When you put an offer on a home, your Realtor® will advise you to include a home inspection in the subjects. This is an important step that helps you get to know the property better.
You can expect the inspector to investigate all the major aspects of the home such as its structure, plumbing, electrical, roof and heating system.
It is important that you make the time to go to the inspection so that you can ask questions and see some of the things the inspector will refer to in their report.
What Isn’t Covered
A home inspector won’t investigate areas they can’t get to. For instance, if you’re buying in the winter, an inspector may not be able to assess the condition of the roof from the outside if there is a lot of snow piled on top of it.
Home inspectors won’t give you an evaluation of structures outside the home such as swimming pools or outbuildings. They also won’t inspect wells or septic tanks, though you can hire a specialist to inspect those systems.
There is no such thing as a perfect home. Even new constructions can have flaws, so you can expect to see both strengths and weaknesses in the home inspector’s findings. The important thing to focus on is how serious any issues are.
When you walk around the home with an inspector, they may give you a very approximate idea of what a problem might cost to fix, but it’s up to you to do the research and check those figures. They can also tell you what the average life expectancy of certain features are, but they can’t guarantee how long anything will last.
The results of your home inspection are confidential and are not sent to your Realtor®. You can decide to discuss certain aspects of the report with your Realtor® if you want to, for instance if you are hoping to negotiate a lower price with the seller based on the results of the report, or if you want to request that the seller gets something fixed before closing.
As you decide whether to renegotiate your offer based on the results of the report, bear in mind that the seller is far more likely to move on price if a new issue was discovered during the inspection. If you were made aware of something prior to the inspection, such as the age of the furnace, and now after the inspection you want a reduced price because the furnace is old, the seller will probably think they already negotiated a deal with you that included that fact.
Ask your Realtor® for advice if you are unhappy with some findings. They may know how much interest there has been in the home and how motivated the seller is, which will influence how willing the seller will be to renegotiate. They will also advise you to focus on the more serious issues. You may be unhappy that the windowpane in the bathroom has a crack in it, but are you willing to let the deal fall through if the seller refuses to fix it?
If you are feeling pressured to buy a home, you might be tempted to ignore more serious findings because you don’t want to lose the property. It’s still worth talking to your Realtor® about your options because a great Realtor® is an expert negotiator who can push for your best interests.
There is one final thing to think about with home inspections. If you go ahead and buy the property, don’t file away the report and forget about it. Dealing with any issues up front could save you a lot of money in the long run. Then you can sit back and enjoy your new home!
For more information about home inspections in British Columbia or to find a home inspector, visit the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors BC website.