Why Get a Home Inspection?

Most Canadians would admit that buying a house is one of life’s most stressful experiences.
Surprisingly, however, some home buyers skip the professional Home Inspection and take their chances.  Think of it this way, a person is willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house, but surprisingly isn't willing to spend a couple of hundred dollars to make sure its a good investment.  Yes, the Home Inspection costs extra money, and money is tight with the down payment, and lawyers fees etc.  But as much as you might resist getting a Home Inspection – whatever the reason – there are even more reasons why you should get one. Here are some of the more important ones…

1)  Its your biggest investment.  Canadians aren’t big savers, in fact most of them have their savings entirely in their homes.  If you buy a lemon of a house, you may watch your biggest investment go belly up.  Just as it is with cars, sometimes a house can turn out to be a lemon. You buy the house, then shortly after, one component breaks down, followed by another, and still another.  Make make sure you aren’t buying into a money pit.

2)  A detailed home inspection will let you know what repair work is needed to the property, and even more important, it will call your attention to any structural deficiencies. These are much more significant than broken windows, cracked siding, or lose shingles. It could be that there is a problem with the foundation, the walls, and even the support structure underneath the roof. These are big-time expenses, that you will want to know about before you close the home.

3)  Get repairs done before closing.  One of the most important reasons for identifying deficiencies in the property is that you can get them repaired by the seller before you close on the property. There will always be certain repairs that will not become obvious until after you’ve been living in the property for a while. But the ones that can be determined upfront need to be repaired.  When you are buying a house, you are buying it based on the fact that the house is structurally sound, ready for occupation, and safe. If any of these conditions are not met, they need to be remedied before you close on the house. And it is much easier to have the seller make repairs before closing – like before they have your money – than to go after them after the fact.

4)  As a negotiation tool.  One aspect of a home inspection that many buyers overlook is that it can be one of your best tools for negotiating the price of the house. Even if you have already settled on a price, deficiencies revealed by a home inspection can allow you to go back to the seller and negotiate a still better price. Each deficiency revealed in the home inspection is an opportunity to lower the price a little bit more.

5)  If you are not good at home repairs, then having a home inspection done is absolutely mandatory. If you do have good home repair skills, a problem discovered after closing could be fixed relatively inexpensively. But if you have no skills whatever, and have to bring in a contractor to perform the repair, you can be looking at big money.  Be honest with yourself about how much repair work you can handle, and if it’s on the low side, you need to get a home inspection.

6)  Meet insurance requirements. Many home insurance companies are now requiring a home inspection for protection against foundation issues, water damage and flooding and to pinpoint structural issues. Foundation issues are a common problem in some areas of the country, and they can be quite costly to repair. Even if your insurance company doesn't demand a Home Inspection, you may qualify for a discount if you show them one was done.

7)  Mold: Is there a water leak in the basement, bathroom or kitchen? The right combination of moisture, warmth and wood can produce mold in as little as 48 hours. Allergies and respiratory issues may follow.  If there is visible evidence of mold, the Home Inspector will be certain to let you know.

8)  To avoid being hit with major repair bills right after you move in.  Typically, right after the closing is when home buyers are the most financially vulnerable. Your money is mostly tied up in the down payment on the house, as well as any closing costs that were not covered by the seller. You may have other expenses, like moving expenses, redecorating, buying certain appliances or pieces of furniture that you did not have before. All of these expenses will leave you with very little money after closing.  The last thing that you need when you are stretched tight is a surprise repair bill. Sometimes you discover it during heavy rain, powerful winds, or a major snowstorm. But however it comes out, it can be a real blow to your finances if you don’t have the money to repair it immediately.

9)  Retain one last chance to retract your offer.  A home inspection showing major deficiencies gives you one last opportunity to reconsider whether this home is right for you —one final chance to back out of your offer.

10)  Forecasting future expenses.  An experienced home inspector can give you a good idea of what future repairs will be required and an approximate time frame of when the repairs should take place.


PEACE OF MIND:  Even though you have to spend some money up front to get the inspection done, the peace of mind that you will have after closing will be worth far more.