I recently put an offer on a home that was accepted; however, to waive the conditions within the agreement, I need to have a home inspection completed within five days. How should I go about this during the pandemic?

Including a home inspection condition within an offer is a good exercise in due diligence for any buyer, especially if they or others intend to live in the home. It may not be necessary if the buyer is looking to renovate the property extensively.

When choosing an inspector or inspection company, be sure to ask what health and safety measures and pandemic protocols they have in place before hiring them to complete your inspection. You will want to share this information with your salesperson to assist in coordinating the on-premises visit.

Home inspection reports provide buyers and sellers with a professional third-party opinion of the condition of the home and the property surrounding it. The information provided can help buyers to make an informed decision about purchasing the property and give them a better understanding of what the maintenance needs of the property will be. Inspection reports can also benefit sellers in assessing the condition of the structure and major systems, which in turn could impact the value of the property.

When access to a property is required during the pandemic, you will want to work with your salesperson and the seller’s salesperson to take a safety-first approach when arranging your visit. In preparation you should:

    • Speak with your salesperson to ensure anyone visiting the property is required to complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire.
    • Not enter the seller’s property if you are feeling unwell, have recently traveled or have been in contact with someone diagnosed or suspected to have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
    • Always follow public health directives like wearing a mask or face covering during your visit and avoid touching common surfaces (in this instance wearing gloves may assist in decreasing direct contact with high touch areas).
    • Limit the number of people visiting the property to yourself and any other direct buyers/investors involved in the purchase, your salesperson and the inspector.

A qualified and experienced home inspector will examine the major systems in the home such as:

    • Electrical
    • Roofing
    • Plumbing
    • Heating/Air Conditioning
    • Foundation and water management
    • Septic Systems, if applicable

As a reminder, a home inspector conducts a non-invasive inspection only and will not cut into walls or floorboards or cause damage to any part of the home to look for leaks or faults. Though an inspection conducted by an experienced home inspector could find many things, it may not identify concealed or latent defects.

RECO does not regulate home inspectors. For information about home inspectors and home inspection services you can speak to your real estate broker or salesperson.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

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.

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