a new home is an exciting chapter in your life. It’s the beginning
of a new adventure, but it’s also a huge decision that should not
be made lightly.
you may have found the perfect house for you and your family, it’s
important that you make sure the house is truly as great as
advertised. Paint colours, cabinets or tiles can be changed rather
easily, but some other aspects of the home may not be so easy to
change or fix – which is where a pre-purchase home inspection comes
pre-purchase home inspection before putting an offer down on a home
or condominium can bring ultimate peace of mind before signing the
contract. This way, you know exactly what you’re getting into with
your new home.
knowing the true condition of your future home, you can make an
informed decision about the value of the house before putting down an
offer. You’ll know how much money you’ll have to put aside for
future upkeep or renovations.
The Two Goals Of A Pre-Purchase Home Inspection
pre-purchase home inspection gives you a chance to determine the true
value and condition of the house. This includes structural soundness,
the condition of mechanical systems, and more.
problems the house has will be brought to the attention of everyone
involved before closing on a sale. This gives you leverage to request
these problems be fixed by the seller before you move in. In some
cases, the seller won’t want to resolve these issues, so the second
option is to lower your offer to account for these renovations.
Home Inspection Contingency In The Contract
you are feeling pressured to sign a contract before the pre-purchase
home inspection has taken place, then you should consider adding a
clause that states the sale is contingent upon a satisfactory
structural inspection. You will have to specify when the inspection
is to be carried out. In the case that significant issues are found
with the home, you may back out of the sale, free of penalty, within
a certain amount of time. However, it’s important to note that the
defects in the home must be pretty significant to walk away from the
Not All Home Inspectors Are Created Equally
inspectors are better than others. By that we mean different
inspectors have different qualifications and varying levels or
experience or enthusiasm. However, a good inspector will know what to
look for and how to spot signs of trouble.
are certain components of the home that should always be checked by
your inspector. Once the inspection has been completed, you will
receive a report that lists their findings.
can and should be present when your home inspection takes place. This
way, you can get a firsthand account of your inspector’s findings
and ask any additional questions you may have while in the home.
They’ll also be able to elaborate on any issues they find within
the home, which may help clarify the issues better than relying on
pictures and a report.
inspector should inform you of the extent of each issue found in the
house, such as whether it’s a safety issue, a major defect, or a
minor defect. On top of that, they’ll be able to tell you which
issues require full replacements and which issues just need to be
repaired or serviced.
you are a first-time homebuyer, your inspector can also help to walk
you through regularly scheduled maintenance that should be performed
on the house.
What A Pre-Purchase Home Inspection Covers
on the home, its individual features and the experience of a home
inspector will determine just how thorough your inspection is. But
the below list should give you a general idea of what you should
expect to be covered.
outside structure of your home should be thoroughly inspected. This
includes checking out crawlspaces under the home, an inspection or
of your roof, the seal of your windows/doors, and more.
many cases, the inspector will not be able to investigate the health
of your foundation, since it may not be visible. A good inspector
will, however, be able to check for secondary signs of foundation
issues such as cracks or settling.
a home the grading should slope away from your house, not towards it.
The inspector will be able to determine which way your grading slopes
and therefore how susceptible your house will be to water damage. In
cases where the grading slopes towards your home, you’ll need to
either change the slope of your yard or install a drainage system.
Both solutions can be very pricy and should be discovered before you
purchase your home.
are you weren’t invited up on a ladder to check out the condition
of the roof during the open house. Your inspector will be able to
check your roof to determine the age and condition, as well as any
potential damage or poor installation that could allow for water
damage to occur in the home. They will also check for loose, missing
or badly secured shingles, cracks or damaged mastic around your
vents. Additionally, they will check the condition of the gutters.
a strong, secure roof doesn’t just protect against water damage. It
also protects against pests entering your home through your roof and
residing in the attic. These pests include raccoons, squirrels, and
garage may not seem like such a big deal, but it’s an addition to
your home and therefore should be in proper working order. Does the
garage door close properly? Is it framed securely? Is there a good
seal between the house and garage to protect against accidental
carbon monoxide poisoning? These are all things your home inspection
will check for you.
your water heater is kept in your garage, it’s even more important
to get an inspection done. Your water heater must be installed high
enough off the ground to prevent a potential fire or explosion
hazard. Gasoline fumes from your car mixing with your heater’s
flame can explode if not installed properly.
important that your inspector checks all the toilets, faucets, and
showers to look for any visible leaks while testing the water
pressure too. You’ll also be told what kind of pipes the home has
if any pipes are visible. If the home has very old pipes, they may
recommend an additional inspection to determine when or if they need
to be replaced and offer a ball-park cost for the repair.
the inspector should show you where the home’s main water shutoff
valve is, and how to use it if you are unsure.
varies quite a bit from house to house, especially in older homes.
Your inspector will let you know what type of wiring your home has,
ensure there are functional ground fault circuit interrupters and
test all outlets. Functional ground fault circuit interrupters are
crucial as they protect you from electrocution, electrical shock and
electrical burns. The electrical panel should also be inspected to
ensure they are in proper working order to eliminate any safety
issues or potential fire hazards.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
part of the inspection is very important to determine not just if
pricy repairs are required but what your monthly energy bills may
look like. Not only will they determine the age of your furnace and
air conditioning, they’ll also ensure they are working properly.
Your inspector will also determine the age of your ducting and
determine any potential leaks.
top of that, they will check for leaks and whether or not the home
has sufficient insulation. Some insulation, especially in older
homes, contains asbestos, which can have a detrimental effect on your
health and is very expensive to remove.
What A Pre-Purchase Home Inspection Won’t Tell You
important to understand that a pre-purchase home inspection can’t
tell you everything about the quality of the home. There are many
things that are impossible to know unless you strip your home down to
its basic structure. However, a skilled home inspector will know what
to look for in your home. For instance, if you have a home with
slanted floors, it may be a sign of a
inspector will not be able to look inside walls, pipes, chimneys or
behind electrical panels.
pre-purchase home inspection is a must before buying a home to
understand what the bigger potential issues are with the home and
ensure there are no surprises once you get the keys. On top of a
regular pre-purchase home inspection, there are additional
inspections you can perform to get the clearest possible picture
about the true quality of a home.
instance, AmeriSpec offers these inspections in addition to full
- Home Energy Evaluations to help ensure a healthy and more energy-efficient home.
- Indoor Air Quality Evaluations to test for minor irritants in the air such as dust or pet dander to major ones such as chemical vapours.
- Radon Testing to check how high the concentration of radon (a deadly carcinogen in high amounts) is in your home.
- Sewer Scoping to make sure the pipe carrying wastewater from the home is in good condition and not blocked by tree roots.
After The Inspection
the inspection has been conducted, you’ll receive a detailed report
with all your inspector’s findings. Once you have this information,
you can make a more informed decision about whether or not you wish
to go ahead with the purchase.
- If the house is in good shape or only requires slight renovations, you can choose to sign the deed as is.
- If the house is in relatively good condition but requires some serious renovations, then you and your realtor can approach the home owner and come up with a new agreement. This agreement can be for the same amount, but have a clause that the current homeowner performs the renovations before you move in. Alternatively, you can re-submit a new offer for less money due to the fact that you’ll have to make these costly renovations yourself.
- If the home is owned by the bank and/or being sold-as, you won’t be able to add in clauses requiring renovations. However, it can help you make the decision on whether or not you will move forward with the purchase. If you decide to move forward with the purchase regardless of the inspector’s findings, you’ll have a better idea how much money you need to put aside to make the necessary repairs before moving in.
important to remember, a home is a massive purchase that should only
be made once you have all of the information. Don’t let realtors or
sellers convince you to waive a pre-purchase home inspection. It may
cost a little bit more or delay the sale by a couple of days, but in
the long run it may save you thousands of dollars.
bottom line is, a pre-purchase home inspection is your right, so
don’t be afraid to insist on it.