What Is A Home Inspection & Is It Necessary When Buying A House?
If you're in the market for a home and are wondering if a home inspection is something you should be doing or are curious as to what a home inspection is in the first place, this blog post is for you.
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is where a qualified home inspector visits the property, spends time examining the home from top to bottom to ensure that everything is in good condition, performing correctly and is in safe working condition and then provides you with a report of their findings. A home inspection is usually done before you close on your new home. Hiring a home inspector is recommended in most situations as it can save you time, stress & money by proactively identifying any issues within the home. Keep in mind though, a home inspector’s report & findings should not be the be-all and end-all that helps you to determine whether or not you decide to buy a certain home. What they can do is help you to avoid buying a money pit and help you determine whether or not a home has good bones.
What is a home inspector looking at during an inspection?
A general home inspector will be inspecting some or all of the following when they are performing a home inspection:
-Roof, attic and chimney
-Exterior water drainage/water disbursement
-Porches, decks and patios
-Interior water drainage and water disbursement
-Windows and doors
-Basements and crawl spaces
How long does a home inspection take?
Typically home inspections take anywhere between one to three hours depending on the size of the home. It's best to be present at the time of the inspection so that you can hear everything first hand, learn where important shut off valves are in the home and ask questions.
When should a home inspection take place?
The home inspection most commonly takes place after you’ve made an offer but before you’re fully & financially committed to the purchase. Your offer to purchase the home can be conditional on a home inspection. Sometimes a seller will have a home inspection done before listing the property for sale (pre-listing inspection) and offer to provide it to potential buyers, but in most cases it's always best to still do your own inspection with the home inspector of your choice. That being said, it all depends on the situation and the market conditions at the time of the purchase.
How much can I expect to pay for a home inspection? The cost of a home inspection varies depending the age, size, and location of the home. In general, the cost for a home inspection in Ontario can range anywhere from $300-$600 (or more for a very large home). Depending on what your home inspector covers during the initial home inspection, you may need to have additional home inspections and potentially bring in other specialists to come to check out other areas of your home, which could end up costing more.
What does a home inspector not do?
Home inspectors unfortunately can’t see behind walls, put holes in walls or rip up floors, so in many cases they can only provide their best guess about what lies beneath. Sometimes there can be huge renovation surprises even after a home inspection as not every problem can be detected by the inspector. It’s important to have an emergency fund ready in case you come across things that are necessary to have fixed right away.
Why is it important to get a home inspection?
Home inspections are important for many reasons. The home may have systems or components that need to be repaired such as the plumbing, electrical wiring, heating, and HVAC. The home could also have structural, drainage or mechanical issues. It might even have mold or asbestos. All of these problems can be expensive to repair and going into your home purchase unaware of major issues could be a large financial burden. Discovering a major issue ahead of time could save you from purchasing & being locked into a money pit home, but it can also be as simple as discovering a small issue and having the foresight to be able to repair it now instead of down the line when it has festered into a larger problem. Saving yourself time, money and stress isn't the only reason why a home inspection is important, you also must consider the health and safety of yourself and your family. Discovering black mould a few months into living in your new home that easily could have been detected by having a home inspection is a situation you do not want to put yourself in.
Another reason why it's important to have a home inspection is that having a home inspector’s report will help you to more effectively negotiate with the seller(s). If the home inspector finds deficiencies in the home you buying, you need to figure out whether or not to negotiate with the seller to have them bring in a professional to fix the issue on their dime prior to you taking occupancy or have them give you the money to do it yourself if there are time constraints or if you prefer to have more control over the repair process.
A great home inspector, who is an expert in their craft could potentially save you thousands of dollars and unnecessary stress.
In my professional opinion, a home inspection is important and is something I typically always recommend to my buyers. That being said, it's not something you are obligated to do - at the end of the day it is the buyers decision. One of the biggest benefits of working with an experienced realtor is their database of all star service providers, including home inspectors. Having a team of experts working with you in your home purchase ensures that your transaction runs smoothly & as stress free as possible. Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions!
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