Get Home Inspection
Home inspectors perform only non-invasive procedures. That means they can't rip open walls, ceilings or floors to reveal what's further inside, and even a good inspector can miss a serious problem.
But there is a way to turn the odds in your favour. Let's explore how to find an inspector who can see more than others.
What Is Home Inspection
The inspection report should objectively describe the condition of major components of a house, identify safety hazards, determine necessary repairs and provide suggestions for improvement.
A typical inspection usually takes 2 to 3 hours. It cots at least $350, depending on the home age and size. You should receive a written inspection report, signed and dated by the inspector.
Make your offer to purchase conditional on inspection results, what is a standard home buying precaution. Get an inspector as soon as the offer is accepted, so you have'll enough time to decide what to do if some defects are found.
How to Choose Your Inspector
Don't gamble with hiring just anyone who claims to be fit for the job. A home inspector is not less important than an agent and a lawyer. Follow the same selection routine which applies to the other two professions.
Previous construction experience is very desirable, but on the top of that your candidate should have been working at least five years full-time as a home inspector.
Licensing laws vary across the country. Ideally, even if a licence is required in your province, the inspector belongs to the Canadian Association Of Home Inspectors or a territorial branch.
These organizations set universal standards for the profession, and they can help you find their members working nearby.
Rely on own judgment when shopping around for an inspector. Asking your agent for help may compromise the objectivity of the inspection. Agents only earn money on closed deals, and some of them prefer lenient inspectors whereas you need a really tough one.
All contracts contain a clause stating that the inspector is not responsible for undetected latent diffects. So we have to focus on more issues to ensure that a major omission won't happen.
Inspector's Equipment - Ask potenial hires about tools they use. A top notch inspector will have these accessories in a gear:
Notice that an infrared camera is on the top of the list. It helps to discover moisture beneath the surface without breaking it.
A full infrared scan makes inspections cost more, but you'll be sold to the idea if you see these excellent examples of what the thermal imaging can do.
Items in the list 1 provide an enhanced value. They allow to disclose critical conditions which usually can't be identified visually. When you hire an inspector who knows how to use them effectively, you can be quite certain that the house will be examined really well.
Services - Your contract has to specify what services will be delivered. Typical inspections don't include testing for lead, asbestos, mold or formaldehyde. They don't cover pests and termite infestations.
If you buy an older house more detective work will be necessary. Repairs and the replacement of sewage drains are very expensive, and it's a good idea to obtain a sewer line inspection for homes older than 30 years.
Find a plumbing company which will run a small camera through a sewer. For the price of around $300 you can learn if the sewage pipe is clogged or leaking, and if it's near the end of its life span.
Inspection Report - Ask for a sample report. It's a direct evidence of what actually the inspector can do. The report should be an easy to read and a well structured document which covers major house components and systems in detail.
Your participation in the inspection is highly recommended. When you walk through the house with your inspector you can ask question, and the report will be easier to understand.
Your inspection can't be considered conclusive until you comply with all recommendations to investigate some open issues further.
The inspector may only suspect a problem, or simply isn't qualified to diagnose it properly or give you a reliable cost estimate.
If glitches are found and you decide to proceed with the trasaction, it's time to go back to the seller and renegotiate. You can ask for repairs or replacements (subject to another inspection) you deem necessary.
Your other option is to request a price reduction reflecting the estimated cost. However, you may be better off if you take care of these matters yourself.
The seller already doesn't have any vested interest in the house, and may not deliver what you expect.
Whatever strategy you choose, be reasonable with what you ask for. Ignore small items and focus on major problems, you can't concede to.
If you try to rewrite your purchasing offer with a long wish list, the whole deal may not happen.