The Home Inspection
1. What a Home Inspection is for:
The main purpose of an inspection is to identify any major problems with the house and get an idea of what’s involved in remedying those major issues. In all likelihood, you are not buying a new house. You’re buying a house that may have been constructed some years ago and renovated periodically over time. Your house won’t be in perfect condition and you need to know what to anticipate. An inspection is also a fantastic introduction to your future house and will provide you with valuable information on how to maintain it. If you’re a first-time home buyer, this will be especially important for you – owning a house can be a lot of work and properly taking care of it is the best way to maintain your investment.
2. What a Home Inspection is NOT for:
Home inspectors conduct visual inspections – they don’t look behind the walls and under the floors. They are not specialists and often recommend further inspections when they suspect there could be other issues. Home inspections do not look for compliance with the building code or Calgary by-laws (for example, secondary suite legalisation). A home inspection should not be used to create a list that itemizes minor defects in an attempt to get a haircut on the agreed offer price. Remember, you are not buying a new home!
3. Preparation for Home Ownership
One of the biggest benefits of a home inspection is that it prepares you for the house – what needs to be fixed immediately, in 2 years, in 5 years, etc. Most home inspectors spend the time to give you important maintenance tips (like telling you where the water main shut off valve is located). You should also be provided with a written summary of the inspection AND a guide full of useful information about caring for your home. Some companies even offer certain warranties and guarantees.
4. The Home Inspection Process
A home inspection for most Calgary houses takes between 2-4 hours, depending on the age and size of the home. The inspector will go through the house, room by room and look for major issues. He/she will examine and inspect all the features of the home including all external features and prepare a full report on the condition of the roof, mechanical systems, structure, plumbing, insulation and electrical systems, including appliances.
5. What Happens if you Uncover a Major issue?
Sometimes, home inspections uncover big, unexpected issues – for example, a roof that needs repairing, mould in the basement or a damaged furnace. You may need to revisit your budget. You may need to decide if you want to take on major fixes or walk away from the house. And you may need to revisit the price you offered for the house. In most cases, big issues are already known and have been factored into the asking price; but in other situations, you may need to go back to the Seller and re-negotiate the price based on what you now know, or ask the seller to remedy any problems before possession. Although a home inspection should not be used to nickel and dime the little stuff that you uncover, it may force a discussion about the big stuff. Your REALTOR can guide you through that process. Knowing what we now know, what is the home worth on the market? What is the home now worth to you?
But remember, the home inspection should not be explicitly used for renegotiating the offer to purchase with the seller. In other words, if you discovered defects before making your offer that are clearly visible, this should be negotiated during the offer stage of the purchase. Any re-negotiating should be for items that you were NOT aware of prior to the inspection.
So, there you have it. The home inspection is a vital component of your home purchase and leads the way for what to expect with your new home. If you have any questions or would like some assistance with the process, please let me know.