A Home Inspection Report is a wise precaution. The fee is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing what you're buying.
A qualified house inspector will go over the property from basement to roof-top, inside and out. They'll closely examine the visible structural components, including the roof, insulation and the electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems. If appliances are included in the purchase transaction, a thorough inspector may even check them for proper operation and record serial numbers.
A report usually identifies patent defects (clearly visible to a trained eye) and often the symptoms of latent defects (not clearly visible), any of which could mean costly repairs or replacements.
For property with more than one building, such as a farm or recreational home, an inspector will normally charge a slightly higher fee to inspect the outbuildings. Thus, you may want to clarify their fee before they commence the inspection.
However, it must be made clear that
the inclusion of a condition in your offer to purchase is not intended to permit an avenue for
escape from the contract because of only minor concerns, or
if you've just changed your mind about buying the property.
Let's be Fair
When reviewing the report, you must take into consideration that
structure ages, the more maintenance and repair it'll require (not
unlike an old car that once ran the roads smoothly). Thus, you shouldn't expect a 60 year old
house to be in the same pristine condition
as one built a mere 20 years ago. (The same thing goes for people too.)
These reports are designed to generally inform you of the property's physical condition. In other words, to educate you about what you're buying.
Release, Remedy or Adjust
If the home inspection report exposes a significant defect, depending on the terminology of the condition contained in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS), you'll have the option of being released from the contract and having the deposit returned. Or you may ask the seller to either remedy the deficiency, or adjust the purchase price downward to reflect the estimated cost of repairing the defect or replacing the defective component. In either case, if they agree, an amendment to the APS would simultaneously remove the condition on satisfactory home inspection and specifically detail the work the seller has agreed to perform, or the adjusted agreed purchase price.
Included with most home inspection reports - in either hard copy or e-format - is a manual containing information on home construction, as well as details on roofing, insulation, exterior and interior components, structure and electrical, heating, cooling and plumbing systems. The manual will often include illustrations on how each component of the house is built and functions, and how it wears or fails. And most importantly ...
A buyer will typically receive a wealth of information on normal life spans of such items as shingles and furnaces, as well as current cost estimates for replacing them. Advice will be offered regarding the recommended frequency of household maintenance so the new homeowner can prevent minor problems from developing into major ones.
This is all critical information, particularly for buyers who've never before assumed responsibility for maintaining a house and property. Looking after a house isn't much different than maintaining a car - the better job you do, the longer it'll last.
The buyer will typically receive a report on the condition of the home's major systems and components, including improvement recommendations with the nature, urgency and approximate cost of each improvement.
The most immediately important part of the report, however, is the summary of any and all major components requiring ...
Significant and Immediate Repair or Replacement
This is obviously important because it could affect a buyer's financial ability to buy the house. If the buyer must hold back funds from the down payment to perform repairs immediately following completion of the sale, they may have insufficient funds to actually close the sale. Therefore, at that point, the decision must be made whether to remove the home inspection condition, ask the seller to make the repairs, or failing seller agreement, abort the sale.
And how does one ...
Your agent, who likely has a trustworthy favourite that probably does every house inspection for them, will usually offer to organize it for you. All you'll have to do is show up for the home inspection, ask questions, learn and upon its completion, pay for the home inspection report.
So, is the expense of a home inspection report worthwhile? You bet.
Visit the National Home Inspection Certification Council to learn more about home inspections. And visit CMHC to learn more about the professionals a buyer should seriously consider hiring to protect their interests.
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