The value of a home inspector
When you are buying a home, refinancing your mortgage, or selling your home, there are a number of professionals that you will work with to help facilitate the transaction. In this five-part blog series, we examine the role of the professionals you may encounter in your home buying and/or selling journey to give you a better understanding of the value they bring to the transaction.
In this post, part four of the series, we’ll discuss the role of a home inspector in the process of buying and selling a home.
What is a home inspection?
In a home inspection, a trained professional will visit the home to visually inspect the major systems of the house, like the heating and air conditioning, roof and eavestroughs, and plumbing and electrical. A home inspection can provide the current or prospective homeowner with an estimate of the lifespan they can expect from these major systems and the anticipated costs to replace them.
A home inspection aims not to provide an exhaustive list of work to be done, but rather an opportunity for the purchaser to make an informed decision about the potential expenses that may be incurred within the first few years of owning the home.
Limitations of a home inspection
If you are planning to have a home inspection as part of buying or selling a home, you should be aware that a general home inspection is a visual one that examines the systems that are readily accessible. Because homes are quite often occupied at the time of an inspection, heavy furniture, appliances or other objects might obscure a home inspector’s view of some components of the house.
While an inspection can provide you with a general estimate of upcoming repairs that may be required in a new (to you) home, it cannot provide an in-depth analysis of any systems that are not visible. An inspection also can’t necessarily identify any defects with the home that have been concealed. In other words, a home inspection is an informed opinion, not an insurance policy or guarantee on the home.
Do I really need a home inspection?
In a competitive real estate market, knowing that a home inspection may not uncover every problem in a home, it can be tempting not to include an inspection condition in your offer. However, without an inspection, a purchaser is relying on the seller to bring anything in the home that may need repair or replacement to your attention. Therefore, even if you don’t include an inspection condition in your offer, and if the current homeowner is amenable, you may find it worthwhile to book a home inspection as part of a pre-possession walkthrough. This won’t be an opportunity to renegotiate your offer based on the findings, but it can help you make a plan for the added costs once the home is yours.
If you are selling your home, you may wish to consider having a pre-listing inspection done and sharing the report with the purchaser. This transparency can help prevent any delays related to the condition of the property in the closing process.
How can I arrange a home inspection?
While certification is not a requirement for home inspectors in most provinces, there is a national professional association for home inspectors that includes a directory of professionals. Your realtor can also be a good source of information when the time comes to arrange a home inspection and may even arrange it for you as part of the offer process.
Whether you’re buying, selling, or refinancing a home, taking the time to learn more about the people and companies you can expect to work with can help you feel more confident about the process. Be sure to visit the rest of the posts in our five-part series on real estate industry professionals:
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