ourselves in multiple offer scenarios – aka “bidding wars”. In addition to causing stress for both buyers and sellers, this kind of market sometimes lends one to forego one of the fundamentals of real estate – home inspections. Can you buy a home without a home inspection? Sure. Should you? Probably not. Home inspections are an important component of the real estate transaction process and even during these challenging times, you should consider the potential long-term advantages of ensuring your long-term investment actually lasts for the long-term! 

What is a home inspection?

  • Just as the name implies, a home inspection will involve a qualified professional examining the home for any concerns that may be hazardous, might involve costly repairs and/or are related to overall safety.  Most Home Inspectors are governed by the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors who ensure that registered members have met rigorous standards of education in the field. Offering professional development opportunities and holding members to ethical standards across the industry, you might want to ask if your home inspector is a member.  

What does a home inspector look for?

  • Home inspections will typically start with some of the biggest culprits for causing issues in a home including: the roof, the heating and air conditioning systems, the wiring and plumbing. They will be looking for loose or damaged shingles, functional gutters, no obvious damage, leaks, ceiling cracks, and a properly functioning hot water tank and more.
  • Next your inspector should be examining the structure and foundation of the home and the surrounding drainage for leaks, cracks or water damage. They will also look at the windows to ensure there’s no mould, proper caulking is in place, type of windows in the home and how they are installed. 
  • The garage and exterior should also be inspected, again looking at foundations, peeling paint or loose aluminum siding, damage to stucco if applicable and that garage door openers and electrical systems are functioning properly.
  • Back inside, appliances will also be given the “once over” to ensure they are working properly. 
  • The attic, the condition of insulation, if there is a septic tank and the condition of the plumbing in the home will all also be examined.
  • While this list is by no means exhaustive, it covers most of what you might expect to see on a home inspection report. 

Why you should have a home inspection?

  • Essentially, having a home inspection is for your own protection. They are for the protection of the homebuyer – so that you know exactly what you are getting in to when you make an offer on a house. It helps to identify any red flags, what work might need to be done immediately and that may influence the price you are willing to pay for the home. Some buyers might not be afraid of hard work and/or have the budget for home improvements and are willing to purchase a home that might be termed a “handyman’s special.” That said, if you are NOT the type of buyer, it’s better you know up front so you can walk away from an offer, or make the terms of the sale conditional upon repairs being completed before you take possession. 

What is the typical cost of a home inspection?

  • Industry averages over the last three to four years suggest a price of between $300 and $600 is considered typical for a home inspection. Influences on price include the location of the home and the size of the home. While some buyers do choose to forgo an inspection, consider the smaller cost of an inspection against the potential (and perhaps not budgeted for) cost of a whole new roof just months after you move in!

How does a home inspection impact an offer?

  • While home inspections are not mandatory, they are in your best interests and could have an impact on the purchase or sale of a home. You’re best to work together with your real estate agent who is, after all, working in your best interests. Ask your real estate professional for advice on what to do when it comes to including the findings of a home inspection in your agreement of purchase and sale. Some folks might make the repairs conditional upon the closing of the deal, some may choose to reduce their offer to accommodate the cost of repairs and some may choose to walk away from the deal if it looks like the findings are just too much to absorb. All of the various outcomes need to be considered together carefully with your agent, even if you find yourself in the middle of a bidding war. Don’t let the potential excitement allow you to get carried away! 

If you’re looking for a real estate agent that will ensure you buy your next property with confidence or sell with success, then you need to consider working together with me, John Burdi. I’ve been in the real estate industry for over 25 years and know a thing or two about inspections. Vaughan, Kleinberg, Woodbridge and the surrounding area are not only my areas of speciality but where I have lived my whole life too. A real estate transaction for many is one of he biggest investments of their lives – let me help you buy with confidence or sell with success – including with the use of a home inspection!

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