10 Things Every Buyer Should Know About Home Inspections

Home inspections are usually a condition put into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale.  If you want to buy a home and make sure there is nothing seriously wrong with it, you should get a home inspection done before the sale is firm. 

Sometimes a Seller will have a home inspection done prior to listing. This is common when you are expecting multiple offers because it will take that condition out of the equation.  When there isn’t a completed home inspection and multiple offers are on the table, having conditions in your offer make it less desirable.  You would have to be willing to waive that home inspection condition or sweeten your offer with the amount. 

Here is what you need to know about Home Inspections: 

1) Inspections are Optional

Adding inspections to the conditions of a sale are a great idea. They give you an idea of a home’s problems before you buy it and most times will allow you to negotiate with the seller to cover the cost of some repairs. They also give you an “out” if you need one. Essentially, they give you an idea of whether or not you’re equipped to handle this property or if you should move onto another that better suits your needs.

You should also check with your bank to make sure they don’t require one as a condition of the mortgage.

2) Buyers Are Responsible for Inspections

Most first-time homebuyers don’t realize that they are responsible for the inspections. This means that, in order to get to the settlement table, they agree to hire the home inspector, have the inspections completed within a reasonable amount of time, and shoulder the cost.

Financially, you need to budget for the cost of inspection services. While your initial reaction may be to balk at the price tag and wonder why the seller isn’t covering this cost, paying truly is for your benefit.

 3) The Inspector Must Be Certified

A home inspector and a contractor are not the same thing. While a contractor may know how to fix existing problems, home inspectors are specifically trained on how to identify problems. The home inspector must be a certified professional. While qualified home inspectors may cost more than a contractor, you’ll know that you’ve received a complete report.

4) What Do Home Inspections Cover?

Since every property is different, the specifics of what is checked during your home’s inspection may vary slightly. Most qualified inspectors will check the following areas:

  • Foundation and basement
  • Any additional structural components
  • Interior plumbing systems
  • Interior electrical systems
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Condition of windows
  • Condition of doors and door frames
  • Condition of floors, walls, and ceilings
  • The attic and any visible insulation

5) What Doesn’t An Inspection Cover?

Here are some areas that don’t often make the cut for home inspectors and may require another professional:

  • Inside the walls
  • Roof or chimney repairs
  • Septic tanks
  • Wells, sheds, or additional structures separate from the main house

Just because something isn’t covered in a home inspection, don’t think that it can’t be inspected. Get other professionals to check into aspects that are of concern to you.

6) You Can Attend Inspections

Did you know that most home inspectors recommend that buyers attend their property inspection? They see it as an opportunity to thoroughly answer any questions that the buyers may have about the property’s condition. Most inspectors will also provide instructions on how to remedy any issues. Try to keep questions brief and refrain from fixating on tiny details. There will be time to negotiate repairs later.

One more important note: The inspector is not responsible for making any repairs, only identifying them. It’s considered rude to ask your home inspector to perform handy work. It’s better to ask them if they can recommend another professional.

7) Request An Inspection Report

Coming out to view the property is only half of a home inspector’s job requirements. After their site visit, they are required to provide you with a home inspection report, which details their findings in writing. It may sometimes include pictures of the damaged areas.

Read it over thoroughly before you sit down to negotiate repairs. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if there is a portion of the report that you don’t understand or is unclear. I recommend taking a highlighter and noting which sections of the report are most important to you. That way, it’ll be easier to refer back to them when you discuss repairs in the future.

8) Repairs After Inspections Are Negotiable

There are three typical outcomes to these negotiations: the seller can perform the repairs before settlement, the seller can credit you money for the repairs, or they can become your responsibility. You have to be careful. Sometimes if you decide to write an “Amendment to the Offer of Purchase and Sale” to have the seller fix the issues, it is basically like a new offer. This new offer can than be accepted or rejected or signed back – it also opens a door for the Sellers to accept another offer that may be on the table, so you could lose the home over the cost of a repair.

 An exception to this, is a home is sold in “As Is” condition. In real estate terms, “as is” means that, for whatever reason, the seller is unwilling or unable to make repairs. So if you buy one of these, you may want to pad your budget to include potentially extensive repair costs.

9) You Can Walk Away After Inspections

Most conditions regarding home inspections are worded in a way that basically state that you can back out if for any reason you are not happy with the report that the inspector provides.  So basically, it provides an "out" should you need one.

10) Collect Paperwork for Completed Repairs 

After you’ve made it through the inspection negotiations, both you and the Seller will likely have a long list of repairs to complete and, yes, pay for. Be sure to hire professionals to do the work and keep the paperwork, repair estimates and invoices as proof because you may need them at a later date.

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Royal Lepage
Viraj Tanna

Viraj Tanna
Sales Representative

Tel:
416.443.0300

Direct:
416.854.6655

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416.443.8619

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8 Sampson Mews,
Suite 201,
Toronto, ON,
M3C 0H5 

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