Hello and Happy New Year!
With a new year upon us and with the real estate market in the beginnings of shaking itself awake from its hibernation, buyers are beginning to think about their next purchase. One aspect of the buying process which I feel doesn’t get enough attention is the home inspection.
Often times I talk to clients who have purchased in the past without a home inspection and cringe at the thought of buying blind. Most people when buying a used car insist on taking that car to a mechanic to “have it checked out.” In fact that car can not change ownership unless it is inspected and certified “safe” by a professional mechanic.
So, why do some buyers insist on not having their prospective home inspected? The reasons vary; some don’t want to spend the money, others feel that their visual inspection during a showing or two is enough, while others are forced into not getting an inspection due to a multiple offer situation and want their offer to be the strongest. In my opinion when buying a resale home there is no situation where a home inspection should not take place. After all, if you can’t buy a car worth a few thousand dollars without getting it inspected why would you not inspect a home that is a few hundred thousand dollars?
When selecting home inspectors there are a few things a buyer should look for:
- Find out what the home inspection covers. Some inspectors might not be as thorough as others. Also make sure that the home inspector you choose is a member of OHAI and CAHPI with a RHI designation.
- Do a background check to find out how long the inspector has been in the profession. Get an estimate as to the number of homes they have inspected. Are they experienced in inspecting the type of property you are interested in purchasing? Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for references.
- Ask how long the inspection will take and how much it will cost. A typical inspection of a single family home should last about 3 hours. Any less is not enough time for a comprehensive inspection. The cost of a home inspection generally runs between $300-$500 dollars.
- Find out if you will receive a written report detailing the inspector’s findings. Ask to see a sample and make sure you understand it. Also, make sure you can attend the inspection. Attending the inspection of a home that may potentially be yours is an invaluable learning experience.
I want to end with a personal experience of mine that highlights the importance of a home inspection. During the summer of last year I was working with a client that wanted to purchase a home as an investment property. We found one that looked promising. It was a beautiful 1.5 storey that had been renovated from top to bottom. Given that the structure had had such extensive work I thought it wise to do a pre-listing inspection of the property. This was a little bit unorthodox but given the situation I thought it would be appropriate to save everyone some time.
During the inspection the inspector found a myriad of problems that had been unseen during the showing. For starters the wiring was a mix of copper and aluminum, which can be a cause for concern. The A/C was broken, the basement leaked, and the roof on the porch was the improper slope for shingles. The biggest problem was the foundation. According to the inspector it had two bisecting cracks in it, one was running vertically and one was running horizontally. I don’t have to mention that my clients walked away.
A few weeks later I decided to look up that property again for curiosity sake. Low and behold it had sold. Now I can’t say for sure but my professional inclination tells me that it perhaps sold without an inspection. Now you have to ask yourself, would you want to be those buyers?
Thank you for reading,
Phillip B. Franco
“Turning Your Dreams into an Address”