I am about to put in an offer on a home. Should I make my offer conditional on a home inspection?
When the housing market is hot, it is not uncommon for buyers to feel the pressure to forgo a home inspection as a condition of their offer, especially if they are concerned about a bidding war. By not including a home inspection, they believe their offer would be more attractive to the seller by removing a potential impediment to the sale.
However, home inspections serve a purpose: they help manage a buyer’s risk and provide some peace of mind that the home they are purchasing is not going to be a “money pit” after they move in.
That’s why I recommend you get a home inspection done on a property you are planning to buy.
An inspection provides many important benefits.
An experienced and qualified home inspector will examine the major systems in the home – plumbing, heating/air conditioning and electrical – as well as the roof, the foundation and windows and doors, among many others.
Qualified home inspectors will also check to see if all appliances are in good working order and will climb up into the attic to look at the insulation and for evidence of mould and other issues.
If you plan to purchase a home that isn’t connected to municipal services such as sewer and water, it’s wise to hire an experienced inspector who can spot problems with wells, cisterns, and septic beds before they become expensive fixes. They might also recommend a local well or septic expert to assess those systems.
If you decide to have an inspection, I encourage you to be in attendance and to ask questions during the process. Inspectors will show you things about the home that you might not realize.
You can expect the inspector to provide a detailed report that will highlight any issues that you may want addressed and those you will want to address after you take possession. Sometimes, but not always, this becomes a negotiating point where you could try to negotiate repairs or a price reduction for you to address them.
In my opinion, a home inspection is money well-spent, especially if the inspection uncovers costly repairs. From my experience, the home inspection is invaluable even after you take possession.
How do you find a qualified inspector? Chances are your salesperson or broker already knows inspectors who can help you out. Another source is friends or family who recently purchased a home and opted to have it inspected before the deal closed.
Regardless of the source, it’s always a good idea to ask about an inspector’s experience and training and to ask for references before hiring one.
One final point: RECO does not regulate home inspectors. For information about home inspectors and home inspection services, contact the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors.
Ultimately, it is your decision as to whether you want to have a home inspection as a condition of purchase. However, it could provide you with some peace of mind and save you money down the road.
If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email email@example.com.
This column is for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.
Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.